Resume Theft and How to Handle It

What is it?

I was browsing LinkedIn recently and a few former co-workers were recommended. Naturally, I clicked on a few to see what they’re up to these days and how they’re doing. Networking is a key part of success, so in my mind I just thought, “Let’s see how this person is doing”.

After finding one particular co-worker, let’s call him DB, I discovered that his past experience listed my exact job exactly as I described it on my Resume. My initial thought was, “Oh, he may have supplanted me after I left”. I read a little more and when I saw the dates he was in the position - THEY WERE MY YEARS. I hired him. I literally gave him a chance and employed him for 3 years.

So wait. Let me think about this for a second. Surely, DB didn’t list my title and job as his? Did he?

I read a little further.

His resume description for that job was an exact copy and paste of My Resume for that time period. I still thought to myself, there has to be an error. Did he work at a different child company or is he blatantly stealing my Resume words and using them as his own? Unsurprisingly per this post headline, he had STOLEN my Resume bullet points - verbatim. The only thing he changed was a removal of things he wasn’t experieinced in.

He took my Resume, removed a couple of things and posted it as his job experience.

Ok. He did just copy my stuff and post it as his own. There has to be recourse for this. He didn’t have that role, he worked for me. I hired him. I still thought that somehow I had to be mistaken and no one would just blantantly do that. As I read more, I became upset at the realization. THIS ASSHOLE JUST COPIED MY RESUME and CLAIMED MY JOB TITLE / ROLE. He was a nice guy and as much as I didn’t want to believe it - he had just STOLEN MY RESUME.

What to do

If you’re a victim of resume theft, what recourse do you have?

There are few things you can do to respond to something like this. Some are more effective than others. If your motivation is just vindication, stop reading now. That person is now in their new position and interferring in their life will not provide you with satisfaction. It will likely be met on deaf ears and you’ll just be more frustrated than when you began reading this post.

That said, how do you just let someone steal your work and take credit for your accomplishments, deliverables and achievments?

Here are a few recommendations:

1 - Ask them to clarify their Resume on LinkedIn and other websites. By doing so, you put them on notice that you’re aware of what they did and more importantly, they are aware that people are looking at them in detail. If they comply, you can rest easy knowing they’re not out there taking credit for your work.

If they don’t comply, you’re simply back where you were before you learned of it.

2 - DO NOT Contact their current employer. As much as it pains me to say this, it’s not an effective means of making yourself whole. Something very personal was stolen from you. I spent several weeks curating my Resume. It was my life’s summary. It contains my goals, achievements and accomplishments. It contains my path forward in life. The Resume is the penultimate summary of what and who you are and who you want to become. All of the effort I put into that document, describing myself in great detail, was literally hijacked via a quick COPY/PASTE.

Moving on

Life as a construct will often throw you curveballs. It will give you bad news. You will learn about things that you wish you didn’t know. Among these things may be the fact that people you trusted are capable of stealing from you. It’s a painful lesson and sadly one that we can do nothing about.

As we approach higher levels of leadership, the pool of candidates will get smaller. It’s the nature of life.

I take comfort knowing that if DB and I ever apply for the same job, I’ll be able to cite all of the my accomplishments and achivements that he had to leave out his - because he stole my work and can’t possibly support his work product.

Will that ever happen? Not likely.

However, if it does, I can guarantee you I’m more prepared to speak to them than he is.