A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Dear Sue: The company I work for recently announced the closing
of several branch locations, including the one I work at. We were told to
apply for jobs internally, and my friend and I helped each other with our
I just found out that he sent in his resume already and that he copied
(word for word) the job description I had written and put on my resume. I
confronted him about this and told him I was upset, but he said he didnít
think it was a big deal and would never be noticed due to the large volume
of resumes being submitted.
I feel it is a big deal especially since we were planning on applying
for jobs in the same location. I am sure our resumes will be reviewed by
the same hiring managers and that the similarities will be evident. How do
I handle this with him and the company?
Sue Says: For starters, submit your resume without delay. Your
friend already submitted his resume; if you wait to submit yours much
longer, it may be too late. Your friend was wrong to copy your job
description word for word, and I commend you for telling him so. However,
donít make more out of it than you need to or assume he has somehow ruined
your future with the company.
If you havenít written a cover letter, do it now, and include it with
your resume. Your cover letter is the one thing that can set you (and your
resume) apart from your friend or anyone else applying for a job.
Highlight the most interesting and intriguing aspects of your career with
the company and why you feel you should be considered for a position in
another location. Then make a few changes to your job description so that
it wonít be identical to the one your friend sent in, and submit it.
There will be many resumes that have similar job descriptions, and as
long as you change yours ever so slightly, itís not likely to cause any
problems for you. Stop focusing on what has happened and make a plan for
the things you want to happen. Write a strong cover letter, submit your
resume, secure an interview, and then see to it you do whatever you can to
get a job offer. At this point what you do has nothing to do with your
friend, but everything to do with you.
Donít create a problem for yourself by drawing attention to something
that may be overlooked. And in the future, although it is more fun to do
things with others, when it comes to securing a job, you are on your own.
Do what you must to take control of what happens to you now and in the
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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