Helping a friend with their resume

1299

Dear Joan:
I started working at a great job after graduate school two and a half years ago after doing a lot of smart networking years before I graduated. I have since offered my assistance to others who ask for career advice.
 
One friend of mine, a groomsman in my wedding, asked for my help since he is graduating soon. I recommended jobdig.com and other resources. He also asked for my old resume, which I reluctantly shared six months ago.
 
Today, we spoke on the phone and he asked if I would review his resume. When I opened it up, it looked just like my resume. Fonts, headings, indenting, bold face, text positioning, was all the same. He just put his details in place. However, because he copied my template, his bullets and indents were not consistent, nor was his use of action words consistent, so it doesn't look very good. He's been applying to jobs at my company.
 
I like helping with job searching, and this is a good friend, but I'm struggling with whether to help him with his resume. I feel he just copied mine but and goofed the formatting and then wants me to fix it.
 
Any suggestions on how to handle this?
 
Answer:
It’s said that imitation is the best form of flattery and in this case I believe it’s true. He obviously was impressed with your layout and so he used it. As long as he didn’t steal your actual content, why not feel flattered?
 
Since he is a good friend, why not give him some direct advice about some of the rough spots on his resume. For example, you might point out that the bullets and indents aren’t consistent. Explain the need for clear action words that tell the story of his results.
 
I don’t think you should fix it for him. Simply give him the advice and he should do the rest.
 
When it comes to helping a friend get a job where you work, I have a rather strict personal ground rule that I’ve used when I was in your situation. The trick here is to be helpful but not put your neck—and reputation—on the line. Your friend should earn his job on his own.
 
It’s fine to say something qualified such as, “I’ve heard good things about him from coworkers he used to work with but I’ve never worked with him myself. I know he gets along well with people and seems very committed to his work, but I can’t say firsthand.”
 
There have been a couple of occasions, early in my career, when I threw my support behind a few “friends” who wanted my help getting a job. They got the job—in part because of my glowing recommendation--but it didn’t work out in the long run. Maybe I’m jaded but I’ve been cautious ever since. My reputation is something I work hard for and I don’t put it on the line when it involves friends whose work performance is beyond my control.
 
So why not help with his resume and help him with advice in the background?


Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
 
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