my boss stole my resume and is applying for the same jobs as me

A reader writes:

I have been working as a contractor since late 2019, for what was to be a temp to perm position. After about a month, I realized I received the bait and switch regarding what I was hired to do as opposed to what I actually was tasked with doing. So I’ve been actively looking for work since January.

I was notified in early May that I was being let go in mid-June. Thankfully, I was extended until June 30. Last week I had a phone screen for a position I applied for — an awesome opportunity for a somewhat niche role in my field (which is the opposite from niche — every company has at least one of me, if not a whole department). I knocked the screening out of the park and they scheduled me for the next round within an hour of hanging up.

About an hour later, I received a follow-up email from the recruiter, asking me if I knew a Diana Trout from Empirical Publishing (I’ve changed names, obviously) because “her resume is almost word for word like yours, both in format and content.” She then proceeded to ask me if I helped her on her resume because in her entire career she has never seen two resumes that look almost IDENTICAL (she put it in all caps). With regard to format, it’s a very particular format that I got when I had a resume writer write it for me about five years ago. But the content? That is 100% mine.

I responded that Diana Trout was my manager at Empirical, and that she was notified of her own lay-off a few weeks following mine. It wouldn’t surprise me if we were applying for the same roles, as I am at least qualified for her role current role at Empirical, if not slightly overqualified. I told her while I didn’t know if she had access to my resume (as she wasn’t my hiring manager), if needed I could have my employment history 100% verified.

Afterwards I was so bothered I reached out to Diana’s manager, initially only asking her if Diana would, in fact, have access to my resume. She confirmed that Diana most likely was handed my resume when I was assigned to her a few weeks after my arrival. And it would’ve been in Word format. since that is how they received it from the agency. We discussed it, I passed along the recruiter’s information to Diana’s manager, and dropped it, at least as far as the company is concerned.

But I’m freaking out. Now my resume is out there but in someone else’s name as well as my own And on top of it, we are clearly applying for the same jobs, so recruiters will certainly notice and possibly penalize us both, and possibly blackball me on top of it, should I apply for future roles. This may sound dramatic, but I feel violated. I should be able to trust that my resume will only be reviewed by a company and their employees, not stolen. I know people pull some things from other’s resumes, but typically with their permission when you’re helping someone else.

Should I inform companies I have already had conversations with to let them know? Also, in submitting resumes going forward, should I put an asterisk or a note stating that I recently had my resume stolen? In speaking with Diana’s manager, she suggested that I change my format — the format that I paid to have designed and individualized. Clearly I won’t have the money to pay to have it rewritten, as long as I don’t have income.

How do I navigate this? Am I overreacting here?

As a final note, I was a little annoyed that Diana’s manager seemed to think this wasn’t a HUGE deal. I am in the business of handling these issues when they came to me (as a part of my job), so I know it very well could be that she is not divulging what she intends to do. But she didn’t seem that concerned that someone in her department stole what is essentially company property for personal gain. In fact, she told me that not only was there not much I could do about this particular situation, but that I can’t really avoid this in general.

Well, Diana sucks.

Copying someone’s resume formatting — eh. Those aren’t typically proprietary and it’s not going to raise serious questions if an employer happens to notice two people have the same format. There are lots of popular resume templates available for free on the internet; two candidates using the same one isn’t a big deal and happens all the time.

But copying someone’s content? Word for word? That’s not okay. And assuming your content is customized for your own career and your own achievements, it’s also really weird. Maybe your career paths have been so similar that she can legitimately claim the same accomplishments, but in most cases stealing your content would mean she’s also lying about the specifics of the work she’s done. And either way, there’s something especially crappy about stealing from someone she managed.

As for what to do …

I would not start including a note on your resume saying that your resume was recently stolen. That’s going to read as strangely high-drama, especially without people knowing the details about the extent of the word heist. And most people reading your resume probably aren’t reading Diana’s too, so it would introduce a lot of strangeness that just doesn’t need to be there.

What I would do — and you’re not going to like this — is re-write your resume. You don’t need to start from scratch; just change enough so that the two documents won’t look like copies anymore. It’s going to be hard to let go of the words you initially chose (if you’re anything like me, you’re very attached to your words), but there’s usually more than one way to say any given line on a resume and you’ve got to choose the alternates.

You should also find a new template. Resume formatting and design truly doesn’t matter that much unless you’re a designer yourself (and I’m guessing you’re not, since you hired out the design last time) as long as it’s clean and easy to quickly skim. You sound really invested in yours, but I’m promising you that no hiring manager cares that much. Pick one of the thousands of free templates online (avoid the ones with graphics and other clutter), and that’s going to help too.

To be clear, this is unfair! You shouldn’t have to change your resume when it’s yours — you bought the design and you created the content — but the reality is, you can’t make Diana stop using it. If you’re concerned about how her theft will impact you, this is the easiest and most reliable way to ensure she can’t harm you.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t call her out, as well. You can! I wouldn’t rely on it changing her behavior since she’s already shown she lacks integrity, but you have the standing to speak to her about it, and it’s possible she’ll be shamed into doing the right thing. (You just won’t know for sure if she does, so you’ll have to change yours either way.) Feel free to email her and say something like, “A recruiter I’m working with alerted me that she received your resume and it’s an almost word-for-word copy of mine. She was questioning whether either of us had the experience we’d listed, since now both appear fake. I’m not sure how this happened, but it’s jeopardizing the jobs I’m applying for — and will also jeopardize yours, since employers can’t tell which one is the original. If you modeled your content on mine, can you please fix that so this doesn’t come up again?”

As for Diana’s manager’s reaction … you’re right that she wouldn’t necessarily tell you if she was planning to do something, but since Diana no longer works there, she probably figures she doesn’t have the standing to take any action. And she’s right that you can’t avoid people copying your wording, especially if you have similar language on your LinkedIn profile (which anyone can see and pull from). That doesn’t make it okay for people to do, of course, but that’s likely where she was coming from.

{ 293 comments… read them below }

  1. 123456789101112 do do do*

    Is there a consideration about the designer of the resume? Essentially Diana also stole their work.

    1. The OP*

      I know it’s not trademarked but I wondered about the service I used and if I was under some sort of obligation not to reuse the format for helping other people.

      Alison is right – format isn’t owned but still. I think it’s more (for me) the principle as well as the overall threat.

      1. sacados*

        Hmm. As far as the service you used, I don’t know what if any guarantees you may have been given but it’s actually not out of the realm of possibility that they could be using a similar/same format for their other clients as well. So I wouldn’t be surprised if there are also other resumes out there with that formatting.

        It’s pretty obvious that’s not how Diana got the template here so that point is a bit off-topic, though. Either way, my sympathies — that really sucks.

        1. Ping*

          It’s not the duplicate format that is the problem. It’s the duplicate content.
          No one has the same work history. So if Diana is claiming that then she’s committing fraud.

          1. TootsNYC*

            she may be using the OP’s verbiage and phrasing to describe her own very real similar experience.

            That’s a problem, even if she’s using her own employers, job titles, dates, etc.

            So the OP should rewrite some of the phrasing and use different fonts.

            1. Hmmm*

              Track the IP address she sent it from. If it was the previous employers and she was employed you should have legal arguements against both of them.

      2. Clorinda*

        You also need to be ready to have your content challenged. Have your portfolio ready with everything you refer to in the resume, and have all your academic records on hand so you can turn in transcripts on a moment’s notice, rather than having to say you’ll have to order it. It’s not fair, but if you have your proof ready to go and Diana doesn’t, everyone will know which resume is real.

      3. Artemesia*

        I’d be worried she would outcompete me using my own resume which I why I was inclined towards saying something — what a bummer.

    2. Harvey 6-3.5*

      Actually, if the language is truly “word-for-word”, the OP would likely have a valid copyright claim against Diana. Copyright is inherent to the content creator upon creation. So I might suggest that if she has a lawyer friend, she ask him to draft a letter requesting Diana to stop using the copyrighted material. Alternatively, she could send the request herself, but a lawyer’s stationary or email might have more impact. Best to OP.

      1. Katrinka*

        Nah. The resume is not unique enough to claim a copyright on it. If she used a designer or service, they would own the design, if it’s unique to them. But words are words and given that there are only so many ways to describe a job, there’s always going to be some overlap.

        I agree that OP should change the format and the wording. I know that can be difficult with more soft skills, but since you’re in more of a niche, potential employers are likely to understand what you mean no matter how you word it.

      2. Jojo*

        Nah. We have 5 people in my shop doing the same job. I would assume we use the job description to create our resumes. So they would possibly be verbiage identical for this job. So too, might our references. It would be other jobs listed that would different.

      3. Lisa*

        Exactly. I dropped in to say that too. Get a lawyer to write a cease and desist letter. $350 well spent.

        I’ve done it before and it was a huge relief.

      4. Copyright Economist*

        In some countries, but not all, copyright subsists in a work when it is created, provided that it has enough originality. The US typically requires registration of copyright in order to pursue a claim. The UK and Canada do not. I agree with Harvey 6-3.5, a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter, on lawyer’s stationery, often is sufficient to get someone to stop using your material.

        1. cha cha heels*

          You do need to register a copyright claim before you can file court documents. Copyright infringement is a federal issue and needs to be filed in federal court. The standard for originality is a ‘modicum’ of creativity, so verbatim copying is infringing except for what is considered the only way to describe something (e.g. ‘bake until golden brown’). As for the design of the resume, if OP hired someone to create it for her, that would likely be considered work for hire and as person who hired the work, OP would retain copyright of that as well.
          n.b. not a lawyer, just a copyright law class taker and enthusiast.

    1. WonderMint*

      Sorry, I may be misunderstanding, but how would that help in avoiding this situation?

      1. Hills to Die on*

        It could make it harder to steal the formatting. I would be curious about who is the author of the resume in the document properties. Maybe see if that hiring manager could tell you?

        1. Loubelou*

          This is a good point!! Not many people know how to remove that kind of information.

      2. Ali G*

        It won’t 100%, but it would make it a lot harder to copy the resume and format, as you would have to recreate it by hand. It seems that Diana just changed the name from the LW to her own.

        1. Vina*

          Actually, that’s no longer true either. I can import most PDFs, even locked ones, into my word processing program and get a pretty good match.

          When not, I use an OCR converter.

          I use this a lot b/c I’m not retyping all the details from old deeds each and every time.

          I can scan the old deed, convert it to PDF, import it into word processing and have it be 99.99% accurate.

          There is no way that I know of to really protect content any more. The technology is too advanced.

          1. A*

            Given how many colleagues have been SHOCKED and AMAZED when they’ve seen me use my OCR tool, I’m guessing there’s a decent amount of people unaware of this capability. Enough so to at least make it worth the effort to make it a pdf.

            1. I'm that person*

              Today I had a co-worker who was SHOCKED and AMAZED that I could rotate a page in a PDF 90 degrees. Her plan was to print it, rotate the printed page 90 degrees and then scan it.

              1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

                Isn’t it wonderful when you can share life-changing hints with someone? :)

                I once saw my SO editing a document in Word or something similar, and retyping a paragraph completely because it was in the wrong section of the document. I showed him how to Cut and Paste, and *pow* just like that I saved him many hours of future wasted effort.

                It was about 15 years ago… He still uses it – that’s something that was worth sharing :)

                1. Facepalm*

                  Some months back I was showing a Word doc on a screen and I highlighted a section that needed to be moved and dragged it to where it needed to go. Completely flabbergasted the 4 high-level systems engineers in the room. They called another guy into the room so I could show him too. My mind was blown that their minds were blown :D

                2. KaciHall*

                  At my last job I showed someone how to remove duplicates from an Excellent spreadsheet. It was a fairly important part of my job (Order Entry and general office lackey.) She was shocked. She was also the IT point of contact for the new program we were getting for inventory and ordering. She was in charge of creating the macros so we could upload orders from Excel spreadsheets to the new program.

                  I spent a lot of time refining those templates. I still don’t understand how she was doing that as her job and had no idea about very basic Excel tasks!

                3. Claire*

                  In a previous job, my boss called me into his office to find out if there was a quicker way to move a bunch of Excel files into a different folder. He had been opening each in Excel, then saving them to the new location, and deleting the original copy. Ctrl-A, Ctrl-X, Ctrl-V and it was done, for 50 or so files remaining. His astonishment was gratifying (and also pretty funny!).

              2. Applesauced*

                In college, I saw a student open their laptop sideways (like a book) to read a PDF…

                1. Quill*

                  Been that student, with deeply bootleg PDF software that did not have that capability.

              3. NotAnotherManager!*

                This is why I do job-specific boot camp in office technology for all new hires. I had one who’d manually created tables of contents for all their student papers and was blown away by the Word insert TOC tool.

                1. calonkat*

                  I literally just generated a toc in a word document to replace the error filled one that had been manually added. Lucky for me they’d been reasonably good about using the right formats!

                  Showing people how to filter excel sheets is my big mind blowing thing. How have people never clicked on that???

                2. NotAnotherManager!*

                  Honestly, I think most people never get actually training in office productivity tools (or use something under-featured like Word Online or Google Docs) and, if you aren’t the kind of person who routinely says, “Geez, there’s GOT to be a better way to do this!” and then googles it to figure out how, you do what you know. I consider myself highly proficient with Excel and Word and still learn new things from my coworkers all the time, just because there are so many features.

                  The training we do has been been well-received and people who started before we started offering asked for a rerun because they heard from new folks how helpful it was.

                3. Imma Power User*

                  I hope that you allow people who are already power users of MS-Office to skip the training, or go directly to an advanced class.

            2. Amaranth*

              There are a lot of online pdf tools now and some even allow a free trial, or are very cheap for single use. I don’t think pdf is the security blanket it used to be, unless the recipient is really out of touch with technology. Which, in some fields, might be a fair assumption. :)

            3. Cassie Nova*

              Same here. The vast majority of office workers are far from tech savvy and often know just enough about a piece of software to get them through their daily tasks.

              1. Liz*

                That would be me. I still remember, way back when I first started in this job, learning how pdf’s etc work. Converting word docs to PDF, adding and deleting pages etc. Because while I was pretty proficient in word, I had never used adobe, in any other job, so really had absolutely no clue what it was, or what it could do.

                I do recall my boss acting like i was an idiot for not knowing anything about it, but he quickly shut up when I pointed out that i had never used it, and no one in this job had ever bothered to clue me in.

          2. RussianInTexas*

            Yes, I work with contracts, and I don’t want to retype everything in my projects, so I OCR pdfs all day long.

          3. Bree*

            Folks pointing out that it’s not hard to convert a PDF to Word are correct. However, I don’t think we can underestimate how extraordinarily lazy Diana is, to have stolen a resume word-for-word. In this case, the PDF might indeed be enough of a deterrent!

            Plus I like to send stuff as PDFs whenever possible because it just tends to open/print in a more reliably consistent way. A lot of postings actually ask for PDFs specifically.

            1. Katrinka*

              This. And even if the person on the other end has the same version of word as you, things can get wonky in the sending and your resume could end up with the formatting all wrong (I’ve received a number of resumes like that over the years). I think this is why so many are starting to specify .pdf, it’s easier to share with others in the company without having to worry about what version they’re running or how familiar they are with Word.

        2. LGC*

          On one hand, you’re right that it’d make it somewhat harder to steal the resume.

          On the other…a LOT of word editors can open PDFs now, including Google Docs and Word. (And you also have Acrobat, too.)

        3. Lovely Day in the Pandemic*

          Not if you have Adobe Pro, which I mostly used to convert documents back and forth between .pdf and Word format.

      3. Ann*

        It’s much more difficult for an average person to edit / steal a .pdf formatted resume’s format. You can just save-as a Word doc and change the name and contact info at the top.

        1. Vina*

          Again, you can import a PDF into most word processing programs and get the content fairly easily.

          If you have word at home, pull up a few text-only or primary text PDFs and drag them onto the Word icon. A lot of them will open in word without anything further. If they don’t, there are hundreds of conversion programs that are cheap or free.

          1. Nope Nope Nope*

            Ann is still right, though. Not everyone knows to do all that, and it definitely takes more effort.

          2. JSPA*

            I suppose the assumption is that the sort of person who steals / needs to steal a resumé is likely to be technologically inept, prone to cutting corners, and generally clueless.

              1. EddieSherbert*

                This is my assumption too, JSPA and Pomona.

                And bare minimum… you’re making someone work harder for it if they’re desperate to steal it!!

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          It’s not. You can edit text in PDF files very easily with Acrobat Standard/Pro, Nuance PDF, or any number of PDF editing tools available as installed programs, cloud-based services, or even browser extensions. I don’t even have to covert them, I open the PDF, hit the Edit option, update the text just like its Word, and save it.

          Maybe fewer people know that than how to edit a Word doc, but the info is a very easy google search away from even a slightly motivated resume thief.

      4. many bells down*

        You can export a PDF back into Word if you have Acrobat anyway, so I’m not sure it woild.

        1. mgguy*

          PDFs can be edited in the right software if the permissions are set correctly, but it’s often not as easy to do and software like Acrobat Pro that can re-export it costs real money. It’s also been rare that I’ve shot something back to Word/Powerpoint/etc that it came through 100% correctly. Even editing a “locked” PDF usually needs Acrobat Pro to “unlock it.” I always distribute documents I don’t want edited as PDFs-they’re not impossible to edit but the barrier to doing so is a lot higher.

          1. Environmental Compliance*


            I know it’s not impossible, but it does make it a lot harder to edit for the average person.

            1. MayLou*

              I’d assume that someone who can edit PDFs decently would also be able to make their own CV.

              1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

                What MayLou said. Anyone who knows how to do this surely knows how to create a semi decent format of their own.

            2. Vina*

              It’s drag and drop on both my MAC and my windows laptop. Without any reader or additional program. Just drag pdf. To Word icon and it opens.

              1. Environmental Compliance*

                IME that makes the jankiest formatted Word document you ever did see. I opened a very basic PDF that way (which was originally a Word document, I wanted to give it a good chance) and oh boy, the formatting. It’s all over the place. It’s awful. And it ate probably 20% of the words somehow.

                So you can technically convert, yes, but it looks horrible.

                1. TiffIf*

                  Also it requires a newer version of Word–my Word version can’t do it. (It does everything I need it to and I refuse to pay for a monthly subscription for Office so I’m not planning on upgrading.)

                2. mgguy*

                  Yep-did that too just to check and it looks terrible.

                  I have Acrobat Pro personally as part of my Adobe CC subscription(handy sometimes, and it didn’t cost any extra). Its OCR capabilities(whether just OCRing a PDF or spitting it back as a word doc) are near perfect, but it can still end up with some weird formatting and be difficult to edit when needed even when using a document that started as a Word doc. Going from PDF to Word is is a last resort thing for me(I HAVE to edit it and don’t have the original word document) and you’re usually better off editing it either in Acrobat Pro itself or alternatively in InDesign. InDesign, again, though can be expensive and isn’t the most user friendly piece of software.

          2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

            Yes, most of the places I worked, would not pay for the software licenses that would let us use any of these functionalities. Or IT had disabled the functionality in Office so they couldn’t be used because they didn’t want it to be.

          3. CJM*

            Sign up for the free trial Acrobat Pro, convert the .pdf to Word, and cancel you subscription.

          4. TardyTardis*

            You’d be amazed by the conversion abilities in Office 365, and thank God for it when I was doing layout for the print version of one of my novels.

        2. Derjungerludendorff*

          It does make it much less convenient, and you’d have to know the option is there. So it would definitely help.

        3. Observer*

          This doesn’t work with most READERS though. You need the paid version in most cases. And in my experience weird things happen with the formatting.

          1. Vina*

            Well, I don’t have acrobat and it works on mine just fine.

            It may not work for everyone, but it works consistently enough that putting something in a PDF isn’t enough.

            As an attorney, I always have a password or some other additional protection. A PDF isn’t secure and can be easily copied.

            1. Observer*

              I don’t think that anyone thinks that a PDF is *THE* solution. But for someone who is lazy and / or stupid, it can be an impediment.

              1. mgguy*

                Agreed that it’s not a 100% deterrent, but I agree that it will likely keep away-for example-someone who is lazy enough to also copy another person’s resume as happened to the OP.

          2. Liv Jong*

            There is a work around there. Open the document and print it to pdf. Every computer I’ve had for the last 20 years has an option for me to change from the printer I have plugged in to a virtual printer that just saves a copy to my hard drive.

              1. TardyTardis*

                But it’s your best friend when you’re whaling away on something with a specific size layout.

      5. nonethefewer*

        It would have helped at the outset, because it’d present an extra barrier to copytheft. That is, if the OP had the option of doing so; the temp agency might have had specific requests there.

      1. Katertot*

        I’m confused- why not do this? I’ve always been told to submit in PDF for a variety of reasons from both hiring managers, recruiters, people doing interviewing, etc.- the formatting stays consistent even as uploaded/downloaded into platforms, it prints out better, and reasons cited above. When does a PDF cause frustrations?

        1. juliebulie*

          Some recruiters like to reformat candidates’ resume a certain way before submitting them.

          1. Fabulous*

            If a recruiter wants to omit my contact information I will do that for them.

            I’ve had recruiters literally BUTCHER my resume trying to modify it. The hiring manager was amazed at the difference when I gave them a copy of it during the interview. They were glad I had because the recruiter’s hack job had them seriously questioning my formatting abilities.

            1. Environmental Compliance*


              If a recruiter wants to change my resume, they can ask for a Word version, and I can approve any changes prior to it going out, because I do not want someone hacking my resume apart and/or modifying anything significant. If it’s just “don’t put your name on it please”, they can use their words and request that.

              1. Fabulous*

                Right?! I didn’t catch whether they changed any more of my content beyond deleting my contact information, but it definitely was a learning experience. If a recruiter asks for a Word version nowadays, I will follow up asking what they would like to change and offer to make the changes myself.

                My job is literally in formatting documents so my resume has tons of special things going on that one misaligned tweak can seriously mess things up. I don’t trust a recruiter’s editing skills further than I can throw them LOL.

                1. Environmental Compliance*

                  Honestly, the only recruiters that I’ve had go ahead and just edit my resume (instead of requesting changes) have had no idea what my industry does, and they make the weirdest changes possible, to the point where it’s a resume that you wouldn’t even apply to that job, ignoring all weird formatting changes. I’ve also had online application systems booger up a Word doc pretty hilariously, but process a PDF totally fine.

                2. Katertot*

                  Thank you for saying all of this- I had NO idea this was a thing and will be wary of sending over a word doc in the future (which is ironic given the initial comment this is nested to)- I only thought of name removal etc!!

                3. juliebulie*

                  Same here. I was pretty surprised when I went to an interview and saw their version of my resume.

            2. Gazebo Slayer*

              I’ve had recruiters edit my resume in ways that make me look dishonest, without my permission. HELL no. I am not letting some recruiter spread lies with my name on them.

          2. Katertot*

            Interesting- I didn’t know that. I’m assuming you could still initially send in a PDF (since that still seems to be the standard) and then send the word doc to the recruiter if requested and that wouldn’t be an issue- no?

            1. Fabulous*

              You can certainly do that, but I would advise against it due to all the reasons stated in these carious comments. Recruiters then have full editing access to delete or add whatever they’d like and effectively ruin your content. I would suggest asking what they are looking to change and offer to make the changes yourself so you have control over what is submitted to their client.

          3. mgguy*

            My resumé is my creation and my word on the line when I submit it. If someone requests it be changed a certain way, I’m happy to comply, but I consider it a matter of personal integrity for anyone else to modify my resumé when submitting it for a job.

            1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

              I’ve done this when working with recruiters in the past. They asked for my resume so they could put it into their template. I told them I’d prefer to do it myself if they could send me their template. So they sent me the template, I copied my info over and sent it back. The recruiter complemented me on how well done it was (and while I fixed at least one typo that was in the template, I left the formatting alone).

              This is a totally reasonable thing to ask for.

          4. Curmudgeon in California*

            I *hate* it when recruiters reformat and re-word my resume. I had one add a degree where there wasn’t one! (I had to correct that with the client.) Some of the hack-ups are cringeworthy and hideous.

            To recruiters: If you need my resume reformatted, tell me, and I’ll do it. Otherwise, you are misrepresenting me.

            1. juliebulie*

              They gave you a degree?!?!?
              That is so far over the line, I’d want… I’m not sure what I would want. Not actual blood. But I’d wish for a way to expose their practices.

          5. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

            If a recruiter wants to do their own formatting etc on my resume then I probably don’t want to work with them. Every time I’ve had one do this it resulted in a total mess.

          6. Imma Power User*

            “Some recruiters like to reformat candidates’ resume a certain way before submitting them.” <– which is EXACTLY why I keep it as a PDF.

            I once had a headhunter put a minor hobby as the lede on my resume. The job I was being pitched for was in the finance industry, sell-side. I have spent 8 years working at a bulge bracket investment bank doing investment banking. The recruiter somehow thought it was appropriate to bury this information in fine print.

            Fortunately, the firm I was being pitched for alerted me to all this and asked me to re-submit the resume formatted the way I wanted.

        2. Environmental Compliance*

          Yeah, I PDF everything I send out because the formatting stays consistent, and I have had significantly less issues with PDFs than I have with Word documents.

          Curious to see what frustrations are being referred to here, because PDF’ing is pretty standard IMO.

          1. Vina*

            PDF has been the standard, most portable format, for several decades. It’s the standard, not word. Word varies from country to country and from operating system to operating system.

            PDFs have a lot less variance.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              PDFs actually have a ton of variance in this, but PDFs allow you to package in the custom font or other information that helps the reader display the content properly across systems (that’s the “portable” part).

              I have a love-hate relationship with PDFs because of this, primarily through trying to electronically file PDFs with various government entities – each system has it’s own standards, but they will routinely reject PDFs that have extras in them, like links, embedded objects, flash animation, inserted code from a document management system or scanner, etc. I have lost count of the number of people who call me crying because their deadline is nipping at their heels and they can’t figure out whats wrong with their PDF. It’s nearly always that whatever process they used to make it packed in some extras that a particular court’s system won’t take it because their goal is to preserve a long-term, accessible record and embedded or “extra” content decreases backward compatibility.

              /end of nerd rant about PDFs

      2. Fabulous*

        What?? I will never not send my resume in PDF version. That’s the only way it will for sure retain the formatting between computers and cannot be edited.

        1. mgguy*

          That’s another reason for my PDF-only policy on sending out documents-to keep formatting and the like the same. I’m particular about fonts, for example, and often send out documents(not just job seeking documents) in Garamond. It’s an all-time favorite of mine, is distinctive(enough that people at work can ID a document as originating from me even if since they can recognize it and no one else uses it) but is still very conservative and traditional. Most non-Mac users won’t have it in their font library, and computers often render it as an ugly Courier New. PDFs allow it to come through unscathed. Even Helvetica, which is the font Microsoft ripped off to make Arial, often renders as Courier New in Windows. If I have to submit something as a .doc, there are about 5 or 6 “universal” fonts that are safe, and I’ll often use Georgia as a nice, clean serif font since it avoids the dated look of Times New Roman or Courier, and lets me avoid my much-hated Arial.

          I had another horrifying one when applying for a job. Just out of preference, I write a lot of documents in a program called Nisus Writer. Its default save format is .rtf, which is a cross-platform open source universal format. The problem is that I’d written my resumé and cover letter in it, and had put my name and contact information in the header at the top. That’s all good and well if I print it or export it as a PDF, but often the header won’t come through if opening in Word or Notepad. I was on a 3rd-round phone interview for a job I thought I was a really strong candidate for, and was horrified when the person who would have been my direct manager said “I have a document in front of me that looks like a resume, but it doesn’t have your name or anything else on it.” I got cut in that round of interviews, and can’t help but think that that mistake was a mark against me since the job would have required meticulous attention to details(and my work record and previous managers could have verified just HOW meticulous I was when doing the things the role would have involved).

          So, yes, if an option, ALWAYS use PDF. Word and pretty much any other word processor around have a “Save as PDF” or “Export to PDF” option. It’s an extra click and can save a lot of grief.

            1. mgguy*

              I’m glad I’m not alone on that :)

              As I said, that’s my default for all documents I generate. I like serif fonts, and of the cross platform fonts Georgia is okay but Times is definitely dated.

              Garamond is timeless, easy to read, and still distinctive. I’ve had plenty of compliments on how nice documents I write in it look, even if they can’t ID what font I used.

            2. mgguy*

              Just as another thought-I’ve had people tell me that I obsess a bit too much over fonts, and most people don’t care. My response to that is that the average person reading it won’t really notice unless it’s either really dated(Times, Courier) or-heaven forbid-something like Comic Sans or Papyrus. As a side note, I had a resume for a student worker submitted to me in comic sans-I would have thought “Don’t use it on a resumé” was a day 1 lesson in the career classes my state requires everyone to take in HS. I hired him anyway and he was great, but also had a talk with him about changing that :) (the resume was good aside from the font-I’ve had some that were so bad, like the 9 page long one where I counted 43 separate jobs listed, some for only 2 weeks).

              Someone who’s not either a printing/graphics professional or a font nerd might not even notice the difference between Arial and Helvetica, but if someone who IS reads your document, they’ll notice and likely appreciate your choosing the real thing, or with Garamond going to the effort to use a font that is so widely respected.

              1. Paulina*

                Putting a resume into Comic Sans is so known to be tacky it’s in the Weird Al song.

              2. Zephy*

                Comic Sans, for all the hate it gets, is a very dyslexia-friendly font. There are others out there, but you have to seek them out and download them. The ubiquity of Comic Sans in inappropriate places is probably an indicator that there are a lot more adults with learning disabilities than anyone might expect out there.

                1. Fi*

                  Though there are some of us with dyslexia who also think comic sans is hideous. As far as I’m concerned the only use for it is within schools as the a is the same as how they’re taught to write.

                  I’d much prefer people to use a clear sans-serif font or use openDyslexic which is specifically designed for dyslexics.

                2. DyneinWalking*

                  Yep. For that same reason, it’s also great for children who are just learning to read and write. I used to study to become a teacher and once spent a whole day going through the fonts in word to find the one most suitable for teaching a class of second-graders. Ended up using Comic Sans. Apart from using the same glyphs children are taught for handwriting, it’s saving grace is that the letters are fairly distinct from each other and e.g. avoid confusion between I and l and 1.

              3. NotAnotherManager!*

                I think, unless you’re applying for a design job, it’s fairly safe to say that practically no one really cares that much what font you use as long as your resume is readable, not packed to the narrow margins, and on point. Most resumes I get are in Calibri, Times New Roman, or Arial, and, absent a really odd or hard-to-read choice, I hardly notice and certainly would not use that as a culling criteria for candidates (and I can tell the difference – my parents small business when I was growing up included typesetting, layout, and light graphic design, and my mom used to let me make the font/size display materials to show people their options).

                I work in legal, and many courts actually require that your documents be submitted in Courier New, Times New Roman, Arial, or similar fonts, so anyone who looks at TNR and thinks, “Wow, that’s dated!” is going to be staring at dated all day, every day.

            3. Imma Power User*

              This brings up another point. Allison is wrong when she says formatting doesn’t matter.

              If I see a resume that is formatted poorly, I assume that the author is the type who doesn’t care about marketing and branding, or who won’t use our professionally-designed corporate templates because Times New Roman is “good enough.” If I see someone who has taken the time to think about graphic design, I see someone who cares about attention to detail, branding, and consistency. That is important even if the job isn’t in graphic design per se.

          1. Fabulous*

            Garamond used to be my go-to font too! I recently switched to Lato Light which is pretty neat too :)

      3. The Man, Becky Lynch*


        Unless someone specifically requests a different format, send it as a PDF.

        Word docs don’t work well for a lot of folks. We don’t use Office Suite so a format sucks in Apache Open Office.

      4. Observer*

        DO NOT DO THIS!

        It’s very annoying and causes all sorts of frustrations.

        Only for people who want to mess with the resume. There is no really good reason to not be able to handle a PDF.

      5. somanyquestions*

        You shouldn’t need to alter someone’s resume, and that’s the only reason that a PDF would be problematic.
        I won’t ever use anything but a PDF. I don’t want my words to be changed without my input, and I also want my document to look the same on their screen as it does on mine, and not everyone has word.

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Also, if you’re writing it with a text processor you can edit the pdf metadata (author and comment, for example). You don’t know how Diana might react when she’s discovered.

      1. Eirene*

        If Diana is simply slapping her name and contact info onto OP’s original resume document, the metadata on the Word document will show the creator, and it won’t be Diana’s name that the recruiter sees. Of course, if Diana is smart enough to paste the information into a brand-new Word document, that won’t be the case. But metadata is a good consideration as well.

  2. Lynn*

    LW I am sorry this is happening to you! It is a sucky situation!

    But… I love your reference to Younger :)

    1. The OP*


      I was wondering if anyone got that reference!!! I was just looking for something different than the standard Game of Thrones/Harry Potter references.

      Which BTW I love! Total Ravenclaw am I

      1. voluptuousfire*

        Nice Miriam Schor reference. Not a fan of Younger but LOVED her as Yitzak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

    2. Nope Nope Nope*

      I love Diana Trout! She would never steal someone else’s resume! Cheryl Sussman on the other hand…

  3. Hills to Die on*

    I really sympathize with not wanting to re-do my resume. I already have the best iteration out there that captures everything exactly the way I feel best represents my experience.
    Having said that…what about a cease and desist letter? I think OP has a point about people not wanting to hire either one of them. She CAN modify her resume, but what if she gets Diana to modify hers? The things wrong with this are:
    1. it may not work,
    2. it won’t be retroactive to any jobs they both already applied for (unless Diana can withdraw and re-apply using the company’s application software, and
    3. OP won’t know for sure that Diana still isn’t doing that.
    But, if it did work, and the cease and desist said she should retract the use of all copies of OP’s resume, then maybe it’s worth a shot.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        Possible fraud, possible identity theft, damage to professional reputation, limiting ability to get more work / income. Those are big deals. Alison clarifies her answer below – it’s worth looking into and I agree with her.

    1. AnonyLawyer*

      That’s what I was thinking about, too — the cease and desist letter. I would be so mad if someone stole my resume and copied. I don’t know if I could bring myself to re-draft it because, on principle, this version is MINE!

      1. Imma Power User*

        It is very problematic to issue a cease-and-desist letter when OP only knows about the violation second-hand. She hasn’t actually seen the offending document. It could turn out that it differs in many minor ways that would make a cease-and-desist letter laughable.

    2. TootsNYC*

      Is it fraud?
      We don’t know that she isn’t using her own employers, dates, job titles, etc.
      And then just using the OP’s turns of phrase to describe very similar job functions.

      So many people I’ve worked for, or who have worked for me, have had jobs with the exact same functions. My resumé could describe their jobs, because our industry is pretty standardized.

      if they used exactly my wording in multiple entries, we’d both look really weird, even if they said they worked for Acme in 1959, and I said I worked for Apex in 1961.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        Doesn’t seem to be according to the comments further down. In fact, OP’s experience is particularly unique in comparison.

    3. Traffic_Spiral*

      But shouldn’t she re-do it anyways? It’s 2020 and she should be including the new temp experience as well as generally updating/tweaking it.

      Cheer up, OP – your boss might be nuts but at least you know she respects your professional skills.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        Possibly – if she has already listed accomplishments, etc. for prior jobs then maybe not. It’s not like that experience changed.

  4. Mama Bear*

    Yikes and agreed, though to be fair to OP, it could be that the company requested the .doc file format.

    Sometimes when I run across stolen content, I inform the designer and let them decide what they want to do next. If this is a one-off template, then OP can mention that they never gave anyone else permission, but it seems to have been stolen. Not sure what the designer can do about it, as Word is easy to edit, but maybe some small adjustments can be made to make OP’s unique template without a high cost. OR just change the text content so at least it’s not word for word the same.

  5. Ann O'Nemity*

    If it makes the OP feel any better, getting 5 years out of a resume template is a good run. Probably due for an update anyway.

    1. Wednesday*

      Can you explain why? It never occurred to me that I should update my template. I’ve been using the same template for well over a decade. It’s just a simple one, no elaborate formatting, but formatting style trends don’t change very often so I don’t think it looks outdated.

      1. Meg Swan*

        Graphic design is just like fashion design… it is subject to trends and looking dated. I work in a creative field, so it matters there more than other places, but there’s tons of research that we are drawn to things that are attractive, and what’s considered attractive changes over time. Perhaps your resume does indeed look fine, but after a decade, I’d be inclined to freshen it up.

      2. Ann O'Nemity*

        Resume styles do change over time. Fonts, layout, formatting. I’m seeing a lot more sophisticated formatting – colors, columns, and lines to more clearly delineate between sections. This is making resumes unique and visually engaging. A black and white resume that’s all one column with one font and one font size is going to look dated.

        There’s been some changes in content as well. Personal addresses are gone, in favor of social media links (usually LinkedIn). Objectives are gone. Lists of duties have been replaced by accomplishments. Alison has tons of good articles on this stuff.

        1. Wednesday*

          “A black and white resume that’s all one column with one font and one font size is going to look dated.”

          Now I’m really curious what a modern day resume is supposed to look like, because this is exactly what my resume looks like and it’s the format I see most often when I review resumes. Maybe I work in an old fashioned industry, but I’ve always been told (even recently) that colors and columns are terrible to include in a resume. I actually can’t think of how I would use multiple colors without it looking a bit silly. Alison hasn’t had a post of resume formatting in a long time, but I’d be interested in seeing one.

          I never included objectives or list of duties in the first place. Those have been outdated for well over a decade. But I think address depends on industry. It seems standard in my industry.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yeah, black and white, one column is fine (often better). Maybe play with your font size for headings, but other than that this is not a problem.

            1. mgguy*

              In nearly every interview I’ve been to(and I’ve had several in the past year) the interviewer/every member of the committee had a printed copy of my resumé/CV(yes, I have both, since I’ve applied for both academic and industrial jobs) in front of them during the interview.

              Since most office printers are still B&W, I’d think using color rather than just strictly formatting to draw attention could at best lose the intent, and at worse make it more difficult to read. I’m thinking of some templates that use something other than a white background, for example, that would print as an overall gray hue and make it difficult to read, or some colors might render as a light gray that’s as hard to read. That could be amplified, too, if someone has less than great vision.

              Given that, in my experience, resumes still can be passed around on paper, I’d lean toward something that renders well in both formats.

              Our big main office printer can do color, but the outside print contractor bills something like 1¢/page for B&W and I think 75¢ for color. With that cost disparity, you’d better have a darn good reason to print something in color(especially with all the belt tightening we’re doing now) and I don’t think that printing a stack of resumés or CVs in color would go over too well.

          2. Ann O'Nemity*

            Some of this is going to be industry specific for sure, with creative fields having more use of color. Still, even with a black and white resume, more modern resumes use different fonts or different size fonts, or lines to visually divide sections. An internet image search for “resume” will show plenty of examples.

            Resume formatting stuff like this usually isn’t a dealbreaker. It isn’t for me, at least. I just wanted to offer a small silver lining to the OP – that updating the resume format may in fact be a good move. Like I said, 5 years is a good run.

        2. A*

          I think this is definitely influenced by the line of work. I’ve worked in several industries, but in a fairly analytical function – and every resume I’ve seen (and my own!) has been B&W, one column.

          However, at the end of last year I had the opportunity to participate in an initial candidate selection for an open Brand position on our project team – and oh! The colors! The formats! THE DRAMA! I was genuinely surprised at how different the aesthetic, almost across the board, was from the resumes I’m used to seeing. So much so I actually had to call out early on that I felt my opinion would by biased because try as I might, the customizations spoke to me and it was so novel in my eyes I couldn’t honestly say I was focused solely on the content.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          I think that this is going to vary a lot by industry and hiring management system. I do not work in a creative or PR industry, so having a creative and visually engaging resume isn’t going to sway an interviewing or hiring decision. I personally loathe multi-column resumes and find them harder to read, and the searchable text on them tends to get garbled because the OCR programs read left to right and mix up the text from columns (they are also not all great with fancier fonts). Ours are also all rendered to B&W in the candidate management system (it’s a feature that flattens out colors/contrast to make the resumes more readable for people who are color blind or need high-contrast to read easily). Don’t even get me started on the meaningless graphic indicators of skill proficiency (filled-in bars, dots, or stars).

          But I am a huge fan of resume refreshes and completely agree that five-year run without having to update is a good return on investment. At minimum, pruning and updating the content is a must after five years.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I mean, unless it was in Comic Sans, I don’t think she has that much to worry about.

      Unless it’s a creative job. That’s literally the only time I’d understand a fancy format anyways. All ours are gotten through job websites and therefore are regularly just not formatted at all.

  6. MollyG*

    I would take a much stronger stance. Copying a resume is a copyright violation. I would have a lawyer send her a sternly worded letter to get her to knock it off. Her passing off your achievements in your career as hers is also fraud.

    1. MissBliss*

      It’s only copyright violation if it’s been registered as copyright material. Which probably doesn’t apply to a resume, but may apply to the template– OP paid for it, after all. But that would be the resume designer’s fish to fry, not OPs.

      1. MissBliss*

        Correction– registration only matters if you want to bring a suit. Otherwise, MollyG is right. But even then maybe not, since copyright protection doesn’t cover “systems” and I feel like a resume might be a system.

        1. TootsNYC*

          registration is USEFUL if you want to bring a suit.
          It isn’t in the least required. It just makes the proving of the timing easier.

          If the OP wanted to pursue this, there might well be enough evidence to back it up.

      2. Dahlia*

        You generally own the copyright of anything you create. That’s why I can post a short story on my blog and you can’t steal it.

        1. Imma Power User*

          But the professional design firm may hold the copyright and have licensed it to OP.

    2. The OP*

      I’ve thought about that – but unfortunately I don’t have the funds since I didn’t get a severance package. But someone suggested a cease and desist letter – I do intend to send her an email like Alison suggested. and I’m glad I waited because had I sent it on Friday after I clocked out and sent my last Timesheet in, it would have been rude and ugly.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        You know, there are legal form letters online you could, uh, copy and use. You don’t have to be a lawyer to do that.

      2. PollyQ*

        You might ask around — maybe you have a friend who has a friend who’s a lawyer? It’s possible one of them would send a Sternly Worded Letter™ for you pro bono.

        1. Imma Power User*

          This is exceedingly poor advice. OP has not seen the offending document in question. It may turn out to be sufficiently different from her own document that, for copyright law purposes, she has no case. If that’s true, Diana could potentially turn around and countersue. No credible copyright lawyer is going to send a C&D letter on the basis of heresay.

      3. Mockingjay*

        Ping mentioned this upthread and I have to re-emphasize: what Diana is doing is Fraud. She can affect your employment chances and history for YEARS to come.

        Link to article discussing resume plagiarism in reply.

      4. Thankful for AAM*

        My library used to subscribe to a Gale database called legal forms. Your library might have access to the version for your state. It will have sample letters, forms, etc.

        If you have a library card you can access it from home. I am happy to look at your library and let you know if they have it.

  7. No Longer Working*

    I’m a little confused as to how identical the 2 resumes are. Is the OP saying Diana stole her work history, including the same former employers? Or just the descriptive details of each job she held? If the former, that sounds close to identity theft. Since the OP talks about being able to verify her work history, I’m leaning towards thinking this is what she meant. Quite a bigger deal than rewriting would solve. did anyone else read it this way? OP, can you clarify?

    1. Jessica*

      I agree, and don’t see why the OP should modify her resume. If it’s a matter of copying all the same jobs, then slightly different wording is not going to help. Potential employers may not notice that the two resumes are similar, but if they do, then rewording a sentence won’t allay their concerns. I think she should keep it as is, and be prepared to explain calmly if a potential employer questions her about the coincidence- don’t sound alarmist or high-drama, but explain that you know someone out there has been plagiarizing your resume, and you are prepared to provide references to verify your history.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh! I didn’t think she’d stolen the OP’s work history, just her wording about what she’d done at various jobs since they’d had similar career paths. If I am wrong about that, the answer is all wrong too.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        “But the content? That is 100% mine.”

        I thought that the boss literally copied the whole thing but took out the name.

        1. Phony Genius*

          Does this mean she also stole the education history? If so, there’s an even deeper level to this.

          1. Environmental Compliance*

            That was my assumption, TBH. I thought that everything from education to work history to skills got copied under the boss’s name.

          2. Environmental Compliance*

            Oh, OP states below that the boss did change the college attended, so I guess there’s that?

          3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

            It’s tempting to call (or get a friend to call) the college/school/university that she was supposedly educated at, to ask for her record…

        2. Caroline Bowman*

          That’s what I thought too. Now, they may indeed have some identical experience, where nearly-identical wording would not be plagiarism (well it is, but it wouldn’t be lies), but taking another person’s experience as your own, even if you’ve had approximately similar experience / career path is flat-out lying. Diana needs to be addressed. OP should contact her directly, copying in the manager she originally contacted and explain what’s happened and ask Diana if in fact she worked at Bob’s Donuts from 1995-1997 (if you see what I mean).

          I would also change my fonts and switch things around a bit in small ways, and yes, get copies of all relevant ”proof”, transcripts and so on now, before asked. At interviews, offer them if things like your degree or particular experiences that you have proof of get discussed, just in a general part-of-the-conversation way, not dramatically trying to prove something.

      2. The OP*

        From what I was told – our work histories were nearly identical as well as accomplishments. I looked her up on LinkedIn and for one – our work histories while similar are not similar enough.

        The way the recruiter made it sound was that very little of my resume and her resume are different.

        1. sacados*

          In that case the stealing work history part (like if Diana is saying she held a particular job/at a company that she actually didn’t) then that’s a MUCH bigger deal.
          If the places Diana is applying to are doing their due diligence with employment checks then Diana may get caught out in this (you can only hope).

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Ahhhh! OK, that changes a lot and makes it a much bigger deal. I’d thought that it was more that you’d had similar histories and so she was borrowing your accomplishments, but not your actual jobs.

          Still, though, if her LinkedIn history is different from yours, is she really sending around a resume with a totally different list of jobs than she lists on LinkedIn? She’d be asking for trouble by doing that. So I want to push a little on how sure you are about that piece of it. If the person you talked to wasn’t crystal clear on that, I’d figure her LinkedIn matches the work history she’s sending out and they were talking about the rest of it.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            But if she definitely IS stealing your job history too, you need to confront her about that. Depending on how that goes (or even before), it wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk to a lawyer. But I’d want to be sure that’s really what’s happening, since the LinkedIn piece has me questioning it.

            1. KuklaRed*

              I had a nasty incident happen to me a couple of years ago along these lines. Someone stole my entire LinkedIn profile – every word – changed the picture and name and posted it as his. I was livid! I contacted LinkedIn and eventually they deleted it, but it took a while. It was very bizarre and upsetting.

            2. Darsynia*

              Wouldn’t it also be prudent for OP to make sure they have screenshots of the resume stealer’s LinkedIn so they can show the differences? I am not in a position to use LinkedIn so I am ignorant as to whether it’s possible for the RS to go through and alter her own work history to better match the resume she’s using.

              It’s a really bad look for this other woman to have a mismatching resume and LinkedIn, I have to assume. That’s a really routine check to make, I’d imagine.

          2. Gazebo Slayer*

            I seem to remember you answering a similar letter recently from someone with a common name who had another “Jennifer Smith” apply for jobs pretending to be her. This is like that, only without the shared name and WITH the icky added detail of a manager stealing her subordinate’s history.

        3. TootsNYC*

          would that recruiter be willing to send you that resumé? It’s not really confidential material, and you deserve to be able to see how they are the same, and how bad the damage is.

      3. The OP*

        I should also clarify something about my work history. Prior to this organization where Diana and I both worked – I worked in small organizations. As a result I have been exposed to some things within my discipline that even some Senior practitioners haven’t experienced. Diana and I worked in a very large, siloed org. And when I looked her up on LinkedIn she didn’t work for any small organizations so the likelihood of her having some of the accomplishments that I did just are nearly impossible. The reason I suspect that is because the orgs she previously worked are very siloed and complex. So I suspect she hasn’t had the exposure I have had in my career.

        Not that my resume is so impressive and unique but I do have a lot of experience my peers don’t have as a result of starting my career in small orgs before branching into the multinational orgs.

      4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I think you are wrong, yes – identical description of work tasks and achievements wouldn’t stand out, but identical work history would certainly. And LW says “if needed I could have my employment history 100% verified” which suggests that it means Diana has copied that section wholesale, presumably right up to the point where she started in the job where she managed LW.

      5. cmcinnyc*

        Yes, my read is that instead of it saying Jane Doe on the top of the resume, it now says Alice Smith. Which I think is a very big deal! I’ve been very surprised at HR’s “these things happen” and the AAM response.

  8. Essess*

    I would call your previous employer and see if there is a legal department you can talk to. Diana stole company records since this was confidential personnel info supplied to her as part of company documents and is using them externally as her own personal documents.

    1. mf*

      Agree–not only is this copyright infringement, Diana stole a document that did not belong to her. The employer may have some liability here. LW should consult a lawyer.

    2. The OP*

      I did just that – I felt like I had a moral obligation to let them know that their business property was essentially being stolen. I have a feeling they are looking into it from some questions I was emailed yesterday.

      1. Ping*

        Talking to your manager is not the same as talking to legal. Managers don’t know the law and the liability.
        Did you talk to legal?

        1. Essess*

          Exactly! Not a manager, because they aren’t the ones that are responsible for keeping the company out of legal trouble. Talk to the actual legal department!

    3. Retro*

      I agree wholeheartedly. It’s best to leverage this as having liability and repercussions for the previous employer. I’m not sure what kind of action the previous employer has, but they probably have a stronger legal case and more legal resources to explore this to the greatest extent. It’s a very serious offense to mishandle personnel information. Similar to how landlords agree to only use a tenant’s SSN for background check purposes, an employer and manager cannot use personnel info for purposes other than hiring, background check, HR related stuff. If I were the previous employer, I’d be taking this very seriously. Diana not only had access to OP’s resume but possibly SSN, date of birth, address. As the previous employer I’d want to make sure to address any information misuse swiftly to minimize company liability.

      1. Katrinka*

        And what else has she “borrowed” from other employees? This is a huge deal for an employer, enough so that it would be a fireable offense.

  9. TomC*

    This was one of the first times I’ve disagreed with Alison on one of her posts, so I’d LOVE to discuss more. My reaction is that the reader shouldn’t change anything at all about her resume whatsoever. (Other than PDF it in the future…)
    If the reader changes her resume, then Diana never gets called out by recruiters, and might in fact receive offers OVER the reader – as Diana presumably put in her higher title for her last position.
    If the reader keeps the resume identical, then recruiters will likely notice, ask about it, figure out that Diana lied, reject Diana, and maybe even feel a little more impressed with the reader for having a resume good enough to be copied.

    And I know: recruiters checking references will spot the lies, reader will interview better as her resume matches her skills, etc. But there’s always the chance Diana gets away with it, and to me it’s worth the conversation! Reader comes out of this conversation looking better every single time!

    1. Ali G*

      I kind of agree with you. I might change the format, but if I was getting interviews with my content, I’d be very loathe to change it.
      Also, I would take a harder line with Diana. I would call her out directly and let her know if she doesn’t quit it, I would be evaluating my legal options.

    2. Meg Swan*

      ” If the reader keeps the resume identical, then recruiters will likely notice, ask about it, figure out that Diana lied, reject Diana, and maybe even feel a little more impressed with the reader for having a resume good enough to be copied.” Great, in theory, but how will the recruiters know that Diana is the one lying? It seems to be quite a gamble that when presented with two that look identical, they’re going to start sleuthing and not just reject the whole situation as odd.

      1. TomC*

        That’s true! As a non-recruiter, I have no idea how I’d respond to receiving the two identical resumes. Very good point, they might trash them both.

      2. Hills to Die on*

        I for one absolutely would, especially if the resume is a great fit for the open position. I sure would find out who the real deal is and proceed accordingly, including letting Diana know I knew what was up, and letting the OP know that her resume had been copied (I mean, obviously she knows but I would not know that beforehand).

      3. Katrinka*

        And they could very well ask Diana first, since the assumption would be that someone junior to her is stealing her accomplishments.

    3. juliebulie*

      Well, there’s nothing to stop Diana from changing hers now, and possibly getting picked over OP, though at least she’d be doing it with her own resume.

      But if both resumes are identical, I would guess that most recruiters would throw both of them out without checking references, unless this was one of those rare times when there weren’t enough other resumes to choose from. Reference checks usually aren’t done until after the interviews.

      1. The OP*

        This is precisely what I’m worried about. I’m concerned that someone will see both and question it and just disregard both. We’re in the same industry in an area where this is the dominant industry. So no doubt she has applied for literally every role I have.

        1. Probably Taking This Too Seriously*

          I would add more examples vs. edit or remove. Like if you both said you led a rebranding project, explain that you managed the logos and the tag line. She won’t be able to match your specificity. And maybe remove the older items just because 5 years is a long time.

    4. Ducksgoquack*

      As a recruiter I would toss both resumes because it seems so weird and I would have no way of knowing whose resume was authentic. When you have dozens or even hundreds of resumes to go through, no recruiter is going to waste time being a detective trying to figure out why two applicants sent identical resumes.

      OP absolutely should change it.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Yeah, if they’re literally identical, I think it’s going to look like a social experiment, like the ones they do to show bias about names.

    5. Observer*

      Sure, the OP should not need to change anything. But if you really think that recruiters / hiring companies will operate the way you describe, you’re being a bit naive, unfortunately. More likely they will assume that the OP copied (if they get their resume second), which is not logical but the way people often behave OR they will realize that they have no easy way to verify who is the thief and will decide “a pox on both their houses”. Neither outcome is good for the OP.

    6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I also disagreed with the advice given (often when there’s a new post I think “what would my answer be?” before reading Alison’s answer!) as I was quite surprised that the OP was suggested to rewrite and reformat her own resume!

      If the reader keeps the resume identical, then recruiters will likely notice, ask about it, figure out that Diana lied, reject Diana, and maybe even feel a little more impressed with the reader for having a resume good enough to be copied.
      I think it’s more likely in this situation that recruiters will likely notice, figure that there’s something funny going on between OP and Diana which they don’t want to get involved in, reject both of them and move on.

      So it does need to be directly addressed somehow.

      1. Environmental Compliance*


        Personally, I’d get the same resume (basically) twice and then go look them up on LinkedIn to see how far the similarities go and not throw it all out right away, but I’m a curious person and would guess there’s a decent number of people that would just chuck it all out.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          Yeah, I’m a very curious person myself who would likely want to know the “ins-and-outs” of this, and do my own research… but I am very aware that there are many people out there for whom critical thinking, going into the weeds of a situation to find out the truth or whatever… are either “too much intellectual effort” or “not likely enough to be lucrative” — depending on their motivation.

          1. Washi*

            I mean, it doesn’t even have to be a lack of critical thinking skills. If I have 10 qualified applicants, why bother doing a bunch of research on 2 weirdly identical ones if the other 8 look promising? The identical resumes would have to be significantly better than the rest for me to invest a bunch of energy investigating something that for all I know might not have a clear or helpful answer.

            1. Environmental Compliance*

              I dunno that I’d consider a quick check on LinkedIn to be a “bunch” of research/energy, but I understand what you’re getting at. I don’t think I’d go farther than a LinkedIn profile scan.

              I am well known to be the Information Terrier, though, because if you give me a work topic, I will find the answer because now it’s going to bother me immensely until I get it.

    7. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Nah, fam. It’s rarely going to end in a recruiter asking about it, it’s going to look suspect and both candidates will most likely be suspected as something funky going on.

      As a hiring manager, I’m not invested that much. I’d be all “Wait…what? Are they double dipping with two names or what is even happening here?” and just throw them both out. I’m not Nancy Drew and it’s way too much of a rabbit hole.

      1. Lovely Day in the Pandemic*

        That’s really penalizing the victim here. I can’t imagine anyone would knowingly give permission for someone to duplicate their resume.

        1. londonedit*

          Yes, but the trouble is the recruiter or whoever receives the CVs would have no idea which person was ‘the victim’, and probably not enough time or interest to bother contacting two people to try to figure out what on earth was going on. They’d be more likely to regard both CVs with scepticism (either someone’s applied twice under different names, which is weird, or one of the CVs is plagiarised but who knows which) and decide they don’t fancy employing either person.

  10. MsChanandlerBong*

    IMO, resume theft is more common than you would think. I hire freelancers, but people who don’t meet the requirements frequently steal resumes from LinkedIn and apply under the names on those resumes. On at least three occasions, we’ve gotten panicked emails/phone calls from people who received 1099s from us and have never heard of us (which means some of the people stealing resumes have also stolen their SSNs). Putting it in PDF might thwart the laziest of thieves, but anyone with a PDF editor will be able to grab the text anyway.

    1. cncx*

      this is where i was going- stealing a resume blurs the lines with identity theft and had someone stolen my resume who had access to my hr data, i would also be worried about my SSN.

  11. pcake*

    OP, you could – if you have a way to reach Diana – send a cease and desist letter from a lawyer to get her to stop using your resume. The catch is that you don’t know how many she’s already sent out. If it were me – but I’d never steal a resume – I’d have dozens out, all in the same industry, so the lawyer letter wouldn’t help with your current issue.

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with this :(

    1. AnonyLawyer*

      Perhaps the cease and desist letter should include a demand that Diana withdraw from candidacy everywhere she used the plagiarized resume, or to at least submit to all of them a wholly revised resume in its stead.

  12. Goldenrod*

    I think Alison’s advice is spot on. It really sucks, but it’s your best option.

    And, OP, if it makes you feel any better – I had a VERY similar thing happen to me. I gave a copy of my resume to a friend for ideas (we had had the same job at different times)….but I thought she would TAILOR it to her own experience and borrow an idea or two – not lift the whole thing, word for word! She even copied parts that were unique to me.

    It sucked, but I decided the only way to solve it was to re-write mine, which I did. The outcome? I ended up with a resume that I actually liked better and that I felt was an improvement. So, maybe if you re-write it, you’ll actually end up with an even better resume. Good luck!

    1. The OP*

      I agree with you. It really does suck but sometimes that’s what you have to do. I mean I need a job so it’s just the reality of it. In the end, I’m not the shitty one who stole someone’s entire resume practically word for word. So my karma is clean.

      Plus someone above made a good point – getting 5 years out of a resume format I paid for isn’t bad. So I’m going to check out some of the links Alison provided and work on that tomorrow.

  13. Ducksgoquack*

    I had the same experience years ago. As a graduate on the job market my friends and I viewed each other’s resumes for feedback/improvement. One of them decided to replace my name with hers (without permission) and proceeded to use this to apply for jobs. It was bizarre as she did not have any of the part time or voluntary work experience as I did. She didn’t even bother to change hobbies, which were markedly different to hers.

    She stupidly applied for a job at a small company where I was recently made an offer. I completely freaked out thinking they might think I stole the resume and withdraw the one job offer I received after months of stressful searching. Fortunately the employer had no doubts about me. But it was embarrassing to contact my future boss to apologize for any confusion and offer to send references to verify everything on my resume. I completely understand why the OP would feel violated.

    Oddly enough this friend had the audacity to deny she copied my resume. She claimed she thought I wrote this resume for her! Spoiler alert: we stopped being friends afterwards.

    1. The OP*

      It’s my understanding that this is what happened. The recruiter said that it looked like all she changed was my contact information, my college and some certifications she didn’t have. And a few other things. But that for the most part she changed very little else.

      Again – I looked on her LinkedIn profile. She had a lot of the same positions I did but the kinds of organizations she was at wouldn’t have given her exposure to the things I was doing

  14. Lies, damn lies and...*

    Also, go update your LinkedIn – many bring software apps leave a spot for LinkedIn, so having strong info in your profile there (that may contradict what Diana has) could help.

    1. The OP*

      I didn’t think of that. Luckily on LinkedIn I don’t put a lot of details about my duties because I hold a security clearance.

      But still. I should probably revisit what I do have. Thanks! I wasn’t even thinking of this.

      1. Mockingjay*

        Does Diana hold a security clearance too? Because that’s an even bigger ball of wax. Keeping your credentials clean is absolutely vital to maintain a clearance. And if Diana is falsifying her own info by substituting yours, that falsehood is REQUIRED to be reported. You also need to report it to cover yourself.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          How does anyone get to the point where their job requires a security clearance and still think straight-up stealing a resume is going to work out for them? I am baffled.

      2. Prof. Cat*

        Also take a screenshot of Diana’s linked in page that shows the discrepancies. This will be useful in case you do have to defend that the accomplishments are yours, not hers.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A thought…if she copy of your job history, did she also do the same on LinkedIn? Because I think LinkedIn will delete the account of people who copy someone else’s job history…and it sounds like yours will have been there for five years, and Diana’s only this year.

  15. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    I don’t know if this has been addressed in the comments, but did your boss copy your resume verbatim, as in, used YOUR work history or just the format with her own work history?

    1. Bella*

      it sounds like it is actually their work history or close to it from another comment. but also OP likely wasn’t given a copy to peruse, they were just given a head’s up

      1. The OP*

        Yeah. I wasn’t going to ask for what Diana submitted because I knew that it was unprofessional and a violation for sure. I mean I wouldn’t have if I were her. But between the lines I took what I was told to mean it was practically verbatim.

        And I have been told by the recruiter a few moments ago that Diana’s manager reached out to them about it.

        Not my problem. Don’t do nefarious things with company property and you won’t have to worry about it.

        1. Bubbles*

          Oh my god, I LOVE that Diana’s manager has reached out to the recruiter about this. It shows they are taking it seriously!

        2. This is She*

          PLEEEEAASSSE update us on this! It sounds like there is some activity happening behind the scenes and I love a good comeuppance story. :)

        3. Swiper*

          I saw you mention you had a clearance… if she had one as well, I can’t imagine stealing the data the company gave her to use in the course of her duties is going to be well received.

          1. Katrinka*

            No, it could get her clearance yanked and make her ineligible to get another one. Which could make her out of the running for any of these jobs, if they all require holding or having the ability to get a certain level of clearance. That is one thing that suing her could accomplish – that lawsuit will show up when it’s time to re-up the clearance or if a company does a background check.

  16. Drew*

    If you want to look on the bright side for a moment, OP, you had a resume that was so good that your boss thought it was worth emulating. That’s impressive!

    Of course, the WAY she did it is despicable and you’re right to be betrayed and angry.

    1. The OP*

      This is exactly what my friend said to me when I called her both angry and in panicked hysterics.

      So yes – Im flattered but I’d be more flattered if I had another job lined up.

      And maybe it’s just me and I’ve become overly empathetic. Had she just ASKED? I probably would have said yes to not using the same damn resume word for word – but helping her write to her accomplishments. And of course to use the format.

      All she had to do was ASK. Maybe this is really what’s bothering me.

      1. Drew*

        Don’t get me wrong – I’d be pissed, too, and if I had an easy way to dangle her from a high bridge somewhere for a long lesson on “don’t plagiarize your employees,” I’d do it in an instant.

        But I don’t think that would get you closer to a new job unless you did it on a REALLY deserted bridge.

    2. valentine*

      your boss thought it was worth emulating.
      It sounds like she stole it outright/plagiarized, like the letter where someone with the same name as OP (Jennifer Surname) was using OP’s résumé and OP’s boss got a reference call.

      The OP seemed fixated on the formatting (and I don’t know how unique it can be). If this was the case when speaking to Diana’s manager, it makes sense that she didn’t think it was a big deal and it might be worth following up with the detail that the real issue is she is passing off every word, and OP’s work history(!), as her own.

      But only if the résumé writer only provided the format. I don’t see why they would need to “rewrite it” using OP’s content, versus looking at the old one and creating a new format.

    3. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Please send an update after this is all over. I hope Diana gets royally schooled and called out and has to take a really crappy job because no one will hire her!

  17. juliebulie*

    “Hello, Diana? Hi, this is OP from that gig we worked together. Listen, I’m calling to let you know that I’m making some changes to our resume. I figured you’d want to sync up with me…”

    I really don’t know what you can do to make your resume better than “hers,” but don’t get so attached to your existing format that you’re afraid to tweak it a little. Even though you paid for this format, chances are that it’s only a minor part of your resume’s appeal. Changing the look will also make the resemblance between your resume and Diana’s less noticeable.

    I know that sucks. You shouldn’t have to change anything, and it especially shouldn’t be on you to distinguish your resume from a wholesale copy.

    One other thought. I’m not sure if this is worthwhile or even a good idea, but you could put reference contact info for some of those jobs right on your resume. Normally this isn’t done, but in this case, someone who is holding the two resumes side-by-side will see that you’re able to prove your work history.

  18. Doctor is In*

    A few years ago I was on a hiring committee for a local nonprofit Two candidates had IDENTICAL cover letters. The director of our search was able to learn that the originator’s letter was shown to a group of people as a good example and was copied. Needless to say the “copier” was eliminated from consideration. Not too smart in a smallish network.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah, that’s bad, but it’s not stealing entire work history though.
      I’d have to wonder what Diana Trout proposed to do if potential hiring managers wanted references. Or, if sh really didn’t have the skills the OP had.

  19. MCMonkeyBean*

    Wow, this is terrible but it sounds like you’re very lucky that this company reached out to you about it and that they weren’t coy on the details like the previous LW who found out someone was applying to jobs with their work history! Good luck, and hopefully this potential job pans out and then you don’t have to worry about her tanking your applications anymore!

    And from your comments it sounds like if she’s using your specific job history that it obviously doesn’t line up with what she shows on LinkedIn which would make it pretty obvious to anyone who received both resumes which one was legit.

  20. Ping*

    I’ve had this happen! I was furious as I had spent significant time getting just the right words.

    That said, you’ve had the same resume for five years. It would be time for an update under any circumstances. You want to emphasize your current experience as well as the skills learned in the last five years.

    BTW, my new resume ended up better than the old one. But it took a few weekend of work.

    1. Calanthea*

      Is this really a common thing? I’m genuinely amazed. What happened in your situation? And did you do anything other than updating yours to alert people to the stealer’s dishonesty?

  21. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Dearest OP, first time I noticed the character theme used in a letter. *chef kisses* We are kindred spirits.

    I can understand that Diana’s boss had nothing she could do, given that Diana didn’t work there anymore. But I’d sure the shit would have been all “well we need to be more careful with resumes now…” and I’d also be using this as a story to tell everyone. Names removed. “one time we had a manager steal someone’s resume. This is a thing that happened. So we changed the method we share resume details with management to protect people’s personal documents moving forward.” That she has control over.

    When I hear the crap that some people pull, I can’t always go back in time or punish them but I sure can make it so someone else nefarious doesn’t get the same stupid idea.

    Boss fail aside. In your best interest, you have to redo your resume :( I’m sorry that this woman is a snake and stole your details. I’m relieved they spoke to you about it and didn’t just toss both resumes.

    This is the sister book to the OP who had her resume stolen by someone with the same name.

  22. TiredMama*

    This is one of those times that I just would not be able to let it go and I am not sure that it is as easy as it sounds to rewrite your entire resume. If her previous boss copied her resume word for word, then a few tweaks here and there are not gonna do it. There is a special place in hell for this manager.

  23. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

    Unpopular opinion ahead: assuming it’s as it appears (Diana copied OPs resume verbatim, and claimed to have experience that OP has but Diana doesn’t as a result) this needs to get back to Diana’s boss, and Diana needs to be fired or at least have a severe Talking To as a result.

    Why? Two reasons – 1. on a naive interpretation level: Diana has attempted fraud. Acting in a deceitful way to obtain a gain, or “obtain pecuniary advantage by deception” (lies on a resume).. difficult to prove. 2. if Diana is willing to act dishonestly in trying to secure another job, what other dishonest things might she be willing to do in the organisation?

    That recruiter has done OP a favour in tipping her off about the Diana-resume-copying situation, and seems to see how it is. Don’t assume all recruiters will similarly see how it is — I suspect most will just see two resumes that are “the same” (if OP and Diana both submit them, obviously) and reject both of them as “trouble I don’t want to get involved in).

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Ah, I just re-read it and it appears that Diana no longer reports to her and OPs boss/grand-boss respectively, so there’s probably nothing to be done there, and I suspect OP doesn’t have any “in” with Diana’s current boss, if any.

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        I wouldn’t blame OP for alerting Diana’s current boss nonetheless. Diana made this whole thing OP’s business by stealing her resume.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This isn’t an unpopular opinion, most of us take fraud as a fireable offense ;)

      1. Jojo*

        Actually, if you have a security clearance fraud is definitely a fireable offense. The government agencies are funny about that. It needs to be reported to the companies HR and legal.

    3. Paulina*

      I don’t think it’s unpopular at all! Unfortunately the OP already talked to Diana’s boss, who at the time appeared to not be taking it seriously. Later updates suggest more may be happening. It’s fraud, and it’s also abuse of confidential information that Diana was given by the company for restricted purposes. But the OP can’t make any of these very appropriate repercussions happen, and there’s still the issue of the resumes being out there.

  24. drpuma*

    Two suggestions –

    1, Let your references know. They may be getting calls for Diana and not for you. Perhaps there are questions they can ask or you can share your “real” jobs so they know who to talk to.

    2, Assuming you were placed in this role with an outside recruiting firm, let -them- know that one of the company’s employees mishandled and is copying your resume. Diana’s actions may violate an agreement between your old company and the recruiter.

  25. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    I think contact should be made with Diana. Tell her a recruiter who knows you caught what she did, contacted you and the jig is up. Tell her the recruiter and your mutual former employer have been in contact. Tell her to cease and desist.

    Does the manager’s job title give her an edge? Maybe. She is taking your skills with her title – this element makes it even scummier.

  26. WSVC*

    Maybe I’m giving too much benefit of doubt, but could it be that Diana is only somewhat shady, but *extremely* incompetent, and while trying to rip off the format/vibe of your resume, accidentally ended up sending out a version she hadn’t finished altering for her own use?

    Even if that sounds insane– it’s the premise I would commit to when I reach out to Diana and let her know an embarrassing mistake must have happened, because I know she would NEVER do something as foolish and self-destructive as ripping off a resume… and see how she responds. Even if she did it on purpose, I think there’s a chance that once someone points out how profoundly idiotic she looks, and offers a way for her to change her behavior without losing TOO much face, she’ll take it. Not as satisfying as a j’accuse moment, but IMO the most likely to succeed at getting her to reveal whether she’s willing to knock it off. (Or if she’s going to dig in her heels and be a pain.)

    1. juliebulie*

      I really doubt that this charitable interpretation is accurate, but I do agree that it is the best way to approach Diana. As you say, it’s not the most satisfying thing to contemplate, but punching is illegal, so there’s that. This approach is much more likely to a) let Diana know that The OP knows and b) not startle her into doing something really regrettable. (I’ve been reading AAM long enough to know that I don’t always have the imagination to anticipate what a desperate person might do.)

    2. Calanthea*

      This is definitely the approach I would take… or at least, the approach I’d want to take, if this happened to me I think I’d be too furious to think this through without wanting some kind of revenge/justice!

      But being able to call someone up and tell them that they’re so incompetent at editing documents/filing them that this mix up happened is it’s own kind of justice, I guess.

  27. Midwest writer*

    I have been plagiarized before, although not to this scale. It’s such a crappy feeling — far more violating than I would have imagined until it happened. Hugs, OP.

  28. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    It’s often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Actually, imitation isn’t. Plagiarism is. Be wise to that.

    1. Bilateralrope*

      Yes that’s often said. I usually hear it after someone complains about an insulting imitation. One that is obviously not flattery. Apparently we aren’t supposed to get upset by such insults.

      Plagiarism is second place.

      Flattering imitation gets less complaints. So less people using that line.

      So that line feels a bit false to me.

  29. Retired Paralegal*

    I just checked this out on-line and found that using someone’s resume is out and out copyright infringement. This is true even if you don’t copy the whole resume but use bits and pieces of language and or wording. It could lead to identity confusion and is legally actionable. Since Diana was dumb enough to do this in the first place it seems that a gently worded warning will not have much of an effect. I suggest consulting an attorney and seeing what recourse you have. Right now there is nothing to prevent Diana from saying you copied her resume.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      One thing though is that the LW paid for her resume and format so she should have proof it’s hers.

  30. Tex*

    Somebody once copied my witty little dating profile word for word. I was … peeved, to say the least. And then they had the audacity to try and connect with me.

    I can’t begin to imagine how I would feel if it was my livelihood at stake.

  31. Bob*

    Improve your resume if you can (it may be superbly excellent, or it may be a bit out of date).
    Apply for jobs before she does so yours gets in the door first.
    And if you hear about this from someone else have a canned response ready.
    Something like, she was my boss, she took my resume from when i worked for her and changed the name to hers. I have gotten this call several times before already. I apologize for the inconvenience and what your reading on her resume is my work history, her education and work history are different from mine and i don’t know why she is doing this.
    Don’t try to backstab her on these calls, just sound unsurprised as if this is a repeat episode.

  32. Jessica Fletcher*

    If you do decide to address it with Diana and think she might get defensive, you could pretend to think it was an accident, like “hey, I think you must have accidentally attached my resume to your application by mistake!”

  33. LGC*

    …okay, can someone explain to me how the former boss thought she’d get away with this? The way it sounds to me, “word for word IDENTICAL” means that not only are the accomplishments identical…so is the job history and the education. And I doubt that former boss went to the same college (if she went) and had a nearly identical job history to LW beforehand.

    Like, what happens to her references? Are they just going to pretend that sure, Diana Trout totally worked where LW1 did at the same times LW1 did? And if so, what the heck kind of dirt does Diana have on the publishing industry?

  34. Radio Girl*

    Excellent advice.

    I know someone who is doing things similar to what Diana is doing and I just had it out with her today. So this hit close to home.

    1. Calanthea*

      Really?!?!?! People actually do this? That’s so shocking to me. How did you find out?

  35. raincoaster*

    If you want to go nuclear, you can report her for identity theft, which is literally what happened here. The name is different but the identity is identical.

  36. Ginger ale for all*

    I have a follow up question. What if a company wants to speak to your last manager? And it’s Diana. How should the O.P. handle that hurdle? If Diana has stolen the resume from the O.P., then wouldn’t a fear of Diana spoiling the O.P.’s chances by giving a bad reference be something to think about? You both are likely to be applying for the same kind of jobs and Diana might want to take out the competition.

  37. Calanthea*

    Woah, that is… really awful. I can’t believe someone would do that! Surely she’s senior enough to already have a decent CV?
    OP, a point in your favour – it’s likely the recruiter you spoke to will believe you from the sounds of it. So it’s possible that they’re warning their network about Diana!

    I would seriously consider telling Diana, but in a sort of “Oh hey, I’ve just had this call. Do you think you might have accidentally submitted my CV by accident? Haha, I can see how easy it would be to just see the most recent role and think it was yours, flipping HR CV formatting probably makes them all look the same right? Anyway, it’s a bit of an issue because it makes us both look bad. any chance you could double check before you apply for the next role?”

    Like, give her a heads up, but also an easy out (not that she deserves it! But she then might feel guilty rather than angry and more likely to do the thing you ask).

  38. Grey*

    I’d be really tempted to contact Diana, posing as a hiring manager, and report to her that someone stole her resume. I’d love to see the response. It would also serve to let her know that people are noticing.

  39. Camila*

    Is there any way to sort comments by which topic they relate to? Is it possible to post the different topics with their own comment section? I love reading the comments but have trouble filtering through them when multiple posts are grouped together.

  40. Texan In Exile*

    I helped a former manager with her resume. She was hired well after I started and never actually managed me – our managing director never let that happen.

    I gave her a copy of my (AAM inspired) resume as an example. She copied one of my major accomplishments as hers. Even though she had nothing to do with it – as in, we had never even talked about what I was doing and how I was doing it. Maybe her reasoning was that because she was nominally my boss, my accomplishments were her accomplishments?

    I was so surprised and so livid I didn’t even know what to say. But she was dead to me after that.

  41. GrrrArrrggg*

    The op should start sending her resume as a pdf instead of an editable word doc. This will make it more difficult (not impossible) for someone to steal her resume.

  42. slih*

    This is INSANE.
    I am not sure that this needs to be softened in any way. I’d suggest reader go to Diana and say: “I was informed that you had submitted a duplicate of my resume to a company I applied with. I was VERY surprised to learn my resume has been plagiarized. Can you explain what happened?” And maybe not even in person. HR could say it or reader could send a letter (maybe there’s a free legal consult service you could use to get some lawyery language in there).
    I also would inform the companies. “Just as a heads up, I was recently the victim of identity theft, so if you see a copy of my resume under the name Diana Trout, please disregard. I am so sorry for the inconvenience. Please let me know if you have any questions – I am happy to provide proof of the identity theft.”
    Get proof of the identity theft. Talk to someone in HR, make them document it, and get a copy of the documentation. I would also make sure that HR has taken action to protect employee data so an unscrupulous manager can’t do this to people in the future. Keep bugging HR until they do something and use the term “not acceptable.”
    Honestly, I think this would shock me to the point that I would file a police report. Isn’t this literally identity theft?
    Wow, people never cease to amaze..

    1. slih*

      As another commenter pointed out, this is a double betrayal by Diana because in addition to stealing your resume and materials, she’s also making it impossible for you to safely use her as a reference. That’s removing a huge piece of nonfinancial compensation you get from a company – a strong reference. I would also bring this up with HR and ask for their advice on who you should list instead. Don’t necessarily take their advice, but they should not be off the hook here. This was not okay and they need to help you FIX IT. To me, (HR), this is similar to a big payroll error where you not only need to fix it ASAP, THAT SAME DAY, you also need to take serious action to figure out why it happened and prevent it from happening again. AND, you need to apologize to the employee on behalf of the company. AND, in this identity theft case, HR should list Diana as “terminated, do not rehire” and inform whoever will be doing Diana’s reference that she was caught plagiarizing and isn’t eligible for rehire.

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