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A number of my recruiter contacts recently drew my attention to the fact that a CV was doing the rounds that was effectively my CV with a different name and part of someone else's CV tacked onto the bottom. We don't know who is actually behind it but whoever it is has been applying for roles using this CV. As for why, we have a hypothesis that it's a recruiter trying to get the inside track on active roles but this is only a hypothesis.

As a seasoned contractor, I am concerned about the effect this could have on my reputation if recruiters/clients get my CV landing on their desk as well. Are there any steps I can take to help mitigate against negative effects upon my business?

  • Can you tell me what a CV is? – ckpepper02 May 30 '13 at 20:08
  • Curriculum Vitae - resume in other words – levelnis May 30 '13 at 20:13
  • Can you elaborate what effects you are worried about and how it would hurt you. – Claus May 30 '13 at 20:29
  • It could harm my chances of being put forward for interview if the fake resume has already been put forward for the same assignment. A long shot I know, but it isn't going to help me having this fake CV floating around. Will it hurt me? That's the question really... – levelnis May 30 '13 at 21:53
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    I never put references on my CV anyway so there's no issue there. As for the email address, I'm not sure that this is the right place to be posting that kind of info. If you have some advice for how I could go about killing the email address that would be useful. Although the user could simply create another one as soon as that one was shut down so I'm not sure of the value of that approach – levelnis May 30 '13 at 22:39
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This sort of behavior is a known problem, see Privacy Rights Clearinghouse 'Resume Database Nightmare: Job Seeker Privacy at Risk'

One solution for the future may be to put a copyright notice on your CV, as recommended by 'Let the resume wars begin' - Ask the Headhunter (Nick Corcodilos). Then you can use a simple DMCA takedown notice. (To my knowledge, job-boards will not accept CVs with copyright notices. But this is a plus, not a minus, since there are compelling reasons to avoid job boards, as per the article. One is to prevent stale copies of your resume being downlaoded, retained and passed off (sometimes years later) without your knowledge or consent - relevant to your issue here.)

But obviously your immediate priority is to track down which source/job-board/recruiter this happened with.

When you figure it out, let us know as a community service.

We don't know who is actually behind it but whoever it is has been applying for roles using this CV. As for why, we have a hypothesis that it's a recruiter trying to get the inside track on active roles but this is only a hypothesis.

Yeah that sounds plausible. It wouldn't make any sense that they were trying to harm you personally, just using you as fodder to get their foot in the door at new clients, and your reputation might get harmed in the process. But it's clueless and unethical. You may be able to get them blacklisted. Presumably they hoax the email address to go to them, in which case you might be able to contact 'them' by email and then have proof they are doing this.

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There are two aspects to this: leverage what you have now, and minimize damage in the future.

Leveraging what you have now includes things like contacting the recruiters you work with, letting them know to be on the lookout for the problem, and that if they have any concerns to please verify details. This way the recruiters you work with can vouch for you. In theory recruiters should be doing some of this anyway, but all too often they don't. Being proactive helps ensure that the fake resumes get filtered out.

As for making your resume less susceptible to this sort of thing... The single best thing to do, IMO, is to revise your resume to include easily verifiable things you have done. If you have written papers, provide links to them. If someone wants to plagiarize your resume and they provide a link to a paper with your name on it, then they are just giving you more exposure. If you haven't written any whitepapers, maybe you should (and put them up online, linked to from your resume, etc).

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This is going to create problems. The best thing to do early is recompose your CV. If you have more than ten years of experience, you should probably compose 'custom' CVs for the specifics of jobs you're applying for. I have a separate one for Access/SQL, C#/SQL, ASP.NET, etc.

Once it's clear recruiters will do this, create minor differences in each CV you publish or distribute, and keep a copy locally named with who you sent it to. That way if a particular pattern shows up, you'll know where they got it from. If it was published on a board then you know they pulled it from the board, even if you don't know who pulled it.

If you have some obscure project you worked on, like FoxPro or LabView, keep this in the CV even if it seems irrelevant. If the plagiarizer can't even explain what the product is, it will become clear to an employer they (either job candidate or recruiter) are cheating.

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If they have changed the name and contact details, I don't think you need to worry. It would be a very sharped eyed HR monkey (he says joking) to pick up on this.

I am too in the UK and there aren't any procedures or know best practice when it comes to this; thats not because no one has ever had their CV ripped off, its because it hasn't caused anyone damage I would think

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