Recruiter wants to change my resume
By Alison Green
A reader writes:
I recently responded to a job listing on a recruiter’s website. I was called in for an interview, which consisted of me sitting in the waiting room for an hour and a half to talk to someone for three minutes, in which I pretty much just read her my resume.
I got a call from another recruiter about an hour later, which I missed, and she left a voicemail explaining that she was taking off a job from my resume before she submits it. She didn’t ask — just told me she was going to do it. It was a legitimate sales position, in which the majority of my work would consist of meeting monthly sales goals. I’m looking for a position in marketing, so it seems important to have some sort of sales background. It’s a job I held last year, so it’s not too old. It was at a tanning salon, which is why I’m assuming she took it off. However if she had read my resume, she should know that I wasn’t spray painting people orange, I actually had a lot of responsibility.
She left another, older retail position on there, in which I had much less responsibility. So now I have a year and a half long gap in my resume that I can’t account for. Is this normal recruiter practice? I have to admit, I’m a little insulted.
I’ve heard lots of stories of recruiters taking things off people’s resumes or otherwise changing their resumes — sometimes without even telling them, which causes lots of problems when you’re in an interview and realize the hiring manager you’re talking to has a version of your resume that you’ve never seen.
Some recruiters might legitimately be improving your resume; others might not. The key, I think, is to understand why they’re making the changes and to ensure that you sign off on the final version before it’s submitted.
So in your case, I’d ask her to explain why she was taking that job off, and explain why you think it should be left on. Once you talk about it, if she still wants to take it off, you can decide if you’re convinced by her explanation or not. Of course, if you refuse, she can certainly decide not to submit your candidacy for the job, but if you’re really a strong candidate with a reasonable resume, that probably won’t happen. (The recruiter’s side of this: The candidates she submits reflect on her, and it’s reasonable for her not to submit a resume that she doesn’t think makes the reason for the match clear.)
By the way, it’s important to make sure that you’re working with a good recruiting firm. I can’t tell from your email if the non-interview interview that you described in your first paragraph was with the same recruiting company that later called to say they were rewriting your resume, but if it was, that’s two red flags at the same company, so I’d proceed with caution. (Actually, the non-interview interview on its own should probably be a deal-breaker.)
You might be thinking that even if these recruiters don’t do you any good, they at least can’t do you any harm, but that’s not necessarily true: Bad ones will rewrite your resume in inaccurate or ineffective ways, submit your resume for jobs without your permission (which can be a problem if you’re working with another recruiter on that same job, because now the employer has to deal with two recruiters fighting over that commission), push you to interview for jobs you’re not interested in, and even misrepresent key details of the job or company to you.
There are plenty of good recruiting firms out there too, but you should be cautious about who you work with.