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Specifically, I am referring to a resume I was hired to write for a client. When I include it in my portfolio (not publicly displayed) should I leave the contact info, remove the contact info entirely, black it out, or replace it with dummy text?

If I remove it I feel like the interviewers may think I left out this crucial information. If I leave it in I think it is poor taste to give out someone else's information, as well as reveal my client's name. If I John Doe it then it may look like it wasn't a real client (not sure this even matters). I could black it out but that may not look professional / presentable.

  • @JoeStrazzere yes I have permission – Ryan Sep 30 '13 at 13:48
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You should replace the personally identifiable information in the document with sample information. There should always be a note available (either at the end of the document or attached separately with a post-it) indicating that client information was removed as a courtesy.

Even if you have permission I would do this, simply because a potential interviewer may construe not removing the information as a potential liability that you might similarly use their client information to further your own pursuits. While the real information lends credence to the substance of your work, I don't think your work would be damaged by removing personal information.

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When I remove it I feel like the interviewers may think I left out this crucial information

If you remove the entire heading, yes.

If I leave it in I think it is poor taste to give out someone else's information, as well as reveal my client's name

Agreed. Plus you are telling your hopefully future client, "I won't respect your privacy if I look for a new job."

If I John Doe it then it may look like it wasn't a real client (not sure this even matters)

I see nothing wrong with putting a very obviously fake name/contact information. Just make sure it's obviously fake - something like

  • John Doe, 1234 Example Street, Exampletown USA
  • Acme Co / Sample Company / etc

Also ensure you have their permission to use it, because even without contact information some work experience/companies might be be identifiable.

A resume is a work of art, to some extent, and overall impressions matter. Especially as part of portfolio. Because of this I would not simply cut it out or even black it out, because these will fairly significantly alter the overall appearance.

  • So you feel I should not only John Doe the person's information but also the company names? – Ryan Sep 30 '13 at 13:59
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First, make sure you have explicit permission from the client to use his/her resume in your portfolio in its entirety (include all personal and contact information contained within it).

If you have this permission, then it makes sense to include it unedited, with no data redacted, as that more accurately reflects your work, and looks the most professional.

If, on the other hand, you don't have this explicit permission, you should go back to the client seeking that permission, or exclude the resume from your portfolio entirely.

Your client can decide how much (if any) of this information he/she wants used for this purpose.

When I interview candidates, and they want to show me work samples, I first ask if they have explicit permission. If not - I don't want to see it. I'd never want someone to be displaying my personal information or my company's proprietary/internal information without permission.

  • Since you appear to have been in a position to see this. Would you give the same answer if the resume I helped rewrite was a family-member with the same last name as me? I've done others too but this one was by far the most complex and senior level. – Ryan Sep 30 '13 at 14:17

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