I recently contacted a recruiting company to look for a new job. The recruiter asked me to send her my resume. I would like to know what the risks of doing so are. I read I should be very careful in sending resumes and heard a lot of bad stories, such as the recruiter sending the resume to companies without telling me and then companies not offering me jobs because they dont want to pay her fees and so on..

What do you think of this? Should I just send my resume? Should I maybe put a sentence at the very end, where I say that this resume is only to be looked at by Ms. Recruiter XYZ and who does not represent me and bla bla bla. If so what is the best sentence to add?

Thank you very much in advance

7 Answers 7


That's just a normal procedure. You contacted them - they will not go further without your resume. That's how they work.

You should try to reach out to reputable recruiting companies only. Beyond that there is not much you can do to prevent unauthorized resume submissions.

The recruiting company may not have even a direct contact with the prospective employer and will go through another party.

Tell recruiters what companies might already have your resume. They wouldn't want to try to sell you there.

While there's a risk of your resume landing at the same company from more than one source you should not get all twisted up about it. If you serious about you job search you need to get your resume in front of as many relevant eyes as feasible.

  • The way to cut the risk is to ask the recruiter to contact you before they send a CV to a company you might well want to tailor the CV depending on the exact role. A good recruiter will do this if they send it out without telling you first drop the recruiter
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 10:36
  • @Mark - A good recruiter will indeed do that. That's why I emphasized using reputable recruiting agencies.
    – PM 77-1
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 13:48

What do you think of this? Should I just send my resume? Should I maybe put a sentence at the very end, where I say that this resume is only to be looked at by Ms. Recruiter XYZ and who does not represent me and bla bla bla. If so what is the best sentence to add?

When I work with an agency, I try to choose a local agent that I can visit and discuss my requirements in person.

I spend a fair amount of time talking about my background, where I have worked, what kind of job I am looking for, and what kind of salary and benefits I am looking for. I also talk about the kind of commute I can tolerate, the kind of corporate culture I like, etc, etc. Basically I want them to know me, and know what I want and need.

I give them my resume with a few conditions:

  • They are not allowed to modify my resume without my permission (other than redacting my personal contact information, which is standard practice)
  • They are not allowed to send my resume to anyone without my permission. That way, I can tell them if I have already contacted that potential employer and thus can't let them represent me in that case.

If the agent doesn't follow my instructions, I drop them and never go back.

Over time, I've come to settle on just a few agencies and agents that know me well and have helped me both as the job candidate and the hiring manager.

The vast majority of agents and agencies are good, talented, hardworking folks. They can and will follow such instructions, and can do a good job digging up great jobs and providing great insight into what companies are looking for.

A few bad apples sometimes give the rest of the profession a bad reputation. That's sad.

  • 1
    Im giving this answer my vote. Its extremely valuable to have a local agent that you know and trust and I began working with mine just like in the answer. I owe a good deal of my success as an independent contractor to the ability to text "hey bro, lets get a few beers after work and discuss what I'm going to be doing once this current gig winds down"... He buys the beers too.. Only once I've had an agent fudge something on my resume and submit it and that worked out terribly for him. Joe is right, almost all of these people are just trying to join up with you and make an honest dollar
    – Smitty
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 14:31

I think you have been reading some fairly paranoid literature. Asking for your resume is pretty standard. If you don't want to work with recruiters, don't, but if you are going to they'll have to see your resume.

I have worked with hundreds of recruiters for decades, and I cannot recall a single time that a recruiter has sent my resume to someone without asking me first. What would be the point? What would they stand to gain? You can't be hired against your will, and if they want to get paid they need to have both your goodwill and that of the company that they are soliciting for.

The sentence that you mentioned would probably label you as odd and paranoid. Not a great idea. Honestly, any recruiter knows not to do this, and if they are so lacking in judgment or dishonest as to violate this rule they could easily create a version of your resume without the extra sentence. Even if you send it in PDF format they could just create a typed version.

The only reasonable worry you might have along these lines is if an unscrupulous recruiter were to send your resume to a company which also received it from a "legitimate" source. This might happen, but I think if you were just to explain to your legitimate source what happened they could explain to the client and it shouldn't reflect badly on you. Recruiters who engage in this sort of unprofessional behavior quickly get a reputation.

  1. Send it as a PDF. They could always retype it and sometimes will add their logo. But hopefully they are reputable enough to not modify it.

  2. Ensure they tell you before sending your resume somewhere. Recruiters don't blind send, they work with hiring clients, so they should only be sending it places that will accept it, so don't worry about the hiring company not wanting to work with a recruiter.

  3. Aging. The biggest problem I have seen is when a recruiter I worked with years ago calls or emails me based on information that is 10 years old. This is more annoying than a problem since they shouldn't be sending this to clients without contacting you first.

As other have said, this is part of the process.

  • I sent my CV as a PDF during a job-hunt last year. Mistake. It didn't work with any of the recruiters' standard database tools (they wanted a Microsoft Word doc), and mostly they just ignored it and worked on someone easier. Most didn't even tell me that it didn't work until I followed up. If you have some rare skill people are fighting to get, maybe let the recruiters do the work. But if you're just a normal Joe, make it as easy for them to work with you as possible.
    – Mark Smith
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 8:39
  • Sounds like a lazy recruiter. Must be a tough job market where you are that they would ignore a potential payout. Market for my field and area is super hot right now, can't get talent to save ourselves. I can't imagine a recruiter turning anything down right now, I could send my CV on a napkin and they would take it seriously. Also, most DB tools will read a PDF. Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 14:30
  • 1
    Like I said, if you have people falling over themselves to get you, let them work. If you don't, make it as easy as possible for them to promote you rather than the guy whose CV imports right away. Numerous told me their tool didn't like my PDF and asked me to resend as doc -- several only when I chased them up.
    – Mark Smith
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 14:32

I gave a recruiter my resume nearly 9 years ago using my parent's house phone. It was the only time I had their number on the resume. To this day, my parents still get random calls from recruiters. They "came across" my resume and thought it was good and wanted to know if I was still looking for a job.... so yeah.

As far as currently, I get random emails all the time from recruiters saying they came across my resume and they want to get in contact with me.

So yes, they will give your number and email out into a system. I recommend avoiding recruiters unless they directly represents the company you want to hire. Otherwise give a secondary email and/or telephone.

  • no reason to put a phone number on a resume. hiring is never that urgent. Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:55

Nowadays its not that easy. Two out of three 'recruiters" out there are really resume hunters, also called resume farmers. They get paid for each resume they collect, then take your resume and shotgun it out to dozens of companies. Its a cheap and lazy way for them to make a living while screwing you over. The quicker and more often they ask for your resume, the more likely you never hear from them again after you send it.

While this might sound nice, what happens if a company gets the same resume from more than one source? In theory, they are supposed to go with who sent it first. In reality they discard the candidate to avoid the hassle of recruiters battling over commission. For this reason alone you should be very careful who you send your resume to.

I was once contacted by multiple recruiters for the same job in Silicon Valley. Each gave me the same spiel, I was perfect, yada yada yada. In each case after I sent the recruiter my resume, they stopped all communications. I have since wised up.

NEVER NEVER NEVER send a resume to anyone that is a consultant - a recruiting consultant is a resume farmer, period.

Remember that a recruiter makes money off one of the most important decisions in your life - selecting a job. Never immediately trust that person. Be friendly, get them on the phone and make sure they understand the job they claim to be placing you for. A sincere recruiter will understand the company, the culture, and a bit of the internal politics. If their understanding of the company is limited to what's written in the job description and if they use the same language as the job description, don't trust them.

Make sure the recruiter speaks your language fluently. A large company will have their pick of recruiting firms just like a bikini model has her pick of suitors. Its unlikely an English-speaking USA-based HR professional for a large highly profitable company will sign an expensive recruiting contract with a non-USA company that struggles with English, and neither should you.

First refer them to your LinkedIn profile. Then verify they are where they say you are. I've been emailed by recruiters with a California phone number and address, but when I send them an email with a tracking pixel it turns out they are in India or the Philippines. Run away fast from them if they lie about their location. Trust me, IBM will not use a recruiting firm based in Russia.

Get them on the phone, see what they actually know about the company. Don't be fooled by "I talked to the hiring manager and he likes you". REAL RECRUITERS KNOW THEIR CLIENTS! Ask who their client company recently hired or fired, any recruiter worth the price of a cup of coffee will know that and that should convince you.


Should I maybe put a sentence at the very end, where I say that this resume is only to be looked at by Ms. Recruiter XYZ and who does not represent me

At first send a copy of your resume as an uneditable Adobe .pdf file, or better yet have a website that advertises your services with the .pdf as a download.

Once you agree for them to represent you, then you can send an editable Word doc.

Recruiters will always ask for an editable copy of your resume. Until you agree to representation ... don't do it. This will prevent the bad actors from pimping your resume all across town without your permission at least until the first time you've given them representation.

Good luck.

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