If your potential employee submits their resume to you, as a recruiter, you assume that they wrote it. It’s usually a given that the person who is applying for the job actually sat down at their computer and wrote a strong cover letter, a factually-based, concise, and interesting resume, along with key references. However, this might not be the case in today’s environment with Internet companies popping up that will write resumes for you.
I recently had a friend named Tom, who was searching for an inside sales job. Instead of asking me to look over his resume, which I do for my friends and family as a courtesy, he went with a resume-writing firm we will call “XYZ” because they had a Groupon deal going on that week. For only $79, he was promised a “Professionally Crafted Résumé, Cover Letter, Thank-You Note, and Follow-Up Letter,” so he purchased the package hoping it would help him land that dream job.
XYZ Company promised a dedicated and professional writer who would churn out a “strong” and “effective” resume. Said writer had years of experience and inside sales industry knowledge. Tom was excited to give his resume a face-lift. Unfortunately, most things that sound too good to be true usually are. Tom’s resume came back sagging instead of lifted, with lots of grammatical wrinkles and pertinent information missing.
Tom sent me his resume for a final review, and that’s when I went to town on his resume with track changes and comments to XYZ writer. Instead of listing out his job functions at his current position, the writer only listed out his awards and stats. They had some of his job skills listed twice. His undergraduate degrees were missing. Two periods followed a sentence on the cover letter. These kinds of mistakes seem like minor errors, but to a recruiter and potential employer, they will make or break you. When you are pouring over thousands of resumes for one job, it’s pretty easy to trash the resumes that aren’t perfect, because we expect them to be at the very least, proofread. As a recruiter, you spend only about 30 seconds to a minute reviewing a resume before you know whether it’s a keeper or a goner.
I always tell my friends that you have to customize your cover letter and resume to each job you apply for. That means putting in more effort upfront, but reaping the rewards with more replies for interviews as a result. Companies that produce cookie-cutter resumes are not tailoring resumes to specific jobs. They are sending you an average, unimpressive document that unfortunately might not ever reach the top of your recruiting resume stack.
XYZ Company has a “100 percent satisfaction guarantee” so if a customer isn’t happy with the first draft, they will revise it for you. But how many times do you keep sending it back until they get it right? At that point, it might be easier to whip open a laptop and write your resume yourself.
What are your thoughts on candidates using resume-writing services?