Resume Writing Services – Yay or Nay?

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By: BrightMove Recruiting Software

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?

8 Comments

  1. Joshua Parker on October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Okay, fine article. Let me give you a seasoned perspective from someone who has been there done that and failed miserably for years with my own resume creations.

    However in the real world, most professionals know effective resumes average $500 and the best much more. All docs for $79 = pure garbage and a mass produced cookie cutter resume.

    The advice to try to write it yourself, perpetuates the problem for most, as here in America most degreed professionals only write at the 8th grade level and have nonexistent proofreading skills (honest, I’m one).

    The realistic solution is invest like most professionals in a talented resume writers services. My friend owns http://RighteousResumes.com and I can vouch for his talent by the way. I just felt the need to add my two cents. I still totally respect your point of view and effort to help job hunters.

    All the best,

    Josh Parker

  2. Yanina on October 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I agree with the article. The only person who knows your experience best is yourself, and you are the only one who can make it best describe your proficiency, while someone who agrees to help may only help on styling/rephrasing things and some handy tips.

    Yanina

  3. Dawn Passaro on October 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Mary,
    While I agree with most of what you say, the Title of your Blog has nothing to do with the actual content. What’s up with that? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical, sort of like “the pot calling the kettle black?” My point is that you claim to be telling your readers how to find FAKE resumes. But it seems like you are selling your services as a resume writing service. That is kind of FAKE in itself. Just sayin’

  4. Dawn Passaro on October 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    PS Since when is letting someone assist you in writing a resume = FAKE?
    a FAKE resume is one that contains untruths, claims that are not supported by the actual experience of the job applicant. Just sayin’

  5. admin on October 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Dawn, I read her article. She looked over it for a friend. She doesn’t write resumes. Fake may have been a strong term.

  6. Kim on October 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I completely agree with Joshua. I would say more often than not, the resumes I review are rediculous (for lack of better terms). I see everything from 30 page resumes to cursive fonts, to multiple colors and even animation. Now, before you say anything, I do not place creative positions, so animation and color have no place in with the candidates I am seeking.

    I mostly place Engineers, some financial and Sales.

    A a volunteer in my community I teach invidivuals on topics like resume writing and yes I am a big believer that most people function at an 8th grade level or lower as it relates to writing abilities. This isn’t knocking anyone, but it does raise the question that a resume writing service may not be a bad thing. I would tell someone that wants to use this type of service to be cautious and review the final product with a fine-toothed comb. If they aren’t happy, have the service do it over.

    Lastly, many college professors are providing the younger generation with garbage information regarding resume writing. The trend I am seeing now with recent College graduates are no dates of employment. They are say the same thing, “my professor told me that I should never put dates of employment on my resume”. WHAT?!

    By the way, I get what you are saying when you used the terminology “fake”, I have learned to take things so literal! 🙂

  7. Kim on October 24, 2012 at 10:49 am

    *not – meant to say, not take things so literal!

    Geez! I should have done some proofreading! 🙂

  8. JD Schweizer on November 22, 2012 at 3:14 am

    I cannot agree with Dawn more. Your topic leads the reader to believe that you’re looking for signals to determine whether a resume is fake or not. However, the body of your message doesn’t focus on this topic at all. Bottom line, there is nothing wrong with hiring an outside agency to help write your resume…..as long as the information communicated in the resume is real. After all, the President of the United States has speech writers and this is no different. As long as the message conveyed is truthful, why should it matter?

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