staffing agency told me to pay for resume help before applying by Alison Green on December 29, 2012 A reader writes: I just had a question regarding an email response I received after submitting my resume for a job posting I found through a job posting website. It turns out that the posting was from a job agency. The only requirement was to email him a copy of my resume. I did so, and received the following as a response: “You have a lot of strong, relevant experience and are an excellent candidate although it would be best to improve your resume before doing anything with it. I can refer you to a resume writing expert that can improve your resume to the standard we are looking for and I believe he charges around $150 or so. Please let me know if I can forward your resume to the expert so you can get in contact with them. Once your resume has been improved please resubmit it ASAP.” I’m not quite sure how to take this. Is this some sort of scam or is he being legitimate? Or could this “scam” actually have good merits? I did research the agency, and they do seem legit, but they are definitely not one of the top ones here in Canada. Do you have any thoughts? Scam. Unless your resume is really, truly terrible, in which case I suppose it’s possible that he’s trying to do you a favor. But I’d lean toward scam. I then asked the reader if I could look at his resume, which leads to part 2 of the answer: Okay, your resume isn’t great — but it’s “not great” in the way that most people’s resumes aren’t great; it’s certainly not horrific. Get rid of the objective, focus on achievements rather than job duties, and get rid of the “personal attributes” section where you list subjective traits — instead, show that you have those traits by listing accomplishments that demonstrate them. (And read this recent post on improving your resume.) But again, this looks like the majority of resumes out there. It’s not doing you any favors, but there’s nothing here that should cause a staffing agency to refuse to accept your resume until it’s professionally redone — because if that’s their standard, they’d need to be telling most applicants that. And while it would actually be fantastic if they were explaining to most applicants why their resumes were weak and giving them pointers on redoing them (because most people do need it), simply directing you to a paid resume consultant is too scammy to seem legit to me. You may also like:stop claiming subjective traits on your resumeshould you add IQ or Myers Briggs to your resume?how do I sell myself on my resume when I don’t feel like a great candidate?