are professional resume writing services worth it?

A reader writes:

I was wondering what your opinion is on professional resume writing services. Are they worth it? What about for new grads?

I have 5 years of post0secondary (a degree with a semi-connection to my current field, and a diploma directly connected to my current field) concurrent with 6 years of experience. Some of my experience is directly related to my current field (Early Childhood Intervention) and easily identifiable, some of it not so much (i.e.: admin work) but is still relevant (i.e.: my admin experience helps me keep accurate and detailed records and data for the children I work with.) Also, since I work with so many clients with such varying needs, my experience at my previous and current job reads like a laundry list of accomplishments and skills. It’s hard to be succinct and accurate when my role is kind of all over the map.

I was thinking of having my resume professionally done since I have no idea how to put my experience on paper in an organized way that will make sense to hiring managers. I feel like once I have the basic wording and formatting done I can use what I get from the service to tailor my resume to a job opportunity. Do you think this would be helpful, or is it a waste of money? Every time I sit down to update my resume (which was originally put together in high school and then reviewed by my University’s career center when I graduated — I got hired straight out of school so I never updated it for my current full time position), I get really overwhelmed and give up.

Do I just need to sit down and power through it or could having a set of professionally trained eyes sort it out for me be helpful?

I wish I had a good answer to this, and I don’t.  Actually, I have an answer but it’s unhelpful: If you find a good resume-writing service, it’s probably worth it, but there’s such a large chance of ending up with a bad one that it’s difficult to recommend it wholeheartedly.

I’m sure there must be good resume-writing services out there, but they seem to be rare. When I’ve looked at the example resumes that most of these services have online, I’ve been unimpressed — from the actual substance of their makeovers to just general sloppiness, like spelling errors and inconsistent verb tenses. (Of course, you can fix the latter yourself, but it says something about their overall quality.)

On the other hand, if you’re as stuck as you sound, maybe it’s worth having someone at least give you something to work from. Just make sure you see before and after samples before you commit, and don’t go with the first service you look at; hold out until you find one that seems to genuinely do a good job.

However … I’d at least start by trying to do it yourself. Look at some sample resumes online for inspiration (if any have an objective at the top, move to a new site) and try to do your own first. And don’t be daunted by the process — a resume is really just a reverse-chronological list of where you’ve worked and what you achieved there, with the basics about your education thrown in at the end, written in normal language with a focus on your accomplishments. Everything else is frosting. And as for feeling like your experience is all over the map, stick to the basics when something doesn’t feel relevant to what you want to do now, and add more detail about accomplishments when it is.

Give it a shot. If you do it and you’re convinced it sucks, then maybe it’s time to turn to a professional. Just be really, really picky about who you hire.

(By the way, let’s avoid pushing specific companies in the comments, since some messages are certain to be from those companies themselves and I’d rather not have the job of having to figure out what’s self-promotional and what’s an honest review.)

{ 65 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    I got mine done. it was cool got some valuable feedback mainly have a situation action result (SAR) in quantifiable bullets. The main thing is to give accomplishments that any third party can grasp or understand to the level you gave. Hope that helps. Examples online didn’t help me very much. Honestly of all of the advice over my course of 3 years of job searching, the SAR was the best. Once I did that revamp I’m in the process of getting some great offers.

    1. 132_jim*

      Alison, bravo – you are absolutely correct. I think the need for resume writing services is way oversold. With a little research and reading many can write a resume that will accurately reflect their work history and get them the much-coveted interview. Writing is an extremely important skill for the workplace. If the job seeker is lacking in that area it is time to gain the writing skills you will need to succeed in you career.

      You are also correct on the need to continuously update your resume. Learning to “fine tune” the resume and cover letter is also a necessary activity for active job searches.

      1. Shannon Terry*

        I agree with 132Jim to a point – the limitation in my opinion is that some people either really just don’t like figuring out this sort of thing, or they just have a different skill set.

        Home improvement DIYers have some motivation and interest to learn what needs doing (and succeed with varying outcomes and speed). Some, like me, usually have to hire someone for even fairly basic home fixes, as I just can’t stand that stuff and I recognize I have no aptitude with wrenches & such.

        Of course if wrench skills were central to the job I was applying for, I couldn’t hire someone to do that part for me but most writing oriented professionals don’t need a resume writer. But I see your point about writing skills.

        You’re right on about continuously updating resumes throughout your career, and fine tuning resume and especially cover letters to each job in a search. Very important to not send “cookie cutter” one size fits all letters.

    2. Shannon Terry*

      Full disclosure: I am a professional resume writer.

      Quantifiable bullet points to highlight your key accomplishments that speak to the job you are now seeking – excellent advice.

      SAR (Situation/Action/Result) format works for some people’s industries and backgrounds on a resume, not as well for others.

      I like recommending the SAR as a way to structure answers in interviews, though, almost all the time, especially behavioral interview questions but a savvy job seeker can use the SAR to make their answers more compelling by proving their experiences with an example story using SAR as a clear structure for their answer.

  2. Anonymous*

    Forgot to include: and honestly I wouldn’t spend that much since networking will get your much further than a resume. Employers only look about 30 seconds at your resume.

  3. Katie*

    I might also be a good idea to think of someone you know who “always gets the job” and you think of as a good communicator and writer. They will be able to give you a fresh perspective and be a second set of eyes for grammatical and spelling details.

    I’m in PR and Marketing and I have helped my friends with their resume on several occasions. Your resume is essentially personal PR & marketing, and the person your sending it to is your target customer. When I have had to write a resume, I do a few things:

    1. I read the job posting and make notes of every concrete experience I’ve had that speaks directly to what they are asking for

    2. I stalk the company and/or person online. I look for their values and personality. This helps you know if they are a match for you and also helps you to tailor your resume and cover letter to their personality. You don’t want to be inauthentic, but if you pick up on things you have in common with the person – there’s no reason not to bring that out a little bit.

    3. After researching, I use my boiler plate resume and customize it. Then I create the cover letter. I created my boiler plate resume with Pongo Resume. Also, having researched makes it easy to cut out the stuff that doesn’t apply to the particular job.

    4. I send my resume & cover letter to others who I know are good with writing to proof it and give feedback

    5. I send it off! :)

    On another note, when I’m looking at resumes for people applying to jobs where I currently work , I ask myself a few questions:

    1. Did they read the job posting?
    2. Did they customize their resume?
    3. Is everything proofed?

    If someone has done a good job with the above, its a good indicator that they are thoughtful and a hard worker. It’s still amazing to me how many people don’t even seem to read the job posting! lol

    1. OP*

      This is actually really really helpful. I guess one of my sticking points is that in my field they ask for things such as “experience working with children with disabilities.”…well, yeah- that’s sorta a very very broad overview of the entire Early Intervention field. And then I can rattle off a list of- I kid you not- almost 7 years now of alternatively caring for/doing therapy with/supporting children in a myriad of situations.

      1. Lindsay H.*

        Here, here! I actually had a discussion with a friend who is job searching the other day. He didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the fact that a resume is a way to sell yourself. I tried to explain how a resume is a form of creative writing in a much tougher format. You have to try and sell yourself not in complete sentences but in bullet points.

        If you have anybody who is a manager or has experience in a particular field you’re looking in, have them review your resume or ask them what types of skill/experience they would like to see on their team. Hopefully will give you a clearer direction on how to shape the specificity of your resume.

        Resume writing is daunting, but you’ll get it! :)

        1. Anonymous*

          Totally sidepoint, I couldn’t bear it!

          It’s not “here, here”, its actually “Hear, Hear” – a contraction of ‘hear him, hear him’

      2. K*

        If that is the case, then think of ways to quantify the work you have done with children – can you talk about how many you have helped; the types of challenges or disabilities you are experienced in dealing with; what specific services/challenges/situations can you use to illustrate:
        eg: used X therapy or approach to assist # of children suffering from various forms of Y disorder; specifically assisted developing Z skill sets/overcome specific obstacles such as…

        1. OP*

          That is a good idea! It sounds absurd- but it honestly never occurred to me to lump things together like that. The list will still be pretty long, but it will be much more manageable if I can categorize them into therapy methods used, and conditions.

    2. Juni*

      This. I’ve been helping friends (and strangers, if they ask nicely) rewrite and reframe their resumes for free for a couple of years now. I’m a good writer and a good marketer, and I am in the resume-as-marketing-document camp. When I personally apply for jobs, it’s rare that I don’t get an interview for something I’m qualified for, though I don’t always get the job. It’s the resume and cover letter that’s always gotten me in the door, and it’s a good talent to have.

    3. Shannon Terry*

      Full disclosure:

      I am a professional resume writer.

      I couldn’t agree with Katie more about paying keen attention to the job ad and addressing at least the major requirements listed there in your cover letter and resume (and then of course in the interview).

      Ditto about doing research to gain insight and build rapport (and the line that you want to avoid crossing into stalker-ish-ness :) )

      If you have some decent writing skills, motivation, do some research and some folks that you think can give you valuable feedback on your self written resume, you can probably come up a decent, or even pretty darn good resume.

      That said, I’d say well over 50% of resumes I’ve seen (as a hiring person and from potential clients or students) are really in need of some work. I’d be curious what HR folks would say about the resumes they see.

  4. Ellen M.*

    Reviewing resumes is part of my job (I direct a grad school program) and I always advise job hunters to write their own resumes. It takes time and effort and attention, yes, and others can offer suggestions to improve it once it is written, but I think it really needs to be written by the applicant him/herself.

    The resume (along with the cover letter and other things) represents the applicant, and if it is written by someone else it will, to one degree or another, represent that other person – in the writing style, what is emphasized, vocabulary, even formatting choices. The applicant knows his/her employment story best, and the applicant is the one who will be interviewed, answering verbal questions about what’s on the resume, and be doing the job if hired…

    It can also be a form of deception to have someone else write it, and in some cases an interviewer may suspect during the interview with the person presenting the resume that he/she is not the one who wrote it. If I suspected that of an applicant, I would wonder if the person would be diligent on the job, or would avoid difficult or unpleasant tasks and want/expect someone else to do them for him/her.

    As AAM said, many “professional” resume writing services are not high quality at all; some are ripoffs. Write your own resume yourself – it is your task, as the other tasks of job hunting are your responsibilities as well.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Well said. It’s definitely true that some (although certainly not all) professionally written resumes have a certain quality that screams “I hired a service to write this.” It’s a certain … slickness or something. And that’s not a deal breaker or anything, but it does make me think that I’ll need to probe a bit more with that candidate to make sure I really know who they are.

      1. Shannon Terry*

        Full disclosure: I am a professional resume writer

        I agree with most of what Ellen M and AAM said above, even though this is what I do for a living.

        Some professionals in any field aren’t going to give a quality product or service (hairdressers, plumbers, dentists, etc.)

        Some resume writers use “stock content” for that given job title/industry. Good writers probe for details of a client’s particular work in some sort of *personalized* interview to draw out specific experience and accomplishments. They then edit the clients own words to communicate those unique offerings in a style that remains true to the clients voice but is more succinct while sparking reader interest quickly (formatting plays a big part, too) Granted this won’t be perfect but it shouldn’t completely change the applicants personality in the writing — like ghost writing in many ways.

        Many job seekers want the resume writing service to write cover letters FOR them, mostly because they think then they have ‘a cover letter to use from now on. As a guide, yes, but as mentioned at top of thread, cover letters should be tailored to each job and it’s particular requirements – no cookie cutter letters, please.

        I also disagree with writing letters FOR people for the reasons you two mention above (much to my clients dismay :) ), and was criticized by my mentor at a professional association in my field for only offering letter coaching/editing services and not fully writing letters for my clients.

        Resumes are more factual, but cover letters are the first place someone’s personality can come through, and thus another reason I believe the applicants should write them & just seeking some input/editing from someone they trust, hired or not.

        1. anon.*

          so… how many times can you advertise your self with the ‘full disclosure’ comment?

          not cool.

          1. Shannon Terry*

            Well, it’s a long thread & I commented throughout.

            I thought I should be upfront about my potential ‘bias’, as well as experience in each post; that, and to offer some hopefully valuable input were my intentions.

            I, for one, like knowing if the input on my plumbing issues is from a plumber, or a dentist or a Home Depot employee, just so I can consider each with that insight.

          2. Liz in a Library*

            I didn’t read it as self-promotion at all. I’ve seen Shannon comment a fair amount recently on other posts that have nothing to do with resume writing–and I think the disclosure was appropriate. ;)

            1. Joe*

              It amazes me how in the box people still are. I don’t want a job where they have “automated screening tools”. No wonder we are doing business with people who know nothing. Apparently their resumes passed the automated screening tool test. We’ve turned into a bunch of sheep.

    2. Emily*

      The thing I’d take issue with here is if the person’s job wouldn’t require them to write anything public-facing. If the skills used in writing a resume aren’t in the applicant’s skill set, and the job doesn’t require those skills, then I’d rather see the applicant be resourceful and hire someone else to do the task well than to submit a sub-par resume. No applicant has every skill possible, so I want an applicant who has the skills most critical to what I’m hiring for, and who knows how to get things done when they’re lacking the peripheral skills they may not have. Just like if someone has no sense of fashion, I’d rather they had a friend or department store clerk help them put together a professional interviewing outfit than come to the interview wearing clothes that don’t look professional or don’t fit well, etc. I think the ability to find competent help in the areas where you are unskilled is in itself a good skill for an employee to have.

      1. OP*

        THIS is basically where I’m at. I am very very good at what I do (or so I’ve been told)- put me in a room with a 3 year old having a colossal meltdown and I’m fine- I can handle that. But I’m also very aware of when I’m in over my head, and I feel like I am. In my professional life if I were in over my head I have no problem saying “HELP!”…and by no means would I be taking a professionally written resume and sending it off as-is- I fully expect to change wording so that it sounds like ME. I just have no idea where to start in organizing this sucker. And while I’m not hunting right now- I love my current job- my husband is in the military so I need to have these things squared away and somewhat ready to go should we be posted on short notice.

      2. Anonymous*

        This was spot on. For once, Alison I dont agree with your POV, taking professional assistance shouldn’t imply incompetence!

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          No, definitely not incompetence! Just that if it’s sort of slickly written by someone else, I don’t learn the things I’d normally learn through reading how someone would present themselves, in their own words/phrasing, so it requires me to make special effort to learn that stuff.

  5. Ariancita*

    I have a similar background (not same field) as OP: professional work plus academic work. It’s sort of all over the place as well. Here’s what I did in order to make writing my resume less overwhelming:
    1. I forgot about the overall resume and just took each position I had one-by-one and systematically put down each of my accomplishments in bullet points. All of them. Once I did that for each position, again going back to small chunks, I grouped the bullet points into different skill-sets (so, admin successes are together, accomplishments in childhood intervention are together, etc). I did this for each job.
    2. Then I figured out my overall layout and organized my resume accordingly.
    3. I saved that super large (but well organized!) version as my template.
    4. Then, for each job I apply to, I cater my resume to highlight the relevant skills. Which doesn’t take much time because I just delete the bullets that aren’t as relevant, compelling, etc. It’s very quick.
    The time commitment is in the front end, but by dividing the tasks into each job and tackling it per section, it’s far less overwhelming (and actually fun!). They’re just little snack-sized resume bites.

    Because I have a lot of different experiences, I do add a Qualification Summary at the top to cater to each position. There are arguments for not doing it this way (ie: you could provide the same info in your cover letter). And I’m open to hearing those arguments, but I find it useful when you have a variety of experience across different domains.

    Maybe this approach would help the OP?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I endorse this approach, fully! OP, follow these steps.

      I also like some kind of very short Profile or Summary or whatever at the top, because it frames your candidacy in a way that can be especially helpful if your experience has been a little scattered.

    2. ChristineH*

      I love this approach too! So what you’re saying is to have a “master resume”, so-to-speak, then tweak it as needed to match the position you’re applying for? One question: What about when a networking connection asks you to send your resume to him/her so they can “circulate” (as opposed to one specific job)?

      I’ve been hearing about the accomplishments/SAR approach for several years now. I think most of my bullets are job duties (some with quantities though, such as # of conference attendees or # of I&R phone calls taken). This will be a tricky change! (my field is social work/human services/nonprofit).

      1. Ariancita*

        For circulation: You would have a general idea of what was needed because you’d presumably know who your network contact is, what company they work for, and what roles they and those she/he would circulate your resume to occupy. So you would cater it that way. It’d definitely be more generalist, but then I think you could add the best accomplishments/successes from each domain (admin, childhood intervention, etc to take the OP as an example).

    3. OP*

      Oh this sounds doable!!

      I tend to think of my accomplishments in terms of goals achieved with children- since each of the kids I work with has an IPP with a specific set of things that need to be made progress on, I can very concretely say if I’ve accomplished a goal with them or not. Which is where I get overwhelmed: with a full caseload, the achieved goals add up.

      I like this. I will try it.

    4. Piper*

      This is exactly what I do with my resume since I have experience in several different areas of my field. It makes it so much easier to customize each resume for a specific job.

  6. RachelTech*

    Google resume templates and go to Microsoft’s site. They have hundreds available. Most for specific fields. You can select a resume with the right template for you for inspiration. The OP is obviously well-spoken, she just needs inspiration from a template.

    1. Shannon Terry*

      Full disclosure: I am a professional resume writer.

      Please, job seekers, don’t use templates. Perhaps RachelTech means to just use them for ideas, just never use the actual template format, ever . . . here’s the thing:

      Managers spot templates a mile away (they’ve seen sooooo many, esp. Microsoft’s) & generally, in my experience, are unimpressed.

      The point of a resume is to ‘stand out in the crowd’. Templates are cookie cutter and get noticed all right — as the same ole same ole as everybody else. My recruiter friend said her team feels this way, too. They’re not necessarily going to always get your resume disregarded, but why take that chance?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I think templates are fine to use. You don’t want to work for anyone who has a problem with you using a template, and you want to stand out for your experience and accomplishments, not your resume design (unless you’re applying for design jobs).

        1. Jamie*

          I agree with Alison. I don’t need anyone to reinvent the wheel when it comes to formatting. A template is fine – it’s the content that counts.

  7. EngineerGirl*

    Hi Allison,

    I know that you said “don’t promote companies” so if you delete this post, I certainly do understand. That said, Rockport Institute has a FREE on-line guide on the web that I think is pretty good.

    I’ve used it and recommended it to several of my reports, and it made a huge difference. I believe it echos your philosophy. It is a little wordy, but the exercises it recommends are great. It shows you how to tailor, how to show your acheivements, etc.

  8. Charles*

    Another source to consider is the local library. Not just for books on resumes; but to see if they offer resume seminars.

    This could be hit or miss. I lucked out in that my local library brought in someone who knew what she was doing. While she didn’t write anyone’s resume; she did spend 8 minutes afterwards (she actually had a kitchen timer!) looking over everyone’s resume. Perhaps, not as good as someone in your field writing your resume for you; but it was free! And it was by far better than anything the state offers.

    P.S. she had to use a kitchen timer otherwise she would have been there all night. Also the library limited the number who could sign up.

  9. Mike C.*

    I’ve had great luck with a professional, but this person came with several hundred recommendations and the like. It made a huge difference in the responses I was receiving.

  10. Anonymous*

    Also, sometimes state employment departments can help with resumes. They won’t write them for you, but they may have resources who will look over your resume and give you pointers on improving it.

  11. Freida*

    I copy edit books or a living so I’ve been asked to read a lot of friends’ s resumes. Maybe all my friends are modest, but I find that people don’t need help writing their resumes so much as they need help seeing their accomplishments as accomplishments in the first place.

    So the most helpful thing that I’ve found to do is just to get them talking about their jobs, and point out when they say things that didn’t appear on their resume. Just asking questions helps: What was the hardest part of your job, and how did you deal with it? What part of your job did you see other people struggling with, but it wasn’t as hard for you? What took up the most of your time? What didn’t take up a lot of time, but was still interesting to you?

    For example, a friend of mine who worked in publicity for film festivals revealed that at one job he came up with the idea for an interview podcast, pitched the idea to his boss, got approval, booked talent to be interviewed, wrote the script/questions, conducted the interviews himself (hosting the podcast, in effect), recorded everything, edited it to the final version, did all of the technological conversions, and posted the podcasts when they were complete–but had zero mention of this on his resume! When I asked why not, he said that it wasn’t part of his “job description,” and “everyone had a podcast so it’s not a big deal.” But, I pointed out, his festival didn’t have a podcast, he knew that it was the norm, and he took initiative to start one–plus he had all of the skills needed to do the project from start to finish.

    So if you’re having trouble with your resume, maybe you can find a friend to sit down and talk you through some of your previous job experiences–almost like they are interviewing you for a profile on your accomplishments. It’s often much easier (and less pressure) to talk to a friend than to sit in from of the blank sheet of paper and just spit out a perfect resume from scratch.

    1. NicoleW*

      Great advice!

      I also like starting in an empty word document with no formatting to worry about. It seems less daunting than staring at the resume heading and bullet points. Just start typing. List out projects/cases you worked on, then go back to fill in some detail. I also drag out old performance reviews (I’ve had a few stellar ones where my boss actually wrote out specific accomplishments).

      I also have a resume list. This is a document with all the bullet points I might include, but then I swap in and out the ones most suited to the particular job.

      Moving forward, I find it helpful to keep a little file of accomplishments. Usually this is just an email folder, where I move any messages of kudos on a project or if I think I did something particularly effective, I will note it there as well. It’s always easier the next time you update your resume to have a few accomplishments ready.

      1. Jamie*

        This. Also comes in handy for performance reviews.

        I call it my fan mail folder – I’m a big fan of whimsy. My former boss knew about it and has actually flagged some emails to me with “save with fan mail.”

        We’d both been known to forget major things at reviews – so it’s helpful.

        I recommend this to everyone I work with early in their career. Besides the practical aspect, it can be a real morale boost when you’re having a bad patch and nothing is going right. Sometimes a reminder of the good stuff does the trick.

    2. Jamie*

      This is excellent advice.

      I’ve gone through a plant closing where I would help some of the displaced workers with their resumes and I was astounded at how many people were underselling themselves.

      I don’t believe in padding a resume, but I had guys who performed preventative maintenance on million dollar machines – which required specific certifications – list their skills as “plant maintenance” and not mention their current certifications.

      Just one example – but I fully recommend going over the content with someone trusted, preferably someone who knows your work – because it can highlight what you may be leaving out.

  12. Job Mentor*

    There are resources for the job seeker in your community, especially if you live in a larger city. Churches or non-profits offer free or very low cost workshops, I happen to volunteer at one in my community. These are often appropriate for job seekers who aren’t sure where to start and/or job seekers that have not looked for a job in a long time. The workshops will typically help you organize a search, write a resume, give you interview tips and practice, help you understand how networking works and what leverage you have in negotiations, etc. They tend to offer a learning environment that is supportive and non-threatening. Check them out!

  13. Anon1973*

    When I had resume writer’s block, I sat down and created the “boffo resume.” Basically, I just wrote down every job I ever had and what I did. I didn’t care how many pages it took. I wrote down every duty and every accomplishment. And I saved it.

    Every time I apply for a job, I open up the boffo resume and then select what I think is most relevant to the job I am applying for. In most cases, the resulting resume is one page long. I like this technique because I don’t need to spend time re-writing a resume, I just select what is already written and edit it.

  14. Anonymous*

    Here’s the take and granted, I’m a professional resume writer, but I also have had a lot of other business experience that has touched upon hiring.

    In my mind, professional resume services are useful to people who fit the range of entry-level to mid-level experience primarily due to their not having much experience with hiring processes other than their own personal one. As such, they haven’t really had much experience reviewing resumes, qualifying candidates against a position, and the like. This usually occurs when one gets to a senior/management level in their career where after having performed this function enough, one should have a pretty good idea of what the competition does with their resume or how they present in interviews so that they know better how to market/position themselves without need necessarily for all that much resume writing assistance.

    That having been said, if you are in that entry to mid-level range where you do want to rely on somebody else’s expertise, be sure that you are working with somebody that has expertise in your specific industry. You wouldn’t want someone whose expertise is primarily in healthcare advising you on how to update your information technology-oriented resume. That would not be money well-spent.


  15. Lisa*

    I don’t think that resume services are worth it for every person, or every career but for a lot of people (myself included) it was much easier to pay someone to do it for me. Was it the best resume in the world? well- I doubt it, but I did feel it accurately reperesented me and I did get a job shortly after I started using it, and it was in my budget so it was worth it to me, personally (i used fishbowl resumes). i dont know if it was luck, or timing or what (maybe id have gotten the job using my old one). i dunno.

    even if you write your own, i think you should have someone else look over it to proofread and give suggestions (probably one of your smarter friends! LOLOL)

  16. Atty*

    I know this is late, but I’m sure other people read through old posts just like I am!

    What I found to be really helpful was submitting my resume to a service for a “review.” It was pretty inexpensive and generated about a 3 page document about the pros and cons of my resume. Obviously, the company was trying to get me to pay them $$$$ to do a complete overhaul of my resume, but I just used the review document and did my own overhaul. I did have my parents (both attorneys!) and my brother (public relations) review for any inconsistencies/typos. Using it I received about 5 interviews and my dream job!! (Out of I don’t know how many applications, but I was working more than full time while applying and still found a job in less than a year.)

  17. Chaucer*

    From my experience with calling a couple businesses in my area out of curiosity, I would say, “Proceed with caution.” A lot of them had blatantly fake reviews posted on their websites and on business directory webpages. When I called them, they also deliberately avoided answering my questions and tried to give me the hard sell over the phone. Furthermore, I saw that almost NONE of the writers had any prior experience working for HR or being in any sort of position that involved firing and hiring. At most, they had degrees in Creative Writing, which being an English major I admire, but I don’t think that’s a good background for resume writing.

  18. Andrea*

    I just now asked a professional to write my resume, she had a lot of good feedback, good background and was affordable.

    I have to say, I dont think asking for help or asking for someone’s services is such a bad idea. To be totally honest, if it works/helps, why not? The economy is so bad right now, that everyone needs help with getting their foot in the door. If I could have the help of a professional who has experience in writing and has a background as a HR manager, why not? Its just like going to see a Dr. because you’re sick and you need a perscription. As long as they are truthful in what they are writing, I see no harm.

    I did my resume myself awhile back and just kept updating it but I never get any call backs, she looked it over and immediately said why. I honestly am just not the best writer. And I dont know what “key words” companies look for- I didn’t even know I should placed those in my resume. I had no idea, people also don’t wan to help now days. I go to the workfoce solutions center and even they dont know they just put you on a computer- I need PROFESSIONAL advice from someone who knows what HR looks for.

    Obviously I will look over the finished product and edit it myself if it needs to be done. There is always someone more knowledgable than yourself- I dont mind asking for help, I just need a job!

  19. DaisyChain*

    My experience is that these services are over-rated. I have had it done twice and both times the results were full of errors. One even had the name of my last employer wrong. There were so many errors, especially the second time, that I just could not be bothered to go back and put it right myself and cut my losses. So many things were guessed at and information even made up. Also I have found that recruitment agencies aren’t too fond of them because they like to read through and see what tasks I have experience at, and a rewritten resume or CV doesn’t usually reflect this. And some agencies tell me they put the resume through a scanner to pick up key words to shortlist you for a role and the professionally written CV does not include this. Also, the job coaches always recommend you tailor your resume for each individual job application so what is the point of spending money on a professional CV if you have to edit it each time anyway?

  20. jessie*

    I think hiring a resume writer can help. It certainly helped me. I went from no interviews to a job within a couple of months. But the key i think is to find the right resume writer for you. Ive seen some that are just loaded with fluff and fancy words. im not so sure that helps any one. i used beach resume and it was clean, simple and sounded like me and presented my info MUCH better than i had. maybe what i liked most was that she told me how to customize it for different jobs so it would be more effective (and, it was!). unless youre rich, you cant have someone edit for each job for you, so being shown how to change it is very useful. if you go in thinking it will work for every job, i think youd be disappointed.

    but then you have the flip side – a friend had hired a BIG name company- and his interviews DECREASED and he paid 4 times what i did.

  21. Maggie*

    I have paid to have my resume professionally written 4 times (don’t ask) and 3 of them were poorly formatted and full of spelling and grammar errors. These were not even in my original resume. The writers also made things up, claiming experience and qualifications I did not have. Moreover, they removed some of the experience and skills that I do have and I later found that this was one of the factors leading to a lower interview/response rate. I have also had offers of free resume checks and have taken advantage of these with my professionally written resumes. Guess what? They were completely redrawn again. Experts rarely seem to agree with each other.

    The 4th paid-for CV was good, but I was told later that it made me look over-qualified for the jobs I was actually suited for. I was therefore unsuccessful with this.

    I have now tweaked and sharpened my own original version and am getting on much better with this.

  22. Candace Barr Executive Resume Writer*

    A well written resume by a professional that understands the industry and knows what they are doing is worth every penny. Unfortunately, there are millions of “resume writers” out there, and anyone can throw up a website and claim to be a professional.

    Watch out for resume mills, the quality is lack-luster, at best. You want to work one and one with a professional, someone that has been in the industry. You want someone that understands what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for AND is up to date on ATS systems, online job search and technology.

    A well-written, highly effective resume is a personal marketing piece and is worth the investment. But do your homework! A quality professional will be happy to answer your questions, provide references and samples of work.

  23. Peter Cole*

    I’m learning a lot of stuff from the conversation here. As for me, I think there’s nothing wrong in hiring the services of professional resume writers or any career writing companies. The only concern I see is that even online review sites don’t seem that credible. I tried to observe the trend and I think some of them are also supporters of other companies. But I still believe that a good bunch of genuine resume writing companies can still be found.

  24. Neil Conkling*

    Hm.. it’s been a while since I had somebody else write my resume, and luckily, it worked. But yeah, good resume writers are rare in the internet. By the way Pete’s right, even review sites can’t be trusted, which makes it harder to find real good writers. So here’s a litmus test you could try to get a genuine resume professional writer: Check their web design and layout, then read some of the content. If the layout is neat and the grammar is spotless, then it’s probably legit.

  25. Karl*

    Sorry I am a bit late of the discussion but I would just like to leave my comment for future readers. I have worked in specialized and executive recruitment and I have seen a lot more substandard CVs rather than good to excellent CV’s, many of these from manager and director level people. I am now an interview trainer and CV writer and again I often wonder how some people have actually managed to get jobs with the quality of their original CV. Writing a CV / Resume requires knowledge and awareness and is a skill like anything else. Without sounding like I am blowing my trumpet, I have a 100% CV to interview conversion rate and that is only for 200-250 Euro. So I hope I have put forward a bit of a case to use a CV service? But like anything choose wisely.

  26. Narciso Amil*

    It’s difficult to know whether your resume writer is worth your bucks, because (1) salesmen lie, and (2) online reviewers and ripoff reports lie too. I’ve researched and tried resume writing services once, twice, thrice- and I figured out that they’re all marketing and no quality.

    The only time I got a resume writer worthy of the investment is when my friends recommended it. Of course, friends- try asking them. But if they don’t know any good resume writer, let me know, I’ll email you good names I tried myself.

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