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Job Hunting 101: Professional Resume Services?

Note from Josh: I know a lot of people who are looking for jobs. I asked Jerret to write this post for anyone who has any questions about their resume.

resume writing frustration

Guest post by Jerret Turner

The number of job applicants per job opening has increased dramatically, this according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That only means one thing. You’re hosed. No, not really. But to stand out, you’ll have to re-think how you present yourself, especially on your resume. And that may require getting professional help.

I was lucky in that I had to write my own performance reports when I was in the military. And when a promotion depends on your performance report, you would be surprised at how well you can write.

Hiring a resume writer is more than sending your job history to a typist to crank out a nicely formatted piece of paper. A resume writer can actually help you land a job. Consider the following reasons for hiring a resume writer:

No Time

Maybe you’re already working two or three jobs. Or the job you have squeezes every free minute out of you. If you’re not sending out resumes because you simply lack the time (and don’t want to give up control), it might be better to admit defeat and get the resume done. You’re not lazy, just realistic.

Information Overload

Sure, you could buy a book and look at thousands of resumes online. But it’s overwhelming. And confusing. Depending on a job’s industry, you could spend hundreds of hours scouring the Web for a resume that most closes matches the job you’re applying for. This is the cornerstone of a resume writer’s service—to piece your work experience together and make it fit snugly to a specific job.

Upgrade Required

The last time you updated your resume, WordPerfect was hip and the Beastie Boys had good music. Your work experience may be woefully outdated but a resume writer knows the latest technical lingo. A great resume writer will translate your skills and accomplishments and bring you into the 21st century.

If you’re still undecided, the following are reasons why you may not want to hire a resume writer.

You’re Cheap

Resume writing services can start as low as $50 and can reach $500 or more. Be prepared to spend several hundred dollars for a decent writer. You have to think of your resume as an investment in a job that will pay you tens of thousands of dollars, or more, over the job’s lifetime. If you’re not ready to make the investment, don’t assume a cheaper service will do the trick. You may be better off getting help from a relative or neighbor.

You’ve Done it Before

As I mentioned earlier, I had a lot of experience writing my own performance reports so I felt I had a good grasp on the process. If you’re confident in your own abilities, then I say go for it. You know yourself better than anyone else.

You’re Willing to Learn

There are free resources galore on resume writing. If you have time, and you’re willing to research and read, finding a suitable resume example online should be no problem. And, of course, don’t forget your bookstore or library. Last I checked, my local bookstore had several shelves dedicated to resume and job-hunting guides.

So, which will it be? If you’re ready to hire a resume writer, be ready to make the monetary investment. If you’re not ready, it’s possible to put together a worthy resume of your own with a little hustle and willingness to learn.

About The Author:

Jerret Turner is a writer and researcher on budget tips. Save time and money by getting free tips and in-depth information on all things debt, investment, and budget related at BudgetSnob.com.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Eric | Eden Journal August 26, 2010, 6:30 am

    I agree that using a resume writer is a good idea, but selecting the right one is a very important part of the process. When I was laid off last year, part of the lay off package was a package on one of the major job boards. Part of that package included a resume writer.

    The service had some creative wording and I liked the overall layout.

    Utlimately though, I decided to scap that “professionally created” resume and make one myself. The big beef I had with the proffessional service is they had no clue about the exact details of my experience in the computer industry, and instead used what looked to be stock material from a computer programming resume and try to fit it to my experience. The thing is, I’m not a programmer, so the resume wasn’t very accurate. They created a section that hightlighted my skills, but it consisted of fluff that didn’t really say anything. The final straw was the bland and overly used formatting. This resume looked just like hundreds of others that I had seen, and certainly wouldn’t stand out.

    If you are looking for a resume writer, I’d recommend using someone that will take the time to learn about your skills and how they benefit your industry. The service I used just had me email my current resume and then make comments. I think at the very least a phone call to discuss it would have been more beneficial.

    My best resume tip is to have several people in your industry and a few outside of it proofread your resume. Proofreading will correct errors and will also lead to tips on how to improve it. Also, get someone with experience hiring people to proof it, as they can give comments from a hiring decision maker’s point of view.

    • Wendy Steele May 3, 2011, 1:48 pm

      Eric,

      You are correct. It is VERY important to do the research first and select the right one. I always suggest first timers to 1. Make sure the writer is a Certified Professional Resume Writer. 2. It should be their practice to conduct in-depth consultations with you (we do at least an hour). 3. Ask to see samples of their work if they’re not posted on their website.

  • Todd August 26, 2010, 7:07 am

    Great advice. Picking the right writer can be tricky. But it is true, you get what you pay for. The job market right now sucks. You have to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

  • Dov Gordon August 26, 2010, 9:06 am

    I’m not sure I agree that you should hire someone to do it FOR you. I’ve helped a few people, but I did it WITH them.

    If you do hire someone, they should be a good MARKETER. A good resume is selling you and to do that, you need to stand out.

    Here’s an article I wrote on the topic a couple of years ago on my old website:
    —–

    Most CV’s and Resumes Are Terrible.
    How to Make Yours Irresistible.
    by Dov Gordon

    From time to time people forward me their CV’s (resumes) asking if I know of anyone who might be able to use their skills.

    I presume that most readers of “The CEO Thought-Provoker™” are also in positions where you read resumes at least from time to time. If so, think back to that rare resume that didn’t read like nutritional information on the side of a food package but actually got you excited. Before you finished you mumbled to yourself “I’ve GOT to meet this guy!”

    Very, very rare. Right?

    Most CV’s are terrible because they:

    (1) talk about the applicant’s skills and abilities using trite phrases that can mean anything – and so they mean nothing; and

    (2) they do NOT create tempting mental images of the real business results the applicant will create for his employer if hired.

    Let’s look at two CV’s that recently arrived in my inbox.

    One applicant notes his “Proven leadership and management capabilities, [and is an] excellent communicator and motivator.” He speaks of his “Expertise in strategic and web marketing, MARCOM and project management,” and refers to how he has “developed concepts and slogans for international advertising campaigns.”

    The other job hunter, looking for a COO position, writes “I offer a proven record of achievement in optimizing efficiencies, launching new initiatives, coordinating logistics, developing strategic plans and managing key relationships. My strengths consist of being highly organized and able to efficiently manage people, projects, and processes under pressure while consistently producing quality results.”

    They may be smart, talented and capable. But their resumes! Blasé. Yawn. Next…

    To make your CV stand out, talk about CONCRETE RESULTS you can help achieve. Create images of pleasure for your future employer.

    For example, what if instead of “managing key relationships” you wrote: “I am skilled at surfacing hidden agendas and political interests. As a result, I can then set up reciprocal interests so that all key executives are genuinely committed to the company’s goals and management time is minimized.”

    Instead of “excellent communicator and motivator” you might write “A strong record of turning average teams into model performers without increased pay or bonuses.” Hmm. That’s compelling. I’ve got to meet this guy!

    You don’t stand out by saying what you are ‘expected’ to say. You stand out by making it very clear how you can help.

    THE CEO THOUGHT-PROVOKER™ QUESTIONS:
    Using what you learned from researching the company you are applying to (you did do research, of course), what results is this company likely to require that you can help create?

    Think back to several of your proudest accomplishments. For each one, how can you turn the specific value you created into a generalization that could apply to any job you might accept in any company?

    What are the tangible business results your employer will see once you begin to work?

    TIP: Don’t focus on what you can DO. Focus on the RESULTS the hiring manager really, really wants.
    ———-

    Dov Gordon

    • Wendy Steele May 3, 2011, 1:54 pm

      I thoroughly agree. I especially like this one: Instead of “excellent communicator and motivator” you might write “A strong record of turning average teams into model performers without increased pay or bonuses.” Hmm. That’s compelling. I’ve got to meet this guy!

  • Sarah J. Storer August 26, 2010, 9:25 am

    I’ve helped several people recently with resumes, and all have gotten jobs in this market within three to four weeks. Like both Dov and Eric said, you need someone who will work WITH you to really understand how to market you to a busy, over-worked HR professional.

    I’d like to help any WSL reader with his or her resume at 10% off my already very reasonable rate. My boyfriend has been unemployed off and on for almost two years, and I understand how hard it is to afford a good resume service when you need to focus your limited resources elsewhere. Plus, I figure you’re reading WSL, so you must be good people. 🙂

    Thanks for posting this, Josh and Jerret!

  • Georgia Blackley April 19, 2011, 5:02 pm

    I am looking for freelance work as a professional resume writer. I have been owner, career-consultant and resume writer of a highly successful business for more than 23 years. I have worked with clients from virtually all professions and industries. I can be reached at 919-266-6500.
    Georgia