This article represents my third installment of a three-part series on professional resume-writing services. The first part dealt with the “good” aspects of the industry and the myriad ways that resume writers have benefited both job seekers as well as hiring managers and recruiters. The second part focused on some of the “bad” or negative issues that plague the industry and how both resume writers and job seekers can overcome them.
In this discussion, I will focus on the “ugly” parts of the resume-writing industry, looking at how a few bad apples have caused job seekers and industry analysts to question the legitimacy of the industry as a whole.
As a resume writer myself, here are some of the worst issues that I have to face when addressing concerns from worried job seekers who, understandably, don’t want to make a poor investment:
1. Overselling the product. I’ll be honest. This issue drives me crazy even though I grasp perfectly how it happens. Selling a resume, particularly online, like most Internet services is based 80% on pure emotion. Sure, the job seeker needs a resume and starts looking for a writer. But job seeking and resume preparation are emotional things, no matter whether you are currently employed, recently laid off, looking to change careers, or re-entering the workforce. Everyone is nervous. So, resume writers naturally often end up being part writer and part counselor to their clients. That in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing; however, on the sales side, sometimes it can lead to “selling the farm” as a way of soothing the fears of potential clients and getting them to put their trust in your services.
The biggest way that happens is by making promises or guarantees that no writer can be 100% sure of. The second way is by misrepresenting the role of the resume. A resume does NOT get you a job. You do! A resume is a tool. And like any tool, the more well made it is, the better results it will produce for the hand that wields it.
Although the resume-writing industry has done remarkably well at selling job seekers on the need for a well-made resume, it has not done so well at also selling them on the idea that they need to learn how to use it. Most job seekers lack proficient job hunting skills, thinking that a flashy resume and the Internet are all they need.
I look at it this way: I want to make a cabinet, so I buy the nicest saw there is. I can read all the product instructions. Peruse consumer reports. Watch demos. But unless I learn how to actually use my fantastic saw, chances are my cabinet will either not get made or turn out poorly. Why? Because I expected the saw to do all the work. Listen. Everyone wants the dream job, but not everyone is willing to do what it takes to land it. Many expect the resume to do all the work.
2. Using tactics that disparage other writers. It has become common practice with many resume-writing services, especially large ones, to offer free resume critiques to potential clients. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this practice and is often useful to job seekers as a way to test out the communication and expertise of a firm. The problem comes when these firms are so desperate for a sale that they take to tearing apart the work of other professional writers. It’s usually pretty obvious to anyone with resume-writing experience when a resume has been professionally done. Certainly the person performing a critique is well within his or her rights to offer up suggestions and recommendations, but knowingly trashing another professional’s work in order to make a sale is unethical and a disservice to the job seeker.
3. Job seekers who get in the way. One of the biggest obstacles to resume writers is the fact that many candidates think they know something about preparing resumes. They’ve read up on it. They’ve spoken to their colleagues. They fancy themselves as grammarians. Now I am in no way insinuating that job seekers shouldn’t ask lots of questions or become knowledgeable on the subject. But please don’t hire a professional to write your document and then proceed to argue with everything he or she does. I’ve seen many resume writers reduced down to nothing more than typists.
Recognize the fact that like other professional services you may employ, you do so because it is not your full-time job and you are not an expert. If you want to get the most out of your resume-writing service, don’t just get a resume, take advantage of the expert advice of your writer.
So who am I anyway? Why do I think my advice is so valuable?
My name is Stephen Van Vreede. My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I have been in the career consulting business since 2002 with 8 years of hiring experience prior to that.
The short story is that I have an MBA in Marketing from Villanova University and a dual B.S. degree in Finance & Logistics from the University of Maryland. I am a certified professional résumé writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). As I mentioned, I paid my dues in the corporate world eventually running a large-scale call center for a major truck rental company, and I have spent the past 6 years with No Stone Unturned, assisting job seekers in achieving their goals.
I know that my products will work for you because they are based on common-sense principles leveraged with good, solid expertise and knowledge of the job search process. After working with countless job seekers, I have become more and more convinced that most of them do not properly prepare for a job search and rely way too much on online sites and trendy articles to tell them what to do. Thus, they waste a lot of time, money, and energy.
If you still aren’t sure whether our services are right for you, feel free to give me a call toll-free at 1-866-755-9800 or better yet, sign up to receive my free Job Search Advice eGuide today.
In February 2009, I am launching a new group job hunting networking site: Noddle Place. Check it out at http://www.noddleplace.com.