More than a few of my clients have come to me by way of a prior, unhappy online experience. When you select a resume writing “service” based on a fancy website, understand that you will likely not be getting a product written by the individual that owns the company, and here’s why:
- Pricing is your first clue. Few people are willing to work for peanuts. If you are paying a low price, expect your document(s) to be produced by an individual who works from home and is paid on a piecework basis to create what is often a boilerplate document that you could easily have produced for yourself with a few hours’ research. Worst-case scenario: your writer will be a foreign national (or fellow American) whose grasp of the English language is considerably worse than your own. ALWAYS ask to see writing samples before you hand over your money.
- High volume is the next clue. A single writer cannot produce thousands of resumes in a week, which is why volume companies engage contract writers. Quality writing requires a good understanding of what you do, what sets you apart from others who do what you do, expert grammar skills and the ability to position a candidate strategically based on value. Writing that does these four things is impossible to produce from a checklist. If you must provide a checklist for the writer, be wary. Personal interaction – either by phone or in a face-to-face meeting will naturally result in a better product.
- Poor grammar on the website: run! If the writer/company cannot manage to produce a credible website that every potential client has access to, that’s a sure sign of either carelessness or gross incompetence. Of course, no writer is perfect. We all make the occasional typographical error, but you don’t want to be the victim of an egregious error that makes you look ridiculous to a hiring manager.
- No discernible location is the last clue. When you engage a writer, research both the company and the writer. Is the company local? Can you discover who owns the company? Does the writer have an online presence? Is the writer associated with any reputable professional organizations? Does the writer have any reputable training or certifications? Can you reach the writer if you are dissatisfied with whatever is produced for you?
You stand to lose more than money when you engage a questionable writing service. There is the negative impact resulting from materials that do not accurately reflect who you are and what you have to offer. There is also a lost opportunity cost when you 1) don’t receive any product at all, 2) receive a product that presents you unsatisfactorily or 3) doesn’t win you interviews that you are counting on.
How long do you want to search for your next position? What does it cost you to be unemployed over many months of fruitless searching? Are you looking for the next paycheck or are you passionate about a career that makes the most of your talents and capabilities? Will you benefit from services beyond the resume, like a behavioral assessment or career coaching that gives you confidence for interviewing, plants you on an upward career trajectory or equips you to make good career choices?
You’ve already guessed that I work with a select few talented individuals who understand their value and are eager to maximize results!
Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC