You need to be very careful when choosing a resume writing service as anyone can put up a sign they write resumes.
In fact some companies are now tricking the public by ranking themselves “#1” in fake Top 10 Resume Writing Service lists.
They then send the resumes overseas to be written and produce very bad, broken English resumes. Other firms deliver nothing more than a prettier format of what you have.
So, here’s how the industry works, and how to choose a resume writing service.
1. Avoid the scams.
Unfortunately, there are a number of scams out there. Watch out for those who have fake Top 10 or Top 7 Resume Writing lists. These are generally companies overseas who have ranked their own site as #1 in resume writing to trick you into thinking they are the top site. Another list showing the “Top 7 sites” are sites that are owned by the same fellow.
Not really a scam, but you should carefully review those sites that guarantee a job or they will not only refund your monies, but give you money back as well. Sounds great, but if you check out the terms and conditions, you may find it onerous to comply.
The safest way to ensure you’re going to get a quality product is to check out their BBB rating and look for firms with an A+ rating.
2. Unless you think you are like everyone else, avoid the resume writing factories and low-end providers.
A good resume takes hours to write and the best resume writers produce only 1-2 resumes per day. They take the time to understand you and the best resume writers will take more than 24-48 hours to prepare your professional resume. Another clue to this is the lack of SAMPLES on their website.
Your professional resume is THE MOST IMPORTANT document in your career and should not be rushed.
Some resume writing factories will be “partners” with job boards (e.g. CareerBuilder) which is nothing more than a royalty they pay for every sale. Resume writing factories often use cookie cutter resume writing templates to produce a professional resume, so unless you are comfortable with that, find someone who will spend the time to understand how you are unique.
To be on the safe side, identify who the President or Executive Director of the firm is and what their accomplishments are as you will want to work with someone who has stood out in the field as opposed to a nameless company that just makes bold claims about “being the best resume writers.” Be careful if they don’t mention anyone as they are then just one of the many companies that are trying to do high-volume resumes.
3. How does the web site look?
If they cannot organize their web site and make it look attractive, then they can’t do that for your resume. However, this is not the only criteria to use. I know a company with mediocre writers that is successful solely because they have an attractive web site.
4. The resume writing firm should have some credentials.
The most common one is the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) designation that indicates they have at least passed some level of competency.
That being said, look for credentials beyond the CPRW designation. Do the people have impressive backgrounds? Many sites won’t tell you anything beyond their CPRW designation. Great writers have great accomplishments so look to see if they have been published in books and, most importantly, find out about their business background. Did they attend a good school – did they rise through the business ranks? Being in HR is good and being an executive is even better as they have been the decision makers behind the hiring process and have demonstrated the skills to excel in writing a professional resume.
Also ask who writes the resume. Just because you are a brain surgeon, that doesn’t mean you have to have a brain surgeon write your resume. Look for people with deep experience writing professional resumes for your trade and ask about their success rate in securing interviews. Many of the nation’s best resume writers will have trained their resume writing staff in their style and quality standards and that is fine as long as the chief resume writer also reviews and stands behind the work.
To be on the safe side, ask if they guarantee your satisfaction with the end-product and how many revisions you are allowed. Some resume services charge after 2 resume writing drafts while others will continue to revise the resume until you are delighted.
5. Look at their samples.
If you don’t like their resume writing samples, you surely won’t like their work. Look to see if they are focusing on skills and accomplishments as opposed to producing pretty resumes that just list job duties. Also look to see if they are using advanced techniques like color, testimonials and highlights to make your resume stand out from the crowd.
If they don’t show professional resume writing samples, then be very careful as there is no reason a resume writing service shouldn’t be able to show you an example of their work. They may not have resume examples for the kind of job you want, as a lot of people tend to copy the work, but some resume writing samples are a must.
6. Check out their resume writing process and make sure you get to speak to someone.
A good professional resume cannot be written just from a questionnaire, and the best resume writers will insist on speaking to you. This way they can ask you insightful questions that highlight the skills and achievements that impress an employer. If they don’t interview you, this means that their resume writers are not strong enough to have an intelligent conversation with you.
The best resume writing services will use both a questionnaire and a phone interview. The resume writing questionnaire will jog your memory and make you think a bit about things that you haven’t thought about in a while. In fact, it not only helps you get the best resume, it helps you prepare for a job interview. High level executives would insist on a questionnaire and a phone interview and there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to get the same VIP treatment for your resume writing project.
7. Get a free resume evaluation.
If they don’t offer one, then they are probably too weak to provide a good critique, or they rely on high volume and are one of the “factories” that use templates.
Then notice if they call you or send you an email evaluation. Email evaluations are usually standard templates with a few words changed and anyone can produce them. Beyond.com is just one example of a resume writing service that sends you a lengthy, well-written evaluation that is 99% canned with a couple of sentences added. A really good resume writing service is not afraid to talk to you to understand your needs and indicate how they could help.
8. Call the company.
Do you speak to a sales person or a resume writer? If you are speaking to a sales person, then they probably are more of a factory that does big volume and uses “cookie-cutter” templates.
9. Do they offer a guarantee?
A good service will stand behind their work and offer to revise your resume for free if it is not working. You’ll want to choose a resume writing service that stands behind their product.
Again, we suggest you look for the BBB Online Reliability seal and a BBB A+ rating that shows they are a safe and reliable site and have demonstrated a strong track record in writing professional resumes.
10. Ask about the price.
Yes, the resume writing price is important but not as important as getting the best resume that works. The difference between a mediocre, ineffective resume and a great one can be as little as $100 (the cost of a night out).
Remember: This is the most important document in your career, so it makes sense to spend what it takes to get a resume that you know will work.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, but it has allowed anyone to offer resume writing services, regardless of their background. Use this 10-point checklist and you will be guaranteed to choose the right resume writing service for you.
About the author
Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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