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13 Things Your Resume Writer Won’t Tell You

13 Things Your Resume Writer Won’t Tell You

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Want to hire someone to polish up your old resume so you can land your next great job? Think it’ll be as simple as handing over a list of job titles, a brief description of your duties, and maybe coming up with an accomplishment or two? Think again.

Related: 3 Tips To Get Your Resume In The ‘Yes’ Pile

A survey of resume writers and career coaches revealed 13 things your resume writer won’t tell you, but you should know!

1. Your resume won’t find a job for you

This is not some magic piece of paper that will solve all your problems. You have to chat up your contacts, reach out to hiring managers, create a LinkedIn presence, and present a professional appearance, and attitude at all times. No job is going to come knocking on your door. As Karleen Harp of ResumeSmith puts it, “’If you build it, they will come’ does not apply here. You have to get off the couch and network!”

2. I can’t read your mind

You must tell me your accomplishments in detail or I can’t write the kind of resume that will get a hiring manager’s attention. Everyone is a “team player” or has “excellent communications skills,” but not many can claim to have saved their company $17,000 annually in production costs by creating a tracking database to reduce turnaround times by 50%. See what I mean?

3. If you lie on your resume, you might not get caught

But you probably will, eventually. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever for employers to check things you claim. Your resume must reflect the truth, not what you want it to say. And even if I were inclined to stretch the truth a little, if your prospective employer finds out you lied to him — and he will — you’re done. And you probably won’t just lose your job, but your reputation, too.

4. I might tell you things you don’t want to hear

It’s not because I don’t like you, but because I’m trying to help you be successful in your job search. You may not be attractive enough to land that spokesmodel job, or have the education to design NASA’s next space shuttle. I might even tell you that you need to shower more often or dress more appropriately. If it hurts your feelings, that’s too bad. The hiring manager won’t tell you these things; he just won’t offer you a job.

5. You need to treat looking for a job like it’s a job

Be professional. Do the homework I assign you — I need that information. Be on time to our meetings — my time is as important as yours. Be responsive when I ask you questions — the longer you take to get back to me, the longer your resume is going to take. Extend the same respect to me as you would to your boss. In fact, until you land that job, I am your boss.

6. You don’t understand what you need in your resume

Would you pay a mechanic to fix your car, then watch over his shoulder and tell him how to do it? Of course not! A Successful Career’s Georgia Adamson makes the same point quite clearly: “Don’t tell me how to do my job. I am a professional in my field, as you are in yours. You hired me for my expertise. If you want to manage this project, I suggest you write your resume yourself.”

7. You’re not my only client

Creating a good resume takes time. Your poor planning is not my emergency. I manage my schedule carefully so I can service all my clients according to their needs. If you come in at the last minute with something that needs to be done right now, your demands create a domino effect on everyone else. Be prepared to pay extra for rush service. And heaven help you if I find out you didn’t really need it so urgently after all and thus screwed up the rest of my week for nothing!

8. You get what you pay for

Creating a good resume isn’t free. If you think you can do as good a job, then by all means, write it yourself and save the money. If you think a $99 resume is as effective as a $550 resume, it’s not. That sounds harsh, but a lot of thought, time, and research goes into creating an eye-catching document with hard-hitting information that will get the attention of hiring managers. What worked yesterday is out of vogue today. My job is to create a resume that gets you the interview.

9. You need to know “what you want to be when you grow up” before I write your resume

Resumes are targeted, not generic documents to hand out like business cards. An unfocused list of previous accomplishments won’t impress anyone, so know what job you want before asking me to write your resume. Also: not everything you’ve ever done is worth including on your resume. Hiring managers want to know how you’re going to fit into their organization; they don’t want to sift through all your qualifications wondering what job to offer you.

10. I don’t care about your problems

I mean, of course I hope your life is going well, but knowing the details of your last awful job or why you didn’t get that promotion won’t help me gather the information I need. And unless I’m providing you with career coaching, it just wastes your time and mine. Dwelling on past mistakes or injustices only hinders the creation of your resume, which is a forward-looking tool designed to open new doors for you, not a way to address old grievances.

11. Listen to me

I can get you that job if you do what I tell you. I’ve had the training to spot what you’re doing wrong. Your friends or your hairdresser don’t. I know you don’t want to cold-call employers, buy a new suit, take a skills-upgrade course, or schedule informational interviews, but ignoring my advice is the surest way to fail. Nobody wants to hire a bad attitude. “Instead of arguing, listen,” says Greg Faherty of www.a-perfect-resume.com.

12. Be prepared

The resume will only get you that first interview — after that, it’s up to you. Rehearse likely interview questions so you’re not caught flat-footed and be able to back up every bullet on your resume with details. Don’t let the interviewer surprise you with your own work history. Research the company so you’ll know where you might fit in and highlight those achievements that qualify you for that position.

13. You are worth hiring

Don’t sell yourself short or belittle accomplishments that seem trivial. If it’s on the resume, you need to own it so you can sell it. I didn’t put it on there for nothing. That said, if there is anything on your resume that makes you uncomfortable, tell me before you have to defend it to an interviewer. Employers need convincing you’re as good as you say, but they’ll believe anything negative without a second thought… so don’t give them a reason to move on to the next applicant.

So, if you’re not getting the results you want in your job search, maybe it’s time to ask a resume writer for help. But be prepared to be a partner in the process, not a passive participant. Good resumes take time to write, and the more you put into the process, the more you’ll get out of it!

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Bridget (Weide) Brooks Bridget (Weide) Brooks, CPRW is the editor of Résumé Writers’ Digest, a trade newsletter for professional résumé writers, and the founder of BeAResumeWriter.com.