3 Signs You Need to Break Up with Your Resume Writer

“I just had my resume done by someone else, but I’m very disappointed with it.” “I have no love for my former resume writer.” In my practice, I hear words like these all the time. In fact, I heard them as recent as last week. And without knowing any details, I can tell the person on the other end of the line right then and there what went wrong as it’s always the same thing, or a combination of things. One look at their resume tends to confirm my suspicion. If your resume looks cookie cutter – and it may not look that way to you, but I can spot these resume templates from miles away, I know you probably engaged a large resume-writing firm that offers fast turnaround (48 hours or so) and offers no personal phone time. You fill out a questionnaire and that’s it. I get hired by many clients to rewrite these resumes. By the way, this is not to say large resume-writing firms are always bad and small resume-writing businesses are by definition good! Check out these 3 signs you may need to break up with your current or prospective resume writer. That is, if you were hoping to receive a quality resume: 1. You were charged or quoted a very low fee to have your resume completely revamped – say around $200 – and offered a very quick turnaround (48 hours). (If you think $200 is an average fee for a resume rewrite then you need to read on, too!) Why is this a bad sign? Although we all want a great deal; with professional resume writers, you pretty much get what you pay for. Professional resume writers with years of experience, who have been published, who hold resume-writing credentials (especially the MRW and ACRW which are head and shoulders above all other resume credentials as they are hard to obtain and maintain), know the ROI and value they bring to the table, and they’ll charge you for that. So, how much do they charge? Roughly between $500 and $2,000+ depending on your level, industry, and the complexity of your project. Writers who charge very little tend to have limited experience and are trying to compete on price alone. Because the field of resume writing is not regulated, many people thought they could make a quick buck off all those folks who got laid off due to the economy. 2. When working with your resume writer, he or she only asks for your current resume and refuses to get on the phone with you. Maybe they’ll use a questionnaire, but that will be it. Why is this a bad sign? One of the things you pay a resume writer for, is his or her knowledge of how decision makers review resumes. With this knowledge, a good resume writer will ask you specific questions to draw this information out of you. They will want to get a feel for you to accurately represent you on paper. In other words: data gathering should be a huge – and very important - part of the process. 3. Your resume writer cannot explain to you what the latest developments are when it comes to effective resumes and job search strategies. A lot has happened in job searching and resume writing the past few years. Make that a LOT. Just asking, “Can you explain the difference to me between today’s resumes and those 'back in the days' (aka pre-2008)?” will be a great way to qualify a professional resume writer. The response you get should include some words about personal branding, about the need for tighter and crisper documents, and about the impact both social media and mobile technology are having on the job search and thus resume writing. If you want a more in-depth answer to this question, head over to my blog for the latest resume-writing and job-search trends. So here’s what I recently did in reaction to all my previously burnt clients... I created a special for all the unsatisfied folks out there walking around with a so-so or flat-out god-awful resume along with a bad taste from their experience with another resume-writing firm. I’m one of the pricier resume writers out there so I wanted to help those who were going for a second round of resume development by giving them 20% off my regular resume-writing fee. For more details, click here. What’s more – I’m asking for your input to create a whole series of specials as part of our 10-year CareerBranches anniversary. Name your own special and I might just give it to you! It’s all on my blog, you need just comment! Ilona Vanderwoude, founder of CareerBranches, is a career designer who helps her clients fit a million passions into one lifetime while providing the tactical support to actually make it happen. Read more » articles by this approved career expert | Click here » if you’re a career expert Photo credit: Shutterstock

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