Recently I had reason to speak with someone looking for employment. They said to me that they had been approached by someone who was offering to write their resume for them. After a few questions, I determined that the suggestion was for the person to send their existing resume by email to the, ‘expert’, and the ‘expert’ would re-do it and mail it back.
If you yourself ever get someone offering to do the same, you should be cautious about doing so. The flaw in going about having your resume done this way is that the person who is now putting your resume together is doing it without the advantage of consulting with you; you the person who worked those jobs, went to those schools, took that education. How do they know without asking what your vocabulary is as well? So it won’t be composed in a way that makes sense for you personally, nor will it be the best it can be.
Look at it this way if you will: a mechanic can install brakes on your car and do a professional job without you around. The reason? The right brakes are the ones matched to the make of the car and comes standardized from the manufacturer of the vehicle. Again and again for every customer, the same brakes go on the same types of vehicles. A different kind of vehicle than yours will get the right brakes made for that make or model. You don’t need to be there.
However when it comes to resumes, no two should be identical. Your past combination of jobs, experience, education, volunteer placements and accomplishments are unique to you. The jobs you are applying for have slightly or very different skill and qualification requirements. So to make a resume that is showing you at your best, you have to either be making your own resume, or present and able to be consulted by someone else doing your resume for you.
For this reason more than any other, if you are going to have someone offer to do your resume for you who wants you to pay them for their time but they aren’t going to actually speak with you, then be cautious.
Now I myself have had people send me resumes and ask me to tell them what I think. I will go about making some suggestions, fixing some grammar and spelling errors and re-word some things to strengthen what I’ve been sent. In other words, because a spelling error is a spelling error no matter where you live, I can fix it with confidence. And with confidence I can add a required section to a resume that the original author didn’t use. I may even take a shot at adding lines to a person’s resume about what they did in a job and how it relates to the job they are applying for, if the job on the resume is a standard well-known job, and I know what someone in that role does.
But the resume isn’t really complete when I send it back to them. Nope. That resume should go back and forth and the person who has their name at the top of the resume should be reading it and not afraid to make changes if someone on it isn’t accurate or is in language they don’t understand.
So what’s the difference between what I’m doing and what this other ‘expert’ is doing? Well this other expert was actually never named. A Recruiter contacted the job seeker and sent an email saying, “Hey before I pass on your resume to the employer, it needs re-writing. I know someone who is an expert and they usually charge $150.00. Let me know if you want me to send your resume to them.” So who is this expert anyhow? Could it be the Recruiter just wants to pocket $150 from the applicant and they’ll do it themselves and say it was done by some anonymous expert? Surely the Recruiter has seen enough resumes that they themselves would meet with the job applicant and together re-do the resume?
A good practice is to meet face-to-face with someone you are having help you with your resume. Lots of questions should go back and forth, such as, “Tell me what you accomplished in this job you did back in 2008?” Armed with this information, the experienced resume writer can then pick and choose the most relevant and important things to add to the resume. If there are therefore many miles that separate the ‘expert’ from the applicant, email becomes one way to have it done, but I’d suggest some free emails back and forth to answer questions posed by the ‘expert’ are a good idea.
Of course there are other ways to go about this too. A face-to-face meeting could be held using your computer, or a phone call might be the answer. The bottom line is communication should be occurring. And when the resume is submitted for review and changes, you should include the posting you are applying, for.
Should you pay for someone to do your resume at all? Under some circumstances, yes. But before paying, ask how many revisions you are allowed if any, for the same fee. And you should get an electronic copy of the resume, not just paper versions in the post.