Resume Writer Ripoff – Why not buy better drugs? (tips for the job search)

There are many people who claim to be ‘resume writers’ but most do little more than re-format your resume.  If you are happy paying several hundred dollars for someone to re-format your resume then read no further.

Is this worth what they charge?  In my opinion, no.

People hire resume writers for a lot of bad reasons including:

– the belief that there is a ‘magic bullet’ that an experienced resume writer will provide

– you don’t know what else to do, so re-writing their resume seems like a good idea

– your current resume wasn’t getting much of a response

– it is easy to blame your resume on your lack of opportunity

– it felts like you were doing the ‘job search’ because you had someone re-write your resume

It seems that the market for resume writers has exploded.  Every major job-board has some resume-writing feature or partner and a quick search of the Internet will result in hundreds of folks who are more than happy to re-draft your resume.  But do you want your resume re-written or re-formatted?   And are you willing to spend hundreds to re-format your resume?  My experience with resume writers is driven from hiring one and talking to a whole lot of folks who have used them.

Here is my main gripe, resume ‘writers’ cannot simply pull parts of your resume ‘from thin air’.  They need to ask you a lot of questions to really ‘write’ your resume.  However, the general process seems to be (1) have a call to talk about what you want to do and your background (30-60 min) followed by endless back-and-forth versions of your resume.  Almost all of the changes are incremental and the number of incremental changes is directly proportional to how much you spent on the writer.  Why is this bad?  Well, I believe that an excellent resume writer spends a lot of time talking with you and produces very few resumes.   This is based on the belief that if you have a well though-out design/plan/strategy then your results will take less ‘manual’ labor and the overall process will be much shorter.  This, however, would mean that resume writers had to spend a lot of time with their clients and very little time writing.

In my experience, the reviewer had an excellent ‘resume’ (20 years in HR) and glowing references but when pressed on ‘what is your resume writing process” I got a lot of hand-waving.  I should have stopped right there, but all these people had told me ‘his resume helped me get a job’, so I went forward.  The process took about two months, $600 and what I ended-up with was, for all intents and purposes, a re-formatted resume.  Not what I thought I was paying for.

There are many ways a good resume writer can add value, but do you want that value to be re-formatting or re-writing?