Hire someone to write your resume

, ,

Look, you have to hire someone to help you with your resume. This should not even be a conversation any more. Would you cut your own bangs? If you were in sixth grade, yes, because the only thing you know about bangs in sixth grade is that they hang on your forehead. Once you learn that bangs need to be even, you go to someone who cuts even bangs. When you get older, and you really understand the intricacies of hair, you realize that great bangs are uneven in a highly skilled way, and you don’t even have the right scissors. That’s when you pay a lot of money for someone to “do” your bangs.

If you think you can write your own resume, you’re in sixth grade. A resume is a complicated sales document and also a piece of direct mail. You know who runs to the resume writers the fastest? The people who write direct mail, becuase they understand the intricacies of resumes, just like a fashionista understands the intricacies of bangs – enough to know they can’t do it themselves. Other big customers of resume writers are career coaches — because they see so many terrible resumes from otherwise very impressive people and the coaches don’t want to fall into that category themselves.

Please stop telling me that resume writers are too expensive. Sometimes I hear prices from resume writers and I think, who would trust their resume in the hands of someone who is so cheap? You should be looking for an expensive resume writer. Your resume, more than most things you buy, can earn it’s costs back ten times over.

Think of it this way: An effective resume doesn’t just get you a job. It gets you the job you want. A good resume writer can help you reposition yourself to shift careers, or make you look more high level than you have been in the past. Many good resume writers can also help you to talk about your resume in a way that will allow you to turn an interview into a job.

How can you deny this to yourself? And, by the way, don’t use your haircut money to pay for the resume. You need both.

42 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hey, I get your point that resume writers are worth the money. I even agree with you. But, I also think that, for example, a laptop (which I really need right now) is worth the money, but unfortunately, that would run me into debt, so I am not buying one despite the fact that I need it.

    Especially for younger workers near the beginning of their careers, who typically don’t make a ton of cash, hiring a resume writer is a luxury, not a necessity. I’m sure a resume writer could do a better job than I could, but I’ve yielded quite good job search results with the resume I created myself: I’ve been offered interviews and jobs at good companies that I want to work for.

    I guess it’s a matter of priorities. I think that when one is in job search mode, cash is often tight. That’s not the time that a resume writer is necessarily affordable.

    Having said that though, this is the type of service that could be considered an investment in your future. And since you should be constantly updating your resume, rather than just when you’re searching for a job, maybe the services of a resume writer would be money well spent when you’re happily employed at a plum job that pays well.

  2. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Laura, your comment reminds me of something I wish I had written in the post: Career centers at colleges and universities are a good place to start. The staff is usually knowledgable and it’s always free advice — even if you have already graduated.

    • Jess
      Jess says:

      I earned my degree nearly seven years ago and went to my university’s career services center for the first time just last month for resume help and career-transition advice. I felt out of place walking in dressed nicely and carrying a portfolio while others wore jeans and flip-flops, but the counselor didn’t bat an eye that I was coming back after all these years. She was more helpful and pleasant that I expected, and she even spent an extra hour with me.

  3. Ilya Grigorik
    Ilya Grigorik says:

    Laura, I can’t help but to disagree with this notion of getting someone else to write a document about -me-. I think you made a good argument, but it misses a salient point – nobody, not even a professional can write better about yourself than you.

    It’s perfectly reasonable, no, recommended and a must to get your resume proof-read and edited by a 3rd party. It can be a friend, or for better results it should be a career advisor or a coach. But the point here is, the document is -your- face, it’s not a generic persona created out of thin air by a hired professional.

    The bigger underlying problem in writing the resume is that you have to face yourself and actually spend the time to realize what you are. You do need to spend the time to list and prioritize your goals, your aspirations, your strategy. This is no small feat, in fact it’s very hard. And rightfully so – if you don’t know what you want, who will? Your career advisor? I don’t think so.

    It's a process of self discovery. A professional can assist you in that, in fact, I'd claim that the really good ones will just motivate (and assist) you to do the work you tried to avoid in the first place. You'll start scribbling your goals, your strategy, what makes you unique – And what do you know, at the end of it you'll have a great resume! Resumes are all about positioning against competition; you need to put your strengths against others' weaknesses, but for that you need to know your own strengths in the first place.

    • Andrew
      Andrew says:

      Your argument doesn’t make sense. That logic would imply that there should be no professional advertisers, marketers, copywriters, etc. Maybe nobody knows me better than me, but there are certainly people that know more about writing an effective resume than I do.

  4. John Little
    John Little says:

    Ilya, if you can do what you say good luck to you. But as author of more than 6000 resumes, my experience is that you are 1 in a 100. The other 99 could not analyse, nor write about themselves, let alone sell themselves if their mother’s life depended on it. Most people are consumed by low self esteem and an appalling (or no) command of the English language. They cannot spell, have no knowledge of grammar, sentence structure, language dynamics or syntax (and here I even include most school teachers). As for performing the out of body experience needed to be totally objective about themselves, forget it! It ain’t gonna happen, not in my lifetime. Add to this mass of humanity the poor buggers who need to find work but for whom English is their second language at best, in an English speaking society, and you are talking about millions of people needing professional help. You go for it, but don’t presume everbody has your skills or confidence.

  5. Ilya Grigorik
    Ilya Grigorik says:

    John, that’s fair enough. However, I don’t consider myself ‘good’ at writing resumes. Heck, I know I suck at it – I use career advisors before every round of resumes I send out (or, at least, a couple of friends).

    However, my point is, people may suffer from low self-esteem (true), but we don’t have to lower it even further by telling them that frankly they just can’t do it themselves. The vibe of the post told me “don’t bother” – I disagree.

    I’ve invested a lot of time into this whole process of self discovery. There is a myriad of great books out there on the subject. To name a few good ones (in my humble opinion):
    Never eat Alone (Keith Ferrazzi)
    U R a Brand! (Katherine Kaputa)
    Shyness (Bernardo Carducci)
    Positioning (Al Ries / Jack Trout)
    Any of Seth Godin’s works…

    I'm guess I'm just trying to be positive about it!

    • Jim
      Jim says:

      Resumes are about you! Marketing is something you do to sell something else. In the end an employer hires you, not your resume! Steve is right no one knows you better than you.

  6. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Resumes are not about self-knowledge, they are about sales and marketing. It’s a specialized document. People who are serious about building their own brand hire many different types of people to help them — just like a business hires a lot of different experts to build the company’s brand. This is an example of someone an individual should hire. Individuals who try to do everything themselves are like startups who try to do everything themselves. At some point, to grow bigger, you have to bring in experts.

    • Cynthia Garcia
      Cynthia Garcia says:

      I completely agree with you, I had a wonderful coach that created my resume I now have the best job ever because of that resume. I did not have to pay him because the school that I was attending hired him to help create our resumes but if I ever need to redo or update my resume I will be contacting him again. I was a teacher’s assistant I would correct resumes for students and they were horrible some student agreed that they needed help some other thought that they were the best because they “did it”. Just like cover letters people put down how bad they want the job, Instead of telling the company how bad they need you to work for them. I not the smartest person in the world but even the smartest person should have someone help with resumes and cover letter.

  7. John Little
    John Little says:

    Spot on Penelope. Many people who are trying to “learn about themselves”, are so inwardly focused that they haven’t a hope of being objective about themselves. I have seen thousands of homegown resumes and mostly they are rambling incoherent diatribes. Full of borng irrelevant material that simply turns employers off.
    And the last person I would ask to critique my resume would be a friend or a family member. They are so well meaning but when invested with the power of such a compliment, they usually confuse the picture with “non professional” advice which has suddenly sprung to mind, or comes from their own, not relevant, experiences.
    I always say to my clients, “if a recruiter or an employer provides feedback that needs actioning, then come back to me and we will work through it. But please don’t tell me what a friend or family member has said!” The only people that cout when it comes to judging a resume are the people that can give you the job or block you from getting it.

  8. Antoine Clarke
    Antoine Clarke says:

    so how about some recommendations for resume writers? Because I can imagine few jobs that are easier for charlatans to get into.

    * * * * * *

    Yes, the charlatans. That’s a good point. I am thinking of a good way to answer this question. In the mean time, you can send an email to me at penelope@penelopetrunk.com and I’ll give you some names of resume writers I can vouch for.

  9. Resume Writer
    Resume Writer says:

    This topic and these comments have inspired a great conversation! To the poster who says that the best person to write about you is yourself, I simply must disagree. How about all the great journalists and interviewers out there? Just like them, a good resume writer knows how to draw out the most appropriate information from their clients, and articlulate it properly in a resume.

    Think of it this way; the best managers and leaders all have one really great skill in common: the ability to delegate. You simply can’t do everything yourself and expect to do everything well. The secret is to make sure to gather the best people for your team. (I did!)

    Whether I’m writing a resume for a CEO or recent graduate, I make sure my clients literally come to life on paper. No templates, no form letters. Resume writing is a finely-tuned skill that should be left to the experts. (And yes, I did try cutting my own hair. Once.)

    To those with financial concerns, here’s a bit of advice. Ask your parents or extended family to help foot the tab. They want to see you be sucessful. Most college graduates can’t afford to purchase these services, but mom and dad can! And trust me, they are looking for some kind of return on their investment into your education.
    For those of you that are able to write off tax deductions, the fees associated with a job search is deductible, within the guidelines set by the IRS. Need another write off for 2006? Update your resume!

    How do you find a good resume writer? Call one up and ask them about their experience. What type of clients are they accustomed to working with? Do they ask you questions relating to your experience? Do they understand your industry?

    You’ll get a good sense whether this person is a good match in just a few seconds, because that’s human nature.

    Good luck to all the jobseekers; I wish you a prosperous 2007!

  10. Randy
    Randy says:

    Please help. I have a lot of work history for a job I really really want. I need to get it done this week. Please call me when you get a chance, I would love to use your services, but I wanted to ask you a few questions. Thank you
    Randy Hultgren
    209-676-9621 I will be available tomorrow at 1pm if that works for you.
    Thank you

  11. Patricia Foster
    Patricia Foster says:

    For graduating college students who would like professional resume writing help try your careers department at your university. My university has excellent courses and personal consultation services free for students and a small fee for alumni (this is for UBC in Canada). I’m sure that many other colleges/universities in North America would have similar services.

    * * * * *

    Great comment, Patricia. I don’t understand why more students don’t use career centers. Almost every student I talk to tells me their’s is terrible, and I can’t think of one time that the career center actually did turn out to be terrible once we investigated.

    The people who work at the career centers are evaluated by how many students get good jobs. It is really in their best interest to get students jobs they want. And it’s FREE!!! Everyone should try their school’s career center first. Before you say it’s terrible, at least give it a try.


  12. Bill
    Bill says:

    Your blog entry is long on attitude and short on demonstrable fact…what you present as fact is at best informed assertion…get real: most resumes suck because the writing is poor, typos are common, and the organization is loose…I should spend $1,000 for a common sense approach to writing resumes? Give me a break.

  13. Resume Writer
    Resume Writer says:

    Who is charging $1000 for resumes? If I were you, I would do some fact checking myself…

    * * * * *

    I paid signifcantly more than $1000. There is wide range in the resume world — A range of what each person provides, and a range of what experience each person brings to the table.

    Elaine, for example, has been doing this for more than a dacade, and teams with a career coach to make sure the person whose resume she’s writing has a vision for their career before she gets started.

    I had another person help me with my resume who was much less expensive and was much more focused solely on the nuts and bolts of editing.

    Both people were good. They did very different things, though. You need to have a really good handle on what you need — what is holding you back from getting the work you want. Then you know what type of person to hire to fix the problem. $300 is okay and $3000 is okay. Depending on what you need.


  14. Persuasion
    Persuasion says:

    You’re paying $1000 for resumes?? For that price, i’d expect no less than an NLP expert like Joe Vitale or Grinder to whip that up.

    Complete with hypnotic commands “HIRE ME NOW!”

  15. Frank
    Frank says:

    I agree it is important to seek out professional advice on resumes. Even though many think they are best suited to write about themselves, that is hardly the case. You need to know what recruiters and employers are looking for. I suggest checking out http://www.precision-resumes.com. They have a knowledgeable writing team and are very reasonable. Good Luck!

  16. ResumeWriter
    ResumeWriter says:

    For anyone that is on the fence about hiring a resume writer, feel free to contact me directly to chat about it. I am the owner of a Career Management Services company – ResuMAYDAY. My site is http://www.ResuMAYDAY.com and I have a team of nine resume experts on staff; we all have our own areas of expertise, so that our clients always work with someone who already understands the language of your business.

    In a very short amount of time, I can explain why our process works better than trying to write a resume yourself.

    Who wants to spend hours and hours struggling over this document, changing it everytime it’s look at, just to wonder if you did a good job in the first place?

    The best managers and the smartest professionals know when to delegate. That’s it in a nutshell. Delegate this extremely important task to an expert and there will be no need to second-guess the results.

  17. Alan
    Alan says:

    Listen very carefully…never pay anyone a dime to write your resume. Any service that wants to evaluate your resume for FREE will always come back and say it needs work and they will charge you money that in today’s economic times is unwarrented. Please keep in mind that EVERY interview is different and you will need a different resume for every interview. You will need to make appropriate changes/adjustments for every interview. Take control of your job search, don’t rely on anyone else. Be proud of everything that you’ve experienced, be proud of who you are, where you come from and what you’ve accomplished. If you can’t sell yourself nobody else can.

  18. LaVerne Thomas
    LaVerne Thomas says:

    I would like to know if you could do a professional resume for me.

    Thank You,
    LaVerne Thomas

  19. William Mitchell, CPRW
    William Mitchell, CPRW says:

    Here’s the example I usually give:

    For every $50,000 you expect to eventually make in salary, you lose $961.53 per week in pre-tax income due to the lack of quality interviews from a substandard resume.

    As you can see, saving $50-$100 on the front end means nothing if you’re losing almost $1000/wk on the back end. First, narrow your search by determining the four to six resume writers who do the best work. I say looking at samples of work is the best way to determine the work quality. Any sales jockey can “talk up” a product, but the proof is in the pudding. Then, once you’ve identified those writers, see which one offers the best customer service and pricing.

    But unless you are just that good, don’t do it yourself. I’m going to bet on my resumes beating yours out every time. :-)

  20. Vespert
    Vespert says:

    The points the writer makes are valid, though pieces of the article seem overstated. I help friends with their résumés currently, although I began rewriting them some time ago, while working at an employment agency and gleaning from the expertise of my mentor and manager, who was an excellent marketing and content writer. She could work wonders with a résumé! Candidates would come to us with excellent job skills, but with résumés so poorly written, we’d have been shooting ourselves (and them) in the foot if we hadn’t rewritten them. Even executive assistants and (gasp!) technical writers presented résumés riddled with grammatical, formatting, and spelling errors. Some simply lied about their software skills: evident from the way their résumés were formatted and styles within the document were used (or not used). Some prospects simply had no idea how to market themselves or to create accomplishment-based statements about what they’d done at their jobs. Their résumés read like brochures, rather than résumés, and offered little or no clues into their expertise; others listed far too much information (up to five pages) for mid-level IT, administrative, and accounting positions. That said, I agree (mostly) with the poster of this article; however, I disagree with her point that résumés get “jobs” for people. A well-written résumé gets you noticed and may yield an interview; the rest is up to you. Don’t just depend on a well-crafted résumé. Rehearse your interview. Apply everywhere; practice interviewing everywhere. When you land an interview with a company that really interests you, you’ll be good and ready. Remember: you are interviewing them, as well. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere that doesn’t suit you.

    I provide services for barter and money. If someone has a skill worth trading (such as housecleaning, massage therapy, dentistry, auto repair, acupuncture, organic farming, cell phones) I simply trade with them according to what I would charge them as a fee. My fees run anywhere from fifty dollars (for a simple reformat) to two hundred dollars (for a complete overhaul). To write a résumé scratch is sometimes less tedious than trying to make sense of one that’s already written.

    I don’t know what other people charge; I only know what I charge. Sometimes that is just “what you can afford.” I work on a sliding scale: I charge a little less for the single mother, for instance, returning to clerical work after years of being absent, or a student having just graduated with a degree.

    People are always extremely grateful and it’s something I love doing… and every single time my clients at least land an interview. To date, I have only rewritten around three hundred résumés, rather than the six-thousand the poster of this article has. I still like to think I’m doing a good thing.

    I didn’t proof this… sorry if you find a typo… ;-)

    • William Rios
      William Rios says:

      Your comment in the first paragraph says it all. Why, oh why, did you have to type that you learned anything from your mentor and manager? Did she also teach you to write first and edit “Never”? You ask those reading not to hold lack of “proofreading” against you.
      There is an old saying, “..better to have everyone think you’re a fool, then to type on this thing, and remove all doubt.” Perhaps I should just type that “disclaimer” on the bottom of my resume as well? I noticed two words missing. The words “that” and “from” come to mind. Because of your “disclaimer” you probably won’t even care. I see how it works?
      This, of course, has nothing to do with what you wrote, or maybe it has everything to do with it? Are comments like this over the top? Please, I mean no disrespect just “sarcastic critism”. So sorry, I couldn’t help myself. :o)

  21. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    Lots of strong and interesting opinions here. In my opinion, most people really can’t write a decent resume themselves. Those with above-average intelligence, education, solid writing skills, and an understanding of sales and what a resume is supposed to accomplish can probably write a resume that is as good or better than the average, cheap, non-expert resume service. True professionals will create a better resume than you can no matter how wonderful you think you are. I used to share the opinion that paying for a resume was absurd because I was very capable myself. And I could certainly write a decent resume on my own. But I agreed to try a professional on the recommendation of a friend (because they guaranteed they’d give me my money back if I didn’t like it – no strings) and was shocked at the amount of art and science that can go into it. (try if you like – http://www.boldproresume.com) I now believe, without a doubt, that a pro resume is a no-brainer investment in your career, but it only works if you’re with a truly good writer. Good luck to all during these challenging job searching times! It can be done – I just changed jobs even though everyone told me I was nuts!

  22. Leslie Brown
    Leslie Brown says:

    I need a resume, Im a truck driver with alot of construction experience, what I dont have is Over the road experience. I want to get a job that is steady and I can retire at. I am 50 years old and have only a few years to build retirement.

  23. Desmond Chow
    Desmond Chow says:

    I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and found the articles very interesting, especially this one. I really love the analogy of us getting someone else to cut our bangs!

    Will definitely share this article with my friends and subscribe to your feeds!


  24. Matt
    Matt says:

    Need someone to make me a badass resume based on all my skills I really want this job at our acillermittal or US steel

  25. Amandah
    Amandah says:

    I agree that it’s a good idea to hire a resume writer, which is why I’m looking for one. I finally accepted that I am too close to the subject matter, me. If you know a resume writer or are a resume, please email me a quote for a 1 to 2 page resume.

    Thank you!

Comments are closed.