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I'm Beyond Irritated with Resume Writers...

Updated: May 4


Today's blog is going to be a hot take, but after the past two weeks of meeting with clients I think it's about time somebody talks about this!

Moral of the Story:

If you are considering hiring a resume writer for your job search, please do your due diligence (more below) and try not to get scammed. I am sick and tired of hearing from our potential clients that they are out $250 - $800+ after working with a resume writer who clearly has NO IDEA what they are doing.

We all know our resume is critical to your job search. It provides the first impression of your professional history and highlights your skills, achievements, and potential value to prospective employers. Whether the job market is hot or cool, you must send your best resume when applying for a job.

However, there is not a more vulnerable time in your career journey than when you are looking for a job. Our careers provide us with financial stability, growth opportunities, and a sense of purpose (just to name a few things...). It's agonizing when you are out of work or working somewhere where your values and interests are out of alignment.

And in walk resume writers...

They know this and they know that if they prey on that vulnerability you will buy what they are selling. Resume writing is not a skill taught in school, instead, we learn from friends, family members, career centers, and the good old internet! And within all of those layers are a huge amount of misconceptions. So here is the deal, I want you to know what I teach my clients so you can avoid a bad resume writer. Let's get into it...

1. If They Try To Scare You With AI...Run!

This seems to be the latest marketing tactic based on my conversations with clients so let's dive right in! Yes, many employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes. These systems are not new to the market, have been around for 10+ years, and have used a system to detect keywords for YEARS. AI is not radically changing the game!

And an ATS is not an evil system. It's as simple as this: to increase the likelihood of your resume passing through these systems, incorporate relevant keywords from the job description and make sure that your resume addresses the needs of the job being posted. That's it! An ATS is designed to help recruiting professionals sort through information faster so they can get to the most qualified candidates first. It's designed to speed up the process, especially in mid-large size companies.

2. One Generic Resume Won't Cut It

One size does not fit all when it comes to resumes, and sending the same generic document with each application just won’t cut it. However, most professional resume writers only provide one resume based on what you submit. While I get this from a business standpoint - it's sustainable - it's not the way we work with clients. I don't want you to depend on me to write every single resume for your job search. I want you to have the skills for your entire career! My job is to be a second line of defense when you need it, not make you dependent on me.

You can learn more about why we use a master resume process in this blog.

3. Keep It Concise and Readable

So many of these resume writers deliver a product that is overwhelming and cluttered! They claim that you need as much information as possible on the page to "beat the system". Sure you may get past the ATS, but then comes the important part - human eyes!

The reality is recruiters often spend only a few seconds scanning a resume, so it's crucial to place the most important information where it can be easily noticed. Prioritize your resume sections based on relevance to the job, ensuring that your key qualifications and achievements are prominently displayed. While you may be tempted to include every detail of your career, it's essential to keep your resume concise and focused.

And don't forget, your resume is a reflection of your professionalism, so invest time in creating a clean and visually appealing design. Choose a professional font, maintain consistent formatting, and use appropriate spacing. A well-organized and aesthetically pleasing resume not only catches the eye but also conveys a sense of attention to detail.

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING...Ask Resume Writers About Their Qualifications!

  • Have they ever worked in the recruiting field?

If I were in your shoes I would want to know how familiar they are with the recruiting process. Have they worked as a recruiter, sourcer, or in other talent acquisition roles? I am a former recruiting training manager. I taught all of the individuals in our 50+ recruiting department how to be the very best at their jobs. I also have looked at hundreds (if not thousands of resumes) during my career. I know what works and what doesn't!

And if they have worked in the recruiting space was it for an in-house recruiting team or an agency? I love my agency folks! But when you work with an agency recruiter you have an advocate on your team that can speak to your qualifications. Your resume does not have to be as precise as when you are submitting a cold application. Make sure your resume writer knows the field and has spent time working in it!

  • Have they ever worked on the backend of an ATS?

There is nothing more terrifying than the unknown! So many professionals are terrified of an ATS. There is nothing to be afraid of - it's simply a tool that optimizes workflow in high-volume recruiting. That's it! As someone who has taken a system and rebuilt it to work more efficiently, I know exactly what they do, what they are capable of doing, and where their limitations are. Make sure your resume writer knows that too!

  • Have they ever hired someone before?

If you have never interviewed a job search candidate before then you are not qualified to write resumes. Hard. Stop. You are unable to speak to the skillsets needed and the best way to showcase those on a piece of paper. I would want my resume writer to be skilled at interviewing and evaluating candidates if they are going to be prepping my documents for the process! Don't be afraid to ask them if they have this skill set.

Here is the deal, some great people are working in this space and trying to educate job seekers on how to best showcase their skills. But if the person you are considering working with just "checked the box" on an online certification or learned from a mentor, please run in the other direction! You deserve to work with someone who wants to educate you on how to build lifelong skills and is willing to give you education on the process.

I started Talent Career Coaching because I saw a gap while working in HR. Employees desperately wanted to be hired into jobs they were passionate about and they wanted to succeed. Unfortunately, businesses don't do a great job of channeling and developing that desire. That's where I stepped in! If you want to work with coaches who are committed to your long-term success, we are here and would love to partner with you on your professional journey.


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