Shop Around

cherylExamining resume writing services.
It seems like yesterday that Sondra was in my resume workshop looking forlorn. I found out that three months previous to our meeting, she had contracted a resume writing service that promised to “put her resume on the desk of the decision makers.” Really?

I had heard this line before so I did the Dr. Phil thing and asked, “So, how’s that working for you?”

She responded, “I’m here aren’t I? I’ve had no interviews and I’m out $1,500.”

I tried hard not to swallow my tongue at this price. However, upon mentioning this price to my regional facilitator teammates, I learned this was not the record amount charged for the service. They knew some residents who had paid $3,500 for a resume and some network coaching. You guessed it…they were in my team mate’s networking workshop.

Some of you may say, “Can I sell them a bridge in California?” … but go easy on them. These folks probably thought there was something wrong with their resumes, and they didn’t feel confident in writing them. Perhaps writing is not their thing, so they turned to professionals. But what does that mean? After consulting many websites and blog articles, I’ve compiled a list of six things to “shop” for if you decide a resume writing service is what you need.

Pricing

I mention this one first only because the topic has already come up. As you can see, pricing varies. All sources agree, don’t make price the sole basis for a decision. I’ve seen very cheap resumes that are very cheap, and then there are the two examples of expensive ones in this blog.

Qualifications

Evaluate a company’s qualifications. What kind of credentials do they have? The Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) is a very common credential. Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches can point you in the direction of writers with these certifications and similar ones.

Look at the company’s background. Where did it come from? How long has it been around? Are the coaches HR pros? If they once were, how long ago? What makes their opinion valuable? What does the Better Business Bureau have to say? What did you find on them in LinkedIn? If they’re not there….run, don’t walk.

Marketing

Speaking of LinkedIn, what is the company’s approach to marketing? What does its website look like? Do these people have social media presence? They will be marketing to you, so how the company markets itself is an indication of what you can expect. There is no room for mistakes, sloppiness, or unprofessionalism in any of its company or coaching materials.

Samples

Pay careful attention to the service’s sample resumes. Do they look like cookie cutter documents? Do these people know the target markets they are writing for, or do the resumes look more like fill in the blank resumes? Puppy mills get bad results, so do resume writing mills.

The Process

What is the company’s approach to working with you? Be wary of a company that only wants to write your resume from an online questionnaire. That should only be a starting point. A phone interview, at least one, is warranted. The company is placing the best of your work life in paper form, so it would take research on their part. Remember, you are paying them to work for you.

Guarantees

A 100% guarantee that you will get a job from a resume is expecting a bit too much. But anyone writing one for you should write it to your satisfaction. Some companies have a two-rewrite free policy, and then they charge for each additional one. Other companies have no limit on rewrites.

This brings me to the last point. Shop around. Don’t be fooled by the very first company or person who says they will do one for you. If you are placing your “work life” is someone’s hands, be sure they will take good care of you.

Cheryl Sandifer is a Regional Facilitator with Workforce Solutions. In that role she has been able to apply her knowledge and experience as both an educator and social worker to conduct job search skills seminars throughout the Houston-Galveston area. She has had opportunity to work with those ranging from entry-level to C-level to help them find a job, keep a job, or get a better job.



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