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Professional Resume Writing Services: The Bad (Part II)

This article represents part II of my series on professional resume writing services. Part I covered “The Good” aspects of the industry. For instance, I looked at how the industry has been a great service to many job seekers and to employers by enhancing the quality of resumes and producing targeted documents that marry the needs of the employer with the skills of the candidate.

Now I will focus on some of the negatives. Before I do that, however, let me start out by reiterating that I happen to be a resume writer. I am a certified professional resume writer (CPRW). Before my resume writing days, I spent time as a hiring/operations manager for a large-scale call center. As a result of that experience, I have witnessed both sides of the fence. Overall, I believe the resume-writing industry as a whole to be a great service to job seekers. But like any other industry, it has its downside.

So let’s look at what can and often does go wrong in the industry.

1. Most job seekers are ill advised on how best to choose their writer. They have not heard of organizations out there who offer certification testing for the resume writing field. One of them, the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC) offers the CPRW exam, which requires individuals to undergo a testing process that includes a review of their work by their peers.

Nevertheless, because certification is not a requirement and job seekers are unaware that it even exists, they can get caught off guard and end up hiring writers without certification. Does that necessarily mean that the writer is bad? No, but as in any industry, you want to work with people who have been scrutinized by their colleagues. Also, you want a governing organization that is looking for uphold standards for the industry.

2. Many job seekers make purchasing a resume solely about price. With so many writers out there to choose from, of course you should consider price. However, many job seekers tend to undervalue the work that a resume writer does. Here’s a good tip: If someone is charging less than $100, even $150, to do a resume for a mid-level professional, there’s something wrong with that picture. Chances are the writer is uncertified or certainly inexperienced. You don’t want a writer cutting his or her teeth on you. Quality writers are going to be charging anywhere from the high $200s to low $500s for mid-level candidates.

3. Some resume writers lack the whole package. Unfortunately, there are different factions among resume writers. Some believe that good writing is all it takes to be a good resume writer. Others believe that good writing combined with good Word skills is all it takes. And others are hung up on making the documents as pretty as can be (“flash” they like to call it).

Truthfully, a quality resume writer has aspects of all of those things but is much more than simply a “good writer.” He or she has a strong grasp of industries and positions and knows what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for. The best resume writers understand that what makes their documents effective is how well they reach their audience. Sadly, many writers miss the boat on this one. They spend so much time focusing on the document itself and not much time on the target market they are trying to reach that they can write a “flashy” resume that is ineffective.

4. Not all resume-writing firms operate in the same way. Some writers only meet face to face (although they are becoming a dying breed). Some conduct business via phone. Others only prepare resumes off of worksheets filled in by the job seeker. All in all, there is no one right way to guarantee you a better document. But it would be wise for job seekers to know what kind of service works best for them before picking a writer.

My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I am an MBA and certified professional r

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