You’ve heard enough out of me about why you should toss your resume in the trash and get your next job by actually talking to people who can hire you. A resume is a dumb piece of paper. It cannot “sell” you, or be your “marketing piece” or defend you when a manager sees something on it that bugs him. Too many people use a resume as a crutch. “Look, I mailed out 100 of them! I’m job hunting actively. Now I’ll wait for employers to call.” Yah. You might as well send a dog with a note in its mouth.
But you’re gonna use a resume anyway. And I’ve got no beef with that. You should have a resume, a good one. Use it the way I do when I present a candidate to a client company. Not to get the candidate in the door, but to fill in the blanks.
I rely on my powers of persuasion to get my client to interview a candidate. Besides, my clients don’t want 500 resumes. They’re paying me to bring them three good candidates so they don’t have to waste their time sorting paper. If I provide a resume at all, it’s usually after the interview, when the manager needs to fill in the blanks — to understand the rest of the candidate’s background. And that resume had better be good, clear, to the point, and supportive of what the manager learned about the candidate in their meeting.
Most resumes are crap. Yadda-yadda-yadda. “OBJECTIVE: To work for a progressive company where I can experience career growth and where I can work with people.” (HINT: I love those resumes because the OBJECTIVE is right up top, and that helps me to instantly toss the thing in the trash. Gimme a break. You want to work with people. You want to work for a good company. You want your career to grow. So what? What’s that got to do with showing me why I should hire you, or present you to my client?)
If you aren’t capable of writing a decent resume, you may turn to a friend for help, or you may pay a resume writer to do it for you. Unfortunately, the resume-writing racket is loaded with more dopes than the headhunting and HR businesses. Think about it. If you don’t think you’re qualified to write your own resume, what qualifies you to pick a resume writer who will do a good job? Think, Dopey. Don’t flush your cash. Think.
If you’re going to pay to get a resume written, I’m going to offer you two suggestions that will help you out:
1. Don’t hire a resume mill. TheLadders is a good example of a mill. It’s a job board running a resume business on the side. You’ll get a convincing sales pitch on the phone or in an e-mail from a “pro,” only to have your resume turned over to a greenhorn in the back room who’s cranking out fodder for the shredder. Besides, why should you pay for a tiny $100k mistake or use a service that’s rickety, leads nowhere? I cite Ladders by name because they’ve got the biggest advertising campaign in the resume business and you’re going to see their pitch everywhere. Always go for the independent practitioner when you can. Resumes are very personal, and personal service is likely to be best. (I offer the same advice about headhunters, employment agencies, and career coaches and counselors.)
2. Be smart. Don’t hire just any writer you find. Learn how the resume business works so you can choose wisely. Learn How to choose a professional resume writer.
That tip sheet is written by a resume writer, Louise Fletcher, to promote her business. (I have no affiliation with Fletcher.) But I think the tips are sound. She shares a few insider gotchas that I never thought about. One of the best tips is this: check the writer’s references. Not just clients they offer. Check LinkedIn, check Google. Ask to see their work. Compare before and after examples. Make sure the person you talk to about the service is the one writing the resume.
That’s my advice. Now let’s hear your resume stories and your advice. Give us your resume-writing experiences, gotchas and suggestions.
[Please: While I welcome comments and advice from professional resume writers, don't use this blog to advertise your services. Instead, impress us and give us something we can use. If someone wants to talk to you about your services, Googling your name should be sufficient so they can find you.]
I still think your best resume is the story that comes out of your mouth when you’re talking shop with the manager you want to work for. There’s nothing more personal than that. But, I know you’re gonna use a resume anyway. So be smart about it.