Ask LH: Should I Use A Resume Service?

Dear Lifehacker, I am currently job hunting and looking to improve my resume. I’m a modest person and find it difficult to big note myself, particularly when it comes to writing my CV. Consequently I’ve looked into CV/resume writing services, which seem to range from cheap and dodgy to expensive and dodgy (some of the sites refer to save your CV to a floppy!) Do you know of any reputable services to help me get my CV into shape so I can get out of my current role? Thanks, Tough Sell

Resume picture from Shutterstock

Dear TS,

We’re not big fans of resume-writing services at Lifehacker HQ, and we’re not about to recommend any individual provider. In part that’s because, as you’ve already noted, many of them seem overpriced and unhelpful. But there’s a more fundamental problem: a resume-writing service is going to cost you a fortune, because you need to rework your resume (and your application letter) for every single job you apply for. This has been a consistent theme whenever we’ve written about resumes: you need to adjust them to match the job in question, not just send out the same information to everybody. It’s a fresh task every time, and not one you should outsource.

Having trouble talking yourself up isn’t uncommon. Make the task easier by focusing on measurable accomplishments. If you can say that you increased server performance by 50 per cent, decreased the time taken to deploy new systems from a day to 30 minutes, or improved sales by $50,000 a week, that’s not boasting: that’s a statement of the facts. Accomplishments matter more than your basic responsibilities.

Writing a resume isn’t easy, but using a service only increases the odds you’ll get a cookie-cutter layout that matches everyone else. Invest the time to work on your resume; no-one is more aware of your skills and achievements than you are.


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