Why Would You Pay For A Resume?

One of the questions I hear quite often is, "why would anyone pay for a resume?". The answer to which — at least in my opinion — is quite simple. You wouldn't invest in an expensive new car after receiving a cluttered, hard-to-read advertisement would you? No. You would feel that the marketer hadn't quite finished the job.

Hiring picture from Shutterstock

And essentially, that's exactly what's happening when a hiring manager receives your resume. You're the car, and your resume is your advertisement. You need to sell yourself!

Consider this scenario. You're a busy recruitment agent, charged with placing a technical team lead. You almost dread placing the ad on Seek, knowing that the minute you do you're going to be inundated with hundreds of responses, many of which will not be suitable. Once the applications start to roll in, you engage your junior recruitment coordinator to assist with sifting through the pile.

Now as a candidate, you're really not privy to this side of the process and probably have little-to-no idea that your application is being assessed by a surly 19 year old, who's likely more interested in shopping at lunchtime than effectively appraising your skill set.

You have about five to 10 seconds in which to grab the attention of said surly recruitment coordinator. If the document you've presented is poorly formatted, too long, crammed with tables, crazy fonts, technical acronyms and so on, you're probably not going to get a look-in. It's not always the case (certainly not for more specialist roles) but generally speaking this could be considered a fairly typical scenario.

This is why paying a professional can be beneficial. Broadly speaking, resume writers and editors are typically ex (or current) HR, recruitment or resourcing professionals with extensive experience and understanding of the candidate lifecycle process. A decent one (and not all of them are) will be able to succinctly enhance the experience you wish to portray, and craft it in such a way that is appealing and appropriate for the target audience. They may even point out skills or achievements you didn't know you had! Sometimes when preparing your own profile (and this definitely happens to me) it's difficult to be objective, and also to cover everything important without going on and on for pages and pages.

Another benefit to a professionally-written resume is of course, formatting. Wonderful, wonderful formatting. I'd say almost everyone believes it's their experience or education which secures them that all-important interview, but in my experience it's always been a nice, clean-but-stylish layout firstly, accompanied by the relevant experience which gets you through the door. If something is difficult to read, it won't get read.

A quality resume service provider will have a good understanding of current industry standards with regard to the length, style and structure of a stand-out CV, and will apply the necessary formatting to increase the visual-appeal and streamline the flow of information throughout your profile.

Now, this is not to say that everyone should race out and start throwing money around — if you're a half decent writer with good spelling and grammar then you should do just fine on your own. Find yourself a nice template and get started. Don't waffle on. Don't use Times New Roman. Easy.

On the flipside, if your spelling is atrocious and you haven't a clue about formatting then yes, I'd say off you go to get yourself a professional resume. It's your foot in the door after all, is it not? Think of it as an investment.

To quote Eminem (not something you should do on a resume): "you only get one shot". An odd reference perhaps, but think about it. At any moment you could stumble across your dream job and know without doubt that you're perfect for it, but without the perfect resume to represent you, will you get your shot to prove it face-to-face?

Peta Brady is the co-founder and director of Word Birds. Having recently made the move from the corporate sector into freelancing, Peta is a certified professional proofreader and editor and aspiring novelist living in Melbourne Australia, with big dreams to move to New York. Check out Word Birds on Facebook and Twitter.


Comments

    So, how to find a decent professional resume writer / editor?

      There's a link to the guys website in the very last paragraph (the one in italics). If you don't want to use his business though, I guess Google? Some pointers on what to look for when it comes to spotting the scammers from the professionals before parting with any money would have been nice.

      Having said that, from what I've seen at the linked site, it's nothing special. Certainly not something I would pay $110+ for (pricing depends on what option you want). I can and have made a better looking resume for myself for free (but then again, my background is administration assistant/officer, so I should know how to make a professional looking document).

      If someone needs help writing a decent resume, I would suggest they speak to their employment services provider (or whatever they're called). Some offer short courses on resume writing. If they don't offer such a course, they should be able to make one for you themselves as it's a part of the service they provide.

        I can and have made a better looking resume for myself for free (but then again, my background is administration assistant/officer, so I should know how to make a professional looking document).

        Yeah. Most people are pretty competent with computers nowadays. And even if you're not, there are plenty of templates to copy from.

        I'm sure most people will have someone in their family, or a close friend that can tidy up a resume for those that do struggle.

        Also. in my experience the professionally written resumes can be too good. If you're an employer, do you want to work with someone that knows how to present themselves, or someone that needs to, or feels the need to, pay a third party to do that for them.

        There was a time when professional resume writing had a place. With the level of computer literacy we (almost) all have now, I just don't see it being valid any more.

        Some offer short courses on resume writing. If they don't offer such a course, they should be able to make one for you themselves as it's a part of the service they provide.

        There shouldn't be a need for a short course.

        I'd guess that there's some videos on youtube. I'll check that out and consider making one if there isn't.

          There shouldn't be a need for a short course.
          Actually, there is more of a need for them than you know. Over the years I've helped a lot of friends and family with their own resumes because they're either computer illiterate (or possess very limited computer skills) or simply don't know what to do/how to present their resume. Yeah, there are templates available as well as countless how to's, but that doesn't help someone with limited computer skills and knowledge. Not everyone is as computer literate as we are, and it's those people who benefit from such courses.

            Agreed. Just because some people are comfortable writing their own resumes doesn't mean everyone is. I know a lot of people with English as a second language that would benefit from this type of writing service.

            Yes that's pretty much what I've said.

            If people are computer illiterate, and/or have language issues, then there's a need for assistance - which, as you state, might well be found by referring to a family member or friend.

            In my experience, those that are computer illiterate are very much in the minority, and I'd hazard a guess that there wouldn't be too many Technical Team Leads that are computer illiterate.

      looks like Word Birds can provide that service marc. Hit the facebook link

      I personally tried a place called Blue Sky resumes. It wasn't cheap but I haven't been denied an interview since I started using it. I paid for it just before the end of my last year at Uni when I was ready for the big graduate position search.

    I have used Irene Kotov in the past (she has written articles on Lifehacker before) with great success! Highly recommended.

    I did write a detailed response but somehow managed to lose it.

    Basically what I was saying boils down to the below...

    Yes, you can pay a professional. Yes, they will offer benefits.

    But...

    Get real. You're perfectly capable of writing a perfectly good resume.

    You can pay someone to pour milk onto your cereal if you want, and I'm sure they'll do a really good job of it. But you know, it's not that difficult, and the chances are you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself.

    Here's how to write a good resume...

    Your Name
    Your contact details

    Brief skills summary. 1 paragraph. Skills matrix table for IT applicants.

    Qualifications. Keep it simple.

    Company name of most recent or current employer
    Dates of employment
    Job Title
    Key duties - bullet points. Be clear and concise.
    Reasons for leaving the position.

    Repeat above for all jobs in the last 7 to 10 years or so - whatever seems appropriate.

    Career Summary - to briefly list those jobs more than 10 years back. Just provide company name, dates of employment and job title. No need for detailed job duties unless particularly relevant.

    Use nice clean fonts (arial or such). Keep it short and easily understandable.

    Informative is much better than salesy.

    If you're incapable of producing a basic, business like Word document then ask someone else who is before paying someone hundreds of dollars.

    If language, or computer literacy is an issue, then yes ask for help.

    "To quote Eminem (not something you should do ona resume): “you only get one shot”

    Yeah, your job application isn't a movie or anthem. It's just a job application. It's not your first. It won't be your last.

    And Peta - please proof-read your own article.

    do ona resume

    often is, “why (spaces)

    hard-to-read (hyphens?)

    five to 10 seconds (5 to 10, or five to ten)

    recruitment Coordinator (capital Letters)

    Another benefit to a professionally-written resume (of. Hyphen?)

    believes it’s (that it's)

    I've fixed some of those (and some were my fault, not Peta's. Don't agree with several of them though (especially on the hyphens).

      I've fixed some of those (and some were my fault, not Peta's.

      )

      Yeah, I think the hyphens might be perfectly acceptable. Unnecessary for sure. Acceptable perhaps.

      I only made a point of it given that she's a proof reader.

    Googling around, this girl is basically self promoting her own services.. Not a good basis for an article on why you should pay someone to do something.

    Next minute Angus will be writing articles "why you should click ads on blogs"

      It seems that all of the recruitment based articles are loosely based around self promotion, which is such a shame when it's a massively important subject to everyone.

      It's also a bit annoying when I'm being completely explicit in my views and assistance yet i'm getting down voted.

      I would have thought Lifehacker would have been more conducive to honest and open discussion.

        I wouldn't worry about it - it's a bit of a pack mentality thing. If you look at most of the non-inflammatory comments that get down voted, it's usually the same lurkers time and time again who feel this is some helpful way to express their disagreement with some part of something... Or something heh.

    Lol, the designs on those sample templates are beyond pathetic!

    All government jobs and an increasing number of private sector employers use the dreaded Taleo for gating all employment applications. The resume is replaced by a zillion little fields and then a word-soup of your life and credentials. And if it's not Taleo, then it's one of a dozen other similar form-based engines that allow companies to spew out rejection emails in minutes.

    http://www.indeed.com/forum/gen/Career-Advice/Curse-Taleo/t438552

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