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  1. #1
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    Hiring a resume writer

    Does anyone have any past experience, good or bad, with using a professional resume writing company?

  2. #2
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    Not personally, but some of my students have used them.

    I have very mixed feelings about the ones I've encountered. Maybe it's because the services want to take on a lot of clients and deal with them ASAP to generate maximum $$$$, but they seem to give very generic formatting/content advice that may not have a lot to do with what employers are actually looking for, or what a specific job or ad is seeking.

    The ones whose work I've seen also seem to have very outdated ideas about what a good resume looks like or what it should contain.

    But keep in mind that my experience is with the services that students can afford. There may be way better ones out there that are above that price range.

    ETA: IMHO the responses here to questions about resumes or interviews have really good information. And that's free
    Last edited by overedge; 10-03-2012 at 06:16 AM.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

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    I provide a professional resume writing service for both students and working people. I tailor a number of self-designed templates for skills, chronological and professional resumes and pay careful attention to formatting/visual appeal. And I match them to the job requirements (keywords and qualities) as well as ensure that they are 100% error-free - I've seen resumes done by HR companies with mistakes in them. Just one mistake can get you in the reject pile.

    However, I don't churn them out - it's only part of what I do, I'd go a little nuts doing nothing but resumes day in, day out. And I'm not cheap. My prices are a bit lower than what an HR firm would charge but I can spend three-four hours on a two-page resume and the same or more on a cover letter. When I see people charging a flat rate of $30-$50 for a resume and $10-$20 for a cover letter I'm just

    My viewpoint is that your future is resting on your resume/cover letter so paying a professional to do it well is a worthwhile expenditure. If you can't be bothered to get the money you need to have this done, or can't be bothered to put in the time and energy yourself, you are probably not serious about your job search.

    And I think my resumes follow current trends such a verb parallelism and cover letters with bullet points (seen only recently). I see the resumes that business schools teach and also see HR firm resumes from time to time. However, the style isn't always consistent.

    If I have questions, I agree with overedge that the best answers are here on FSU.

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    I've been thinking about this exact same thing. I'm finding plenty of interesting jobs to apply for but not getting much action from them. I'm not sure if it's the kinds of jobs I'm applying for, my experience, or my resume. Looking forward to seeing good replies on this thread.

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    I've never used one, but I have collaborated with co-workers and former managers to enhance mine. They know me, know what I've been good at, and know the areas where I struggle. Often, they give me the best words to use.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Get personal recommendations from someone who has used them, but I think outside help is always useful. I'm pretty much a professional writer, and as everyone needs an editor, my resume was just vastly improved by two friends who know me and my job market.

    My putzy BIL used to do this for a living and judging by his writing skills in general, whoever paid him must have been pretty desperate. OTOH, he specialized in writing resumes to match government job KSAs and that's a narrow specialty.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    And I think my resumes follow current trends such as ... cover letters with bullet points (seen only recently).
    I started doing that back in 1994 - good to know I'm ahead of the trend.

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    Originally Posted by Japanfan
    And I think my resumes follow current trends such as ... cover letters with bullet points (seen only recently).

    I started doing that back in 1994 - good to know I'm ahead of the trend.
    Lol. I remember doing up my resume back in 1994, too. I used a word processor, and the bullets were created by filling the lower case o in with black ink.

    I do have a question, too. Since 2002, I have worked in insurance, with a one year stint at Comcast. Should I just list Comcast as an employer, and go into detail only about the insurance experience I am looking to stay in (claims), and how should I handle the three years I spent in Medicare sales?

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    I have had two experiences with so-called professional resume writers. One I paid and one was paid for by a company that laid me off. Both sucked really bad. I think the friend that knows your work route would probably work much better than paying a stranger, particularly if you are in a technical field like I am.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

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    Formatting is only one of the things you need to pay attention to when writing a cover letter and resume. In addition to looking pretty, being legible, and concise, the content is all important.

    The purpose of the cover letter is to get the reader to be interested enough to flip the page and look at the resume. The cover letter should state its purpose (I would like to apply for xyz job ...), provide some information about why you think you'd be a good candidate for the job, and close with "I look forward to talking with you about the job." When I taught technical writing, we had sessions on resume and cover letter writing. I always read the letters aloud (anonymously) to the class to get their reactions. We looked for essential content, formatting, and a "employer" orientation rather than an "I" orientation. It's so easy to start every sentence with "I" and not mention what you can do to benefit the employer.

    The purpose of the resume is to get an interview. Most employers spend 30-60 seconds looking at the resume. You need to decide if a chronological or functional style is appropriate for what you are applying for. Most people use a chronological resume. Put your name and contact information at the top where it's easy to find. If you've just graduated, put your Education credentials next. If you have significant job experience, put your Experience first. Be sure to include a job title, employment dates (mm/yyyy), and job description that mentions keywords they are looking for if possible. Some large companies use computer programs to search for relevant keywords as a way to screen applicants. Also include Honors and Awards and Professional Memberships that are relevant to the job. Few people include References anymore - most just state that they are available on request. There just isn't room on one page to include them. Employers will usually ask for them when they invite you for an interview. Optional sections I've seen on resumes are Objectives and Skills ... personally I don't think the employer cares much about your objectives. A list of skills is only relevant if the job descriptions states they are looking for specific skills or certifications.

    If you're having trouble fitting your information on one page, a skillful editor can make your wording more concise and can suggest content that you may be able to delete. As you gain more experience, you can trim off the least relevant and most distant jobs from your resume.

    Be sure to tailor your resume for the job you are applying for. Rather than having a generic resume and cover letter (e.g. one size fits all), play up the skills, education and job experiences most relevant for a specific job.

    Most importantly, follow up on your application a week or two after sending it. Call or email the employer to inquire if they received your application and ask about the timeframe for making a hiring decision. If you don't hear anything back withing a few weeks, contact them again. Sometimes there are good reasons why hiring is put on hold. At least you will not be left hanging with no response.

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    Thanks madm and everyone, you've been very helpful. I certainly plan on getting feedback, critiques and suggestions for my resume regardless of whether I go with a professional resume company, or not. If a professional company will help me produce a resume that can get me an interview, then that will be $ well spent. The problem is, trying to decide what company to go to.
    My local library has a program where they review resumes, so I'll probably start there.

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    I have not updated my resume in the last few years- I have kind of given up on the idea of finding a better job, since I never been even called for an interview (well, since 2007 when I interviewed for my current job).

    I am curious about what kind of money resume companies charge? In my previous jobs, the employer had arranged classes for the employees to learn how to write a better resume, so I never had to pay anyone for it. If I lose my current job, I may have to create a resume that would get me an interview.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I have not updated my resume in the last few years- I have kind of given up on the idea of finding a better job, since I never been even called for an interview (well, since 2007 when I interviewed for my current job).

    I am curious about what kind of money resume companies charge? In my previous jobs, the employer had arranged classes for the employees to learn how to write a better resume, so I never had to pay anyone for it. If I lose my current job, I may have to create a resume that would get me an interview.
    For entry level they vary from $90 to $180, for professional they vary from to $200 to $250 (although most around $200) and for executive they vary from $170 to $400.
    Of course, they all have different definitions of what a "professional" is or what an "executive" is as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lulu View Post
    For entry level they vary from $90 to $180, for professional they vary from to $200 to $250 (although most around $200) and for executive they vary from $170 to $400.
    Of course, they all have different definitions of what a "professional" is or what an "executive" is as well.
    That is in line with what I would charge, although professional resumes are necessarily any more than entry level if the page length and level of detail are the same.


    [
    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01
    In my previous jobs, the employer had arranged classes for the employees to learn how to write a better resume, so I never had to pay anyone for it. If I lose my current job, I may have to create a resume that would get me an interview.
    If you don't want to spend money on your resume there are a ton of books with samples out there as well as advice and samples on the internet. If resume clients are concerned about keeping costs down I tell them that they can avoid putting time and energy into me if they put in the time and energy themselves. So long as you pay attention to details like verb parallelism, dynamic wording and an appealing template, you needn't spend any or a lot of money - especially if you have a few friends who are good with words look it over for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    If you don't want to spend money on your resume there are a ton of books with samples out there as well as advice and samples on the internet. If resume clients are concerned about keeping costs down I tell them that they can avoid putting time and energy into me if they put in the time and energy themselves. So long as you pay attention to details like verb parallelism, dynamic wording and an appealing template, you needn't spend any or a lot of money - especially if you have a few friends who are good with words look it over for you.
    One simple way to get started is to find a resume that you like, maybe from a friend, and use that as your template. The headings, bullets, spacing, etc. will all be there and you will have an outline of what content should be included.

    I helped my daughter's boyfriend create his first resume out of college, and he was able to use my daughter's resume as his template. He didn't have a lot of relevant job experience, so we expanded on his coursework, mentioning subjects he was knowledgeable about and projects he'd done. Presentations and published papers, professional societies, and certifications were also relevant. In the cover letter, he played up his communication, teamwork, and leadership skills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leesaleesa View Post

    I do have a question, too. Since 2002, I have worked in insurance, with a one year stint at Comcast. Should I just list Comcast as an employer, and go into detail only about the insurance experience I am looking to stay in (claims), and how should I handle the three years I spent in Medicare sales?
    You could use 'Insurance Experience' and 'Other Work Experience' as titles - although 'Other Employers' might be okay.

    It is good to make all your experience count. Skills gained in sales can useful for insurance claims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madm View Post
    Optional sections I've seen on resumes are Objectives and Skills ... personally I don't think the employer cares much about your objectives. A list of skills is only relevant if the job descriptions states they are looking for specific skills or certifications.
    The Objectives section can be useful because it gives you a chance to state what your long term goals are. If you applying for an entry level position, it can indicate to the company that you are interested in advancement and making a long term commitment to them. You can also add 'which utilized my skills in ____ ' or 'allows me to develop my abilities in ____', which gives you a chance to highlight skills that may be very important to the employer right up top.

    A list of skills can also be good if you are looking to transfer careers and have strong transferable skills, but not actual experience in the desired field.

    Another category that is used sometimes in 'Profile', or alternatively 'Highlights', which lists key points in the resume. I find it useful in two cases. The first is when a resume is very detailed and complicated and a person has oodles of experience - the profile can summarize the qualifications neatly and persuasively at the top.

    The second is when the resume is generally weak and/or the person doesn't have much experience. The 'Profile' can highlight skills gained through volunteer experience or as a student and highlight them in a way the other categories don't. It is 'filler', yes, but it can help get the interview.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madm View Post
    Most importantly, follow up on your application a week or two after sending it. Call or email the employer to inquire if they received your application and ask about the timeframe for making a hiring decision. If you don't hear anything back withing a few weeks, contact them again. Sometimes there are good reasons why hiring is put on hold. At least you will not be left hanging with no response.
    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that following an interview, you need to send a thank you note to the hiring manager. I recommend sending a gracious email within one day. It doesn't need to be elaborate. Just tell him or her how much you enjoyed the opportunity to interview for the job, fill in any information you may have told them you'd get (e.g. references), and tell them you look forward to hearing their decision soon. DO NOT ask more questions ... at this point you are done with the interview and you just have to wait. If they make you a job offer, at that time you can ask additional questions about salary/benefits, job duties, etc. Remember that you do not have to accept an offer immediately. You can tell the hiring person that you would like to think things over and get back to them with your decision within 1-2 days. If you have more interviews lined up, don't mention that as it will sound like you are fishing for a better offer and theirs isn't good enough.

  19. #19

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    One other thing, resumes for most tech jobs (and I would assume other types) are run through a resume screener. Be sure to include your key programming languages, tools, environments and certifications in the cover letter, in the body of the resume, and in a section titled Keywords at the bottom of your resume. For example, if you really know Javascript, put it in all three places.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Quote Originally Posted by madm View Post
    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that following an interview, you need to send a thank you note to the hiring manager. I recommend sending a gracious email within one day. It doesn't need to be elaborate. Just tell him or her how much you enjoyed the opportunity to interview for the job, fill in any information you may have told them you'd get (e.g. references), and tell them you look forward to hearing their decision soon
    Does this depend on the industry? I feel like this comes across as nagging. There are so many people applying for jobs these days that I wonder whether hiring managers want to be dealing with extra emails at any stage of the process. I had a friend who was did this and maybe it was something about the way she talked about it but it always sounded like it would just end up being irritating and potentially counter-productive to me.

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