It is with some trepidation that I write this week’s article as the topic may incur the wrath of other resume writers out there but regardless, I feel it needs to be addressed so bring on the wrath! I have gained insight into the sometimes unscrupulous tactics used to “review” resumes and feel as an integrity driven resume writer I need to make job seekers aware. Most resume writers out there (myself included) offer potential clients a review of their current resume with the hopes of turning that potential client into an actual client. However, the strategies used to review a resume are as different as the resume writers doing the reviewing. But before I start I just need to make a disclaimer that I am in no way grouping every and all resume writers together. As in all businesses there are the good and the bad, so do your research.
First, there is the canned response. This is a template used for every resume review request that is received. Of course, a few key details are changed to make it appear to have been written just for you but beware; if you had a friend send a resume they would most likely receive the very same response with the same minor adjustments for their “customized” review. I understand that a template is a time saver if a large number of requests for a resume review are submitted, especially if the review is free, but you cannot expect an authentic review in this case.
As mentioned above, many resume reviews are offered free of charge (as they should be, but I am getting ahead of myself). Go ahead and take advantage, getting the opinion of an industry professional can go a long way in determining the effectiveness of your resume. But before you get too excited about that free review let me warn you, many companies use this opportunity to tell you how extremely horrible your resume is, how they’ve never seen anything so terrible, and that if you don’t hire them right now you will have no chance of landing an interview with that piece of garbage you’re using. I call this the scare tactic. They rip apart your resume and make you think that they are your only option if you want a job anytime soon. I’m sure that many of the companies have found success with this tactic but they should know that I often spoken with job seekers that have been able to see what these companies are doing and have gone elsewhere.
I am in no way trying to solicit business, but let me tell you how I do a resume review. If I receive a resume I give it an honest analysis – even if it means telling the client they have a great resume. I would never tell someone they need to improve their resume if I don’t think it needs it. If I don’t feel like I can make their resume better I don’t want them as a client. I would rather have a happy non-client than an unhappy client. And if their resume does need some work I tell them that too – honestly, no scare tactics here. I have been thanked by many job seekers for this approach. And maybe I don’t gain a client, but I have gained referrals and that works for me!
Another variation on the resume review is the paid review. I cannot stress enough that you should never pay someone for a review of your resume. Seriously, don’t do it. What is the difference going to be between a paid and a free review? Probably not much. I’ve seen companies out there that advertise a customized eight page review of your resume. But c’mon, really? Do you think they are writing those eight pages from scratch just for you? If you are in doubt please refer back to paragraph two.
If you submit your resume for a review, free or otherwise, take the results with a grain of salt. The drive behind offering a resume review is to generate business. With so many companies out there offering free reviews take advantage and send your resume to several of them to gain a broader perspective on your resume.
by Megan Koehler