Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

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James_0011
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Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:35 pm

Hi,

So I was thinking about paying someone to write my resume for me. For those of you who don't know I am right out of college so just getting into the workforce. Has anyone had experience with professional resume writers?

Normally, I am a diy kind of guy but I really don't want to take a chance on this as the cost of missing out on a high paying job seems like it outweighs the cost of hiring a professional to do my resume. What do you think?

If it means anything I have a math degree, not an engineering degree or some other type of major where the career progress is linear. Thus, I feel like I need to do more to sell myself and get the attention of the hiring manger. What do you think?

Oh also I went to my college career center and they seemed pretty useless. No creativity or real effort at all, they just gave me a sample resume and told me to copy it.

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BRUTE
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:43 pm

brute is unsure what the benefit would be. always seemed like resumes are just one of those things to check off that nobody really cares about.

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chenda
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by chenda » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:53 pm

I've never heard of them, but I can't imagine they can do anything you can't do with a bit of research.

Just keep in simple and uncluttered, focus on the key points e.g your degree, work experience and skills. Ideally all on one side of A4.

Giving yourself a recognisable colour logo, incorporating your initials, can help distinguish it somewhat.

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Tyler9000
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by Tyler9000 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:03 pm

Just because someone calls themselves a "professional" resume writer does not mean they understand your industry at all. I would not assume handing over responsibility to another individual will be a net positive to your employment chances. Honestly, your school probably has a better handle on what employers are looking for in your field.

Think of it from the other side -- the goal of reading a resume is to try to understand the strengths of the candidate to know if they're a good fit. If you have internships, list those and what you worked on. If not, list the specific skills you learned in school that you're good at (software, problem solving methods, etc) and also subjects in your field that you're particularly interested in. Drive counts for a lot in hiring recent grads. And be sure to mention if you're bilingual -- that counts for way more than you may think regardless of job.

Another good idea is to find a few people on LinkedIn who are in your target field (even target company, if you can find them) and see what types of skills they advertise. Than cater your resume to "fit in" as best as you can. Never lie! Just understand what they value most and look for overlaps with your own skills and interests.

IMHO, having someone review your resume is a great idea, but having them write it for you is not. It needs to be a true reflection of you to work properly on both sides.

James_0011
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:40 pm

@Brute

What else is important if a resume isn't?

Like how else would they judge you? Interview?

James_0011
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:56 pm

@Tyler

Im talking more about paying someone to review it for me, not to 'write' it , I should have been more clear.

saving-10-years
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by saving-10-years » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:37 pm

@James_0011 I've always felt that a resume which is bespoke for the job applied for is the way to make an impression, so I have never had a single standard resume. I have always made it to at least the interview stage in any job I have applied for. Bespoke applications start with research of the field and the company (as much as is possible from the outside). Its hard to see what a 'professional' would add, and if they offer a shortcut to this research do you want to take that (learning about where you might work is valuable for you to do yourself). They might well suggest things that make your resume just like everyone elses'. Your college should be able to review what you write (after you have read the example that they have pointed you at and given them something to comment on). Go to them with specific questions and take advantage of that free advice. If you feel that they have failed _after_ using their service then perhaps ask people who you know who may select candidates (ideally in your own field but perhaps in any field if not) - they will help you to see what things about yourself you have forgotten to mention which may be relevant. If they tell you that stuff you have mentioned is not relevant then please do give this consideration.

I have helped people write applications for national awards (which they deserved to be considered for) who initially managed not to mention important points and gave space to stuff that was not relevant (or impressive). An objective view from someone who knows you is going to help. Also (in UK this is the case at least) if they ask you to complete an application form don't try to short cut this and send a resume instead. Good luck.

James_0011
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:08 pm

@saving_10_years

Could you give me an example of what you mean by tailoring the resume to the company? Assuming that all the positions I am applying to are equivalent just at different firms.

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BRUTE
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:13 pm

resume is required but not important. it's a formality in brute's experience.

more important: being interested, being interesting, being somewhat competent, being able to demonstrate competence during short interview time span without coming off as a show-off, and being friendly and open-minded.

saving-10-years
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by saving-10-years » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:07 am

Maybe making it sound like a bigger deal than it is but I did not have the same (i.e. identical) CV/Curriculum Vitae for every job (this is what I assume you mean by resume?) Apply well for the jobs that you have a chance of getting and/or really want to get, not simply to every job going. I feel that you are better served by a resume which shows that you fit well with _that_ job than one which can be sent along for _any_ job. @BRUTE is correct that its not a big part of the process, but if they have asked for it, or expected it, then the recruiters will read it. Which is of course why you want it to make a good impression.

Effectively (beyond the core qualifications) I picked which of the things I could say about my achievements and interests and tried to make sure that these directly related to the job being advertsed (the essential and desirable skills). If in the application form I said a great deal about my experience in X then it might have a single line in the resume, if I said nothing about Y then I would want this to be (if relevant) in the resume. Try to avoid repeating the same phrases in these two places.

Recruiters are reading through the application form and CV with a checklist of the skills that they have listed in the advert and further details, so you want to have addressed every one of those (if you can, no lying). If you can't address the essentials you are unlikely to get interviewed (move on) if you can address all of the things, even the desirables, then you have a good chance of interview, you simply need to shine in that pile of applications.

Its hard to give examples without knowing you or your preferred job but to go back to the earlier post about applying for awards, the person who did not get one felt that the panel would want to know about all his TV appearances (lots of space to talk about viewing figures and exotic locations) and mentioned very little about his teaching and why it was innovatory, or how the TV appearances might relate to that. If he's been applying for a job as a TV presenter then that would have been good, but the award was one for nationally excellent teaching. I'm pretty sure he was seen as simply showing off.

Think of what is important to the recruiters. What questions they might be approaching your application with. Try to answer these in a way which makes them want to meet you. Follow @BRUTE's advice if you get to the interview. Expect to be asked stuff on the resume of the 'tell me more about ...' and be relevant as well as interesting.

Lucky C
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by Lucky C » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:06 am

My college had an office dedicated to helping students find work after school, to help raise the college's job placement stats and all that. They offered free resume review sessions and gave me valuable advice. I still wrote the resume but I didn't have to pay anything to get professional advice. That department also helps inform you of job fairs and offers other advice to get you into the workforce, maybe even practice interviews. Does your college have anything like that?

I would first try writing the resume on my own, then sleep on it and review it the next day to see if there's anything you missed or anything to tweak. Then I would go to a friend in your degree program, one who's smart and extraverted, and ask them to review. Then I'd take it to the college's professional staff if you have that sort of thing. After that I would think your resume would be in better shape than just delegating it all to one professional writer.

PA Hiker
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by PA Hiker » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:43 am

Job applicant’s resumes are often automatically scanned in by HR departments at large corporations/institutions. Unfortunately this could mean that your resume will be rejected before it is even seen by human eyes. It may be worth hiring a professional who knows what formatting mistakes to avoid and what keywords to use to get your resume through this automated pre-filter. OTOH this may be something that you can figure out on your own with a little research.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/beat-the ... uman-hands

If I was looking for a job I would be tempted to shop around for a good headhunter. Yes, this could be expensive, but some of them actually have pretty good relationships with a lot of potential employers, which would certainly work to your benefit. If you go this route, try to find a recruiter that doesn’t charge up front fees and only gets paid if they actually get you a job.

saving-10-years
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by saving-10-years » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:11 pm

@PA Hiker, never come across these automatic scanning systems -- do you have any idea of how they work?

I am familiar with the kind of systems that check for plagiarism. These compare with published phrases (i.e. tell you that _this section_ was copied from _this place_ online) and also (some systems) compares current submissions with past/other ones (i.e. did you copy from someone else, in current or past cohorts) and this can give you stats and can do automatic red/amber flags to indicate where there may be problems of originality/attribution. Far from foolproof but this could be useful if you were looking for a creative/original/(honest?) candidate and wanted to exclude people who had simply copied others? It would also be simple and relevant (you can do this for word processed docs) to check for the level of grammar and spelling and flag up the level. I can see these as being useful automatic processes at graduate level. I can also imagine that if its an online form that if you answer Yes (criminal record) No (clean driving license) or leave blank certain sections (experience of?), or go over word limits when told not to, or get answers wrong then it would be useful to throw these applicants out as they are clearly not qualified.

But how the heck do you know that you have not thrown a great candidate away if the programme is simply checking for words and phrases that are considered positive to have in there and a candidate uses less conventional but better examples? Worrying.

James_0011
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by James_0011 » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:08 pm

@PA Hiker

Yeah the automated resume checkers are something I was worried about.

@saving_10_years, I assumed this was something everyone knew about. If you don't mind me asking how old are you?

saving-10-years
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by saving-10-years » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:27 pm

Perhaps too old to be giving this advice? I am UK-based and 60, I don't think its the age so much as the sector (and maybe the UK bias). I've been on many interview/shortlisting panels prior to early retirement and never come across these automated systems. Perhaps because the jobs have been too specialised to attract many candidates ? (Even more) Glad to be retired and hope you find some way through these automatic systems. @James_0011 seems to have some good advice and be much closer in age. Good luck

PA Hiker
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by PA Hiker » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:02 pm

@saving_10_years - I am not exactly sure how the automated scanners work. I only recently heard about them from a relative who is currently in the job market. I would surmise that ‘hard copy’ resumes are scanned into a database along with resumes submitted via the internet. The HR dept would then query the database using a few keywords relating to the position they are trying to fill. Since they probably want < 50 results not 1000’s. The keywords will be very specific. Anyone who has insight into what the keywords are, or likely are, for a given job will have an advantage.

I think they will also screen resumes for spelling errors. The logic being that any resume with spelling mistakes indicates a less than sincere or incompetent job candidate.

Plagiarism checking software sounds potentially problematic to me. There is after all only so many ways to to say something. Especially something that is fairly formulaic e.g. a career objectives statement on a resume, a college scholarship essay question, or perhaps a political party convention speech. ;) Do you know of any articles or studies addressing the issue of ‘false positives’?

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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by saving-10-years » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:19 am

This is getting a bit OT but answering @PA Hiker's query

>> Do you know of any articles or studies addressing the issue of ‘false positives’?

There are papers criticising this sort of system both for false positives and false negatives. If you rely on the crude measures and use it out of the box, without doing any tweaking for your specific assessment then you will have problems. This is what the following article/test refers to https://www.insidehighered.com/news/201 ... n-software

I've reviewed hundreds of student assessments in the past using these systems and also discussed these with colleagues. It can be easy to set the bar too high because, if you don't tweak the settings (adjust for things which are quoted correctly, bibliography details and things that are in your own question wording), then you will end up with most of your students having worrying scores. Its interesting and (I think) effective if you put time into learning to really use the system (ever the case). I've found parts of obscure articles from overseas conferences reproduced as the students' own work and also I have changed my teaching when it seemed that the same few sources are used again and again relentlessly without wider reading. The approach nowadays is to allow students to test their own work using the system so that they can see how plagiarism is spotted and add in the correct citations (good academic practice) if they have left these out. In some (perhaps most) cases the student may be in a rush and decide that rewriting the passage will do instead. These systems do spot blatant plagiarism of the sort that used to go undetected, the sort that is coming up in the press where someone took someone else's work and passed it off as theirs with intent to defraud. They get confused when you have blogged your essay in advance (that created an impressively high false positive from one of my students and some publishers have talked about self-plagiarism, where you are replicating or paraphrasing your own work without citing it as previously published).

What I was thinking about earlier was that a computerised plagiarism system could be used to check the 'Tell us why you want the job/would be perfect for it/would do differently'? sort of questions where you write passages which are supposed to be original. It would flag up anyone who has just cut and pasted or perhaps paid for a service to provide the words. (You'd be looking for sentences and paragraphs rather than specific words/short phrases and could probably screen those out if you wanted to).

The 2015 International Plagiarism Conference proceedings are here if you wish to indulge. http://plagiarism.pefka.mendelu.cz/file ... ngs_15.pdf

James_0011
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by James_0011 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:41 am

@saving-10-years, oh so you were a professor?

If so it makes sense that you never saw these automated resume checkers. My understanding is that hiring committees at universities are looking for very specific individuals. Not sorting through 500+ applications that are more or less the same for say an entry level engineering job

saving-10-years
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by saving-10-years » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:21 am

Well almost, I rather lost the will to research in the later days so never quite made that stage (as the title is used in the UK anyhow), but yup a senior tenured academic ... and most of the people I have interviewed in the past decade or so have also been academics. My DS applied for an internship last summer and I wonder whether that used an automated keyword checker. Online form was stage 1 (checks for eligibility), followed by online tests (stage 2), followed by telephone interview (stage 3), with assessment centre as the final stage.

There are a lot of candidates filtered out at the first stage for pretty much any jobs I have been involved in selection of (not just academic posts) because they don't follow the instructions, don't spell, don't read the job description or don't have the basic qualifications. Its disheartening when I see that and I always imagine that these are the people who apply for dozens of positions every month and get nowhere. Someone who has spent time and care on their application and manages to communicate that they have done basic research on your organisation really sticks out.

Scott 2
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:54 pm

My wife got her resume reviewed for free, by taking it to a career fair where one of those reviewers was setup. I don't know who was paying, but it was worth the drive and conversation.

Definitely create your own first draft and take an active role in revisions.

Augustus
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by Augustus » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:59 am

I had a colleague who paid a salesman/marketing person to write his resume. He gave me a copy and I edited it with my info but kept the tone. When applying for new contract gigs I noticed a significant improvement in response rate, double or triple the old response rate.

halfmoon
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by halfmoon » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:31 am

Maybe this isn't a factor for college graduates, but in some situations there's a danger of overselling yourself with a great resume. My stepson is chronically underemployed in manufacturing jobs and has very limited computer experience. He does have warehousing skills and experience, so I put together a sharp resume and cover letter for him. He got plenty of interest and was hired for a series of jobs where he didn't fit because the employers were looking for that guy who wrote the resume.

On the other hand: I helped clients hire an office manager for their construction/leasing business. They were paying well, so we were able to be picky. I passed over one resume that was poorly formatted and had a spelling error, because I value language skills highly. We hired someone who looked good on paper but was completely unsuited to the job environment; she quit before we could fire her. When we advertised the job again, one of the submitted resumes was the same one with the typos. This time I looked past that to the applicant's experience in construction, and we ended up hiring her. Three years later, she's running the entire company and doing a truly fantastic job.

Kind of obscure and possibly irrelevant to the OP, but my point is that job-hunting can be like online dating. Written impact helps to get the date, but eventually you'll have to take off your clothes.

James_0011
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:02 pm

@halfmoon

Thanks for your comment, your point is sort of the reason why I am looking into one. I feel that I am more competent/qualified than my resume shows due to excessive meandering and lack of good opportunities in my home area (I'm in my early twenties). Once I am able to break into a job market someplace with more opportunities and develop a network and track record I don't think Ill need a resume writer anymore - the problem is getting in!

halfmoon
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Re: Professional resume writers, scam or legit?

Post by halfmoon » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:20 am

Makes sense. In that case: some good advice here, particularly (imho) from Tyler and saving_10_years.

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