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Stressed about your resume? Here are 4 things to know before hiring a resume writing service

Crystal Sing | Twenty20

Whether you're merely updating your resume or creating an entirely new one, resume writing can be a very stressful task. That's why many job seekers resort to hiring a resume writing service.

As a founder of multiple resume writing services who has been in the recruitment industry for more than 20 years, a question I get asked all the time is, What are the downsides of using a professional resume writer?

Here are four little-known facts to know before using a resume writing service:

1. The writers aren't always as qualified as you think

Many services offer unbelievably low rates — but only because they need to in order to sustain a profitable business model. This is usually a red flag. More often than not, a low rate means you're getting an inexperienced writer who is willing to be compensated for much less. (Believe it or not, some services even hire a fresh-faced grad straight out of college.)

Services typically charge anywhere from $100 to $400, depending on how advanced your resume needs to be. Another trap to avoid is the "$25 resume and a 24-hour turnaround time." Remember, the writer's job is to create a compelling document that's more than just a history of your career, and if they're not spending more than a few days on your resume, expect to get something very crappy.

To avoid getting an inexperienced writer, do your research on the service. It also helps to call them to ask for samples and confirm that your assigned writer has had some sort of formal training on resume writing, especially in your industry.

2. The process is not as easy as you may think

A common misconception about resume writing services is that they do all the work for you. But the reality is that they can't even start working on your resume until you've filled out an extensive form detailing all the necessary information about your work history, skills and professional achievements.

Also expect to do a lot of back-and-forth collaboration with your writer via phone and email. And remember, you'll have to offer them feedback once they send you their first draft. It may take a few rounds before you agree on a final version.

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3. You might be misled if you don't read the fine print

Many services provide some sort of guarantee, whether it's doubling your interviews, offering unlimited revisions or giving you a refund if you're unhappy with the turnout. While these promises may sound reassuring, it's important to read the fine print, as these guarantees are often not as amazing as they sound.

For example, an "interview guarantee" usually means you'll get a chance to have your resume rewritten, not that you'll somehow get an interview no matter what. However, if the company did a poor job writing your resume the first time, chances are the quality won't improve the second time around. Similarly, a promise of "unlimited revisions" is often void after a predetermined deadline has passed.

4. You probably don't need one

Hiring a professional resume writing service isn't always the best choice for everyone. It really depends on how much experience you have and what you're looking for. If you're unsure, consider the questions below:

  • Are you qualified for the position you want next? A resume writer isn't a magician — he or she can't make you stand out if you don't have the skills to begin with.
  • Are you looking for a raise or promotion? Hiring a professional writer is a good idea if you're looking for more money, responsibilities and a higher title. Since there's a lot of competition out there, you'll want your resume to stand out and use all the help you can get.
  • Do you make more than $40,000 a year? It's important to consider where you're putting your money and whether it's a smart financial decision. If you've just graduated and are applying to a very entry-level job, you won't have a lot of experience to deck out your resume — and that's okay.
  • Are you good at writing? Resume writing is, in its purest form, a lot of writing. You don't have to be an incredibly talented writer, but if you have low confidence in your skills, especially when it comes to elaborating on your skills, it's best to have someone else do the work for you.

Peter Yang is a career expert and the CEO of Resume Writing Services, the parent company of ResumeGo. Before that, he worked as a manager and recruiter for more than 20 years. His work has also appeared in Inc. and Glassdoor. Folllow him on Twitter here.

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Crystal Sing | Twenty20
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