A resume is not just a piece of paper that is meant to list the jobs you've held or the education you've acquired. It is your introduction to a prospective employer and represents the essence of your career, capabilities, and skill sets. When you are interested in a job you have one opportunity to gain the attention of a prospective employer and it is done when you submit your resume. Within a matter of minutes (or more likely seconds) someone will visually scan the resume and make a determination of your potential candidacy for an open position.
It is possible that the person who will make this assessment of your qualifications may not know the specifics of the job you've applied for beyond the actual job description, and for better or worse that means your resume must stand out in a way that ensures you are able to move beyond that initial screening. To accomplish this goal you must have a well-designed, well-formatted, and well-written resume that markets your skills, experiences, and education in a manner that creates a connection to the open position. Unfortunately most resumes resemble DIY projects that are easily overlooked and quickly discarded by recruiters. When you consider the highly competitive nature of most careers, you cannot afford to have a resume that sells yourself and/or your career short.
Why Consider a Resume Writer
As a professional resume writer with over 12 years of experience, I have just about seen it all with regards to the style and type of resumes that most people try to develop on their own. And just because someone has hired a resume writer it doesn't mean their work is all alike or of the same quality. People generally seek out a resume writer when they are not getting the results or outcomes they hoped to receive. Someone who truly wants to help their customers won't take an existing resume and simply re-type or re-format it. That may be helpful for someone who only wants to have their resume updated but most people need more help than that - as a truly effective resume won't be needed for long because a good resume gets noticed right away. And even though I have potential clients who are in need of a new resume, and they are willing to consider hiring a resume writer, there are still many misconceptions that must be addressed before they become willing to take the next step.
Misconceptions about Resumes
One of the first misconceptions is that a resume writer should have samples and templates available to share with prospective clients. I can describe the method I use but I cannot share resumes I've completed due to a signed confidentiality agreement. More importantly, I don't have samples as every resume I write is custom-developed and designed for each new client. Another misconception is that a resume has to be limited to a single page. What happens is that people who take this approach will use small font sizes and/or try to fill the one page with so much wording that it becomes almost impossible to read, and for most resumes it sells the person's career short. For those candidates who have developed significant career experience it is not unlikely that their resume will consist of two or three pages of content. Of course the caveat is that it should not be pages filled with verbose wording and hard to read paragraphs that have been typed in a small font size. A resume must be easy to read and highlight the best of a person's career, from their skills to their accomplishments.
Reasons for Misconceptions
Another misconception involves the cover letter, which is often written as several paragraphs in length for people who believe a lot is required on that first introductory page. But that defeats the real purpose of a cover letter and minimizes the time a recruiter is likely to spend reading the resume. A cover letter only needs to express interest in a position and generate a desire within the recruiter to read the attached resume. The underlying reason for these misconceptions is due to the unlimited number of online articles and posts written about resumes, along with templates and samples that are easily accessible. Whenever someone begins to sort through all of these resources the end result is often a patchwork of various themes and styles. What makes this worse is that there are few people who can write objectively about their career and the jobs they have held. As an example, I've written resumes for sales professionals and even professional writers. In addition, many people lack exemplary writing skills. It is not uncommon to observe resumes with uneven font sizes and errors with spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and other mechanical errors. I've also observed verbose wording, jobs written like a standard job description, and clichés (thinking outside of the box, being a team player, etc.).
Making an Investment in Your Career
When you consider all of these aspects of a resume and how easily it can become ineffective, you begin to realize that an investment in a professionally written resume is actually an investment in the development of your career, whether you need a new job now or you are passively looking. Consider this perspective: if you wouldn't walk into an interview in old, worn out clothes then you shouldn't submit a resume in the same condition - anything less than professional looking. A resume represents you and your career, and your potential job prospects depend upon on how well you can convey the best of who you are and what you are able to offer a potential employer. If you are uncomfortable with any aspect of writing a resume it will show up in the final product. In addition, if you cannot convey your thoughts well it will also be reflected in the overall tone that is projected in your resume.
Contacting a Resume Writer
If you decide to contact a resume writer, take time to learn about their background, their approach to resume writing, and their general disposition towards helping their clients. A certificate from a resume institute or something similar does not automatically guarantee they are proficient with formatting and editing. And should a resume writer charge excessive fees and make promises about the results you can expect, also be cautious as the resume is only the first step needed when trying to secure a new job - and it is a very important starting point. If you don't gain an opportunity to speak to someone about your background then your prospects with that employer have been minimized. This underscores the importance of hiring a professional to develop your resume. You cannot afford to wing it on your own, so to speak, especially if the timing for a new job has become critical or you have found it difficult to gain the attention of recruiters and prospective employers. An investment in your resume becomes an investment in your career, one that may result in helping you find and acquire a new job. If you have any hesitation about sending out your current resume, now is the time to contact a professional.