If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve written your resume, but haven’t gotten much traction in your job search. And you’re now wondering if paying someone to write your resume will be worth the cost.
Well, wonder no more. Today, we’ll sort out the pros and cons of:
- Paying a typical resume writer to write your resume.
- Using an online resume builder.
Both options have their unique limitations, benefits and investments. But first, let’s get clear about why your resume matters.
The Value Of A Great Resume.
A strong, crisp, achievement-focused resume will have a positive impact on several stages in your job search process. In case you didn’t know, your resume will be used:
1. By Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), to:
- Perform an initial screening.
2. By Recruiters, to:
- Perform an initial human screening.
- Construct their interview(s) (by creating targeted questions about parts of the candidate’s background).
- Sell the candidate to hiring managers.
3. By Hiring Managers, to:
- Construct their interview(s) (same as above).
- Dive deep into specific details (by reflecting on parts of the resume).
- Inform final hiring decisions.
This process acts as a funnel designed to eliminate a large portion of candidates at every stage.
To get a job offer, you need to sell yourself in the best possible way at every stage of the process.
In addition, any weakness in your resume will be placed under a microscope at least a half-dozen times.
The conclusion, I hope, is obvious: getting your resume in order before sending it out is one of the key factors which will determine the level of your job search success.
On To Your Options.
1. Pay Someone To Write Your Resume.
Preferably, this “someone” would be a professional resume writer.
However, just as marrying someone isn’t a guarantee of a happy life, hiring a resume writer is not a guarantee of having a resume that sells you as the candidate of choice to employers.
I have written quite a lengthy guide on choosing a great resume writing service. And another one on why you should avoid cheap resume writing services.
Here’s the short version of the story:
A lot of my clients come to Arielle Executive after having their resume “professionally written” without seeing any improvement response from the job market.
As a result, I see many examples of work produced by people who write resumes for a living.
In my experience, I’ve found that most of said resume writers are able to add value to your resume in the following ways:
- Outline your responsibilities and achievements.
- Clean up the language.
- Improve the formatting and layout.
This is certainly a good start. Sadly, most (read: all) of them fall short in the following key areas:
A) No Commercial Acumen.
In other words, they often succeed at ticking the boxes off a person’s career against the description of a position, but they are almost never able to contextualise what this person can do for the employer.
For example, if you were to equate this situation to marketing a pharmaceutical product, you might say that this medicine is great because:
- It’s compliant with all regulations.
- It’s made in a best-in-class factory.
- It’s made with state-of-the-art technology.
- A 4-year Harvard study has been performed on it.
But you forget to actually say the most important thing:
“It will stop your headache in under 10 minutes.”
B) No Career Storyline.
This point is particularly important if you:
- Have a complex career history.
- Are at a senior level.
- Have gaps in your resume.
Resumes without an overarching narrative are usually very keyword-heavy.
They also tend to read as if a list of tasks has been copied from a job description, then pasted into the document.
You appear reasonably competent, but identical to your competition. There’s nothing to differentiate you in a positive way.</em?
Whether you’re a CFO, marketing manager, or sales assistant, you become a “standard issue” candidate in a recruiter’s inbox.
Most traditional resume writers lack the marketing and branding chops necessary to prevent this situation from occurring. This brings me to your next option.
2. Hire An Arielle Resume Writer.
In all sincerity, at Arielle, we provide a very different type of resume service.
When you pay us to write your resume, we tend to create something that looks like a classy, polished resume on the surface.
However, it also contains a high-revving marketing engine under the bonnet. We make sure it’s there because we believe that your resume must do the following:
A) Get Past The 3 Gatekeepers: ATS, Recruiter And Hiring Manager.
Each of these blockers looks for different elements in your resume.
The ATS looks for keywords and common phrases, but is easily confused by anomalies in language.
Meanwhile, a recruiter looks to “tick the boxes off” and match a candidate to an available job opening.
Finally, a hiring manager (who understands the requirements of the job in the greatest detail) will be looking for what makes a candidate stand out.
B) Communicate Your Brand Via Overarching Storyline.
A compelling resume starts by building a chronological story of a candidate’s career, which starts with the objectives that a person was brought on to achieve.
As the resume unfolds, it takes readers on a journey that they can understand.
What did this person do to reach this objective? At the same time we see those objectives demonstrated as key competencies.
C) Articulate And Communicate Your Unique Value.
A lot of people don’t know what they bring to the table, which is why they need someone to write their resume.
They may have an idea, but they’re not sure if it actually stacks up in the marketplace or if it’s right.
For instance, is stopping a headache in under 10 minutes good enough to compete in the market?
We uncover our clients’ unique selling points during a discovery session—which means they are based upon solid evidence from their career.
But also—critically—we select and craft them with proven objectivity and keen market insight. (We’ve done this for a long time and have worked with people in their sector and at their level of seniority.)
So we can verify which selling point is a strong one, and that it will cut through in the market.
Once we’ve done that, we can then concisely articulate a value proposition similar to the above medicine example—clear and simpl
Is Paying Someone To Write Your Resume Worth It?
Cost and value are subjective terms.
How much is your time worth to you? Are you comfortable enough to live off your savings while you look for a job? Many people are. They’re not in a rush.
But if you need a job to pay the bills, consider the following scenario. A resume writer charges you $5,000 for a resume.
It’s an obscene amount of money for a resume, right?
And yet, look at the math.
You send the resume out and find that it receives a much stronger response from employers.
You end up shaving 6 weeks off your job search.
And because your value was more strongly articulated, you are able to negotiate a 5% higher starting salary.
If your salary is $100K and you stay in the job for 4 years, here’s how it would pay out:
100K/52 * 6 = $11.5K
(12*4 – 1.5 = 46.5)(100/12*0.05) = 19.4K
And don’t forget that I inflated the price of the resume to $5,000 just to make a point. In reality it would cost you less.
What’s most important is the resume’s ability to sell you.
Top brands understand this concept, so they spend enormous amounts of money on selling themselves. Don’t forget that you, too, are a brand.
What’s Even More Important Than Money?
For many of us (especially at the executive level), getting the right job is important.
You may have 2-3 jobs left in you, and you want to make them count. Or you’re mid-career, and the right next move will rocket you to the executive level.
Then The One appears, and you really want it.
So why arm yourself with a substandard resume? A classic war analogy applies here. It’s time to go to battle, and you have a strategic target you need to hit.
Would you want an army that misses targets more often than it hits them? No, I didn’t think so.
Three More Reasons To Hire A Resume Writer.
A. You Are Tired Of Hearing Nothing Back.
You spent hours updating your resume in an effort to get it just right.
But instead of landing an interview, you received one of those “thanks, but no thanks” emails in return. Or even worse, just like Phil Collins, there was no reply at all.
What a frustrating and demoralising experience. And you can’t help but wonder what part of your application missed the mark.
Wonder no more. Hire a professional to take the problem off your hands.
B. You Have A Complex Work History.
Here’s something you should know about recruiters.
They are, at the end of the day, salespeople who are trained to fit round pegs into round holes. Consider this square peg example.
You’ve spent the last 20 years splitting your time between running your own business, being a freelance sales consultant AND working as a Senior Sales Manager.
You apply for a Sales Director role at a medium-sized organisation.
You hear crickets.
No doubt, you could do the Sales Director job. You could probably do it better than someone with a narrow, straight sales background.
But, as a square peg, few recruiters will give you a chance to tell your story.
More than likely, you missed the cut because the recruiter shepherded along the cookie-cutter resumes from their pile—simply because it was easier, faster and less risky for them.
C. You Have More Important Things To Do.
You’re successful in your career, in part, because you strive for maximum impact. You make the most of your time. This is why, when you need a new suit, you don’t learn how to weave and sew one.
You seek out a suit maker you trust.
A comment we often hear from our clients is this – the process of having their resume written helps them gain clarity about their careers and achievements.
Some people don’t ever talk about their careers, and most people don’t really reflect on their achievements. By taking a deep dive into this process, they get reacquainted with their careers and start actually owning it again.
So beyond the documents, they have been through a process that has forced them to recall the good stuff, which actually increases their self-confidence.
We get a lot of this kind of feedback: “Wow, I’ve actually done a lot, haven’t I?”
This, too, could happen to you.