If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve written your own 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
- Commissioning Arielle Executive to craft your resume
Both options have their own unique limitations, benefits and investments. But first, let’s be clear about why your resume matters.
THE VALUE OF A GREAT RESUME.
A strong, crisp, achievement-focused resume will have a positive impact on a number of 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
- To construct their interview(s) (by creating targeted questions about parts of the candidate’s background)
- To sell the candidate to hiring managers
3. BY HIRING MANAGERS:
- To construct their interview(s) (same as above)
- To dive deep into specific details (by reflecting on parts of the resume)
- To inform final hiring decisions
This process acts as a funnel designed to eliminate a large portion of candidates at every stage.
In other words, in order 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 your success (or lack thereof).
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 how to choose the best resume writer. 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 after having their resume “professionally written” without seeing an improvement in their marketability.
As a result, I see many examples of work produced by people who write resumes for a living.
(Bonus Read: Example Of A Resume For The Australian Job Market).
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) THEY’RE NOT ABLE TO INJECT COMMERCIAL ACUMEN INTO YOUR RESUME.
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, “It’ll stop your headache in under 10 minutes.”
B) THEY’RE NOT ABLE TO WEAVE A STORYLINE THROUGH YOUR CAREER HISTORY.
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 look reasonably competent, but identical to your competition. There’s nothing to differentiate you in a positive way. 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. Which brings me to your next option.
2. HIRE AN ARIELLE EXECUTIVE RESUME WRITER.
In all sincerity, at Arielle, we provide a very different type of resume writing service, serving clients in Sydney and Melbourne.
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 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.
For the hiring manager, achievements are also important.
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 simple.
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.
“If I pay someone to write my resume, they might charge me an obscene amount: $5,000. That’s a lot of money for a resume, right?”
WELL, YES. BUT CONSIDER THIS…
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 the price of the resume is inflated on purpose here—to make a point that choosing a resume writer on cost alone is not wise.
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.
MONEY IS ONLY ONE PART OF THE EQUATION.
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.
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.