Have you ever hired a resume writer?
March 22, 2015 9:53 AM   Subscribe

I am considering hiring a resume writer. I have 10+ years of experience in a specific industry (industrial manufacturing related) and interested in branching out to different industries. I feel like I should be doing something different than the usual. Has anyone hired a resume writer ever? How was your experience with it? Any tips? My fear would be to get a canned resume that I could do better myself. Are there any personalized services out there that could really help differentiate the resume?
posted by djfreex to Work & Money (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I had a resume writing service through my university. I was sn adult student, 35 years old. We talked for three hours over three weeks. My experience was that we critiqued my resume, and looked at enormous books of model resumes for things that would work for me.

We talked about the overall goal of the resume: what kind of job, what sector, career or bill-payer, direct hire or agency. The work to rewrite was actually mine.

Result was that I sent one resume out and got a great position in a great company. Not likely for everybody, but I had been expecting rejection letters for a few weeks.

If you plan to shop your resume to hiring agencies, don't discount the idea of a canned resume format.
posted by boo_radley at 10:21 AM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine, who had been working as a recruiter, reviewing hundreds of resumes a week, hired a professional resume writer to do hers. Our peers snickered - we were all recruiting professionals; what value could an outsider bring to the process after all? But when I saw it I knew we'd been wrong. It looked amazing, she quickly landed a higher paying role at a competitor, and I learned a lesson about professional resumes. If I ever had to do a serious job search I would absolutely pay to get mine done by someone else.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:49 AM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes I definitely hired someone and it really helped. My resume doesn't look or feel canned. He mostly had me brainstorm a lot about my experience so we could tease out my accomplishments and write about them in a way that made them stand out. It also helped me understand my own experience better so that I was better at talking about it in interviews.

I used Resume to Interviews. I had a huge uptick in interviews after starting to use that resume and got a job not long after.
posted by radioamy at 11:03 AM on March 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

Yes, well a good writer will not do it for you and hand you a product to mail out. A good one will make it more of a collaborative process. Ask you what you're looking for, then take your draft and start asking questions about your history translating your real experiences into points your target employers might find attractive and explaining to you why that's an asset. The key is that you are involved in the process, and you start seeing the things you have done that you might have forgotten about or though were not that relevant. A lot of people underestimate themselves, or emphasize the wrong things, or just plain make shit up that they think sounds impressive when they don't have to and it shows. With the experienced writer, you end up with a product that is truly about you, tailored to the job you're looking for, and that you can speak to with confidence. You're going to say the same things in the interview and knock their socks off. I've seen this work great and would absolutely do it (if I wasn't pretty good at this myself, for my industry.)

Obviously, the writer should be someone who has been a manager or similar, not just someone using voodoo and rumor and guesswork to know "what they like to see."

Unfortunately, a bad one will just take your history, write you up a document, and say here you go. I mean, that technically is what you asked for, but it's not the intent. It will definitely show when the interviewer starts asking you questions about what's on the paper. I've had candidates who didn't seem to know what was on the paper, and if they did, they couldn't elaborate on the significance of it and what it's supposed to mean to me.

I guess what I'm saying is, yes it's absolutely worth it if it's more resume/interview coaching. Not so much if it's "write me a thing so I don't have to."
posted by ctmf at 11:08 AM on March 22, 2015

I used resume to interviews after reading about it on metafilter. They weren't much help and I ended up getting my resume rewritten by a very kind recruiter in my field. Only after that second rewrite did I start getting interviews.
posted by hazyjane at 1:03 PM on March 22, 2015

I also used Resume to Interviews, but it was really helpful for me. I had done my share of academic CVs but had never done a job-oriented resume. Obviously there were things that made me a good fit for my job other than my resume and cover letter, but I got the second job I applied for using my resume from them.
posted by naturalog at 1:51 PM on March 22, 2015

One good friend looked for work in her field for a year with no success. Within ten days after using a resume writer, she had three interviews which resulted in two job offers. My daughter looked for a month after college, finally hired the same resume writer, and had an excellent offer within a week, which she took. Both of these instances happened within the last six months. It is worth it.
posted by raisingsand at 8:36 PM on March 22, 2015

A tip for you: If your resume is way better than anything else you submit (such as writing samples, cover letters, or even just the "here it is" email you attach your documents to), it's going to send up red flags. I got a few of these the last time I hired and I felt deceived and annoyed. One of the candidates even made it to an interview. The resume was perfect. Absolutely everything else was a wreck. I cut the interview short and sent her home.

If your resume overhaul is more about improving your writing than it is about structure and priorities, then I recommend getting a lot of hardcore writing training to avoid the quality mismatch.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:09 PM on March 23, 2015

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