The decision as to whether to hire a professional resume writer is one that leaves many people confused.
So I’m glad you stopped here because this is SO IMPORTANT!
I’m going to approach this in two pieces, since there is a growing understanding of professional resume writing services, but many have still not heard of the benefits of career coaching. I’ll talk about professional resume writers in this piece and then discuss career coaches in the next.
Professional Resumes, Professional Resume Writers, and You
When it comes time to write your resume, you’re bound to receive a lot of conflicting and confusing advice.
“Just use a template” or “There is no better person to write your resume than you” or even, “My mother’s third cousin’s boyfriend’s aunt works in HR and she said…”.
Take a deep breath, as I’m going to walk you through this and help you understand the importance of your resume and what it needs to be able to do.
I want you to be able to nail landing your next interview, and the decision to hire a resume writer can play a BIG role!
First off, I want you to run, not just walk, away from using a resume template.
Because when you market yourself to prospective employers you can’t afford to look, sound, and feel like all the other applicants!
Yet, with a template that is what will happen as you will end up with very black and white, cut and dried content that doesn’t sell you.
When I present at job fairs I always take time to give feedback on resumes. The resumes I collect create a very eye-opening and sobering experience for job seekers.
As I hold the stack up with the name covered everyone can see that THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME.
Yes, the template is that popular but if you can’t stand out from the crowd and you just blend in, you may never get that interview.
Even worse, if you used a template your resume won’t be configured to survive the different types of scans it will undergo in it’s hoped path to the decision maker! (Don’t worry – I’ll tell you more about that later.)
The good news is a talented professional resume writer will NEVER use a template!
I totally get the concept that you should be the person who knows yourself best in the world. Therefore, it would seem to follow that you should also be the best person to write your resume.
But that’s actually very far from the truth.
Have you ever noticed that the perceptive people in your life are always able to see your talents and expertise in a way you don’t?
It’s because it’s a part of you and you take it for granted!
So how can you sell what you take for granted when you need to show how you stand out from equally qualified competition to land the interview?
How can you market yourself in a document you aren’t trained to create?
In pursuing two degrees in writing, some of the best advice I received for resume writing came from a non-fiction writing class.
Like you, I assumed writing about myself should be a PIECE OF CAKE.
However, it was the toughest writing I ever had to do because I rapidly realized I made assumptions on what would be understood and how my material would be read.
People just didn’t get it without the right details and they lost interest.
When you write your resume to land that dream job or that must-have income, can you truly afford to take the chance that you also won’t know how to sell yourself on paper?
That’s a chance most of us can’t afford to take! Remember, most jobs are looking to hire only one applicant, and you want it to be you!
For the last 25 years I’ve been sharing my view with both job seekers and professional resume writers that resume writing is a form of marketing.
You’re now on the line to market, “You Inc.”.
And I want you to think on this carefully:
Do you think Coca-Cola would be a billion-dollar business if the chemists who created and thus knew the formulas best said, “We created this so we are the best ones to talk about it in marketing”?
Nope, nope, nope.
They were experimenters at one point, then chemists, and now food scientists.
They are not marketers!
A company that wants to be and stay profitable cannot afford to rest their ability to capture consumer interest in the hands of the techies!
You, my friend, are the techie in this scenario.
Even if you do marketing for a living, when it comes to selling yourself, you’re still the techie.
If you take your experiences for granted…
If you don’t know how to write accomplishment-based statements…
If you aren’t familiar with unique selling propositions and branding about YOU…
And, if you are clueless when I say ATS and keyword scannability…
Then you need the assistance of a professional resume writer!
So think about what we know so far regarding writing your resume:
- You know your skills and accomplishments, but you take them for granted.
- You do your job full-time, and that’s not resume writing.
- You know a template is going to pigeon-hole you to look and sound like everyone else.
- You know a template isn’t going to help you survive computer scans of your resume.
- You have no idea what ATS compatibility is and if you do, probably don’t know how to achieve it.
- You get that resume writing is marketing and that even if you do marketing for a living, it would be hard to sell yourself (see #1).
The Path Your Resume Takes
Depending on your age, like me, you probably miss the old days when things were simpler.
Or, perhaps you don’t realize just how complicated the interview selection process has become!
Being qualified doesn’t mean you will get an interview.
How well you sell being the best candidate for the job in ways each of the three reviewing audiences understand will determine if you get an interview!
The internet has made it so easy to just hit click and apply.
This has glutted the market and human resource professionals are overwhelmed. The steps they take to rapidly consume candidate resumes means you have to work that much harder to stand out.
Here are some stats to consider:
- Google receives approximately 2800 resumes EACH DAY from hopeful applicants.
- Only about 20% of hires come from applying to online job ads.
- The average posted position can receive anywhere from 130 to 1500 resumes.
- Even if you network your resume into a company, it may likely find its way into a database.
So, let’s look at the path your resume will likely take when it enters a company:
Regardless of how you submit it, it likely finds its way to human resources (HR) first.
I apologize for the generalization, but here’s how it may go:
First Line Review:
It gets read by the computer. That could be a keyword scanning software, it could be artificial intelligence (AI) scanning, or it could be Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).
In any case, you won’t get out of this search alive to pass to the next level unless you position your resume to survive.
- Your resume must have key words that match the target position, preferably in the first half of the first page.
- Your resume must not only have key words but must also have key word phrases in your job descriptions that demonstrate your use of the target skills.
- Your resume must have scannable content – things like color, charts, graphs, font selection, font size, underlining, and text boxes can all harm readability.
When your resume pops up as a potential match, it likely goes to another line of review in HR.
Second Line Review:
It gets skimmed by a person. It might not be fair, but just envision a 20-something who has never done your job has a job description and a pile of seemingly qualified applicants that the system popped out. This person has a lot to do and is going to spend seconds looking at each resume to see if they are truly worthy of passing forward. This can be just as challenging as the first review.
- Your resume has to be attractively and visually formatted in such a way that this individual can SEE skill matches to the targeted position very quickly.
- Your resume needs to be matched to the job so the reviewer isn’t left wondering about your commitment level. In other words, even if the key words are right, if you’ve also got key words for ten other positions, you’ll probably stop here.
- Your resume should have a strong focus on unique selling proposition (what makes you better than the other qualified candidates) up front and strong metric-based challenges, actions, and results in job descriptions so if a rapid narrowing of candidates has to be made prior to interviewing, the individual can quickly see you make the cut.
If this isn’t happening, you won’t reach your goal of getting in front of the decision maker.
Third Line Review:
When you get to an interview it’s typically with someone qualified to assess you for the position. Yes, you may have a phone screening first just to make sure you are who you say you are. But, the rubber hits the road when you get in front of someone who knows and understands your position. This person is only going to interview the best candidates.
- Your resume must act like a strategic marketing tool with visual cues that draw the eye to key content. It needs to be so easy to see you are the best candidate at every point.
- Your resume needs to emphasize how you are better, faster, and smarter – it needs to showcase your bottom line value to the company and how you will provide a strong return on investment.
- Your resume needs to speak in the language of the target position and industry, even if you are changing careers.
At this point, it’s all about the match, the qualifications, and how rapidly it can be seen. With key marketing strategy, you can easily stand out and get an employer excited.
Remember, prospective employers don’t read resumes; they scan resumes.
Your single resume must get everything right to serve these three very different audiences!
Without that juggling, you likely won’t get the interview.
So let’s review what we now know:
- Resumes are marketing tools.
- Resumes get scanned by computerized systems and artificial intelligence.
- The market is glutted with qualified candidates applying for positions.
- Prospective employers are overwhelmed with applicants and don’t have time to read resumes or interview all candidates.
- You’ve got to really juggle your content because a single resume must do triple-duty for different audiences to get you to the desired interview.
- You do not write resumes for a living and would need to spend at least 100 hours getting up to speed to possibly do an effective job of writing and designing your own.
- You take what you have to offer and have accomplished for granted.
- You don’t want to miss out on your dream job.
- There is too much at stake to do this yourself.
- You NEED the help of a professional resume writer!
You don’t diagnose your own health issue, you go to the doctor.
You don’t repair your own car, you go to a mechanic.
You don’t cut your own hair, you go to a hair stylist.
Your resume is the catalyst to land the interview for your next job, your needed job, or your dream job.
That job will determine your available funds for everything you do in life.
Making a small investment in the services of a professional resume writer to get it right THE FIRST TIME and not miss out on the job you want, is peanuts when you look at the big picture.
As I tell new grads, “You just spent four years and $120,000 getting an education. Now isn’t it worth $1500 to market it and dramatically increase your chances of landing a job in your field?”
When they say yes, they go places!
I want that for you too so I invite you to search our database for a qualified professional resume writer to assist you.
Just like mechanics and doctors, they come in all shapes, sizes, and expertise levels. There can be a lot to consider so we recommend you view our How to Select a Career Pro lesson for tips on making your selection.
Most resume writers offer free consultations, so you’ll have a chance to make sure they are a good fit before you move forward.
I haven’t even gone into how much time using a professional can save you, or how much higher your next salary could be due to this marketing strategy, but I can assure you a talented professional resume writer will make this process easier than you can imagine!
Whatever you do from here on out, be sure your resume sells you for your next job!
Looking for a professional resume writer to assist you?
Then look no farther than Career Directors International for the world’s top resume writers, including certified professional resume writers and award-winning resume writers.
Our member professional resume writers receive access to state-of-the-art training, certification, and ongoing learning to make sure they can handle any challenge you have in your career marketing. CDI certifies writers with the Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, Certified Executive Resume Master, and Certified Resume Specialist + X (19 niche industries) credentials.
Use our Find a Career Pro Directory to find a professional now.
Members are worldwide and possess a broad array of qualifications and specialties from CDI as well as from other industry organizations.
You can learn more about selecting a professional here.