Like all industries, professional resume writing has its detractors.
A recent article in US News makes the case against hiring a professional to do the work.
What’s Wrong with Hiring a Professional?
The article poses these points:
- It’s unethical, much like having someone write your college application essay.
- Employers use resumes not only to determine work history, but to see if applicants can organize their thoughts and write clearly.
- A professional resume may cause an inferior candidate to be hired over a superior candidate, based upon the professionally-written resume.
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What’s Right About Hiring a Professional?
Allow me to take the above criticisms one at a time. First though, I should explain my background. Yes, I am a professional resume writer, a CPRW to be exact. CPRW stands for Certified Professional Resume Writer, a certification granted through testing by the PARW (Professional Association of Resume Writers). In my career, I’ve created more than 10,000 resumes for professionals at every stage of a career, from entry-level to CEOs and in every industry.
Equally important, I am also a hiring manager. I look at resume writing from both sides of the table. Here’s my take on what the article said:
Professional Resume Writing is Not Unethical
Likening it to someone writing your college application essay is comparing apples to oranges. Unless the individual in question is seeking a position in which writing is one of the main job responsibilities – or that person wants to be a resume writer – having the document professionally written makes sense. It’s not only about using proper grammar, which educated people should have mastered. It’s knowing what a hiring manager is looking for. A resume isn’t a biography or a simple listing of what you’ve done professionally and academically. It’s a marketing tool. Trust me, if you know zip about marketing and branding yourself in this new employment market, you can’t compete - no matter how well you write.
Why should an accountant, banker, financial analyst, systems analyst or anyone else with specialized knowledge struggle to write their own resume? That’s like fixing your own car to prove you can. Unless you’re trying to get a job as an auto mechanic, you’re wasting your time.
Employers Use Resumes to Assess an Applicant’s Ability to Organize Thoughts
Um…no. Not this hiring manager. I want to see if the individual has:
1. A steady work history
2. Results (accomplishments) of their tasks
3. Steady progression in their career
4. The academic background I’m looking for in a new hire
5. The professional background I’m looking for in a new hire
Hiring managers, myself included, spend no more than 7 seconds (if that) on an applicant’s resume. We don’t have the time to ponder every sentence. We want the information presented so that we don’t have to search for it. Unless you’ve studied resume writing and have done at least 50 resumes, you can’t possibly produce an excellent product. I, personally, don’t know of any candidate who would want to take the time to learn to do it correctly, especially if it’s not their field. Even if they have great qualifications, submitting a resume that doesn’t highlight their most important strengths could keep them from getting an interview. Is it worth it?
A Professional Resume May Help an Inferior Candidate Get the Job
Only if it’s for a position where writing is one of the main tasks, and probably not even then. Let’s use common sense. An IT professional has years of experience in programming, software, systems security, etc. If that experience matches the job requirements, that individual will be called in for an interview. Having a professional resume writer arrange the data so that a hiring manager focuses on it immediately is what’s important here. The core skills are the same. A professional resume writer can’t – and won’t – manufacture data so that someone gets hired.
No Resume Will Get You the Job – Only an Interview
Another fallacy in this article is the belief that someone will get hired on the resume alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. Someone who can’t string two words together on paper isn’t likely to do well in an interview. If they’re completely unqualified, they’d never be invited to interview in the first place.
With today’s economy still struggling and unemployment stubbornly high, the wise job seeker uses every tool in the arsenal. One of those is hiring a professional resume writer when you believe you need one or want one. You can’t be an expert at everything. A professional resume writer knows what hiring managers want to see and what kind of resume will generate an interview.
Do you? Are you willing to take a chance that you may be wrong?