Does My Resume Need Professional Help?

November 02 2011

Resume writing services will gobble up your money as fast as you can PayPal it; but are they worth it? If you’re visiting QuitOrNot.com (www.quitornot.com), let’s assume you have recently quit your job or are thinking about quitting in the near future. Your resume is a snapshot of what future employers can expect from you, so creating a visually-attractive resume that boasts all your most appealing attributes is imperative.  With 13.7 million unemployed in America (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm), it’s more important than ever to stand out. Before you decide whether you are able to create an effective resume with or without the help of a resume-writing service, let’s first review some things that constitute a successful resume in this market.

Visually Attractive
With many of the larger companies using auto-fill forms to enter your job history, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to email your resume. But when you do, it is important that it looks professional and appropriate for your field. For example, if you are a graphic designer, your resume needs to incorporate a visually creative element that gives the employer a taste of your particular style. A medical resume should state the facts without all the bells and whistles, yet draw the eyes to important skill sets and achievements. A resume-writing company will know the “feel” your resume should have, but using basic common sense should direct you towards how your resume should look. Regardless of the writing style, it needs to be attractive. A jumbled mess with little direction will immediately deter an employer. Why would they hire someone who has trouble selling themselves? One of the best ways to determine if your resume is attractive is to ask 5 intelligent and employed friends to take a look and rate your resume. Getting their honest opinion will help you see things you may not have noticed. There are online sites that allow you to upload your resume for feedback, like Rez Score. Job boards offer a good forum for feedback, so find a good message board for your field. Indeed.com (http://www.indeed.com/forum/job) might be a good place to start. Although the feedback can be brutal, you can get honest feedback. Just be warned that not all comments are from professionals, so pick and choose what advice you take.

Clearly Stated
Your experience may be impressive, but you must be able to clearly state all your wonderful attributes or else it goes unnoticed. An overly-wordy resume can be your demise. Bullet points (http://www.everydayinterviewtips.com/tag/resume-design) with simply-stated sentences are the best way to organize your resume for an easy read. Read each line of your resume and cut them down to the bare bones. “I was organized, managed my time well, and multi-tasked on a daily basis” can be cut down to, “Highly organized to manage multiple tasks.” Redundancy can often wreak havoc on a resume. Re-using a skill over and over again can clutter your message and bore an employer. If your resume exceeds two pages, then you have some de-cluttering to do.

Relevant
Depending on your field, you may have some flexibility in career choices. In fact, you open yourself up to many more job options when you expand your search to multiple fields. Someone in the field of marketing, for instance, could choose to take a sales job or a marketing analysis position. Having multiple resumes ready for different situations is a smart thing to do. This piece of advice does not mean that you have to re-write your entire resume two to three times. All it means is that you should tweak your resume’s “objectives” and focus your bullet points on that specific industry. With the above marketing example, the sales resume should point out work history attributes that had results and team-oriented skills, like “Achieved 120% of my goal by collaborating with team members.” While the marketing analysis resume would point our more factual skills, like, “Managed a multi-million dollar market analysis document.” Before submitting your resume to a company, look at some of the keywords they are seeking and incorporate them into your resume. This will make your resume more relevant and also help with moving it to the top if a keyword computer program (http://blog.resume-help.org/2011/05/resume-screening-tips-for-beating-automated-resume-review-process/) is used to select candidates. During an aggressive job search, one resume with one focus just isn’t enough. Your cover letter and resume both should target that specific job with detailed reasons why you should be chosen over another candidate.

So, to answer your question of whether or not a resume writing service can help you: if you feel that you can incorporate all of the above suggestions into your resume without professional help, then do not waste your money. If you do need help, make sure you choose a resume-writing service that has experience writing resumes for your line of work. Also be sure they will make changes if you are unhappy with their first draft. Do not choose a resume-writing service purely based on money. If they charge a minimal amount, chances are the results will reflect it. Remember, you get what you pay for.

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