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Professional Resume Writers -- Should You Hire One?

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A certified professional resume writer and author of six books on the subject agreed that all professional resume writers aren't the same. Her firm has had to rewrite, correct and improve resumes from many one-man resume outfits and just about all the major outplacement firms (she has never seen one outplacement firm that uses certified writers).

Here’s what all professional resume writers should do: Provide a free consultation and feedback on a person's existing resume, give a flat-rate quote that won't change, conduct a full, personal interview with the applicant, then provide all changes required to make the resume accurate. Job hunters should require that the writer be certified or degreed to do what he or she is doing, have at least 12 years of experience and provide a list of references or testimonials. It's also helpful if the resume professional can point to endorsements from top human-resources managers and/or executives at major corporations.

Some of the most expensive resume and outplacement services produce the lowest-quality resumes! Maybe that’s because they focus on professional in-house sales staff and counseling, rather than effective resumes produced by dedicated writers. When all is said and done, however, the applicant walks out with a resume, and employers rely on that resume to determine whom to interview. Greg Antonelle, an executive recruiter, has a general aversion to professionally written resumes. As an example of his displeasure, Greg quotes a line from a resume that reads: "Resourceful, adaptable, self-directed and motivated with the ability to meet and exceed even the most challenging goals." As with any type of business genre, one can find good eggs and rotten ones in resume writing. To find someone good, you have to do your homework and interview prospective writers. To begin, ask a writer what his or her background is. It's preferable to hire someone with a human resources background or, perhaps, a general business background. The bottom line: You want someone who has been a hiring manager, has made hiring decisions or has had a lot of experience working with hiring managers. You also want to hire someone who has a strong overall sense of business, a clear understanding of what you do, excellence with words, and an awareness of the hot points that will attract a hiring manager looking for someone with your credentials. Be wary of anyone who says he or she will write a resume that is guaranteed to get you a job. That isn't what a resume is meant to do. A resume is meant to help you get your foot in the door for interviews. It's up to you to close the deal by acing the interview.

A good resume writer is a ghostwriter, leaving no clues of his or her existence.

Doris Appelbaum is Founder and President of Appelbaum's Resume Professionals, Inc. She is an international career consultant, resume writer, speaker, and trainer with 25+ years of experience. She has been quoted as an expert nationwide and has provided career transition services for major corporations and transitioning military. A career columnist for many publications and websites, Doris’ career history includes career management for colleges, teaching and training, human resources for a government agency, and employment development for Wisconsin Correctional Services. She was an honor graduate from Hofstra University with a BA – English/Journalism and an MS – Secondary Education. Doris can be reached at (414) 352-5994 - 1-800-619-9777 - <FONT color=#330066>dorisa@execpc.com - (414) 352-7495 (fax). Visit her company’s website for career and military transition advice: <FONT color=#330066>http://www.appelbaumresumes.com. Listen to “Career Quest” every Sunday at noon on AM 540, WRRD in Wisconsin and Illinois.

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