Your 101 guide to choosing the right resume service: the good, the bad and the ugly

Blog post Choosing the right resume service 1

So, you’ve realised the value in hiring a professional to review and redo your resume. You jump online for a quick Google search, only to be greeted by a plethora of results. Overwhelmed, you close your laptop and tell yourself you’ll look into it another day.

Yes, the rise of the internet has also meant the rise of resume writers. Plug the term “professional resume writing services” into any search engine and you’ll face a never-ending list of possibilities, all spruiking an array of tantalising sales pitches.

So, how do you sift through the options and make sure you’re choosing a service that will give you genuine leverage in your career?

While there’s certainly no definitive rule to identifying a good versus bad resume service, there are some handy hints to keep at the forefront of your mind during your initial search.

Let’s start off with some major red flags to avoid:

Anything with the word ‘cheap’ advertised

While cutting costs on your weekly grocery shop is all well and good, there are certain things in life that require financial investment. Your career should be one of them.

Paying minimal costs results in minimal quality. It’s simple but true. As a general rule of thumb, any service offering to create a resume for under $200 is a pretty good sign the work will be sub-par. In these cases, work is often outsourced overseas or to a resume mill – that is, a host of low-paid writers who are pumping out up to 15 resumes a day. Needless to say, with minimal time spent, you’ll be left out of pocket and most likely starting from scratch.

Anything that offers 24-hour turnaround

Quality work takes time. A professional resume writing service – one with a team of experienced writers – will typically offer turnaround within one week at the earliest, usually two. This gives the writer enough time to consult with you, conduct the necessary research, complete a draft and polish it up with a fine-toothed comb.

At Alpha Resumes, our writers will spend a minimum of three hours’ research and professional writing time on graduate or entry-level resumes, while for managers and executives, it will generally take us at least five to six hours. Factor this into a typical work day, plus the additional time required for consultations and editing, and it’s clear that next-day delivery just isn’t practicable for high-quality work. 

No reviews or fake reviews

When choosing a new service, one of the first places people will head to is the reviews section, and rightfully so. Reviews provide a solid indication of overall customer satisfaction. With more than 60 Google reviews to Alpha Resumes’ name, we can confidently say we’ve earned our right to a reputation in the field. However, plenty of services will enlist colleagues, friends – even themselves – to write fake reviews. Hence, it’s crucial you keep an eye out for anything suspicious when doing your research.

As a bit of a guide, fake reviews tend to be accompanied with generic names, non-specific feedback, repeated phrases, and questionable spelling and grammar. If you happen to spot any of these factors when scanning through the service’s testimonials or reviews, you may want to second-guess their authenticity.

Lack of authority or credibility

As mentioned above, there are tons of resume mills out there, where writers churn out pages on the daily just to keep the numbers up. This means you’ll potentially end up with a slap-dash job pocked with generic fluff that won’t help you stand out amidst the piles of resumes. 

In your initial search, make sure you look for evidence that the company knows what they’re doing. Do they have a blog on their website that demonstrates thought leadership in their field? Do they have evidence of experience in professional resume writing? These can all provide clues into the kind of quality you’ll receive.

Jon Gorgioski and the small team at Alpha Resumes are university-educated, professional writers and journalists who each have a minimum of seven years’ experience in marketing, professional writing and consulting.

So, what should you be looking for when hiring a professional resume writer?

Pricing options to match your needs

The cost of a resume service can range from less than $100 to $2,000 or more, which can make it tricky to work out what’s a reasonable amount to fork out. Add to this the fact that no two individuals will have the same career path, and it makes things even more complicated.

For a CEO who’s earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, it may be feasible to spend upwards of $2,000 on a resume service. However, for new graduates, mid-weight professionals, tradespeople and most managers, it is more realistic to spend between $300 and $800 on perfecting your personal branding suite. Our package prices reflect the high quality of work involved, whilst remaining affordable and approachable for most.

Make sure you acknowledge your level of experience and seniority, and find a pricing option that aligns with your current career status. At Alpha Resumes, we’ve made it easy by offering a three-tiered service – simply choose the package that matches your professional background.

Personal consultations as part of the package

This is a pretty good sign that you’ll receive a more bespoke approach to your resume. Whether in person or via a phone call, a detailed consultation means the writer is invested in your personal experience and committed to showing off your career highlights.

A number of services rely on questionnaires alone or a very short phone chat, resulting in generic copy that doesn’t actually reflect who you are as a professional. That’s why our writers take the time to get to know you on a personal level – it gives them a much better chance of ensuring your resume is uniquely you. Working predominantly with clients in Melbourne and across Victoria means we create the opportunity to meet with you face-to-face. We also offer phone or Skype consultations to suit the needs of all.

The opportunity to view examples of work or designs

While the written content on your resume is vital, the layout is also key to capturing your next employer’s attention. Before choosing a professional service to clean up your resume, it’s a good idea to enquire about the way their documents are designed and formatted.

However, be wary – some services tend to sport stock designs downloaded straight from the web. As such, it pays to have a sharp eye when differentiating between cut-and-copy graphics and those designed in-house that can be tailored to your needs.

Impressive branding

Professional resume writers are in the business of marketing their clients, so you’d want to be sure they can at least market themselves. Have a quick scope of their online branding – what messages are they communicating? Is their website professional, clean and easy to navigate? Do they come across as taking pride in their work? At the end of the day, you want to hire someone who practises what they preach, which makes all these minute details important.

Overall, it pays to do your research before diving head-first into the cheapest/fastest/most convenient resume service. By taking a few mental notes along the way, you can filter your search and save yourself time and money down the track.

Give your resume the treatment it deserves

Want to know more about how Alpha Resumes can fine-tune your resume and give you the best possible chance of standing out? Discover who we are and what we do or get in touch today.

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