Do It Yourself, Or Hire Someone?

As a professional resume writer, I’m obviously a little biased on this one! But even with this bias, I know that there are self-written resumes out there that easily pass muster for their authors. However, I do espouse the opinion that an objective second opinion and a fresh pair of eyes are always good. And “constructive criticism”, if couched positively, can be a tremendous gift (if the recipient can get past any lingering pride of authorship).

For those who prefer to write their own resumes, the tips provided in this column, and in books, articles and other published (print or online) pieces on resume writing can be very helpful. Know, though, that suggestions may vary, may even be diametrically opposed, so consider them all and pick the tips that work for you – for your personality, the jobs for which you’re applying, your industry, and your intuition.

If you choose to hire someone to write the resume for you, there are many ways of finding someone to write the document. Online ads, print advertisements in magazines, the yellow pages, and word of mouth are good starting points. Bulletin boards on college campuses, in coffee houses, and other strategic places where people gather can also prove fruitful.

Telephone your top choices, being sure to ask about how they work, timing (crucial if you needed a resume yesterday), pricing (hourly rate vs. project), other services (cover letters, employment counseling), paying attention to your response to the person’s style, voice, etc. Remember, your resume is a highly important part of your job search, and you need to trust the person with whom you’re working.

When a time is set for an initial meeting (if writer is local to your community), be on time, and come prepared: old resume(s), new job information, notes regarding additions, etc., and anything else relevant to creating the best resume possible. During the meeting, plan on discussing what you want, how you want information presented, clarifying technical and other industry-specific items (acronyms, certifications, etc.), and setting a tone, with the writer, on how the resume might look, format, etc. This is the time to outline exactly what YOU have in mind. After all, it’s YOUR resume, representing your skills, experience and talents... you should have what YOU want.

Be clear on pricing, on projected completion date, and on the product you’ll receive for your investment. Serious resume writers will provide cost estimates during the initial discussion, and both parties should agree that additional edits, additions, etc. and added services – cover letters, employment advice – will increase the cost.

Without sounding too self-serving, consider hiring a resume writer as a solid investment in your job future. Many clients of mine downplay their skills, adopting an “aw, shucks” demeanor during our discussions. This is NOT the time to be modest, folks!! Remember: your resume, and perhaps cover letter, are the documents that get you in the door for an interview. The resume takes the lead on door opening, especially in this age of electronic transmissions. You want a resume that tells a prospective employer what you have done, and what you can do for him/her. As the saying goes, “ First impressions never get a second chance.”

Make your first impression a winner.


This article was originally published in Dick Wray Associates e-newsletter.