The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

April 28, 2017

Think Twice Before Using a Professional Resume Writing Service

Resume writing services are absolutely everywhere—but will someone else’s version of this essential professional document improve your prospects of getting hired? That’s to be determined.

Abacus Group’s recruiters, who review hundreds of applications daily and know what hiring managers seek from candidates, have a few critiques of “store-bought” resumes.

Stacie Keslinger, CPA, Accounting & Finance Executive Recruiter, explains, first of all, how to identify one. “Such resumes feature verbose summaries or objective statements, atypical or confusing layouts, and extra boxes and lines.”

You might think that this is acceptable—especially if you later make modifications to the format—as long as your experience is impressive. Unfortunately, a professional resume writer doesn’t necessarily know which skills, accomplishments, and responsibilities to highlight to best capture the attention of the hiring manager.

You, not necessarily the resume writer, have worked in your particular industry and are familiar with typical job requirements for the roles you desire. Therefore, you are better suited to compose the document. Bear in mind that this does not mean you should avoid feedback or tips from a friend or recruiter; you just should not pay them for said advice.

Another, less obvious issue is that all other written materials in your application—such as a cover letter or, if required, a writing sample—won’t match the style on your resume. Exceptionally detail-oriented hiring managers may notice this discrepancy and choose not to move forward with your candidacy.

Further, Stacie and her colleagues have encountered professionally-designed resumes that look, well, unprofessional. For example, certain words or phrases are cut off from the pages, the job highlights are in paragraphs rather than bullet point format, or the full document is an off-putting five pages long. Beware that quality varies substantially among resume writers, who charge as much as $300 for their services.

While we’ve reviewed the disadvantages of resume writing services, we certainly won’t discourage their use entirely. Rather, we just want to express the need to exercise caution when considering them. We also believe that they can be especially helpful for junior-level job seekers who need inspiration for resume structure and job search best practices. Just as choosing a recruiter requires discretion, your resume-writer—if you opt to use one—should be carefully selected, too.

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