Let’s break down the characteristics of the new commodity resume writing services out there these days, so you have a better idea of what to expect, from start to finish.
When you slip someone $100 to write your resume, what should you expect in return?
Who actually is writing this resume for you?
Are you getting unique content written JUST FOR YOU, or will the content be vague and basic?
What You Need To Know About Resume Writing Mills
If you’re new to the term “resume writing mill,” you’ll quickly learn that all too often low-quality, high-churn resume writing firms work very much alike and don’t always do a great job of “righting your resume write.”
Resume writing mills focus too heavily on getting new clients and securing more revenue and less on back-end resume quality and less on customer care. There is a good reason for this … and I’ll talk more about why later in this article. In fact, I’ll provide you with a cost breakdown to help you visualize why low-cost resume writing services can be a bad idea.
Yes, today I’m a resume writer.
New-to-the-market resume writers who have stepped in from other fields are another consistency seen at resume writing mills. For example, I’ve seen several from the financial services sector. Simply put, last week they may have been Financial Analysts, but this week they are Professional Resume Reviewers & Resume Writers.
That just burns my khakis! Yes, I like the movie Open Season too. 🙂
Lack of training.
Yes, all resume writers must start somewhere, though there is little proof that newly hired resume writers at high-volume resume writing mills have been properly on-boarded to include proper vetting and training. Certainly, we’re not seeing much for quality output after taking a deep dive into the resume reviews some of these resume mills are passing off.
Why do managers and executives make the mistake of “shopping around” with something so important as their resume?
Gosh, I think we all want to the know the answer to this question.
Some professionals put a “budget” on their resumes and therefore proceed to find a budget resume writer to help.
Imagine yourself being a heart surgeon. And suddenly one day, you notice a drop in patients coming to your office. You come to learn that people are now shopping around for alternative people to perform their open heart surgeries. In doing so, these folks select surgeons who advertise a cost-saving promotion through Groupon.
Yeah, that makes us here @ Resume To Referral cringe too.
To get a quality resume, you really do need to use a resume writer who minimally has 1-2 industry certifications — or a nice amount of existing resume writing experience to offset the lack of training. Also, having a nice amount of client testimonials doesn’t hurt either. Of course, neither of these really guarantee the quality and effectiveness of your finished resume, because resume writers are flawed humans too.
Heck, I just had a misstep with an Operations Manager for a real estate brokerage. She insisted on keeping her Juris Doctorate mentioned in her resume, and of course, I advised against it because she was targeting another management position at a real estate firm.
Thankfully, she didn’t take my advice because she just scored a job interview for a once-in-a-lifetime job with a real estate software company. The MAIN reason she was contacted to interview for the job was that the hiring many loved that she once sold real estate and holds the JD — both qualifications he has! So, essentially, he liked her as a candidate in part because of the whole “birds of a feather, flock together” thing.
The point is, professional resume writers make mistakes (that’s me!) too.
The internet has made it possible for amateur resume writers to break into the market, and in their attempts to attract new clients — they start advertising resumes for rock bottom prices. Alternatively, when business is slow, some resume writing firms will participate in coupon campaigns (like Groupon) to try to drum up business. They are looking for volume sales, which is how these discount programs work.
Hey, I get it – it can be tempting to save a few bucks and hire someone like this to write your resume. But, if you think you are getting a good deal with a resume writing firm that set up to provide you with a commodity-type service, you’re not in the treat you think you are.
Think You are Getting a Bargain with a $100 Budget Resume? Think Again.
Don’t expect any special attention placed on your budget resume.
Honestly, they just might not have the time available to pay any special attention to you. A fast turnaround may be the only thing on your bargain resume writer’s mind.
If you take a chance and buy a bargain resume, instead of hiring a resume writer or opting for a DIY resume, don’t be surprised if you get a simple, poorly written resume delivered in a couple of days.
And when this happens, we’re seeing more and more online reviews from professionals taking their complaints online after having difficulty reaching their resume writer to initiate changes to a resume draft.
Sadly, you won’t know who (or what) is actually working on your resume on the other end.
In order to keep costs down, most of these budget resume companies outsource their work overseas to non-English natives, so good luck trying to get any real help there.
We’re seeing ever-growing issues with some high-volume resume writing mills like this one.
In October 2015, a resume writer employed 4.5 years and no longer employed with GetInterviews.com had these words to say about writing for a resume mill:
“We knew what you were being charged for the resume (though they tried keeping that from us writers), and when our pay was $115, it felt like we were respected as part of a team. However, as financial pressures hit the company, we were the ones who made the biggest sacrifices. If your product was substandard, that’s why. We were overworked, underpaid, and in many cases expected to behave like employees…”
Think you are getting a free personalized review? Not so fast, it’s a canned response.
If you are lucky, you may get a free “personal review” from someone that gives you suggestions on how to improve your resume.
Keep in mind this is an automated response written by someone who has not even glanced at your resume. This is designed to make you think you are dealing with a real person who cares.
The truth is, the resume writers who work for these kinds of companies are given a set of canned email responses and scripts to use with customers. They randomly pick some and send them to unsuspecting customers.
Related reviews of select online job search and resume services:
Sorry, Charlie. No career advice or support available with a cheap resume service.
Have questions about your specific career goals, how to leverage your considerable career experience, or improve your LinkedIn profile?
Forget about getting any kind of ad-hoc career advice (e.g. how to get your resume into the hands of recruiters) or support with a bargain basement resume writing service.
You are lucky if you even get feedback or can get your resume edited when needed.
There is only so much profit to be had when projects have such a small budget, so there must be “give” somewhere in the process.
Your resume writer is probably not certified or has any resume writing training.
You wouldn’t hire just anyone off the street to work on your house, would you?
How about someone to babysit your kids?
Any reasonable person wants someone who is qualified to do the job, has a solid background, and experience.
So, then, why would you trust the most important career document to anyone at a budget resume writing agency?
We see too often that these companies don’t care about industry certifications, how much experience people have in resume writing, or even if they know what a resume is – just as long as they have someone to do the work for cheap.
That resume may only be $100, but it’s going to cost you a job worth a lot more.
You may think you are getting the deal of the century by purchasing a $100 resume package, but what it can come down to is you losing an awesome job offer. Turn in a poorly written resume and that’s what you can expect.
These people don’t have anything vested in your success, they are only interested in making a quick sale.
A certified executive resume writer cares about your career dreams coming true, therefore will bend over backward to provide you with the best possible service and an outstanding resume that will give you real results.
Your resume will look like everyone else’s resume, so what’s the point?
Another thing that $100 resume writing companies do is stick to 2 or 3 resume templates, at max. They design all incoming resumes around these templates, so basically, you are getting a cookie-cutter version of someone else’s resume.
Resume templates are not designed for executive-level candidates and are rarely updated. Template changes do come along when there is a change in the company and new font styles or another resume format is made available.
These formats are the exact same ones that are available for free in most word processing software, so you are not getting much of a bargain at all.
The resumes are not geared towards executive candidates, in fact, they intentionally leave more recent job roles out.
As a career professional, buying one of these cheap resumes is not doing you any justice. In fact, what most of these companies do is treat you like you are old or outdated and need to hide your previous careers and achievements. They will put your last 3 jobs on your resume, and then wrongfully lump your previous careers into a short list at the very bottom, when potentially not in your best interest, leaving dates and other important information off.
Time Breakdown For An Average Resume Project
Let’s put some perspective on a $100 resume writing service.
First, think about logistics.
How many hours do you expect a resume writer to work on your resume project?
If you’re thinking the average resume takes 4 hours to write, think again. This is the typical breakdown of a resume project:
1-2 Hours – Project Kickoff. This is when the resume writer starts the process: conducts an initial resume teardown, sets up new resume format if needed (e.g. combination versus chronological format) & puts together and sends the client an initial set of questions to help flesh out the new resume.
Note that the time spent putting together a set of initial client questions varies on the number of positions the client holds and how far back the resume writer plans to cover in the new resume.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that some clients and resume writers prefer client intakes be done via phone, so this can add time to the process as well.
3-4 Hours – Questionnaire Review & Resume Writing Phase. How long did it take you to write your resume when you did it yourself?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that for professional and skilled resume writers words on a page just pour out with little effort. Your resume project takes many micro-decisions before its finalized.
This takes time.
And for top-level managers and executives with full-bodied careers, the resume writing phase alone can take 4-8 hours.
1-2 Hours – Editing Phase. Once a resume draft is completed, the client and the resume writer will then (collectively) spend additional time tweaking, rewriting, and editing the final resume copy.
1 Hour – A resume writer might need to send a second wave of questions to the client for clarification on projects or to extract more achievements.
1-2 Hours – Not all clients like answering email questionnaires, and in those cases, a follow-up phone call is needed. On a good day, a client tells the resume writer only what they need to know. On a bad day, a client rambles and rambles, telling every career war story and never really answers the resume writer’s questions. Unfortunately, this latter scenario happens the most.
So, as you can see, the average resume project takes a MINIMUM of 5 hours.
Yet, realistically writing a quality resume takes upwards of 8 hours with more time allocated when the client needs:
- Questions answered about resume strategies
- Tips on a career change or handling a challenging career obstacle (e.g. reduction in management responsibilities or recent layoff)
- Advice on how to further customize their resume
Now, let’s take a $100 resume and divide that by 8 hours. This comes out to the resume writer getting paid $12.50 per hour. McDonald’s workers are expecting to get paid more than.
Let’s take a $100 resume and divide that by 5 hours … the minimum amount of time the average resume project takes. This now comes to $20.00 per hour.
But wait, there’s more.
The “tax man” must get its cut of that eye-popping $100 fee. So, your resume writer who’s making $12.50 to $20.00 per hour is now back to making minimum wage — or close to it.
Back to my original question: How many hours do you expect a resume writer to work on your resume project?
You might be expecting a fair amount, am I right? Yet, the reality is your resume writer likely has other plans with those slim profits.