People like to ask us if it’s cheating to have a professional resume writer write their resumes. Obviously, we don’t think so. Unless you’re applying for a job where you’d need to write or evaluate resumes (like a college career center or HR), your potential employer isn’t hiring you because of how well you wrote your resume -- she’s hiring you because of the skills listed on your resume. And if someone else can help you package those skills in a way that will catch a recruiter’s eye, well, why wouldn't you go for it?
The truth is, someone else probably can help you present your skills better than if you were to write your resume yourself. It’s really hard to accurately assess your own skills and talk about your achievements at work -- people tend to either undersell themselves because they’ve been trained to be humble, or oversell themselves out of a misguided notion that cockiness is everything. Plus, a lot of what you do all day at work is so obvious to you that you may forget to include it in your resume, even though a recruiter may need that context.
That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down with someone who isn’t familiar with your day-to-day to talk through your skills. An unbiased outsider can ask the right questions to get you thinking about your achievements -- how many clients did you sign? How well did the shows you developed perform in the ratings? Did you take on any higher level duties while you were an assistant? They can also clarify some of the murkier aspects of your resume -- what do you mean by “updated social media?” What kind of company is your start-up? Who did you liaise with internally and externally?
The other benefit to having help with your resume is that it can often be a confidence booster. When you’re bogged down by job applications and rejections, it’s easy to get depressed and think you simply don’t have what it takes. But by talking through your accomplishments with an outsider, you’ll be able to verbalize what you’ve done and take ownership of your performance -- and get a head start finding anecdotes or background for some of the popular questions about strengths, weaknesses, and challenges. Usually, our clients feel prouder of their work histories after they’ve had a chance to tell their stories. But even if you realize you’re answering more questions with “No, I never did that” or “No, I wouldn’t want to do that,” you’ll also be in a better position -- you’ll be able to reassess the kinds of roles you’re applying for and figure out the right next step, instead of wasting time applying for jobs that aren't a right fit.
There’s enough stress when it comes to the job search, and your time is better spent focusing on identifying your dream companies and networking your way into them than struggling through multiple drafts of your resume. Consider letting a professional resume writer prepare you for when you make those fruitful connections.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.