No job search is complete without an effective résumé. But writing one is by no means an easy task — especially when considering the many complexities and nuances involved.
Which format best highlights your experience? Which sections should you include, and how should you organise them? How can you best present your skills, qualifications and achievements? What fonts and colours will help you better attract the hiring manager’s attention? Where and how can you incorporate keywords? Should you even use a photo?
It can be a highly daunting and frustrating undertaking for even the veteran jobseeker — which is why many people often choose to use a professional résumé service rather than write a résumé themselves.
But are CV and résumé writing services really worth it?
This guide will walk you through the pros and cons of hiring a résumé specialist or a professional writer, and what exactly to look out for when choosing a service.
The pros of using a résumé writing service
There are many benefits to hiring a professional writer to create a résumé for you instead of taking a DIY approach. Here are five reasons you should consider using a specialist or service provider:
1. You get a top-quality résumé
Hiring a (good) résumé writer means that you’ll receive a clean, professional and error-free document that you’ll feel confident submitting to potential employers and which will get you noticed.
Using their in-depth knowledge of hiring practices, industry trends, résumé writing standards and ATS technologies, an experienced writer knows exactly what hiring managers look for in candidates and how to effectively put your best foot forward — resulting in a top-quality end product.
2. You get an objective view of your strengths
If you’re like most people, you might find it incredibly difficult writing about yourself, particularly when it comes to boasting about your skills, qualifications and achievements in your CV or résumé.
A résumé writer, in this case, will be able to help you overcome your modesty and create a document that effectively markets you to potential employers. They’ll interview you to identify your marketable skills and contributions, and expertly capture these in your résumé, while providing you with an objective view of your strengths — some of which you may not have previously thought of or recognised!
3. You save time
Writing a unique and compelling résumé is a time-consuming process. Indeed, it can take several weeks of writing and rewriting (and even more rewriting) before you have an application-ready document.
Hiring a professional résumé writer to do it for you, on the other hand, simply speeds up the entire process. At CareerAddict, for example, we’ll deliver the first draft of your brand-new résumé within 5–7 business days - effectively giving you a head-start on your job search. We also offer a express service if you need your résumé sooner.
4. You’re more likely to land a job
One of the biggest advantages of a professionally written résumé is that it’s more likely to stand out from the crowd. This, in turn, significantly increases your chances of getting an interview—and landing a job.
Indeed, a recent study (PDF) found that jobseekers with a professionally written résumé had a 42% higher job search success rate. Conversely, those with a self-written résumé had only a 14% chance of securing a job.
The same study, meanwhile, found that recruiters were more confident presenting candidates with a professionally crafted résumé to clients and hiring managers than candidates with a do-it-yourself résumé (57% compared to 39%).
5. You invest in your career
While paying for a custom résumé might seem like more money going out the door, it’s actually a worthwhile investment, particularly in terms of career advancement. Indeed, using their industry know-how of résumé writing standards and recruitment processes, a résumé expert will be able to position you as a viable candidate for bigger, better and higher-paying opportunities.
You also save money in the long run if you’re unemployed. After all, every day of unemployment is lost income. When you compare the salary lost from a prolonged job search to the costs of a professionally written résumé that will only expedite your job search efforts, you’ll find yourself far better off.
The cons of using a résumé writing service
Just as there are advantages to using a professional résumé writing service, there are some disadvantages too. Here are some cons to consider:
1. You risk the danger of getting a generic résumé
Many services are résumé mill companies. These companies—which are often difficult to tell apart from reputable services—churn out CVs and résumés that lack personality and flare, and that read and look the same. Essentially, you could end up with a generic résumé that makes you blend in with, rather than stand out from, the crowd.
With CareerAddict, though, you can rest assured that you’ll get a résumé that not only sets you apart from the competition but is also customised to you and your specific needs and career situation.
2. You still have to put some effort in
Be prepared that you will still have to make the time and effort for the entire process, from start to finish.
No résumé expert — no matter how qualified, experienced and reputable they are — will be able to work a miracle and create a job-winning document without your help and consultation. You will need to plan phone or video chats with your writer (particularly in the early stages), complete questionnaires so they have something to work from, respond to any questions they have via email, review drafts of the documents they send you, and so on.
3. You might not have the money lying around
Whether you’re in between jobs, straight out of uni or you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to be frugal with every penny you have — and rightfully so. The last thing you’d want to do is spend money on anything other than the basics, especially when considering that many résumé services charge upwards of $1,000.
That said, at CareerAddict, we keep our prices affordable and competitive (starting from just $109.95) without, of course, compromising the quality of our service. We also occasionally run special offers, so keep a lookout for these!
4. Your résumé’s writing style might not match your own
Everyone has their own distinct writing style, including the writer assigned to writing your résumé. This means there’s a very real possibility that your custom résumé will reflect the writer’s writing style and not your own.
This mismatch between writing styles becomes particularly apparent down the line, like in the ‘thank you’ letter you’ll send to an interview or in the reports, proposals or social media copy you’ll need to write if hired in the role.
Of course, this can be avoided entirely by working closely with your writer to ensure that they perfectly capture your writing style in your résumé.
5. You miss out on developing a useful life skill
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of having someone else write your résumé is that you risk missing out on developing an important life skill that, for some reason, we’re often not taught at school.
Taking the time to write your own résumé helps you build and showcase your communication, presentation, organisational and logical thinking skills — all highly sought-after skills by any employer. It also helps you develop self-awareness as you identify your interests, strengths and values, which will come in handy throughout your career.
How to choose a professional résumé writing service
If you’ve ultimately decided to hire a professional to write your résumé, you’ll soon discover that there’s an overwhelming number of services out there to choose from. Here are some helpful tips for making an informed decision:
Step 1: Check out their website
The first thing you should do when choosing a résumé writing service is to spend some time checking out their website. Are prices clearly displayed? Can you easily find information about their process? Do they publish reviews of past customers? Do they offer samples of past work? Does the website design look professional? Is its content free of typos and grammar errors?
Always make a point of checking the fine print, especially in terms of refund and cancellation policies.
2. Read customer reviews
Before placing an order with any résumé writing service, you’ll want to make sure they’re reputable and reliable, and the best way to do this is to read reviews of past customers.
While some companies post customer reviews and case studies directly on their website, they’re often difficult to verify. As such, it’s always best to read off-site reviews, either by performing a quick Google search (for example, ‘CareerAddict reviews’) or checking the company’s profile on customer review platforms like Trustpilot, Sitejabber and Yelp.
Watch out for fake reviews! Some deceitful companies pay people to post positive reviews about their services in a bid to boost their reputation and drum up business, and even post negative reviews of their competitors by posing as real customers.
3. Ask around
One of the most effective ways to find a reputable résumé service is to ask your relatives, friends, colleagues and professional contacts for recommendations. Chances are they themselves have used a résumé writer in the past to boost their job hunt’s success rate, so you’ll come away with a few options to choose from.
The great thing about recommendations is that you’ll gain first-hand insights into a service’s professionalism, responsiveness and overall process, effectively helping you narrow your options and choose a service you know you can trust.
4. Make sure writers are qualified
Anyone can claim to be an expert. And thanks to the internet, it’s so incredibly easy to fake expertise. This is particularly the case for résumé mill companies, which often employ people with little to no professional résumé or industry knowledge, or even proficiency in English, and then slap an ‘expert’ label on the box.
So, how do you tell the experts apart from the ‘experts’? Simple: you verify their claims. Ask writers for proof of their credentials, examples of their work and what actually makes them qualified to do the job. If they refuse your request, you know they’re not really experts.
Generally speaking, the best writers are certified by a reputable industry organisation, like the National Résumé Writers Association or the Résumé Writing Academy. That said, extensive industry knowledge, consistently good reviews and a track record of creating successful résumés is often far more valuable than any credential.
5. Trust your gut
If you do decide to use a professional résumé writing service, make sure that you’re 100% comfortable with hiring them to write your CV or résumé. If you have the slightest doubt or see the tiniest of red flags about a particular service, chances are it’s with good reason.
Never ignore your instincts as they are usually right. So, trust your gut — even if that company or writer comes highly recommended from your best friend!
Ready to hire a writer?
Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of work, changing jobs, reentering the workforce or moving into an executive role, CareerAddict’s qualified writers can craft an effective marketing document that opens doors for you in your job search.
Our process is simple. It begins by collecting all the information we need from you in an extensive questionnaire of your professional background and career goals. We’ll then match you to a qualified writer knowledgeable about your industry, who will work closely with you to develop a CV (and cover letter and LinkedIn profile, if you need them) that you’ll be completely satisfied with. After that, all you have to do is start applying for jobs!
Still not convinced? Check out what our customers had to say on our Trustpilot page about their experience with us.
Whether you choose to hire a professional writer or do it yourself, remember that a great résumé:
- Uses a format that’s suitable to your experience and specific career situation
- Is tailored to the job you’re applying for
- Focuses on your achievements, not duties
- Uses bulleted lists, legible fonts and ample white space to ensure a polished look and a pleasant reading experience
- Strategically incorporates relevant industry keywords and is optimised for ATSs
- Is free of typos, grammar mistakes and other errors.
Want to do it yourself? Check out these useful articles for insightful tips and examples for writing a job-winning résumé:
Got any questions or concerns about professional résumé writing services? Drop us a comment below!