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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


Enough! A Word About Resume Writers


Yesterday I happened to catch a conversation between a few recruiters on Twitter, several of whom were mocking the idea of working with a professional resume writer. When I asked one person why he was so against my profession, he said that he had seen people burned by working with bad writers.

I can believe that. We often get new clients who have already paid for a ‘professional resume’ and who now need our help to salvage the mess. But my question to those recruiters is this: What makes resume writing different from any other profession?

If a bad car mechanic messes up a repair job do you decide that from now on, you’ll do all your car repairs? If a lazy doctor misses your diagnosis, do you advise all your friends never to see a doctor again and just do their own surgeries?

A few weeks ago, I hired a plumber to fix a broken toilet in my house and he wound up making it worse. Then he wouldn’t return my husband’s calls to come back and fix it! Eventually we called a different firm and paid extra to fix the mess he’d made. Does this one bad plumber mean I should take plumbing courses and just do it myself in future?

Of course not. But there is something about my profession that really seems to bug some people and I genuinely don’t get it. I have a set of skills that I am really proud to use on behalf of other people. I have always been a good writer but I’m not particularly imaginative, so writing novels or screenplays was never going to be for me. I have 15 years of senior-level HR experience, so I’ve hired at all levels of companies across a number of industries. And I’ve always been good at taking a massive amount of information and seeing clear themes. That combination of skills makes me exceptionally good at what I do, and over the years I have helped thousands of people to find better jobs and make more money than they would have been able to do without me. Many recruiters refer their candidates to my company before submitting them for vacancies. Most of my clients refer friends and colleagues to me. And if anyone is ever unsatisfied with my work, I work for free until they are happy.

Yes there are some bad resume writers out there just like there are bad plumbers and bad doctors and bad web designers and even – gasp! – bad recruiters. But there are many exceptional and dedicated professionals who help people every day and some recognition of that reality would be nice.

Read more about Resume Writing.

Blue Sky Resumes

About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

8 comments on “Enough! A Word About Resume Writers”

  1. Paul says:

    Louise, good post. I feel that there are Good and Bad. Candidates needs to do their homework before choosing a Resume Writer, Recruiter, Career Coach Etc. Problem with the Resume Writer and Career Coach is payment without a guarantee. A Recruiter doesn’t get paid unless they place a Candidate. All are worthwhile services Candidates just need to Beware.

  2. Louise says:

    I guess the being paid without a guarantee is just like any other service. I’m paying the guys designing my new website but they can’t guarantee it will bring me more business. I pay my doctor but he can’t guarantee that I will stay healthy.

    And actually, I’d question the analogy to recruiters. You provide the service of placing a candidate and you get paid. I provide the service of writing a resume and I get paid. But you can’t guarantee that your candidate will increase the company’s sales or cut their costs or improve their reputation in the marketplace. You can’t guarantee it because there are too many other factors in play – maybe the company’s product is just awful. Maybe they don’t have enough of a marketing budget. Maybe their CEO is a fool.

    It’s the same with a resume. I can’t guarantee that my clients will do a good job in interviews, or that they will conduct an effective job search. I can only guarantee that I will present their skills, background and personality in the most effective way possible.

    Every service profession has things it can control and things it can’t. For some reason, some people hold resume writers to an entirely different standard than everyone else.

  3. Darlene says:

    Well said, Louise!! Someone who wants a guarantee isn’t willing to be accountable for their own part in the process. And that isn’t something anyone else can control. A good writer can write anything, anywhere, anytime. I’d like to see what an ideal resume looks like from a recruiter’s perspective. Bet you’d get 10 different documents from 10 different recruiters. As for the candidates who got ripped off, we don’t know their level of due diligence. Again, goes back to accountability. There’s always someone who simply doesn’t realize that when you point a finger, there’s four others pointing back at them.
    Keep up the good work and the good writing!
    Darlene.

  4. Louise says:

    Thanks Darlene,
    I just checked out your blog and it looks great. Will be checking back in from now on!

  5. Initially, I spent over 10 years of my resume writing career alone, using books as resources and then finally joined PARW and very quickly after that Career Management Alliance. This year, I added Career Directors International. What did I find? Some of the most honest, caring, dedicated individuals on the planet. People who could be considered competitors are called colleagues and willing share their resources and offer advice and solutions from everything from grammar to best practices.

    Louise is totally right with great examples and I can add one of my own. My 17 year old fireplace died and I called my original contractor who spent 5 service calls with no results. Things were changing with that firm so I asked a friend who owns a HVAC firm if they did fireplaces. He came, assessed the situation, even sent his best repair person to make sure there were no alternatives and then gave me a fair bid for a replacement fireplace. It is now installed and working. I would never have put one in by myself, but now I have a quality product that will heat my workspace and provide value for years to come.

    I think that the point can be made that if price is your chief concern, you may get ripped off. I have seen sites with very low pricing $39.95 etc that are not the same as hiring a professional resume writer. A real resume writer provides value far beyond the actual resume, an understanding of the resources available, how to network and the value networking has in the job search, how to negotiate the hidden job market, and wade through online applications.

    Cutting edge is the way I see my colleagues and I am grateful that I was smart enough to invest in the career industry professional affiliations. I made some great friends along the way! See us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and then decide if you want to jumpstart your career.

  6. Clare says:

    I think the reason why people get so self-righteous about not getting a professional resume written for them is that they believe they can do just as good a job, because English is their native language. They don’t equate your writing skills with other professional skills (plumbing, medicine etc) because they don’t understand what you can do that they can’t also do as a native English speaker.

    I believe that good resume writers are worth their weight in gold, but they struggle against this sort of resentfulness to pay for someone to write what they just consider their work history. Job seekers need to work it out for themselves that their resume is not effective, and that making an investment to fix it is a good strategy.

  7. Well said! I have been both a recruiter and am now a resume writer. Your points are all valid and absolutely correct! As a recruiter, I re-wrote and fine-tuned hundreds of resumes in order to bring out the best in my candidates for my clients then coached them on their interviewing skills.

    As a result, my placement ratio of candidates presented to candidates hired was higher than anyone else’s in the firm. I took the time to not just make the resume “look” good but to emphasize candidates’ strengths and target the resume towards my clients’ job opening(s), capturing the attention of my clients. All the while, boosting the candidates’ confidence in their own abilities. (So many had been beaten down in their old jobs, made to feel worthless.)

    Now that I write resumes (which includes job coaching) for a living, I still put forth the above-mentioned efforts but find these services strangely devalued by some of the public. I agree with you, I don’t understand why people knock something they’ve never tried! Or, because of one bad experience, they think all of us don’t know what we’re doing. That is a terrible generalization to make. Your analogies are right on target!

    Once someone actually goes through the process with a good resume writer and finds and acquires their targeted job, then they see the value! Better job with better pay with better co-workers and, hence, great work atmosphere, and always better self-esteem!

    Thanks for writing this entry. Very good points!

  8. I think Clare hit the nail on the head. “resume writing” is a soft-science. With plumbing the results are pretty obvious (either it leaks or not), same with fixing a fireplace. Resumes, however, are a different animal, you can’t instantly tell weather they “work” or not and even if they do “work” it is very hard to link to the fact that you got a job/interview. So first, I think that many people believe that they can do a good job in writing their resume. Second, there are a lot of resume-mills out there churning out sub-par/over-priced resumes and pretty much every job-site has the “free resume review” where supposed experts will tell you that they can make your resume much much better while not talking about specifics.

    There are great resume writers out there and there are a lot of people who need them, but because it is not a ‘science’ it is hard to prove the value so people will always cast stones.

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