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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.


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When Crowd Sourcing is a Really Bad Idea


I was just skimming one of those “10 sites you should know about’ type posts when I came across two really problematic sites among those listed.

Razume and Resume Social are both sites that encourage users to create a resume, then seek feedback from other community members. Here is what Razume says:

On Razume, you can ask anyone to review your resume simply by sending them an email using Razume’s “send to a friend” form. You should ask anyone who can add value to your resume to review it for you. In addition to your friends and family, we suggest reaching out to knowledgeable peers, mentors, coworkers, recruiters, employers, career consultants, and industry professionals. We will also allow you to request reviews from experienced members in the Razume community.

But anyone whose ever written a resume knows that feedback is highly subjective and generally not worth listening to. I say ‘generally’ because some feedback is valuable of course – an experienced hiring manager or recruiter can offer their own impressions of you based on your resume and those impressions are always useful to know. But peers? Friends and family? No way!

If you ask 10 people what they think of your resume, 9 will have an opinion and at least 5 of them will contradict someone else. You will wind up making changes to try and please everyone and before you know it, you’ll have a resume that resembles Frankenstein’s monster.

You cannot get to a great resume by asking a lot of people to tell you what they think. That way madness lies!

My advice is this: Ignore websites that promise easy fixes (the same post also pushes Howtowritearesume, which promises to generate a resume for you filled with standard language and keywords for your industry – great! Now you can sound just like everyone else!) and ignore websites that recommend asking ‘the community’ for advice on your resume. The community is as clueless as you are – that’s why they’re there in the first place.

There are no shortcuts to success when writing a great resume. You must research your target audience, understand their needs, identify your unique personal value, and create a resume that communicates that personal value. That takes some time and effort but it will pay off in more interviews and better opportunities.

For help on writing a resume the hard way, feel free to take my online course – no charge!

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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.

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4 comments on “When Crowd Sourcing is a Really Bad Idea”

  1. While I don’t disagree that some people will be better served by a professional resume writer, I have trouble accepting that feedback from peers (or just random people) is useless. It should be used as a tool to ‘triangulate’ your resume. There will likely be a lot of tips that are bad, but there will also likely be a lot of tips that are good. Realize, however, that you may spend more time looking through the reviews and this opportunity cost may be better spent hiring a professional. Also, understand that it is worth what you paid for it.

    1. Louise says:

      I think feedback from peers might be valuable if you had the knowledge required to sift through all the information and decide what is valuable and what isn’t. Most people don’t. Not even close.

      I don’t think the choice is between hiring a professional resume writer or having a bunch of random people give you feedback on your resume. As I said in my post, the right choice is to identify your unique value and write about that in a way that appeals to your target employers.

  2. Lorien says:

    I think these sites are for people who can’t afford or would rather not use a professional service. They simply want to get some ideas and opinions from their peers to tweak their resume. To imply that people aren’t smart enough to figure it out thus making these sites problematic is simply not true. These sites cater to the social networking & online generations by proving an environment that is familiar so people can get ideas on improving their resume. They don’t sit under false pretense saying that the comments are professional. Rather this is what your peers think of your resume, you decide what to use or not. These sites have their place and they are useful.

  3. Louise says:

    Like I said, I’m not advocating paying someone. I posted a link to a free course!

    I’m saying that crowd-sourcing your resume is a shortcut to confusion.

    Better to learn how to do it right, and then put some time and effort in. Then solicit feedback from people who make hiring decisions – their feedback will be valuable.

    But asking random people on the web is as much use as looking up your symptoms on WebMD.

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