The Good, the Bad, and the Gallant

Professional editors. You probably wonder if working with one is really worth it. Is it? Can a professional editor be so helpful that it’s worth paying them to help you with, say, a resume? Are they actually helpful? Didn’t I edit my own stuff in high school or college? Wait, is this a thing? Do people ACTUALLY pay for that kind of service?

It turns out that the truth is, yes, they do. But is it worth it? That, my friend, is a good question. Let’s examine the prospect by way of the time-tested “Pros and Cons” evaluation…

CONS

Cost

Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in this cyber room first: money. Professional resume editing services tend to be all over the place cost-wise, making it hard to determine what’s reasonable to be paying. For example, knockemdead.com lists the average price for an Entry Level resume at $400, while thumbtack.com lists the average at $140-$180. Regardless, you can expect to pay well over $100 if you’re an entry level applicant, a student, or recent college graduate. These prices will often jump up pretty considerably once you get to mid-level status in a given industry. Oh, and that’s not to mention potential add-on fees like rush fees, editor reputation fees, and fees for specialized knowledge. No hiding this elephant, folks. It’s large and it’s already gotten comfortable so it probably isn’t leaving. The Takeaway: Knowing what stage you’re currently at in your career is a good indicator of how much you should be paying. If you’re a student or recent college grad looking for an entry level position, you really shouldn’t be paying more than $140 or so for a single resume, especially if communication is going to be low during the process. One thing to consider, though, is this: Working with a good resume crafter could cut down on the amount of time and energy (and money) you’ll have to invest into the job hunt.

Impersonal Tone

Make no mistake, an outside perspective can be a really good thing with a resume, but an impersonal tone is not. Nope. When you hire a resume writer/editor, you run the risk of them churning out what may seem like an overly-processed document like something from a machine. That’s because with some resume and editing services you submit your document (hopefully with at least some context), someone behind the curtain does…something…to said document, and then they return it to you. You pay them, they say “dope,” and that’s that. Not much back and forth or fruitful communication there. The Takeaway: If you’re going to be working with a professional on your resume, make sure their service includes extensive communication between you and them! Otherwise, you might wind up with a resume that feels like it was written by a robot that’s barely even heard about you.

Time

A lot of resume services will take about 7 days, but hey, sometimes you’re just in a rush and wish you could make things happen on a timeline you specify. I get it. Some resume and editing services are not exactly interested in that, unfortunately–you get what’s offered. If you do have the luxury of working with a professional editor or organization that is flexible, they will jack up the price if you ask them to produce an edited or crafted document ahead of schedule. Maybe that’s not a big deal to you, but maybe it is. If it is, you may be out of luck on this one. The Takeaway: It’s better to work with someone who can be flexible, and if possible, someone who won’t send the price for service through the roof if you ask for a quicker timeline. Either way, submit your document(s) as early as you can so you don’t get caught in a costly situation!

The Aftermath

What’s the purpose of a resume? No really, take a moment to answer this question…

If you answered “To land me a job,” you are…WRONG. Employers, recruiters, and admission officers are not going to hire or accept you based on your resume because, quite frankly, there are probably quite a few applicants with technically similar qualifications (we can talk about this some other time). The purpose of that little piece of paper is to get you an interview. So what’s the risk of hiring someone to craft or edit your resume, submitting that resume, and then getting an interview with that resume? Well, I’ll tell you. There may be a disconnect between what your resume is saying and what YOU are saying in the interview. Your interviewers or reviewers may not specifically name that, but they will definitely pick up on the fact that you seemed oddly more qualified and impressive on paper than you did in-person. Believe me, interviewing this kind of candidate is really disappointing. And awkward. The Takeaway: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT submit your resume to a service provider and then not have them communicate to you the specifics of what they are doing on your resume! You need the reason, the logic, the explanation in order to connect your resume to your interview.

Outsourcing Key Skills

According to a study conducted by LinkedIn, the number of people who change jobs in the five years after they graduate has doubled over the last 20 years. Millennials are hopping jobs more than their predecessors. Know what that means? That means learning how to craft a resume is a very important skill these days. Sorry, friends, but it’s true. When you outsource that job to someone else, you deprive yourself of a key job hunting skill that, given trends, is only becoming more important. If you outsource and then wind up needing to job search again in the near or distant future, you may put yourself in a position of having to continuously outsource similar tasks. That’s gonna cost ya. The Takeaway: Hiring someone to work on your resume or cover letter is not a bad thing, but not learning the skills to craft them on your own as you go along is. Make sure you learn throughout the process of working with an editor!

False Information

A fear some people have about hiring a professional to help them craft their resume is that the professional might produce a document that has information that’s not exactly true. This leaves the client to either be embarrassed later on, or figure out how to correct the false info on their own without sacrificing quality. That’s a pretty valid fear, seeing as how that actually happens. Weird, right? And yes, yes that would suck. The Takeaway: I feel like a broken record, but it’s just so dang important to really be able to communicate with whomever you are consulting with. You don’t want to have inaccurate or false information on your application documents. Not a good look. Not a good look at all.

…annnnd exhale…

Before I take you into the PROS, let’s play a quick game. A guessing game. How long do you think hiring managers spend looking at resumes? Many sources put the needle at 6 whole seconds. In my experience, it’s probably closer to about 10 seconds. Still, though, it’s not a lot of time. The reason for this is that hiring managers probably have tons of resumes they need to look over, so they simply don’t have time to spend minutes on every resume. So, assuming they don’t run your resume through an Applicant Tracking System (getting to this soon), what hiring managers scan for first are the basics: Does the candidate have the basic qualifications? Is this resume organized and easy to read? These two criteria are essential. Now, let’s check out those PROS…

PROS

Quality Writing Matters…

At this point in the application process, nothing screams quality work like quality writing. Think about it for a moment. If you have a bunch of grammatical errors on your resume, what might that indicate? Hiring managers will take that to mean you aren’t attentive to detail, you rush your work, you’re careless, etc., etc. What if you have bad structure? What if your resume is a horrible mass of words? If you were a hiring manager, and someone gave you a resume with low to mediocre writing quality, what would you do with that resume? Exactly. Using a paid professional for support with your resume means you’re going to get high quality writing, which can truly make or break your resume. The Takeaway: Hiring managers and reviewers pay a lot of attention to writing quality! If you’re not confident in your writing ability, a resume crafter might be a good consideration. Poor writing quality will get you cut really quickly.

…and so do Formatting and Organization

Since hiring managers are only going to spend a sad amount of time looking at your resume, you need to be able to organize and format your document in a way that’s going to make it easy to read. If they see that there is a lack of a coherent and consistent structure in your resume, they will probably slide it right on over to the “No” pile. A paid resume crafter will know that things like consistent tense, matching margins, and font styles are not only important for aesthetic reasons, but also because these details actually provide a guide for how to read your resume. They’ll also know how to build a good guide. You want the hiring manager to have a good guide. The Takeaway: Poor readability can easily get you prematurely disqualified. Your paid resume professional should know how to build a strategic guide into your resume that will improve readability, allowing hiring managers to hone in on and easily understand your actual content.

Spotlighting Content

Right in line with the previous point of properly formatting and organizing your resume is highlighting specific parts of your content. Lots of people make the mistake of not drawing enough attention to their experiences that are most relevant to the position they are applying for because they either don’t know to do that, or they don’t know how to do that. For example, if the role you are applying for would have you doing a lot of budgeting, you need to feature whatever budgeting experiences you have as early as possible in your resume! Remember, hiring teams are only going to spend a matter of seconds looking at your resume. A paid professional (or at least a good one) will have a keen ability to locate and highlight all of your most relevant experiences, AND describe them in the most appealing and accurate way. The Takeaway: Utilizing a paid professional to help craft your resume will give you access to someone who is especially skilled at sniffing out and selling your most important skills. You’re not getting much time to sell yourself, so this is huge.

Knowledge of What Hirers Care About

Do hiring managers care about all of your experiences? Nope! They do not. But guess what? That’s okay, because paid resume crafters often have a good deal of experience with hiring processes, which gives them a great lens into what those job granters do care about. More specifically, they know how to present those skills in ways that are appealing and easily recognizable to employers. After all, there’s a pretty good chance that your resume editor has spent a good deal of time as someone on both sides of the hiring table themselves. The Takeaway: Resume professionals know what experiences matter, and which ones don’t. They also know how to shine the spotlight on those experiences in a way that you’re probably going to really appreciate.

Maximize Your Experiences

So, yeah, your experiences. Some of them won’t matter, but others are going to matter a whole lot. Naturally, you’re going to want to make sure the experiences that matter are thoroughly described in the most concise way possible. Paying for a resume professional will significantly boost the likelihood of this being done successfully. They have developed the skills to dissect experiences, not unlike that frog back in 9th grade bio, on a level that exceeds what most other people can claim. This is only the half of it, though: They have also learned how to express those skills at a similarly high level. This here is the key. What good are your experiences if they’re not expressed in a way that does the whole of them justice? The answer is very little. The Takeaway: Hiring a professional will allow you to benefit from having your skills placed under a microscope by someone who is uniquely qualified to understand and express the utility of your experiences.

ATS? No Problem

“Wait, what’s an ATS?” Oh, right! Applicant Tracking System. It’s a piece of software that has the ability to scan documents (i.e. resumes) for keywords or phrases. Recruiters will feed resumes into their ATS, scan it to see it has the minimum requirements listed (i.e. a college degree, supervision experience, etc.), and weed out the ones that don’t meet the minimum criteria. That means that unless you intentionally key in on what’s important, your resume might not even be looked at by recruiters. A professional resume crafter, of course, is very aware of this piece of software and, therefore, sees the danger in beating around the bush. They know how to use the right verbs, descriptors, and titles that an ATS will likely be checking for. Don’t get yourself disqualified by being too fancy or not paying enough attention to what the job description is asking for! The Takeaway: Recruiters don’t even look at every resume that’s submitted to them. A paid professional will know how to beat an ATS, which ultimately will help you get your foot in the door. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a shot at an interview.

A Fresh Set of Eyes

Sometimes it’s really hard to appropriately describe all your experiences, precisely because you’ve spent so much time around them. How’s that for irony!? Hiring a professional to help you out gives you a fresh set of objective eyes on your experiences. Not just any fresh set of eyes, though. This is a set of eyes that has been trained to examine skills and experiences, and they can catch things that your eyes might miss. The Takeaway: You might be prone to missing some of the utility of your experiences simply because they become commonplace to you after a while. A professional resume crafter offers a fresh take on your experiences that, when combined with their experience examining the applicability of skills, can help beef up what’s on your resume.

…annnnd exhale again…

So there you have it. Hiring someone to help you with your resume is a personal decision, and it’s important to weigh the potential positives against the potential negatives. If you do opt for hiring someone, make sure they have experience doing it. You want them to be a very good writer with a customizable service that allows you control in the process and solid support throughout. Lastly, as I said earlier, it’s really important that you LEARN these skills! If your professional isn’t going to help you learn, you should probably move on.

Be gallant, friends. Be Gallant.

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