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Free Resume Review Services Suck; Paid Services Are Even Worse.

Free Resume Review Services Suck; Paid Services Are Even Worse.

A friend of mine is looking for a new opportunity and he has had no luck in his search during the past three months. Sure, he had two interviews, but no offers. The companies he interviewed with didn’t bother to respond to his followup emails and phone calls. Frustrated by the lack of response, he asked me to take a look at his resume since I would be typical of a hiring manager looking for an internet marketing professional. My response to him was clean up the format and make it easy for readers to scan the resume and quickly decide whether or not to interview him. I also told him that instead of focusing on his responsibilities, to add achievements, for example, how much money/time did you save the company, what percentage of growth was attained, etc. I thought he’d done a good job and thought he’d have better luck.

During the next month, he sent out his shiny new clean resume, updated all his social profiles and waited. And waited. He applied to interesting job openings, but still no response. I was just as confused as he was. He decided to share his resume with companies that offered free reviews. Here’s one reply:

Your resume looks in a bad shape. I will enumerate few points below.

1. The length is extremely long. You should target a 2 page resume for the US market.

2. The font selection is bad. It is making the resume extremely difficult to read.

3. The summary and content is weak. Does not make you look like a 15 years experienced entrepreneur or management level candidate.

4. You have strong numbers in your resume which can be used to highlight your impact over the years. Right now, the numbers are lost among the letters.

Hmmm. We decided to test it again, this time with mine. Here’s the response:

Your resume looks in a bad shape. I will enumerate few points below.

1. The length is extremely long. You should target a 2 page resume for the US market and a maximum of 3 page resume for any other market including India.

2. The font selection is bad. It is making the resume extremely difficult to read.

3. The summary and content is weak. Does not make you look like a 30 years experienced Entrepreneur or CXO level candidate.

4. You have strong numbers in your resume which can be used to highlight your impact over the years. Right now, the numbers are lost among the letters.

Look familiar? Very much a template with a few changes in the content. I don’t think this was very helpful. Both recommended paying for creating a better version. He tried a number of other free services, then decided to pay for one service to rewrite his resume. They never called him or asked him any questions; essentially they just took the pre-written content and moved it around a bit, but nothing really different. It seemed cold and impersonal. They used acronyms and jargon that I thought would not make sense to the HR screener. They also did some questionable things, such as changing titles (for example, he was a Social Media Ninja at one startup) to something resembling more typical internet marketing titles. My concern is that when doing a background check, that discrepancy could cause a red flag. They also removed his social media links which made no sense to me since he’s applying for social media-related jobs. As a hiring manager, I would have to do the work to find him online to see his work and how he represents himself and the company online. I don’t have time for that…

I’m a harsh critic. Because I am a marketing professional, I expect that anyone wanting to work for me can market themselves well. After all they are selling themselves, warts and all. If they cannot sell you on themselves, how would they be able to sell technical products or services they aren’t as familiar with? I expect to see a flawlessly designed (or at least a neat and well structured) resume that showcases the person and what they’ve achieved. Typos will immediately get you thrown in the waste bin. I need detail-oriented people working quickly. Since most people have plenty of time to write up or update a resume, they can spend an extra five minutes proofing it for any typos or other layout challenges. I do visit all the social media contacts I can find, read through their LinkedIn recommendations, updates, posts, etc. to get a feel for their online persona. I notice how many followers they have on each one. If that persona fits with the way our company communicates, they’ll get an interview. Only then.

So what’s his next step? He’s going to keep the faith.

He’s decided to include the resume we worked on together. The paid for resume is headed to the waste bin.

“Someone out there is looking for me. We just haven’t met yet.”

He was spending a lot of time on company web sites applying for jobs using awful applicant tracking systems that were a nightmare to complete. Since he stopped wasting that time, those companies will never get a chance to meet an awesome internet marketing that I would hire in a minute. His new plan is to use that time to market himself using a rifle approach instead of the shotgun approach he’s been using so far. He will do more research on individual companies and connect to hiring managers on Linkedin. After he’s had time, he will create a dossier to send to them on ways he could a) grow traffic, b) increase quality leads, c) increase revenue, and/or d) save that specific company money. He would build a preliminary marketing plan based on his research and see what kind of responses he generates. He is still connecting with lower level people in these companies to ask how they got their jobs. These connections, he thinks, will be great. He plans to buy them lunch if he gets an interview to learn more about the company and the people he will be meeting with before the interview. Sounds like a decent plan to me.

jeanneleez

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