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Professional Resume Writing Service
Old 02-08-2009, 11:21 AM   #1
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Professional Resume Writing Service

Has anyone used a professional CV writer? What's your experience? I'm signed up on theladders.com, and the free CV critique came back rather negative. I concur with a few points -- my CV's introduction can probably use more punch, and I probably should move the education section below the experience section. The other advice though about going to a 2-page format seems not in line with what I have read.

The price they want to rewrite my CV is $695. Worth it, or did they give me a boilerplate response so that I'd spend the money? I figure that if I'm going to spend that much money, I'd do so with a local writer so that he/she can sit down with me and talk about my experience in detail. If it's the latter, how and where should I look for the best writers?

I still have a job, but let's just put it this way: It's not everything I want out of a career, and I'm being underpaid. The worst thing is the experience doesn't qualify as work experience for the CFA. Yeah, I know the economy sucks, but I think it will turn around eventually, so I'm doing my planning now.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:30 AM   #2
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I've never had a professional resume written...I've always done my own.

I suggest you go to the library and ask the employees if they know of anyone that would be willing to work with you for a fee. If no one is available, you may want to consider checking out some books on the subject.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:48 AM   #3
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This is DW's trade. She is a professional career counselor, including helping people with resumes. The transformations she has managed can be very impressive, resume-wise. By way of comparison, she charges $120/hour and typically sees people an average of 3 or so times.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:07 PM   #4
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As a former Executive Search Consultant (headhunter), I would encourage you to go the library and read a couple of the many many resume books and make your CV your own. Obviously this assumes you have some levels of competency to communicate. . Not sure what level of position but if it is for anything but the factory floor or the counter, you will do a better job yourself and save a chunk of change.
Seriously, resumes prepared by others often easy to spot and fail to communicate what matters to a given employer. I would encourage you to take advantage of technology and have a couple different resumes ready to go--certainly a chronological and a functional. Emphasize the impact you had in each role versus just reciting duties. Depending on your career, two pages may not be enough or could be too much. At a minimum you need to cover in detail the last ten years, but I encourage at least a list and durations of the rest of your work history.
Skip the goal statement (usually at the top) and instead give a strong synopsis why your talents make a difference--exceed sales goals, cut costs, ontime, under budget projects, etc. If you do not get a reader's attention in this first statement, your chances of having your resume actually read, go down substantially.
Good Luck
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:22 PM   #5
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I never used resumes. Most of my jobs were by referral or I already knew the employer. One asked for a resume for the file after I was hired.

In my last long-term small office, resumes were an occasional nuisance because I had to respond to them with a cobbled form letter. In general, not just for OP, it might save embarrassment to find out how potential employers feel about those papers we referred to as "excellent letters with impressive resumes." We laughed with annoyed bemusement when signing the immediate response letters.

As a side note, even though that small office was never hiring, a fact that could easily be ascertained without sending the letter with resume, a useful approach is to ask for some advice from the potential employer, maybe a few minutes on the phone to help you figure out where the jobs are, and more importantly, what the career is really all about; how did s/he get into it, how did it change over the years.

Good luck in this tough market, Buns, it sounds like resumes are the way to go in your field.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:35 PM   #6
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I've never used a professional to write my resume, but I always wondered about it. More wondered if I could recognize one if I saw one. Personally, I don't think I would ever use one, but you never know.

Maybe you can ask for a sample and see how it's supposed to differ in style, etc.

IMHO, 2 page format is one page too long.

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Old 02-08-2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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Joe,

Yeah, I can see that with a small office. The problem with the type of jobs I'm looking for is that they are at larger companies. I can't pop in and say hi. I do second the networking aspect though. I will go to more socials once I'm done with the Chuck Freedom/Female Companionship exam in June.

Brew,

Thanks for the point of reference. I can see that theladders is just aiming to sell a high-priced service. If your wife is sitting down with people and charging $120/hour for on average 3 hours of work, theladders is definitely too expensive.

Thanks all for writing!
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Good News/Bad News
Old 02-08-2009, 01:35 PM   #8
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Good News/Bad News

I have used the resume writing service from The Ladders. The good news is that my resume was greatly improved. The bad news is that the new resume has yet to find me a position. I took advantage of the service about a year ago and got lots of positive feedback on the new resume. I am in financial services and I managed to keep my position until January 15th of this year. Now I really need that resume to work. In this environment, any advantage helps, but it may not be enough.

Was the service worth it? I thought so back when I was earning a lot of money and was willng to make the investment. Would I spend that money now? No, because odds are very slim in my field right now and because when you are job hunting every penny counts. I would use the library method as suggested above and spend the $695 on something that might represent re-education toward a new career or re-invention of self.

Just the thoughts of an ex-financial services professional on a Sunday afternoon.
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One More Thought
Old 02-08-2009, 01:38 PM   #9
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One More Thought

Remember that in these times, everything is negotiable. I don't think I paid $695 for the service (it could be selective memory loss on my part -- where did that money go?) and I bet you wouldn't have to either. Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FlaRan View Post
Remember that in these times, everything is negotiable. I don't think I paid $695 for the service (it could be selective memory loss on my part -- where did that money go?) and I bet you wouldn't have to either. Good luck.
Maybe, maybe not. I suspect that they are in an industry where a recession is very good for business.

As for me, any "career investment" I'll be doing in the months ahead are going toward gaining certifications to add to the resume.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
This is DW's trade. She is a professional career counselor, including helping people with resumes. The transformations she has managed can be very impressive, resume-wise. By way of comparison, she charges $120/hour and typically sees people an average of 3 or so times.
If you got the budget, coaching from an experience career specialist will give a job search a larger bang for the buck than any resume polishing. Clarity about what you can do for an employer is critical in any market but especially in the current environment. If you coaching be sure to qualify your consultant on what they consider their role and your role is. A good coach will not promise to solve anything for you BUT will help you understand and determine the best plan of attack and introduce you into some resources you may not be aware.
As others have noted, effort at networking and direct contact with hiring managers has a much greater track record of success than online resources.
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way too much
Old 02-08-2009, 03:29 PM   #12
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way too much

Sounds like a high price tag to me. I'm sure you can find help doing this locally at a much lower cost. And I concur with others that your contacts will help you much more than the static list of achievements listed on your resume.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by nwsteve View Post
If you got the budget, coaching from an experience career specialist will give a job search a larger bang for the buck than any resume polishing. Clarity about what you can do for an employer is critical in any market but especially in the current environment. If you coaching be sure to qualify your consultant on what they consider their role and your role is. A good coach will not promise to solve anything for you BUT will help you understand and determine the best plan of attack and introduce you into some resources you may not be aware.
As others have noted, effort at networking and direct contact with hiring managers has a much greater track record of success than online resources.
Nwsteve
NWSteve, thanks for the advice. I also am working with a local finance and tech placement firm just to see what is out there. The funny thing is the guy representing me quit and went back to the mortgage business when the rates dropped and refinancing picked up. I guess he was heeding his own advice. I'm meeting with my new adviser next week.

Too bad my present job could have been exactly what I was looking for -- a combination of tech, operations, finance and accounting. Too bad the finance and accounting part went away because the international expansion plan never took off. Just imagine the IFRS and managerial accounting stuff I would have gotten to see.

I'm not a pure finance guy like Brewer. I tried my hand as a stock analyst, and while it's an interesting job, I always end up thinking, "Hey that's a great strategy. I wish I get run the company instead of just writing about it."
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