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Resumes: Do It Yourself, Or Hire Someone?

August 7, 2012

As a resume writer, I’m  obviously a little biased on this one!But even with this bias, I know that there are lots of excellent self-written  resumes out there.

For those who prefer to write their own resumes, the tips provided in this column, and in books, articles and other published (print or online) pieces on resume writing can be very helpful as well. Know, though, that suggestions may vary, may even be diametrically opposed, so consider them all and pick the tips that work for you – for your personality, the jobs for which you’re applying, your skills, and your industry.

Your resume (and you) can benefit from “hiring” a trusted  colleague or friend­ skilled in editing for content, format, grammar and spelling – to review your resume. Objective second opinions and fresh eyes help immensely in punching up phrasing, remembering talents you’ve forgotten, and checking for proper  punctuation. And “constructive criticism”, if you can accept it gracefully, can be a gift.

If you choose to hire a resume writer, you can find one through  the usual methods: online search, print ads, yellow pages, friends, as well as bulletin boards (college campuses, coffee houses) and other places where people gather. In your first discussions with the writer, ask about work styles, timing (crucial if you needed a resume yesterday), pricing structure and payment methods, and if they provide other services (e.g.cover letters, employment counseling). Also, pay attention  to your response to the person’s style, voice, information, etc. Your intuition is key in finding a person with whom you’re comfortable working. When you’ve reached agreement on work parameters, this agreement should be committed to paper in a document  binding to both of you. Everything should be clearly spelled out, including work product  expected, timeframe and cost.

Regardless which method you choose, plan to invest time and perhaps  resources in your resume. And remember: this is NOT the time to be modest. Most of us downplay our skills, either not recognizing how terrific we are, or simply forgetting that major  project we single-handedly  brought  to fruition .Your resume is key to getting you in the door for an interview.It tells a prospective employer what you have done, and what you can do for him. As the saying goes, “First  impressions never get a second chance.”  So make your first impression a winner.

(originally published  on the online newsletter of Dick Wray Associates – now Wray Executive Search) 

  1. This is a great article regarding résumés . I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about length? Do you think everything should be done within one or two pages?

    • Hi –
      I’m not sure how long ago you wrote, and I do apologize for the delay in answering your question. Regarding resume length, I don’t go by any set rules….the length is generally dictated by length of professional experience, industry preferences, client desires, etc.
      However – I do not like to go over 3 pages if I can help it…but this doesn’t mean I haven’t!! I have many senior executives with long and accomplished careers, and sometimes even 3 pages won’t do it. I would say the majority of resumes I craft are 2 pages. Does this help at all? Thanks for your note, and again, apologies for replying late.

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