resume critiqueWhen you use the services of a career counselor, one of the first steps in your career plan will be developing your resume. Career counselors and resume writers can be found at your local American Job Centers, private companies, or outplacement agencies.

Like any service provider, you should research credentials and results. What type of information is available on the number of people that have landed interviews? If there is a cost for these services, will the price include other career tools such as a cover letter or LinkedIn profile?

I want job seekers to be able to make a choice that is right for their job search. A resume is arguably the most important document of a professional’s career, so this decision should not be taken lightly. To help, I’ve created a list of what I consider to be “Red Flags” during an initial resume critique.

The reviewer asks no questions:

When you meet with the writer, you may be asked a series of questions, or may even be asked to fill out a questionnaire in advance. This information gathering session is crucial for the writer to understand what type of field and industry you come from and where you seek to go. Going in and getting immediate feedback without this knowledge could make your resume unmatched for your target position. The “look” and formatting of the resume will increase readability, but what is written on the page is of much greater importance.

The reviewer uses the words “never” and “always.”:

Nothing raises a red flag more than blanket generalizations. The writer can explain why certain sections, wording, or details should not be included in the resume, but there are no hard rules that could account for using “never” and “always” when it comes to resume advice. You wouldn’t believe someone who told you to “always” eat a certain food or “never” wear a certain type of shirt, so why would you believe generalized resume advice? Every employer is different and every HR Rep may vary in their likes and dislikes for a resume. A strong writer will use research based on facts to steer their writing choices, not personal preferences. Ask the writer why they believe the seemingly generalized statement and use your judgment to determine if this writer is right for you.

The writer guarantees a job:

This is the kicker: no matter how amazing a resume is, very, very rarely will that land someone a job. You can judge the strength of a resume by how many interviews you receive. Preparing for interviews is a separate entity from developing a resume. I recommend working with career coaches that offer a diverse array of job search services so you are prepared from the initial steps of the job search to long-term career development. The resume is one section of the larger career picture. Getting a job relies on factors such as researching the company, preparing for the interview, connecting with employees, getting recommendations, and making a positive impression on those you meet along the way. I am not saying getting an offer is completely off the table (because maybe there are some hiring managers who are bold and like to take risks without meeting someone during an interview?) but I would not approach a resume writer expecting this outcome. Be cautiously skeptical of statements like these.

Overall, the resume is your marketing document. If you are not accustomed to getting feedback, find a writer that will work in collaboration with you throughout development. You are the one who is going to be sending the resume to employers, so you must comfortable with it and understand the information it shares.

Everyone has an opinion on resumes, but you are the ultimate decision maker. Don’t feel pressured to change everything whenever you read a new piece of advice or meet with someone else. Find someone you trust. Developing your resume should be motivational; not an event that takes down your confidence. Working with someone you connect with and trust will make the transition from an old to new resume much smoother, and hopefully, much more successful for your job search.

Job Search
close slider
Are you looking for a government career? Your journey starts now!

Your Career Search Just Got Easier

Pin It on Pinterest