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Choosing the Best Executive Resume Writing Service

by Kim on March 13, 2015

After nearly 20 years as an executive resume writer, I am still surprised over the hundreds of so-called “resume experts” on the web today, who craftily tout their “experience” to unsuspecting potential clients. I can’t tell you how many resumes I’ve fixed over the years, especially for those who have invested upwards of $2000 or more for what turns out to be a worthless, poorly-written executive resume that leaves clients feeling a little shell shocked and taints an otherwise noble profession. Frankly, it angers me whenever I see anyone getting ripped off or lied to when it comes to paying hard-earned money for a service/product that doesn’t deliver, especially within my industry. I sometimes feel helpless to combat those services which do nothing but give the industry a bad name, but I can try to provide some guidance when choosing the best executive resume writer for your needs.

Like many business owners I frequently perform competitive industry research on sites offering executive resume writing services, and it’s a continual frustration to see these “bad apple” sites make unproven claims and / or offer advice that is just plain wrong. Even more disturbing are the resume samples that literally make me cringe in their ineptitude, knowing that people are paying for this bunk, with high hopes of receiving a well-written, customized and proactive resume that does nothing but sit there, giving the wrong impression of a candidate.

Unfortunately, it is not the client’s fault, especially when there are thousands of people out there who have never used an executive resume service before. Therefore, I’m going to do my best to help you make the best decision possible if and when you ever decide you need the help of a professional executive resume writer.

One of the first things you want to do when searching for an executive resume writer is to put your instinct at work and trust your “first impression.” You want a site that immediately exudes a sense of confidence and professionalism, not one where the main message promises to “Write for free if it doesn’t work in two weeks.”  That’s a red flag right there – why would you risk investing in a service that may not work to begin with?  Move on if that’s their main selling point. Seriously.

Another tactic used to drive traffic is the mention of endorsements. While many can be credible, many more are unprovable.  For example, I’ve seen several sites where they claim that their service has been featured or recognized by leading publications (Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, etc.), yet upon doing an exhaustive search, I can’t find the name of the writer, an article or even a quote associated with these fine companies. Why not link to quotes or articles? What are they hiding? I recently found a service that claimed to be the “preferred” service of the Washington Post – I found nothing on the Post’s site about this service at all.

Once you find a site that looks credible at first glance, you’ll want to find the “about us” page, if there even is one. If this section is generic, frequently referring to “we,” without a name attached, you want to question why. Here is a perfect example of a generic “About Us” page.

“We write result-oriented documents that not only get responses from potential employers but help you to get the job you want. We have years of resume-writing experience and almost a 100% level of satisfaction from our customers.”

What does this tell you about the writer who will be writing your resume? Absolutely zilch. Who is the “we” behind this site?” What is the background of the writer? How many writers work here and who is going to manage your project? You can’t trust this important document (your executive resume) to the unknown.

Pricing may also be a consideration, once you start to streamline your list of executive resume writers. Sure, you can find resume writers who charge $79.00 for your resume; you can also find those who require an investment of more than $3500 (yes, you read that right). There are also services out there offering a “flat” fee for writing, let’s say $250.00 for each “package.” How does that work? How can you charge someone with five years of experience the same as one with 20? How do you charge the same for a “from scratch” resume for one that might just need tweaking here or there? How can you justify “one price” shopping when every candidate has unique challenges, needs or accomplishments?

One of the key “red flags” to look out for, are samples, or should I say, the lack thereof. If you don’t see samples, please move on and save yourself time and money. That being said, when you do review samples, you want to look past formatting and dig into content, as that is KEY to any resume today. You need to make sure the approach is achievement driven, i.e., focusing on the value offered, with results that are backed up by proof and the manner in which accomplishments were obtained. You also want to make sure it has a proactive voice and sells the candidate well.  It’s not enough to say “Increased sales by 30%.” What does that really mean? Under what conditions were those increases met? Was this increase obtained during a recession or bad market conditions? If so, 30% may indeed be impressive. However, if your counterparts are delivering increases of over 80% in the same market, then this is not good – readers need context and proof. Readers also want to know HOW those increases were made; they likely didn’t automatically happen because of a chance meeting J

Below are a few value-based bullet points regarding achievements:

  • Routinely maintained sales growth, increasing sales by 28% for two years running and expanding business from $35M to $72M by aggressively hitting market with high-touch sales team and utilizing community of business partners throughout the nation.”
  • Closed three-year deal with Hampton Clinic for all x-ray products, bypassing their previous competitive suppliers by developing comprehensive, value-added service plan. Guided team in securing major, multimillion dollars deals with Pinnacle, Martin Army Base, Carillon, Kaiser and UW.
  • Saved approximately $60M over the past 10 years by reducing bad debt from 12% to 3.5% and reducing staff by 50% while improving quality and implementing numerous process improvements. Immediately and significantly turned around operational performance from “red” status to “green” within first two quarters.

 

Using this proactive approach will significantly secure your position as someone who can “get things done” when it comes to generating bottom-line contributions, so PLEASE, PLEASE review samples carefully in terms of proactive verbiage and real results. If your current executive resume is not portraying you as a valuable company asset, you may be overlooked.

While searching for an executive resume writer can be daunting, I hope the above tips will help guide you to finding the best executive resume service to write this very important career marketing document. To be honest, there are only about five or six writers out of hundreds I would trust to work with my own clients, so do your homework and ask questions. If you have any questions for me, please send an email to: kim@executiveresumepro.com.

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