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What’s Your New Executive Resume Worth?

by Kim on February 12, 2016

Would you pay over $3,000 for a new executive resume? How about $7,000? While it sounds a little outrageous, there are companies charging thousands of dollars for a new resume. There are also many out there who offer very inexpensive services charging as little as $89.00 (though I’d stay away from them). The extreme disparity of pricing can make the decision-making process very confusing, so I’m hoping that this article can help.

Since this has been my profession for nearly 20 years, I’ve reviewed thousands of resumes either written by the potential client or a “professional” resume writer. While there are a handful of services I’d trust with my own clients, there are many more services out there which should be avoided at all costs. I’ve also been monitoring my “competition” throughout the years, only to shake my head at those calling themselves “professionals” who charge thousands of dollars for resumes I consider to be “average” or worse, just WRONG.

Over the past month, I’ve reviewed numerous resumes from other services that could only make me shake my head, especially after hearing disappointment and anger from someone who’s been “had” after forking over a lot of money with little to no results.

Below are my unscientific “case studies” of high-priced resume writing services that I investigated after reviewing samples from each one. While I am not going to name them publicly, I do want to highlight the numerous aspects of what you should look for if/when you decide to hire a professional resume writing service.

  1. Pricing from this service starts at $800. Their “about us” page is vague and they claim to have been in business since 2005, though I’ve never run across this site until recently. Some of their samples are so blurry that while they “look nice,” they are difficult to read which is too bad, as content is key. Most of the information I was able to decipher focused only on duties and not accomplishments. This company also uses a team of writers, not just one, so you won’t know who will be writing your resume until you hire them. Here are two bullet points taken from one of their sample resumes. If you notice, the tense is not consistent and there are not any explainable actions as to how results were achieved (results are key in any effective resume today along with how they were accomplished).
    • Improved EDI mass file capability. (How was it improved? Did it improve by 50%? 100%? What was done to improve the capability? This bullet point really doesn’t say much about the candidate’s abilities at all.)
    • Delivers innovative solutions that improve patient care and reduce health care costs. Impressive career leading Project Management, Software Development, System Architecture, Business and Strategy. (Mixed tense here in the start of each bullet point. You also don’t add in a random sentence about your “impressive career” that doesn’t even relate to the initial bullet point. The second bullet point would be more valuable if it expanded to explain how innovative solutions were delivered.)

 

  1. This company joined the internet in 2008. Their pricing starts at $985 and they also use a team of writers; I’ve never heard of them either. Trying to discern why the pricing starts so high, I reviewed their samples. They were “pretty” to look at but the information (more important than formatting) did not seem very compelling. Here are two bullet point examples.
    • Expertly analyzed and managed technology needs across all hospital and clinics. (This was presented as an achievement. Not sure why, as there is nothing tangible here. Merely stating you “expertly” performed a task is not proof that you did it well unless you can clearly state what was delivered.)
    • Optimized all revenue cycle and clinical documentation systems and applications for ICD 10 implementation. (Again, this was presented as an achievement yet it’s not. Where are the results other than “optimizing? And how was it optimized? This point would be more valuable to readers if the actions were outlined.) The resumes samples on this site did not seem to justify the pricing at all.

 

  1. This service has been in the business for years and though the work is good, I’m not sure it warrants pricing that reads “$4997 (a $7164 value).” I’m unclear as to how those numbers were reached or where the $7000 figure came from but it seems exceptionally high for a resume, cover letter, follow-up letter, two coaching sessions and LinkedIn profile. Perhaps to some, this might be of value so I won’t knock it, but I know my own writing is of the same caliber or better. Their resume formatting is very busy with tables, diagrams, numerous sections making it difficult to scan quickly with all the “busy-ness.”

 

  1. This service seems to be a “resume mill,” with a team of writers. The copy of the website is shoddy, grammatically incorrect in places and does not have impressive samples at all. Again, while they “look nice,” they are not achievement rich. Pricing starts at $995 for “Resume Writing Service from Scratch or Re-Development/Complete Re-Write.” Sample bullet points from this site taken from a “Selected Accomplishment” section include:
    • One of the first persons in Canada to import and market 220 volts electronic products
    • Started and successfully managed an (import/export) company in Toronto for five years (Cal Systems); took sales from zero to over $7.5 million
    • Lectured to graduate students on International Trade and Finance at the John F. Kennedy University in California, USA (Not sure this is a measurable accomplishment or how any of these bullets warrant a $995 price point unless you are paying for the “Team review of your draft resume to ensure that your resume effectively link your competencies, accomplishments and successes to your target profession and employers’ job competency requirements.” (Funny, the sentence should read “that your resume effectively LINKS (not “link”) your competencies…”) Right there is a typical example of much of the site’s poorly-written verbiage.

 

  1. This next service starts their pricing at $1600 with other services adding up to well over $3000. It does include coaching and resume distribution. However, I don’t see how the resume distribution is an added benefit when many of the bullet points are not driven by accomplishments and/or are poorly written.
    • Conceptualized and standardized an innovative fee-for-service model dependent on patient level data acquired from specialty pharmacies. What were the results of this service model? How did it work?
    • Networked, called on extensive contacts and established relationships and data interfaced with AlterNet site operational software companies (this is a duty and doesn’t really add value unless it is translated into an accomplishment).
    • Developed sales training tools in conjunction with marketing; worked directly with sales professionals shaping them into experts in the specialty pharmacy class of trade.
      • (I don’t see measurable results and/or accomplishments anywhere in these three bullet points… most of the samples I read were similar in their lackluster approach)

 

  1. This last service is another pricey organization offering very little value from what I can see – prices range from $2697 to $4697 for the following example:
    • Developed joint business planning, sales analytics and vendor management processes within three months. (Results of these actions?)
    • Hired 6 high-potential managers in Commercial Planning, IT, Customer Management and Communications. (This is a function, not an achievement, unless the hiring of these managers directly impacted results)
    • Partnered with Head of Sales on a new customer segmentation model, increased sales, enhanced key customer focus and improved internal commercial operations capabilities prior to official promotion. (Sadly, this sentence reads awkwardly… worse, none of these bullet points discuss measurable accomplishments.)

 

These examples make me cringe knowing that people are paying a great deal of money for these services that may not even be helpful, not to mention giving the entire industry a bad name.  I also am wary of those services who offer a “money back guarantee” or “free rewrite” if the resume doesn’t work. You need to feel confident that the new resume you just invested in will be right the FIRST time.  Once your new resume in distributed on the web, that’s usually the one you’re stuck with.

 

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find the right service for any need based on a website. You might even say that my own website and associated claims could be false too. However, I never mind losing a customer if someone has chosen a service I respect and know well. I just feel very badly for those who get taken for a significant amount of money when it’s clear that the job wasn’t done well.

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