I am not a big fan of resume writers. As an executive recruiter with more than 25 years of retained search experience, I have a lot of reasons not to tout this sub-set of the career management industry, but here are my top three:
- Changing Job Markets – The job market for industries like healthcare, communications, publishing, manufacturing, retail and others has changed dramatically. In these industries there are more executive applicants than there are jobs. Employers are more selective than ever before. These conditions require job applicants to change the way they go to market. Resume writers seem content not to address these issues, based on conversations I have had with internal recruiters and my colleagues in the search industry.
- Understanding Your Value – The resume writer will never understand your value as well as you must. Their job is to create a document, not to lead you on a sometimes necessary journey to help you more deeply understand your value — why an employer should hire you for a specific job. They do conduct an interview to collect necessary information and data that they can insert into one of their proprietary templates but they frequently skip over this important first step. Applicants who understand their Value Brand Statement, also known as the Value Proposition, a concept created by my former colleague Nancy Swain, tend to be more focused — and effective — throughout the interview process, from the resume to the final meeting. Executives need to own their resume. It is not some necessary evil that you should outsource.
- Generic Resumes Do Not Differentiate You – With dozens of candidates applying for most job openings, employers prefer job applicants who can specifically communicate how they will add value in their new role. The one-and-done resume is a relic of the past. Executives must customize their resume for each job they pursue. Many resumes we see from the resume writers are not designed for such customization. Since the resume is your first interview for a given job, ask yourself: Does my resume communicate my value for this opportunity? Does the information in this resume differentiate me from the dozens of other applicants for this position?
I am not even going to bother with the web sites whose advertisements guarantee you multiple job offers within a specific timeframe. That might work in some industries for lower level management positions where there is virtually full employment, but not for executives in industries experiencing radical change in their business models.