Find Good Resume Advice

New advice centers around sending your resume by email to the recruiting sections of large firms, which means your resume gets as far as their trash folder. Another option is to send your resume by old-fashioned post because staff don’t get much mail anymore and open it expecting something exciting.

Professionals are now charging people $1000s of dollars to get your social (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) profile set up so people come stampeding to your door begging you to work for their company. This works if you have an acronym heavy resume for the hot career of the week, but let’s be honest: this is for a very few number of people.

So, should you spend money to have an expert look at your resume/profile, or are there cheaper and more effective sources of information?

Your first question is probably: “There are people that’ll look at my resume?” Yes, that’s right, and if their only job is to look at your resume they’ll probably spend as long on it as recruiters that receive your resume for a job ad – 6 seconds.

Your second question may be,” who are these people?”. Resume professionals fall into three camps: Former recruitment consultants turned resume writers, mentoring consultants or self-made (self-certified) experts (or “experts” depending on your current level of sarcasm).

The first group usually offer a service to improve your Key Word hit on your resume. The theory is that you actually have all the skills that hiring managers are after, but write it in the wrong way, or use the wrong writing style or wording. Their selling point is that because they used to be a recruiter, they “speak their language” and you don’t. So, if you are highly qualified but not getting any success on your resume, you might find some benefit from ex-recruiters.

Mentoring consultants are a bit murkier to define, because they have usually started a business, but try to sell the whole package from fixing your resume, to training you and even iron your clothes! No, not really, but that’s how they try to sell to you. Some consultants are ex-recruiters, but some are ex-managers or CEO’s. I’ve never personally used one, but I follow a few who send out regular information newsletters. I’d start by reading up on their advice columns to get a feel for their mentoring style. If they offer no free advice, look for an alternative that does before committing cold hard cash.

“Experts”, short and sweet – if you cannot verify their expertise don’t listen to what they say. Strange for me to say that because technically I fall into that camp (but I’ll try to explain my point if you hang in there for the next paragraph).

So, how about types of advice that doesn’t expect you to put out a down payment? If you are still working, then the first person you should turn to is your supervisor or manager. But wait! You say, what if they get angry about you looking for another job? This depends on the culture of your workplace. If you can, try to get advice on how to apply for an internal role in the company. This way, your manager is helping your personal development (and most companies make this mandatory nowadays). If your manager doesn’t want to help you then think about getting a new manager. For example, I currently work in a government role where I supervise staff. I’ve helped most of my staff apply for other positions by updating their resume, reminding them of their achievements (I tend to forget all the good stuff I do because I’m so busy, good supervisors notice) and helping them cut it down to 2 pages. My theory is that if I help them, I improve our relationship and if they get promoted people learn that I’m the one they want to work for if they want to get ahead. Just a personal view, but it’s worked so far.