In the early 2000’s when I first started my then HR Consultancy (HR Aspects) specialising in Employment Documentation (Resumes, Selection Criteria and Cover Letter), Personality Profiling and HR Consultancy Services for individuals and small businesses the internet was in it’s infancy and I remember Google contacting me at the time trying hard to sell advertising on this new platform for approximately 20c per click; at the time there was not even 1 full Google page of Resume Writers listed in the Sydney region.
Fast forward 15+ years and Google advertising has significantly increased from these emerging market pricing structures and as for the volume of Resume Writers advertising on Google well now there are frequently 10+ pages of advertises for one suburb or region let alone nationally or globally; not to mention other online platforms and traditional advertising sources. The Resume Writing Services market has boomed over this period; but with this boom comes consumer confusion in relation to the quality of services, relevance, ethics and qualifications of professionals in the field.
Thus, the question becomes:-
How can the average consumer determine the value and merit of a Resume Writing Service?
Let’s start by getting down to brass tacks.
The most important point to keep in mind is that the Resume Writing Services industry in Australia is not a regulated industry. That is, anyone can start up a business tomorrow and call themselves a Resume Writing Service or Resume Writer – there is NO industry bodies (i.e. professional associations) or government agencies in Australia that establish or enforce minimum educational and operating standards, frameworks, codes of conduct and ethics.
It is important to clearly understand the above as it will provide you with a strong foundation when comparing prospective Resume Writing Service providers and it will allow to clearly decipher if a Resume or Curriculum Writer or Consultant is making false and misleading claims.
Thus, in stating the above, it is imperative that when you are sourcing and comparing Resume Writing Services or Resume Writers that you: –
Determine Qualifications – Level, Validity and Merit
It is the authors position that ideally a Resume Writer will hold foundational qualifications and experience in Human Resource Management and/or Recruitment and Selection. NB. please note in Australia, Recruitment and Selection does not have a stand-alone qualification thus the key qualification is Human Resources with either units or majors in Recruitment and Selection.
Why is this so important? Great question!
As stated to numerous prospective and engaged clients over the years it really is a knowledge and numbers game. That is, the knowledge and insights one gains through the attainment of Human Resource qualifications, the regular ongoing recruitment and selection experiences and the sheer volume of Resumes/CV’s ones sees as a result of working in Human Resources and/or Recruitment field versus an individual who may have an alternate qualification in their area of specialisation and conduct recruitment, selection and interview procedures on an irregular basis for individuals seeking employment in that field.
Thus, it is important to ascertain the foundational qualification of your prospective Resume Writer to ensure validity and merit in terms of their underpinning knowledge, skills base and most importantly how they can help you achieve your career and job search goals.
Compare and Contrast – Apples with Apples not Apples with Oranges – Costs and Services
Whilst the old adage of “there is room in the market place for everyone” may have a ring of truth to it (based on our differing needs and wants); it is important that you accurately compare, and contrast service providers based on seven key criterion: –
- Level of Qualifications of the Resume Writer (the person who is actually going to be writing your CV not the organisation – big difference)
- Experience of the Writer prior to starting this occupation; if they tell you they have experience in HR or Recruitment (or any other qualification for that matter) ask them about their experience or use social media to verify their claims.
- Number of years in practice and who have they previously prepared Resumes and Curriculum Vitaes (CV’s) for in terms of occupations and industries; whilst we all need to start somewhere there will generally be a significant difference in costing when you compare someone just starting out in the business with a seasoned professional.
- Costs – not only the initial costs but also time associated with preparing your document, fast turnaround, update/amendments, additional copies, call out fees and/or disbursement costs
- Inclusions i.e. does the cost include a face to face consultation, online questionnaire, telephone consultation, electronic copies, paper copies, career guidance, do you have to provide your old CV and the writer will just revamp into their style or will the writer prepare a tailored document – big time and cost difference.
- Location – Does the Resume Writer work from home, come to you or have a corporate office – corporate offices usually mean higher costs – but does it mean you are getting a better product/service? What do you consider more important the location of the Resume Writer or the quality of the document they produce – we each have our own preferences but it is important to know what your preference is in terms of location.
- Reviews – does the Resume Writer have any reviews or testimonials on social media or their website that you can review.
In summarising this point, the ability to accurately compare and contrast the service provider becomes imperative when you are determining if this service provider is the right option for you. For there is a very big difference in pricing structures between an: –
- An individual who undertakes this as a hobby or a side-line business to make some extra cash on top of their full or part time employment
- Online template service where you select a template format you want type in your own details and then automatically have a Resume-CV generated based on this information
- Someone who will ask for a copy of your old CV and just re type your information into their format without a consultation period etc – basically a copy typing service not a Resume Writing Service; versus
- A professional career consultant who will spend an hour or more in consultation with you (face to face, online or via telephone), to actively listen and reflect to your goals, history, background, achievements in order to capture and harness you in Resume-CV.
In ones’ opinion the fourth approach will generate the best results as the Resume Writer or Career Consultant will develop and capture a clear in-depth picture of you and your objectives and thus in turn be able to develop a quality tailored document for you. However, keep in mind this approach will require a greater time and financial investment by you to cover the time and labour costs of the Resume Writer or Career Consultant.
Know Your Needs and Wants – Target Relevant Service Providers
As previously discussed, it is important to do your homework in relation to prospective Resume Writing Service providers. However, it is equally important for you to determine your own needs and wants so you can target appropriate service providers.
Questions you may want to ponder include (but are not limited to): –
- What are my expectations in terms of costs, services and inclusions?
- How quickly do I need the Resume or CV?
- Do I want to visit someone in an office or would I be more comfortable with a online or phone consultation?
- What is my budget?
- Am I available during normal business hours, after hours or weekends only for consultations and follow up conversations?
- What are the qualities, experiences and academic background of my ideal service provider?
Look Past The Hoop La – Bells, Whistles and Misleading Claims
Given the rapid growth of the Resume Writing Industry over the last 15 years; it is becoming trickier for Resume Writers, Career Consultants and Career Consulting Firms that offer Resume Writing Services to differentiate themselves and thus consciously or subconsciously the emergence of questionable conducts and ethics has emerged.
For example, as previously discussed the Resume Writing Industry in Australia is not regulated and does not have a professional association by which Resume Writers can apply for membership, abide by industry standards, ethics and codes of conduct.
Thus, let me make this very clear any Resume Writer whom states they belong to a National Association for Resume Writers is making false and misleading statements. There maybe Resume Writing Associations in other countries but not here in Australia – PERIOD! Thus, if the Resume Writer or organisation was acting ethically they would advertise their affiliation by saying something like Member of the National Association for Resume Writers (USA); not trying to manipulate you by inferring a professional status level by association within Australia.
Also remember that just because an individual or organisation is a member of another country’s association does not mean that there is validity in Australia or put another way there is no reciprocal membership status with an alternative Australian association or body.
Other misleading statements to look out for include (but are not limited to) the term: –
- “Master Resume Writer”; or
- “Certified Resume Writer”
OK so, given there are no formal qualifications in Australia for Resume Writers how are these individuals and organisations who claim to be a “Master”, “Certified”, “Specialist” or “Trained” Resume Writer validating their proof of statement of claim in other words what criterion are they basing these statements on in terms of recognised Australian qualification (either attained in Australia or approved through Australia’s International Qualification Assessment Services.
To ones’ understanding and knowledge no international qualifications for Resume Writers has been approved by Australia’s International Qualification Assessment Services for foreign-earned credentials. Thus, based on ones’ knowledge and understanding these statements are Fluff, False and Misleading– Do not buy into it!!!
The other key aspect to this section is that some Resume Writers and Career Consulting organisation will push the need to be creative with designs of Resumes – CV’ for example utilising info graphics, colours, clip art, photo’s, borders etc.
As I have previously written on many occasions, prospective Employers, HR and Recruiters want to know the facts of what you can do for them, they do not want superfluous or discriminatory information, or documents that portray an unprofessional image. They simply want to know the facts about you, yes you need to pique their interest but the more bells and whistles you put into your Resume-CV the more they will focus on what you are trying to hide as a result of needing to add these items to your resume rather than focusing on what you can do with the presentation of a systematic and professional layout highlighting your relevant achievements, experiences, competencies and education to date.
Strong Connections and Insights
Simply put do you click with the Resume Writer – do you feel comfortable with them? Has the service provider actively listened to you, asked you questions about your professional background and career goals, have they quickly and accurately assessed your personality type based on the information you have provided in order to effectively help you, have they provided guidance and insights in relation to your needs, wants and their services.
Fundamentally, any Resume Writer worth their wait in gold will do all of the above and so much more. In short, it is essential that the service provider fundamentally understands your personality, position and seeks to provide you with authentic and educated guidance in order for you to achieve your career goals.
Who Will You Be Working With?
This point may seem very basic in nature, but it is important that you clearly understand who you will be working with, the individuals background, experience and how they are engaged by the organisation are they a contractor or employee – there is a very big difference.
Thus, a word of warning when it comes to larger Career Counselling, Career Consulting or Career Development Firms that have 15, 20, 30+ employees spread across Australia – do your research and find out as much as you can before you engage with the firm. For there are now several large consultancies that will draw clients in after speaking with them and allocate a consultant to the case – sometimes the client is aware of this and other times not.
Based on ones conversations with prospective and previous clients, individuals who engaged these firms were often quoted a figure for their Resume – CV usually in excess of $450.00 and expected a top tier service by the person they saw on the companies internet or spoke with on the telephone when in actuality when the time came that they were actually passed over (referred) to a different consultant who did not have the competency and experiential base the client was looking for; thus the results were not satisfactory to the client.
In ones’ experience, the above usually occurs as a result of the organisation been focused on profits not providing quality services. That is, by transferring the preparation of the Resume-CV to a more junior consultant the organisation increases it profit margins by paying less to a more junior consultant rather than to the specialist or expert whom you believed would prepare your employment documentation.
So when you are searching for Resume Writing Service provider, ask lots of questions about who you will be working with, their experience and educational background to date; ask if you will you be liaising with the same person you have been speaking to on the telephone (at your initial point of enquiry), or will you be referred to one or more consultants over the course of your association; will the individual that conducted the initial intake session with you be the one that prepares (types) your Resume or CV or will this be given to a Junior Consultant or Administrative Assistant – are you happy for this to occur or would you prefer consistency.
Finally, be careful if the organisation has 15, 20, 30+ employees across Australia etc – more often than not these organisations use contractors to provide services on their behalf; which is OK if you understand this is their standard practice, that there is transparency, clear guidelines, policies, procedures and codes of ethic in place but issues will arise if there is a lack of understanding, professionalism, transparency and/or a difference in projected vs actualised outcomes.
Finally, with respect to this point, it would also wise for you to quiz the organisation on what would happen if the contractor terminated their services from the organisation, who would manage your case or provide you with future guidance in the event that this person left. Would you be able to contact the contractor directly or would you need to contact the organisation; from ones’ experience, as an EAP Counsellor, when an individual consultant signs a contractual agreement with a service provider there is usually a clause in the contract that states that you cannot target or approach clients for a designated period of time after the termination of the contract.
Thus, from ones’ perspective it is important to understand where you stand, as a client, should a consultant terminate their contract with the service provider. For if you engage the organisations services and established a strong rapport or professional relationship with a particular consultant and they leave do you want to repeat your story and go through the same process again or would you prefer to maintain a professional relationship with your consultant and transfer your business to their new practice rather than starting over again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (2018 Version)
Katherine is the Founder of Blu Ripples a specialist Career Counselling and Consulting practice located in Port Stephens NSW. Katherine is a nationally registered Career Development Specialist and Counsellor; is a Professional Member of the Career Development Association of Australia, Member of the Australian Counselling Association. Former CDAA NSW Committee Member; Graduate of RMIT and AIPC.
Katherine has worked in private practice since 2003 and prior to that worked in the corporate sector for a period of 12 years predominantly in Human Resources and Administration.
© 2018 - Katherine Foster T/as Blu Ripples
Updated Version 7 Oct 2023; Originally Posted 20 March 2018
Katherine's Photograph: 2023