Where Should You Get Your Resume Advice?
Writing a resume is hard, and writing a good one is even harder. If you’re fresh out of college and need to put together your first truly professional resume, it takes time to get it ready to send to future employers. You want to make it the best it can possibly be, so you turn to people for advice, but where do you seek such counsel? Your friend may not be a great source—who’s to say they know what they’re talking about? It’s easy to get advice from the career center at your college, and it makes sense to do that—up to a point. Alternatively, you could hire a professional resume writer and get expert advice.
College career centers
When you’re close to graduation, it’s time to start thinking about your resume. Without a lot of professional experience to draw upon, graduates find themselves in a tricky position. As these young people begin their journey into the world of work, colleges often promote their career centers, which help students write resumes and prepare them for employment. While these centers offer invaluable services, there are some issues with using only a college career center for help.
1. It’s all the same
These centers assist a lot of students at once, which means that specialized help is not always available. Most college career centers will have a ready-made package with basic information on how to write a resume and will guide you to draft one that will, unfortunately, look like everyone else’s.
That’s not how you land a job—when there are hundreds of other applicants, you need to stand out. There’s nothing special about the resume writing that college career centers offer, and if you submit this generic resume with multiple applications, you might end up without any offers. In fact, that’s the most likely outcome because generic resumes rarely get a person hired.
2. It’s outdated
The problem with these ready-made packages is that some of the information is outdated because the centers don’t update it as it changes. For example, they might tell you to use an objective statement that informs the hiring manager of your goal at the beginning of your resume. However, resumes no longer use objective statements—they now use career summaries, which showcase your qualifications and the reasons you’re a good fit for the job.
If you take a package from a college career center, double-check that all the information is up to date. This will require conducting your own research, which kind of defeats the purpose of going there for help in the first place.
3. It’s irrelevant
Most college career centers encourage you to list anything and everything (including clubs, volunteer work, hobbies, etc.) that you’ve been involved in to show how phenomenally qualified you are. While that may sound like a good idea, it can actually hurt your resume.
Hiring managers only want to see information relevant to the job you’re applying for. Providing irrelevant details just takes up space on your resume and could prevent you from getting hired. It wastes the hiring manager’s time and decreases your chances of landing the job. If you were part of any club, did volunteer work, completed an internship, or even have a hobby that relates to the job, then include this information in your resume. If not, leave it out. The hiring manager doesn’t care about your irrelevant skills because they’re…well, irrelevant.
Professional resume writers
Initially, you may wonder why hiring a professional resume writer would be beneficial. After all, you know how to write a resume, so why do you need a professional resume writer? However, a bona fide expert can give your job search a massive boost. Professional resume writers make it their mission to know what attracts hiring managers and help people land a job, so you can come away with a resume that lifts you above the crowd.
1. They know the individual
Unlike college career centers, professional resume writers don’t just offer the same one-size-fits-all information to every client and consider the job done. Instead, they get to know the person and their employment history. They ask you what kind of jobs you’re applying for, and if you have your sights set on a particular job, they glean as much information about it as possible from you.
In addition, professional resume writers personalize each resume to create a document that truly reflects the person. Fully aware that cookie-cutter resumes do not help in any way, they don’t just hand you a packet and collect your money—they tailor each section of the resume to showcase your specific skills and work experience.
2. They know the latest developments
Professional resume writers make it a priority to stay on top of the latest developments in their field. They research how to improve resumes and incorporate these ideas into their work. They keep up with the latest trends in the job market and stay informed about what hiring managers look for. You may not have all the latest information, but these professionals certainly do! Don’t stress yourself out trying to divine what should be included in your resume—let the professionals do the hard work.
3. They know the system
A professional resume writer knows the system and works to improve resumes accordingly. One important factor is applicant tracking systems (ATSs), which are computer programs that many companies use to filter out job applications that would simply waste the hiring manager’s time. With the advancement of resume scanning, professional resume writers have learned how to pass these checks and get your resume into the hands of the hiring manager. The ATS is a big obstacle to jump, but professional resume writers know exactly what to put on your resume to help you get past the digital gatekeeper.
Can I get advice from multiple places?
Yes! Seeking different sources of advice opens you up to different perspectives. You can get advice from wherever you choose, but you don’t always have to heed it. It’s not a bad thing to go to your college career center for resume help, but you don’t have to follow strictly its advice. Do your own research. Don’t just believe everything you hear—figure out the answer for yourself. Be selective and choose people who care about your future career. There’s a lot of advice out there, so it’s important to know what’s reliable and useful and what’s not.
Who you let help you with your resume is a decision that could determine the success of your job search. Don’t waste your time getting advice on how to write a cookie-cutter resume with outdated information. Instead, choose a professional resume writer who will take the time to study your strengths and qualifications and customize your resume accordingly.