The Ethics of Hiring a Professional Resume Writer
There’s a bit of stigma around professional resume writing and whether it’s even ethical to engage someone to write your job application for you. It’s something I hear from time to time.
You hired someone to write your resume? Isn’t that cheating?
I’ll say it up front. It’s not wrong, cheating, or being dishonest to hire a professional resume writer. Here’s seven reasons why…
1. A Resume is Not a Written Test
Is getting someone to write your resume for you like a student paying someone to write their school or university assignment? No. That’s because a resume isn’t a test or assignment – although the resume includes a description of your skills, the writing itself doesn’t demonstrate your ability to do the job.
The only time your resume might be a legitimate test of your skills is if you’re applying for a job like:
… resume writing.
No, really. That’s about it. Even if your job involves written communication, writing resumes is a really specific skill. Unless you write resumes for a living (like me), your employer won’t make assumptions on your ability to do the job based off how well your resume is written.
Side note: On the flip side, a badly written resume will affect your ability to get an interview, no matter how talented you are.
2. They’re Not Going to Make Things Up
Your resume writer isn’t going to make things up about you. Nobody’s going to make you fake your way to an interview. Besides, if your resume writer has a background in recruiting like I do, they’ll know making details up on your resume isn’t going to help you get the job anyway.
They’ll take your experience and qualifications and match them to the job requirements. The facts won’t change, but they’ll be communicated professionally and clearly to improve your chances of getting an interview. It’s that simple.
3. Smart People Outsource
Getting someone else to write your resume is, quite simply, outsourcing. If the idea of outsourcing freaks you out, let’s think about it another way. Do you have…
- A regular house cleaner?
- Someone to mow your lawn?
- Help with your taxes and bookkeeping?
- Someone else cook dinner for you once in awhile (even if it’s just the local takeaway)?
If so, you’re already an outsourcer! You’ve realised that other people can do some stuff quicker and more easily than you because they have the skills, equipment, and experience to get the job done. It’s well worth paying them instead of trying to DIY all the time.
The same thing goes for writing your resume. Don’t spend days or weeks trying to figure it out on your own when a professional can use their specialised skills and experience to create something of the highest quality… while you spend your time doing something you actually enjoy. Besides, I’m willing to bet that you’ve already spent a good chunk of time searching for the perfect job before it finally appeared in your inbox or job search. It would be a tragedy to spend more time, only to send out a resume that doesn’t showcase your absolute best.
Side note: The ability to outsource and manage a team is a valued skill in most companies. Choosing to hire someone to help you with your resume is proof of your management skills. So, if you happen to be asked about whether you had help with your resume, you can confidently tell the truth. You’re too busy and talented to spend your own time on writing the perfect resume, a smart mentality that translates through to your job.
4. You Can't Be Good at Everything
If you’re a truck driver, you need to be able to safely drive big vehicles over long distances. If you’re an engineer, you are probably quite good at making things work. If you’re an accountant, you’re all about the numbers. So, why would you be expected to struggle through writing your own resume when it has nothing to do with your actual employable skills?
You can’t be good at everything. Let’s be real… at best, you’re probably an average resume writer. It takes a lot of time and experience to get good in your specialised field… and the same thing goes for resume writing. After all, what do you think would happen if I turned up and tried to do your job for a day? Yeah, let’s not go there.
You can probably see what I’m getting at here. You don’t need to struggle with this or put up with an average resume. You can have an AMAZING resume if you get the right help from a specialist.
5. Banish The Jargon
I’m looking at you, people with highly technical roles! From experience, I can just about guarantee that your resume is full of jargon, acronyms, and specialised language.
This would be okay if your resume was going directly to the hiring manager who understands your role and all the language that comes with it, but most of the time (especially in big companies), your resume first goes to a HR advisor. This person reviews every application that comes in and forwards the best ones to the hiring manager. If your resume can’t be understood by an average person, you risk being left out along with all the applicants that don’t have the skills or experience (even if you’re the best one for the job).
A professional resume writer will know what’s jargon and what you can say instead so that your resume includes all the relevant experience in terms that can be easily understood.
6. An Outside Perspective Will Help
Have you tried to write a resume and ended up with a massive (6+ page document) because you can’t decide what to include? Including everything is not the answer. That paragraph about your six months of hospitality experience 15 years ago (for your legal administration application) is not helping anybody. And a document that is impossible to scan is going to end up in the too-hard pile for whoever is screening applicants because they just don’t have time.
Or perhaps length isn’t the issue for you, but you aren’t sure how to explain something like:
- A career gap while studying or raising children
- A major career change
- Studies that you didn’t complete
- Moving locations
- A variety of (seemingly disjointed) jobs
A good writer can pick out information that you might not have realised is relevant and use your skills to bridge a gap between where you are now and where you want to go. They’ll be able to identify objectively the most important bits of information to include on your resume so that it is the perfect length to sell your best skills. And just as importantly, they’ll know exactly what info to leave off your resume so that it tells the right story without distracting the reader from the most important bits.
7. The Resume is Just the Start
The resume on its own isn’t going to get you the job. A resume is the first point of contact between you and the hiring manager. It’s an introduction to who you are, a tool that markets your strengths, and hopefully gets you an interview. But that’s as far as it will go.
Side note: If a writer guarantees you they will get you a job if you engage their services, run a mile.
That’s not their job, and it’s not the purpose of a resume. If they make this guarantee, they’re lying, and not the kind of person I’d want writing my resume.
A well-written resume will increase your chances of getting an interview, and therefore, improve your chances of getting the job, but once you hop on the phone or end up in the interview room, it’s all up to you! It’s the Q & A process, reference checking, and demonstrating your skills and experience that will decide whether you get the job.
Side note: No matter how well-written your resume is, it won’t change whether you can do the job or not. So, if you are a beauty therapist applying for a water cart operating job (true story), don’t expect to get an interview no matter how well written your resume is.
So… now that we’ve established that it’s not just ethical but smart to hire a GOOD professional resume writer, let’s talk about how to find one.
How to Spot a Good Resume Writer
Having great typing speeds and a knack for formatting word documents doesn’t make a resume writer. In other words, you might want to reconsider taking your cousin’s wife up on her (very kind) offer to fix up your resume.
Here are three signs of a good resume writer…
1. Hiring Background
Look for a resume writer who has a background in hiring, making hiring decisions, working with hiring managers, or recruiting. They’ll know exactly how to match your skills and experience with the details of the job you’re applying for. They’ll use language that makes sense to the people who are going to read your resume.
2. Targeted Writing
A good resume writer should offer to target your resume to the job you are applying for. It’s fine to have a generic resume and cover letter ready to go, but when there’s a specific job or position you’re up for, it’s essential that your resume is tailored to meet the requirements of the job.
The best way to know if a professional resume writer is any good is a bunch of glowing testimonials from past clients who confirm that they can meet your deadlines, write well, and get their clients job interviews.
So, Should You Use A Professional Resume Writer?
At the end of the day… the job market is hard. It isn’t going to change any time soon.
You need to use every tool that is available to help you get the job, including a professional resume writer.
Remember that no one can be an expert at everything. Focus on doing what you’re good at and let somebody else make your skills and experience shine on paper with a properly written resume. It’s a worthwhile investment in your future.
Ready to Get Help?
I help clients all over Australia with their resume writing. I’m an experienced professional resume writer with a background in recruiting and a passion for helping people like you. Take a look at my services and contact me if you’re ready to enlist my help!
I’d love to know what you think. If you have any questions or experiences with professional resume writing, go ahead and leave a comment below.