Sometimes a college student comes to me with a very clear set of restrictions: “I know my resume is good because my college professor [or best friend/spouse/parent] helped me with it, so all I need is a cover letter.”
More times than I like to admit, I look at the resume and/or cover letter and realize that this is a job seeker who has been led astray by well-meaning people. Resume writing is a profession, and I am credentialed and certified in that profession. Plus, I make it my business to know what hiring managers are looking for right now in resume content and format.
Let’s take the example of a college student helped by a professor. The professor is likely thinking in terms of the college career services agency. Resumes that from career services have a standard format: they don’t have the resources to individualize resumes and the standard format lets an interviewer easily work through and compare dozens of student resumes sent by the agency at the same time.
Outside the college career services agency, the purpose of a resume is different. You want your resume to get an interview for you—and you alone. This is not a reflection on the career services agencies, which provide a very helpful service. However, your agency resume is not the resume you should be sending out to companies where you will be competing with people from different schools and with different educational background, experience, and their own professionally written resumes.
When a job seeker comes to me with a poor quality resume, I am always polite but I am always honest. Sometimes they entrust me with the cover letter and then realize the big gap between the quality of the cover letter and the quality of the sub-par resume. Sometimes they visit the civilian resumes and federal resumes on my website and see the difference between what they have and what they could have.
Before you send out your resume, contact me. If it doesn’t need improvement, I’ll let you know. But if it does, you definitely want a professional resume writer to help.