Resume Mills versus Professional Resume Service Providers: What to Watch Out For
A couple of years ago, I shared tips on how to avoid resume scams after being contacted by several unhappy customers that mistook Top Resume Writing & Career Services for another similarly named resume service. Although I’ve taken great pains to distinguish my service from this other operation’s offerings, I still field and redirect aggravated callers from time-to-time (although much more less often now, thankfully!).
Do your own quick Google search and you’ll see the resume writing profession is saturated with companies setting up and shutting down shop every day. From the outside their websites appear to be professional operations, but proceed with caution. Many of these companies are known as resume mills because their focus is on churning out a multitude of low-quality to “so-so” resumes quick, fast, and in a hurry. Understanding the difference between a resume mill and a professional, credentialed agency and/or service provider could save you from wasting time and money. Here are some common resume mill red flags to watch out for:
All Communication is by Email Only
A customer-centered business will go out of it’s way to maintain open communication throughout the resume writing process. The most common ways of contact are by email and phone. If you contact a company for more information about the services they provide, a phone consultation should be an option. If the company insists on email communication only, proceed with caution.
Low, Low Prices
I know, I know – who doesn’t love a bargain? Unfortunately, sometimes getting what you paid for isn’t the best thing. As a general rule, most professional industries have a standard range of competitive pricing; and in the career services profession, rates are determined by professional certification(s), years of experience, and record of results. Resume mills, on the other hand promise you a lot for very little and seldom deliver.
Resume mills operate on a simple strategy of cranking out as many resumes as quickly as possible. They do this by subcontracting high volumes of client orders with impossibly fast turnaround times to other writers for insultingly low pay. This can result in numerous problems like high worker turnover rates, low quality documents, and unexpected service delays.
Information is Collected by Old Resumes and Questionnaires Only
The key to creating a quality, customized, job-focused resume, cover letter, etc. is in the strategy; and an effective strategy requires a deep dive information gathering process by phone or in-person.
Resume mills frequently skip this vital step, preferring instead to take short cuts, using a client’s old resume and/or an emailed questionnaire for answers which leads to a document with a lot of holes.
Unable to Communicate with a Live Human Being
This one is a huge red flag. I had a client contacted me once after another company informed her that all communications would be by email. If she wanted to communicate with her assigned writer by phone, she would need to pay an additional fee!
No Professional Certifications
I hesitated to list this one, because there are a few conditions. There are some exceptional resume writers and career coaches that have been around long before certifications were available. Still, writers that train and successfully pass certifications must meet and adhere to established industry standards and ethics. Working with a certified professional is the best way to ensure that you’re working with a trustworthy, expert.
Unfortunately, some resume mills have figured out how to get around the certifications issue by having the “face” of the company be a certified resume writer while the subcontracted writers may not be certified themselves.
Weeding through the many companies in your online search results for a resume writer may seem like a lot of work, but the return on investment that comes from working with the right writer is so worth everything that comes from reaching your job search goal.
Photo Credit: Jon Tyson