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Resume Writing Services: Nuisance or Clever?

Resume writing services will tailor a job seekers resume to make them look like the perfect candidate by optimizing it for keyword searching in an applicant tracking system. This may sound like a great investment to the candidate, but how do they affect time-to-hire or interview-to-placement ratios? These services may be able to trick the machine, but a good recruiter is not going to be fooled.

Clever Candidates

Preparing a resume is nerve racking. There are about a million websites that aim to teach job seekers how to get their resume noticed, but these still apply to old recruiting and hiring methods. Candidates face new challenges when it comes to getting their resume noticed, especially since they aren’t entirely “read” anymore. With the advent of applicant tracking systems, recruiters and hiring managers have the tools to filter through thousands of resumes with just a few clicks. They can run a boolean string to extract what they want, even filter down to find the applicants that live within a certain distance from the job location. Turning to a service that will optimize your resume to pass through the machine sounds like a great idea, but do these services mis-represent the applicant? Do they show them as being more qualified or experienced than they actually are? These services boast the ability to craft a customized resume specific to the job you are applying for. They will take the actual job description and write your resume around it in a way that makes you look like the perfect candidate. Sounds like a great deal for job seekers, but does paying for a service like this actually hurt them in the long run?

Attractive Nuisance

Okay, so no one is dying due to resume writing services, but they do pose a danger to recruiters and hiring managers. Although the time it takes to find a good resume is significantly decreased with systems like CATS, qualifying the candidate in-person, versus on-paper, still takes a lot of time and energy. Do these services present candidates in an untruthful light? How many times have you seen the “perfect resume”, only to meet the candidate and find out that they couldn’t be further from what you need? A resume writing service may be able to trick the machine, but a good recruiter is not going to be fooled, only aggravated that they wasted their time. If it is true that these services are a burden to recruiters, it only makes it worse when you go to pull up your metrics for the month and everything is skewed. The number of qualified candidates is wrong, interview-to-placement ratios are too high, and time-to-hire just went up because of the time wasted on aesthetically pleasing but realistically unqualified applicants.

What has been your experience with resume writing services? Can you tell when you a see a resume that was paid for? Is this a good service for job seekers or are they better off sticking with their own version?