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Why Use a Resume Writer or Resume-writing Service?

Here are some of the questions we have been asked by our clients or potential clients in the past, together with our answers to them. We hope you find them useful, and that they help you to make an informed decision.

However, it may be that you have a question we have not answered. If so, then please contact us (mailto:info@top-pro-cvs.com) to discuss it. Just give us your first name and an active email address to respond to. Finally please note that the terms Resume and CV (or Curriculum Vitae) are interchangeable for the purposes of this article. Resume is the norm in the US, Australia and elsewhere, while CV is the widely accepted document in UK.

Questions:

1. Why have my resume written by somebody else? I know what I have done and where I've worked, so why go to a third party?

2. Surely I can just list my achievements, qualifications and experience. Isn't that enough?

3. I have registered with an agency. They have offered to write my CV free of charge. Why should I pay for one?

4. I have seen a CD-ROM based programme for producing resumes. Why not use this?

5. My friend has just got a job with a CV he wrote himself. I can probably do the same, can't I?

6. Why use Top Professional Resumes Limited?

And the answers to those questions:

1. Why have my resume written by somebody else? I know what I have done and where I've worked, so why go to a third party?

This is probably the most frequently-asked question we get. There are a number of reasons to have your CV or Resume written by a professional. Firstly, the majority of people cannot be objective enough to do it properly. What you regard as your greatest strength or achievement may not be relevant to the target employer or job you are applying for, and you will almost certainly not appreciate the degree of weighting to apply to those strengths and achievements if they are relevant. Unless you keep abreast of changing trends in presentation and format, the layout and emphasis on the various aspects of the information you give will be "hit and miss" at best.

Secondly, with specific regard to format. Selectors and HR Professionals carrying out the recruitment process expect the CV's or Resumes they receive to be in a "standard" format. This allows them to quickly sift and prioritise those individuals they want to interview and discard the rest. This format needs to be known and fully understood so that within this fairly narrow benchmark the Client can be best presented so as to stand out from the crowd. Having said that, a good resume writer will be able to write the Resume in such a way that the relevant strengths and skills are maximised, while any weaknesses are minimised or eliminated, and encapsulate all of this within a format that is calculated to maximise the chance of selection for interview.

Which brings us to the third point, which is that none of us can be good at everything.

Whatever our strengths or skill-set, that's why the majority of people use a solicitor to draw up contracts, a builder to carry out structural work to their homes or offices, an accountant to minimise their tax liability and a mechanic to fix the car. They employ professionals.

Because we can all operate a word processor many of us think we can therefore write a Resume or CV for ourselves. While it is undoubtedly true that we can list achievements, qualifications, previous employers and so on, and maybe have a flair for artistic layout (which is incidentally the WORST thing you can apply to a CV), only a Professional has the ability to collate this information and present it in such a way as to get you through the door with a head start on any competition.

It would be folly to entrust something as critical as getting you your next job or career change to anyone other than a Professional.

2. Surely I can just list my achievements, qualifications and experience. Isn't that enough?

This is really linked to, and partially explained by, the answer to Question 1. But to elaborate a little, this is like saying that it is sufficient to present the specifications of a new car to a prospective purchaser and expect that alone to sell the product.

Compare a Hyundai motor car with a Mercedes. Both have engines, a gearbox, 4 wheels and internal upholstery for the driver and passengers. Both will get you from where you are (geographically speaking) to where you want to go, and in the same time if you obey the speed limits. However there is a massively different perceived value between them, which accounts for the huge price differential. That price differential and difference in perceived value is derived primarily from the way the vehicles are marketed and sold, rather than any real physical disparity. It is almost certainly true to say, I think you will agree, that most people, if all other things such as price, were equal, would prefer and buy a Mercedes. This buying decision is made based on the benefits of the product (reliability, comfort, kudos) rather than on the features or specification (4-cylinder engine, synchromesh gearbox, 16 inch wheels etc).

It is just so with a professionally-written CV or Resume. All other things being equal, do you think your future employer would prefer a Mercedes or a Hyundai? The only way he will perceive any difference between two candidates he hasn't met before, particularly if their qualifications and experience are similar, is by comparing the look and feel of their Resumes. Unfortunately this initial appraisal is over in approximately 8 seconds, so he or she needs to be sold the relevant factors in that brief interval. In Sales language, the selector needs to be presented with the benefits of employing you rather than just the features of your previous experience and qualifications.

Your Resume is your Sales and Marketing Document; your Product Brochure. Just as all cars are not created equal, neither are two individuals. However, unless the benefits to the organisation of employing you rather than the next person in the pile, are presented quickly and credibly to the "buyer", then he won't even consider the features.

3. I have registered with an agency. They have offered to write my CV free of charge. Why should I pay for one?

Agencies exist to provide a steady stream of traffic to interviewers. It makes no difference to them whether the company placing the vacancy with them hires you or the next person they send. The agency doesn't care - they get paid anyway. With regard to the Resume or CV they produce for you, the quality will reflect this "scatter-gun" approach. Usually you will fill in a form or have a brief interview, and that information will be inputted by a data-entry clerk into a software package or word-processor. A document purporting to be a Resume will then pop out of the printer. Then the process is repeated for the next candidate, and the next, and so on.

Agencies might "handle" hundreds of new candidates in a week, all of whom need to be processed and have a CV "written". Compare the resumes produced by any agency and they will all look almost identical. How will that help you, as an individual, get through the door? It's more likely to be chance and good fortune than design. With your Resume, like most other things in life, you get what you pay for. As the saying goes:

"The bitter aftertaste of poor quality lingers on the palate long after the sweet taste of low cost (or no cost) has gone forever"

Are you prepared to leave such an important issue as getting your next job to a mass-produced, unfocussed and indiscriminate word-processed specification sheet?

Or would you prefer a targeted, tightly-focussed, purposeful, dynamic and relevant Personal Sales Brochure?

4. I have seen a CD-ROM based programme for producing resumes. Why not use this?

Today there are more software tools for automating and labour-saving processes (labor-saving if you're from the other side of the "Pond") in the marketplace than there are computers - and that's a lot! They are almost all of value to somebody, and Resume-Writing software is no exception. If you have the expertise and objectivity to write your own CV (but see the answer to all 3 earlier questions also), then such software can make the job easier. They will give you a choice of formats or layouts (do you know whether to use a Chronological or Functional format, and in what circumstances), and will inject pre-formatted and pre-written blocks of text describing generic jobs or tasks etc etc.

At a price.

However, what none of these packages can do is take your personal qualities, experience and circumstances into account. They will not - cannot - be objective with regard to the preferences and aspirations of the Client or the target employer. They will not have industry-specific terminology built into spell checkers, and cannot give advice on which skill-set to highlight, which weakness to minimise or eliminate (and these can be particularly problematic or subjective, dependent on the position applied for ), nor can they help you get around periods of unemployment or similar "blanks".

For these you need human intervention - the services of a Professional.

5. My friend has just got a job with a CV he wrote himself. I can probably do the same, can't I?

See the answers to all of the above !

Either he was lucky, or he had the expertise. Give us his contact details - he can come and work for TPR!

Ed - one of our writers came to us in exactly this way, which is why we included the question. You never can tell . . . . . . ;-}

SHAMELESS MARKETING PLUG!

6. Why use Top Professional Resumes Limited?

There are many other resume or CV writing services around today, which gives you, the customer, a great deal of choice.

We would always recommend a potential client has a look at them before making the obvious selection

However, we feel we give a service that is second to none, and our clients endorse this. At the end of the day you basically have to decide on just two things:

A. Who do I feel will do the best job and get me an interview quickly?

B. Which organisation, having evaluated all the options available, represents the best value for money? As with all things, the cheapest is seldom the best!

Of course we are a little biased, so won't answer the rhetorical questions above. However, we have been doing this for a while, have many satisfied customers, are members of the Professional Resume Writing and Research Association (PRWRA), and have a genuine desire to help you get that all-important next job. If we can be of any assistance with any aspect of your quest, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

We would obviously prefer you to become a valued client. However, should you for any reason decide not to use our services, please take a few minutes to complete our feedback form so that we might improve our services to others. Who knows, you may come back! The website (http://www.top-pro-cvs.com) also gives a lot of extra detail if you have not yet been there yet.

Good luck with your job-search. I hope this article has been useful to you.

Copyright Top Professional Resumes Limited 2005

Stephen Thompson is an HR professional and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Top Professional Resumes Limited (TPR), a company registered in England which specialises in Resume and CV Writing Services, Career Guidance and Interview Preparation. Its Clients are mainly drawn from the professions (accountants, lawyers, engineers, teachers, board-level directors etc.).

TPR has been around for just over seven years but has just (in February of this year) launched a website (http://www.top-pro-cvs.com/warning.html) to market its services on the internet. TPR are members of the Professional Resume Writing and Research Association (http://www.prwra.com) and Stephen Thompson is an Authorised Administrator with Profiling Pro (http://www.profilingpro.com), who provide online individual Behavioral Analysis reports for individuals wanting to better understand themselves and their relationships with others

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