Many people start with this question because, as with many forms of writing, anyone who can type can try to do it themselves.

intResume: Is a resume/CV writing service worth the cost?

This service isn’t cheap, and I’m aware of this. So, is a résumé or CV writing service really worth the price? You can ask my successful clients if I’m worth it, and you’ll get some pretty positive stories. Yet even then, it may seem much easier, faster, and most of all cheaper, to do it yourself. I totally understand that perspective. I’m a do-it-yourself (DIY) type of guy myself. I’ve tried to fix my car, my computer, and I’ve tried to dress myself well. In all cases, I made some progress, but my life changed when I paid an expert for help: my car ran again, my computer stopped crashing, and I look much better.

If you are questioning the value of hiring a résumé or CV writing service, you should. There are tons of free templates available, you can use a flashy service that appears in your Facebook feed, or you can simply follow a YouTube video from some expert; these days anyone can call themselves an expert. If English isn’t your first language, you can just write something down and ask your friend who studied abroad to check your spelling and grammar. And no one knows your work history, skills, and experience as well you do, right?

It seems logical that the best person for writing your résumé is you, and you can do it for free. You’ll find plenty of support on the Internet for this type of thinking. The Internet is all about “hacks” and shorting the system. So when you’re weighing the pros and cons of paying for and hiring a resume writer, you will find plenty of cons. Why pay for something you can do for free?

In fact, using a résumé or CV service can be incredibly valuable – let’s take a look at some of the reasons why it can help you get the interview, which in turn can get you the job.

The Costs of a Résumé or CV Service vs. Doing it Yourself

Let’s take a look at the clear reasons why the DIY approach can cost you more than you might think. Sure, your main consideration is the monetary expense. If you have to choose between paying and not paying, obviously the latter is more attractive. But is it really? Do you consider time and money to have a monetary equivalent? First of all, it’s a great deal of time and effort to write your own résumé or CV using a template or even doing it from scratch. It seems pretty easy at first, but 3 hours and some frustration in you’ll often realize something looks a bit, well, strange.

Take a step back: can you really say an employer is going to be impressed with what you’ve made? How’s the alignment, the typeface, the wording? How much longer do you need to finish it? Then consider how else you might be spending this time and effort; such as on working, studying, spending time with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or kids.

But let’s say you do finally succeed at writing your own résumé or CV. Now you’ve got to write a cover letter. Do you know the best structure for it? What font to use? How about the structure? Bullet points? No bullet points? How long will this take you? Then of course you have to send the darn thing off, often to a number of companies. There’s even more time spent, and if you quantify it, more money spent.

intResume - DIY resume?Then, what kind of response are you getting? Are you getting any response? There’s also the cost of not getting interviews to better jobs because your résumé or CV was designed with a “best guess” approach. I did the same when I tried to fix the rust on my first car. I read some books (this was before YouTube), bought the stripping and sanding stuff, and primer, and found a reasonably good match for the paint color. I think I spent about 10 hours reading and $150 on the supplies. Then another 10 hours in the driveway, and inhaled a lot of fumes, and got paint on myself. When I was “done” it looked dreadful. I could have spent maybe $300 to just take it to a garage and get it done right in a day or two. Instead I spent some 20 hours and about $150 to do it myself, and it looked pretty darn ugly.

Pardon me, I digress, but that story is a very good analogy for the topic at hand.

Moving along, if you’ve got strong skills, went to a good school, or maybe the employer really wants someone fast, you can in fact get yourself an interview with a DIY résumé. Be aware though that many employers may feel they can lowball you because they found errors and sloppiness in it. After all, they may reason, if you didn’t take the time to get your résumé done right you probably didn’t spend much time researching salary and negotiation tactics.

The Right Training

intResume: A professional resume or CVWhether you are a budding materials chemist, a master hacker, a baker, a banker, or a neurosurgeon, you have trained yourself and sought education so you can do your job; and I’d like to think you do it well. I’m a Certified Professional Resume Writer trained in modern and very effective techniques. I also have two master’s degrees and have edited over 3,000 business and academic manuscripts. I’m a very good editor, writer, and researcher. In my capacity as a CPRW, I had to train myself on the latest résumé writing techniques and expectations; so I’m good at it. I’m not, however, good at chemistry, or baking soufflé (which to me are quite similar). Trends change all the time, and a CV or résumé that was acceptable before—perhaps when you went for your last job—may not be on point right now. I’ve been keeping track. It’s my job.

Ultimately, you have skills that can keep you in work, pay the bills, and win promotions. Is CV or résumé writing among them? My skills, and those of my fellow professionals, lie in creating a document that is a concise distillation of who you are, what you can do, and reveals your hidden skills. That’s my job for which I’m trained; and I put it to work for you to get interviews and job offers. And if I need some hacking, banking, or a lobotomy, I’ll come to you and I’ll give you my money, if that’s what you’re good at.

Originality is Critical

Put yourself in the shoes of an employer who is going through the hiring process. How many résumés do you think land in their inboxes every day? Moreover, if you responded via a popular online job posting system such as Indeed, Linked, or Monster, you could be up against hundreds, even thousands, of so-called candidates. It’s quite likely that 90% are unqualified, may not even be in the same country or anywhere close. Online job submission can be as easy and checking a couple of boxes and submitting. The poor employer then has to wade through this rubbish. This is one reason they’ve created electronic applicant tracking systems (ATS), which work off algorithms to scan the contents, pick up on keywords, and quantify the value of an application.

Whether you are up against thousands or are among a select dozen applying for an elite position through a small and selective system, you need to have a résumé or CV chock full of the right kind of language and a dash of originality to both pass the initial cull and then pass the closer look. A trained résumé writer knows how to do this. The free online templates, some of which are now a decade old, or older, were often not designed with these things in mind, and of course they don’t have anything specific to your industry or to you. Even worse, their formatting might trip up an ATS so they just get auto-dumped. Talk about a waste of time and energy!

Working with a professional CV and résumé writer helps you create something truly special and unique.

It’s Hard to Say Good Things about Yourself

intResume: Can you see yourself honestly?Writing about yourself in a positive light is difficult. Many people either come across in job applications as too humble or as arrogant; hiring managers can spot these undesirable traits in the time it took you to read that last sentence. There is a delicate balance in being awesome and not being a jerk about it. So too is there a delicate balance in being fresh and inexperienced yet trying to project yourself as better than you really are. We often don’t have an honest view of our own strengths and how to present them. A good, trained CPRW engages you in a dialog and knows what questions to ask, what information to request to uncover things that you might not even realize yourself, and then to get them written down in an attractive way. A CPRW or other qualified professional can help you say what you need to without underselling or overselling yourself.

You Already Trust Professionals with What You Can’t Do Yourself

You see a doctor to check your health. An accountant takes care of your money and pays your taxes. A financial adviser helps you choose the right mortgage, and advises you on your investments. Now, think how important it is for you to score that higher paying job with much better prospects than you enjoy right now. Unless you are capable and comfortable with creating a fantastic résumé or CV yourself, don’t you think it’s a little crazy to miss out on the expertise of a professional writer? If you want to compel an employer to work with you, it makes sense to hand over the reins to an experienced résumé creator that understands what it takes to get noticed.

So, Is a Résumé Writer Worth It?

There is a huge range of benefits when it comes to using a professional résumé and CV writing service. However, to this point, I have only spoken of these services in general terms. So, in answer to the question of “is it worth it?” I can say if s/he’s a good, proven résumé writer with a professional qualification and offering a free evaluation up front, then yes, probably. If someone merely advertises themselves as a résumé or CV service, do your due diligence. Ask them them questions. Ask for their opinions. If you see language mistakes in their replies, if they don’t reply in a day or two, and if they are not respectful and knowledgeable, move on, even if they’re cheap. A bad service can potentially do more harm than none at all. And as an abundantly experienced CPRW, with a list of happy and successful clients from all stages of their careers, I like to think I know what I’m doing. If your résumé or CV is letting you down, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, challenge me, make it tough for me. Any professional should be able to prove his or her value. And the results will easily offset the cost, usually many times over. Hiring a talented writer can start your career on an entirely more successful path.