“Can a resume writer really get you a job? That’s the point, after all.”
Check out this article that was posted over the holidays by the Marine Corps Times. Whether or not you are a veteran, if you are thinking about hiring a resume writer, you might want to read this!
A Resume Writer Could Complete the Puzzle
Marine Corps Times, November 25, 2013, By Adam Stone
When John Russo went looking for a job in 2011, he had stellar experience—almost too much of it.
He had joined the Maryland Army National Guard in 1982 and served simultaneously while working as a police officer in Baltimore. He retired from the police department in 2011, then served as an active-duty Guard member until retiring as a colonel in 2009. He also had some experience working for a government contractor.
What he didn’t have was a resume that could make sense of all of that. “How do you massage all that stuff into a logical sequence for a [human resources] person to understand? It is very difficult to package all that into a homogenous resume that wouldn’t confuse an average hiring person,” Russo said.
He found the help he needed in Kathryn Troutman, whose Baltimore-based The Resume Place specializes in turning military careers into coherent civilian CVs. Across the nation, resume services like hers offer to do the same for transitioning troops, but not all these services are created equal.
If the service is cheap, ask why. So says Troutman, author of “Military to Federal Career Guide.” She gets $550 to $950 for assembling a resume. “If someone is doing this for $199, how can they possibly be running a business? I pay my writers $45 an hour because they’re good,” she said.
The cost often represents the service involved. It doesn’t take a lot to craft a basic military resume. A resume service, on the other hand, should deliver something more.
“First, we want to help them identify what job we are going to target, based on skills and education and credentials. Then we go online and shop for job leads. We look at the job title, the salary, where the job is, and I say, ‘How does that feel?’” Troutman said.
Only then does the writing start.
That honing process is key, said Barbara A. Adams, president of CareerPro Global in Macon, Ga., and co-author of “Roadmap to Job-Winning Military to Civilian Resumes.” She charges $300 to $1,000 for her services and she, too, starts by narrowing the focus.
Often this starts by changing the veteran’s own understanding. “People will want a general resume, but we need to change their mindset. No HR authority will hire a general person anymore. They want specific skills and attributes that are going to add value.”
Not everyone is up to the task, and for $500 or more, it behooves the savvy veteran to find someone who can do it right. That means checking out credentials, especially when it comes to specific expertise, says JR Rodrigues, founder of Jobless Warrior in Cumberland, R.I., which provides discounted resume writing for out-of-work vets.
“I would want to know that they have worked in the types of industries I want to go into. Every industry is different. Each one will look for different buzzwords,” he said.
Across the board, experts agree that your resume writer doesn’t have to be former military. If there is a history of writing successful resumes for other vets, that often can take the place of prior service.
Can a resume writer really get you a job?
That’s the point, after all.
Actual experience may vary, of course, but it worked for Russo. He sent 275 resumes prior to going to Troutman, then got a job as an analyst at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 60 days.
To make it happen, he had to do his part. “I had to do some research on the position I was looking for. I had to come up with several different versions of the resume. I had to feed her information, which meant I first had to read a lot of job descriptions and figure out which ones I wanted to do,” he said.
A veteran looking for help can’t just sit and wait for it to happen.
Aside from gathering pertinent military paperwork, awards and commendations and official documents, “they need to bring a willingness to engage,” Rodrigues said. “We got veterans who sign up and then don’t respond to the resume writer. Maybe they don’t feel ready to look for a career. For this to work, they need to be ready to take that first step.”