Is your resume as good as it could be?
Are you happy with the number of calls you're receiving for
job interviews? Is your resume email-ready, optimized for
keywords and strategically written to market your best credentials?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you would benefit
from a third-party resume critique.
Kathy Sweeney, a certified resume writer
and president of the nonprofit National Resume Writers' Association
(NRWA), says job seekers can benefit from getting a second
opinion on their resumes. "A critique can provide insight
into whether the job seeker is using the proper wording for
his or her industry and if the document will make a great
first impression," she says.
Whom to Ask
What qualifications should your resume
reviewer possess? "I firmly believe that credentials are important,"
Sweeney says. She recommends looking for such resume-industry
. Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW),
awarded by the NRWA.
. Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), offered by
the Professional Association of Resume Writers.
. Master Resume Writer (MRW), offered by Career Masters Institute.
Sweeney adds that the professional conducting
the critique should have reviewed resumes and interviewed
candidates themselves. "Unless a professional has experience
in the hiring arena or at the very least has networked with
hiring managers to learn what they like to see on resumes,
it would be hard to provide a valuable critique," she says.
What to Expect
Sweeney says the reviewer should look at
all aspects of the resume, just as a hiring manager would
-- reviewing it for initial impression, content and how well
it stands out from other resumes. You can sign up for a fee-based
or free critique. Here are the differences:
. Fee-Based Critiques: These are normally
conducted by resume writers and other career-industry professionals.
For a fee, your reviewer provides detailed feedback on your
resume's strengths and weaknesses in a written report, telephone
consultation or combination. If you sign up for a paid review,
find out exactly what you will receive, and request a sample
report so you can see the quality of the feedback. Ask if
the reviewer will complete a follow-up review after you make
the suggested changes to ensure the document is job search-ready.
Expect to pay between $25 for a basic critique and $200 or
more for a detailed, comprehensive review.
. Free Critiques: These can also be helpful
but probably won't be as detailed as a paid review. "A free
critique is usually very general," Sweeney says. "It may provide
a synopsis of the reviewer's overall opinion [of] the resume
and potential problem areas. Reviewers may offer strategies
on what they would do differently with the resume." Good resources
for free critiques include the Monster Resume Tips message
board, hiring managers in your industry and professional resume-writing
Information You Should Provide
Your reviewer needs to know your career
goal and industry target to supply useful feedback. "I usually
gather information about the job seeker's target position,
and ask how his or her background relates to the position,"
Sweeney says. "I also ask job seekers to provide me with a
few position postings related to their target job."
Tell your reviewer about potential problem
areas, such as employment gaps, job-hopping or unrelated work
history. The more your reviewer knows about your background,
the more constructive the feedback can be.
Use What Works, Disregard the Rest
If you ask 10 people to review your resume,
you will likely receive 10 different opinions. You may also
receive conflicting advice, making it difficult to know what
changes you should implement. After you receive a resume critique,
be open to suggestions and ready to make revisions that work
for you. Pay attention to advice from resume writers and hiring
managers, especially those within your target industry. By
listening to professionals who know what makes a resume successful,
you will be on your way to a successful job search.