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Asking for a Friend: Are Resume Preparation Services Worth It?

A sensible investment or a cautionary tale?
H. Michael Burgett
Contributing Writer

Dear Mike:

I have been in my current role for five years and while I am not concerned about losing my job, our industry is experiencing a few challenges in the current market, and I want to be ready. My problem is that I really have never had to look for a job, and as a result, my resume looks like I created it in a high school typing class.

Knowing that I need to take action and that my 60-hour work weeks don’t allow any bandwidth to update my resume on my own, I wanted to get your perspective on professional resume preparation services.

Is it worth it to pay someone to overhaul my resume?




Hi Sally,

Kudos to you for deciding to get proactive. While it sounds like your role may be secure, it is always important to devote some time consistently toward updating your professional “marketing” collateral.

Whether it be your resume, professional portfolio, or LinkedIn profile, these are marketing documents that, when kept updated, can work as a passive investment with the potential to produce returns when you least expect it.

As far as utilizing the services of a resume writing service, I would proceed but recommend caution.

First of all, if it has been some time since you last updated your resume, it would absolutely make sense to outsource this process to someone well-versed in creating a strong visual representation of your background and career history.

The best folks who play in this space are primarily good at two things: designing and knowing how to create a professional branding document that pops and asking leading questions to get you (the client) to speak about accomplishments, then reworking what you say into a good narrative.

However, some resume writing services proclaim the ability to reinvent you as a candidate, positioning you to garner a six-figure offer or simply over-emphasize the importance of keyword optimization. In short, beware of the “buy now” types of organizations who, in an attempt to manage their own 60-hour workweeks, turn a personalized service into a dispassionate transaction.

So yes – I would absolutely recommend a sensible investment toward working with someone to rework your resume, albeit with a preference toward individuals (over firms) who come highly recommended (not on their website, but rather from someone you know) and that the work is done by the principal in the practice, not outsourced to a myriad of fractional resources. And by all means, proceed with caution with any firm who offers to put their fees on a payment plan.

Hope that helps!



TNCR Community – what advice would you add to this thread? Do you have a perspective that you can share? Have a career question for Mike? Email him directly at

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