Is Your Resume a Scam Victim?

Predators come in all shapes and sizes. One of the types that aggravates me and many of my professional resume-writing colleagues is online services that tell job seekers something flatly untrue about their resume. The impression those services are after? “Your resume sucks, and you need our help ASAP to fix it!”

In case you’re ever approached with this gambit, you should know that, almost invariably, it’s a scam. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a senior executive, this scam can target you. If you’re not alert, you might be taken in by it. The perpetrators have zero integrity and will take advantage of you if you let them convince you. (Hint: You want to deal with people who have integrity!)

Your Resume and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

One version of the scam involves the company telling you your resume can’t be opened by their ATS because it doesn’t have the right keywords (or some variation of this theme). Often, they will tell you all you need to do is let them “fix” it for you–for a nice fee, of course.

Yes, you could run into problems if your resume doesn’t include appropriate keywords, but that’s a different animal from being unable to open the file. The ATS might score you lower than you’d like, which could keep your resume from being seen by hiring managers or recruiters. However, the “solution” offered by scammers does nothing to help you with that, so why would you want to pay your hard-earned money for it?

Targeted Resumes vs. All-Over-the-Map

Scammers won’t help you with properly focusing your resume, either. What they might do is give you a canned review of your resume, pointing out a number of weaknesses, and–again–offer to transform it into a much better document for a fee.

Those services aren’t in the business of collaborating and coaching to help you target the resume for the direction you want to go. They want to get your money and then send you on your way, so they can reel in the next victim.

Do you need a targeted resume? Yes, but it has to be well thought-out and based on value you know you can offer the companies you want to work for. There’s no easy-as-pie way to achieve that, but it’s certainly doable and worth the effort.

You need to understand your “market” (potential employers, etc.) and be able to present yourself as an attractive candidate for the openings you pursue. Just keep that goal in mind as you evaluate your current resume and determine what needs to be changed.

Can This Resume Be Saved?

Years ago, a magazine used to include an article titled “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” Was it a magic pill for shaky marriages? No, but it made an attention-getting read.

Your resume is, obviously, a much different situation, but there’s one thing in common: You’re hoping for a good outcome when you submit it to employers, but you might not have it in the best shape for that…yet.

Just be careful not to let a resume scammer con you into making an unwise decision. As with any other profession, resume writing has its share of bad apples–poorly qualified or not qualified at all, in it only for the money, and so on.

Resume-writing fees range all the way from unrealistically low to astronomically high. You need to carefully vet the resume professionals you consider, to make sure they’re legitimate, have a sound reputation, and can be expected to deliver high value–that is, a great resume that sets you up for potential success!



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