Crystal Resumés is not like any other resumé service. There’s a lot on this site for you even if you don’t use my services. Browse around. Start with the Tips/FAQ page—my “#1 Resumé Tip,” plus lots of information on shopping for resumé services. We also discuss some killer myths about resumés: widely believed misinformation that can completely wreck your job search no matter what else you do right. Also, look through the Resumé Glossary, with definitions and in-depth information about resumé terminology and technology. (Ignoring the technology probably dooms as many job searches as any other mistake. More on this below.)
The information you’ll find on this site will probably change the way you think about resumés. Then come back here, if you like, to find out about Crystal Resumés.
Here’s what you need to know about Crystal Resumés:
Crystal Resumés is me, Ken Dezhnev. I’m a communications professional who specializes in resumés.
I offer exceptional, highly individualized, one-on-one service. The process is based on a carefully prepared in-depth interview, that’s nothing like the standardized, scripted interviews that other resumé services offer (if they do interviewing at all). I know how to dig into each client’s background, to get at skills and experience that people don’t think to mention, or don’t realize that employers want to see.
It will take me some time to prepare for the interview, of course. I’ll spend time reviewing your existing resumé, and your answers to questions I ask when we first speak. I then develop interview questions based on the your experience, job market, and objectives.
I’ve had consistently enthusiastic feedback from my clients about the interviewing process. They say they learn a lot about their own background and experience, and about how to present it and talk about it to employers. They often learn a lot about general job-hunting as well. I typically spend three hours speaking with executive-level clients. (Or more, if needed, plus follow-up.)
It’s a pretty intense experience, both for the client and for me. But it’s worth it. One client called it “resumé therapy.” Others have said that they never realized they were so well qualified. One even said that the interview alone was worth the fee.
After the interviews, I create resumés that work, resumés that stand out—quietly, but definitely and positively. They stand out for professional appearance, for information strategy that fits each individual’s skills, experience, and market, and for writing that speaks with crystal clarity to the widest possible audience. They give hiring managers, recruiters, and HR people the information they want, the way they want it.
I’ve written down a more detailed summary of what I put into writing a resumé: How I Write Resumés. It shows a lot about what sets me apart, and what I do to earn my high fees. It may also show you some aspects of writing and communication that you hadn’t thought of.
Your presentation will be tailored to meet the needs of your situation in your job market. If you’re just starting out, I’ll give you the best start possible by making the most of your life experience, work background, and training. If you’ve got a long history in your field, I’ll make the most of your value to your next employer, and your ability to fit in as a part of a new team. And so on, for career-changers (including military-to-civilian), consultants, people looking to make the next step up, and every other situation, common or uncommon.
When writing, I put in the time to consider every detail of your background and experience, your situation, and your market. In the resumé, I structure the information at every level to get the maximum impact in terms of what hiring decision-makers want to see, and in terms of how your resumé will be used by hiring employers at every stage of the hiring process. I give the same careful, detailed attention to language as I do to information—word choice, phrasing, and the editorial nuts and bolts—in order to make the most of the communication potential of a resumé, with its peculiar limitations and stylistic requirements. I use that time effectively, thanks to decades of professional experience in many areas of written communications (described below).
The result of this time, effort, and skill is resumés that can open doors when nothing else can, and keep opening doors at every stage of the hiring process. There are no shortcuts to this kind of effectiveness. It takes hours and sweat, as well as some unusual skills. I know of no-one else who puts nearly as much into a resumé as I do.
The process is not complete until you have reviewed and approved the resumé and any other pieces you order. I’m happy to work with you at the review stage, to make sure that your experience and qualifications are presented accurately and effectively, and in language you’re comfortable with.
Your resumé will be fully compatible with current technology. Here’s another thing that separates me from other resumé services. Technical issues send a surprising number of resumés to the trash before anyone at the employer’s end even sees them. A variety of electronic technologies are used in transmitting and processing resumés. Even the commonest of these are not well understood by most resumé specialists. And technical experts on one technology seldom know about the others—much less about the non-technological aspects of resumé production, which are just as important as they always were. With years of exceptionally demanding technical production experience as a communications specialist, I know a lot more than most about these areas, and I stay on top of the technology with research and testing. Your resumé will be supplied in all the document formats you might possibly need, and each one will be built to work as smoothly as possible with the real-world requirements of each technology. You’ll also get thorough instructions on when to use each format and how.
The resumé I prepare for you will help you do it yourself in the future, if you like. Many of my clients come back to me whenever they want a major update, and let me take care of assembling the information, putting it into words, and formatting and fitting. But the resumé format is designed so my clients can revise it themselves—with the example of my interviewing and writing to teach them about choosing and handling the content, which is all-important. One client for whom I did a resumé when he graduated with his BBA wrote me six years later: “I still use the format today—best investment I have made.”
And I’m with you after the job is done. You can always refer to this site, of course—it’s designed to be an information resource for my customers. But if you need technical help any time after you’ve received your final package, give me a call—it’s part of the service. Your documents are built so you can easily make changes in them, but I’ll also do minor factual revisions free for 30 days.
My prices reflect the time and effort I put into your resumé. So do my delivery times. The process can’t be rushed, and my other clients cannot be put aside. There’s no skilled help I can hire to accommodate volume—the very few people with those skills don’t have to work for someone else. For a typical upper management resumé, figure $1000 to $1600, and three weeks or so from initial payment and schedule-setting. No haggling, no games, and no faster, cheaper options. Don’t even ask. If three weeks is too long, I can’t help you. (Call me when things have settled down so you can be better prepared next time. People who are experienced at playing the job market take care of their resumés before they may need one—not just before they start actively looking, but in quiet times before they’d even want to change jobs.)
It all adds up to a resumé that can make you stand out even among the strongest competition: In-depth information gathering, highly individualized service, years of communications and resumé experience, client-specific information strategy that is meticulously crafted and executed, up-to-date technological compatibility. Your resumé will not only open doors now, it will be an excellent foundation for all your future resumés and all your future career moves. As with many other top-of-the-line products, not everyone can afford the initial investment, but those who can will get exceptional value for their money.
I’ll do all the interviewing, writing, and formatting for your resumé. I’ve had over thirty years of experience in business and corporate communications: writing and editorial services for leading national ad agencies, corporations, and publishers, mainly in New York City, along with top-end typographic work including technical consulting, quality control, and font consulting. I’ve edited and written proposals and key business communications for marketing consultancies and other firms, consulted on editorial style, and edited scholarly and technical books, reference works, and doctoral theses. (One of my specialties was typographic production for corporate annual reports—I’ve had the complete ARs for three of the Fortune Five on my desk at once for QC.) People who knew my work asked me to do resumés for them, too. That developed into a sideline, and my resumé clients always told me I should make a specialty of it. Eventually I did, launching Crystal Resumés in 2007, a few years after moving to Minneapolis.
I know how resumés are used in the real world. I’m a veteran freelancer: my resumé and job-hunting skills (along with my professional skills and reputation), got me freelance and staff jobs at over ninety firms in a highly competitive job market. These firms include Ogilvy & Mather, Doremus, Martin/Williams, Bozell, Gerstman & Meyers/Schechter, Time magazine’s marketing department, KPMG Peat Marwick, Estée Lauder, Crain’s New York Business, Thomson Reuters, and many others. The unique approach I took to writing cover letters for my resumé clients is based directly on the system I developed to create targeted letters for my own highly diverse range of prospects and specialties. And I’ve been a hiring manager too, and know what it’s like to screen a stack of several hundred resumés to fill a key position.
Throughout my career, clients in many fields have appreciated my ability to work closely with them to make their messages clearer and more effective while respecting their specialized knowledge. I apply my comprehensive experience—and my trained analytical and research skills—to ask the right questions, identify their needs, and develop detailed verbal and visual strategies.
Crystal Resumés serves clients all over the U.S., and I’ve worked directly with clients located in Europe, Africa, and Australia, creating resumés targeted for employment throughout the world.
Of course, I have a strong client base in the Upper Midwest and especially Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Twin Cities metro area, from Stillwater and Woodbury to Eagan, Lakeville, Burnsville, Shakopee, Lake Minnetonka, Rogers, Coon Rapids, White Bear Lake, and points inward.
Read on for information about my services and process . . .
• Executive & Management • IT, Engineering, Technology, Manufacturing, & Research
• Sales & Accounts • Finance • General Business • Military-to-Civilian
A professionally-written, professional-looking resumé gives everyone a boost in the hiring process.
And nothing less than a thoroughly professional resumé will do for highly qualified people.
Even in fields where unemployment rates are low, competition for the best jobs has gotten a lot more intense.
I’m a pro in my own field, and I can put it all together for you: interviewing, writing, design, and technical production.
A first-rate resumé does more than just help you get a job. It will extend your options, get you considered for better jobs, and help you to avoid settling for less-desirable jobs. It will also help you after you get the job. With an up-to-date resumé, you’ll be ready to jump on surprise opportunities—including opportunities with your present employer.
I regularly get clients who need to submit resumés for internal promotions. Even where you have personal contacts in a hiring situation, your contacts will still have to make a case for you to others. This is especially true for executive and upper-management positions, where candidates are typically reviewed by all or part of the management team. Your contacts will be more willing and able to go to bat for you if you give them an effective, informative resumé they can hand on to others: a resumé that is written so that people who don’t know you, including people outside your specialty, can quickly understand what you can do and what sets you apart from other candidates.
The final package will include your resumé in all the essential document formats: Word (.docx and .doc), plain-text for e-mail and Web forms, PDF, and RTF.
These documents are fully editable—you can make any changes you like, on your own. (That excludes PDFs, which by their nature are not editable.) Instructions for when and how to use each format are included, including tips on working with your documents in Microsoft Word.
I start by reviewing your existing resumé and any other information you send me. On the basis of this, I’ll prepare questions for an in-depth interview, to make the most of your background and skills, explore your market, and fine-tune your presentation. The interview typically takes three hours for upper management. From the time we speak and take care of payment and scheduling, I’ll typically need a week to prepare the interview—it’s not a canned script. Clients are usually quite surprised by the interview’s thoroughness, and impressed by how much they learn about their own selling points and how to present them. I often wind up giving tips on how to deal with presentation problems, and am happy to answer questions about that during the interview.
Please note: the interview is nothing like a job interview, though it’s a good dry run. I’m working for you and with you, looking for material that will help me present you. You can take it easy, and tell me things you wouldn’t necessarily mention to someone interviewing you for a job. (I don’t need to know anything that’s seriously confidential.)
Then I write your resumé, and format it for the most effective visual presentation and technical construction in each resumé document format. I’ll need two weeks for this stage. I’ve tried doing it in less, and it doesn’t work. I had to choose between maintaining the quality levels my clients wanted, and meeting my time comitments.
Prices for this service range from $450 for entry-level to $1600+ for executives. For more details, including specific prices, click here.
Keyword development is included in all my consulting services, to improve the ranking given to your resumé by computerized resumé processing systems.
I also do international CVs, for a slightly higher fee. By “international CV,” I mean a garden-variety resumé, but one that is destined for foreign employers and is therefore written, structured, and formatted according to the conventions that are standard everywhere but the U.S. International CVs are delivered in A4 (international letter) size.
(Within the U.S., the term “CV” means something different, typically listing publications, conference presentations, patents, and similar things, in much greater numbers than are found on a normal resumé. For general information on CVs, see Curriculum Vitae in the Resumé Glossary.)
All resumés are written and formatted completely from scratch. I don’t revise other people’s work. There’s no point in trying, since I’m usually handling a lot more information than was in the old resume, and doing much more tweaking of the information strategy. I may keep some phrases—I don’t waste time reinventing the wheel—but if you look closely, you'll see that that’s about as far as it goes. As for formatting, virtually every resumé my clients have sent me has been at least one kind of technical disaster. It’s much easier to replace that sort of thing than it is to fix it.
For most job applications, a cover letter is either required or optional. If it’s optional, it’s a valuable option. And a thank-you letter as follow-up after an interview is a major plus. Most resumé services provide only generic, one-size-fits-all job letters. It takes exceptional skill, and hard work, to do anything more. But employers don’t like to see generic letters, and I don’t write them. Instead, on the basis of the consulting interview, I create a letter template designed in detail for your job search. I’ll write your letters using the tone and language appropriate for you and your market. I’ll provide specially-written alternate paragraphs, so you can tailor your presentation to a particular employer—which is what employers want to see. (This is how I managed my own cover letters when I was a freelancer.) I’ll provide instructions to help you use your templates, illustrated with actual letters to show you how to handle each part of the letter.
The templates will require some work on your part, and they may seem complicated at first glance. But my step-by-step approach is designed to make it as simple as possible to create a really effective letter. Once you have created a few letters from them, the process will become even simpler. You’ll be able to work largely from letters you’ve already written. And you will have created and mastered a flexible tool that will serve you throughout your career.
Because a good cover letter can only be written on the basis of an in-depth knowledge of your background and objectives, I only write letters for clients who have also used my Resumé Consulting Service.
Prices for the Letters package range from $180 for entry-level to $570+ for executive. For more details, including specific prices, click here.
I will interview you to gather complete information about your new job history, and then prepare an updated resumé for your approval. Resumé updates are available only to previous customers whose earlier resumé was written by me. I make no exceptions to this policy.
I offer the same services for academic, professional, and scientific curricula vitae (CVs) as for resumés. You’ll find separate prices for CVs in the price tables for the standard service packages and in the pricing for all other options and services that apply to CVs. That’s because they are usually much longer than resumés, and so require more work. For general information on CVs, see Curriculum Vitae in my Resumé Glossary.
Most of the other options (“extras”) are available only in combination with one of the standard service packages above.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS INCLUDE:
Additional Target Resumés for when you need multiple versions, targeted to distinct positions or markets. (They’re needed less often than you may think. My content-based approach to resumés means that they can be applied to a wide variety of opportunities without change. Alternate-target versions are typically needed only when you are looking for multiple types of positions, each of which requires different, extensive sets of skills and experience, so that fully treating all of them would make the resumé too long, and make you look insufficiently specialized.)
Public Profiles / Networking resumés—A condensed, one-page version of your resumé, to give your networking contacts a handy summary when full detail would be overdoing it. Also useful for profiles posted on the Web, as in LinkedIn, where you may not want to put all the information that you put on a resumé meant for potential employers.
Professional Biographies. A paragraph or a page, custom-written for your objective, whether it’s a short, promotional blurb on a website, a more detailed executive biography for corporate communications, print or Web, or an information resource for distribution to the media when they cover your activities.
Don’t have a resumé? In most cases, my clients e-mail me their existing resumé to start from, in a Word or RTF document. If you don’t have such a document, I’ll send you a questionnaire for the information we need to get started—the basic information on your job history, education, etc. There’s no charge for the questionnaire. If you send me your existing resumé in the form of a scanned PDF or faxed paper, we can’t extract the text from those, so extra charges will apply for retyping the information. (What’s a scanned PDF? See the section entitled “There are two kinds of PDFs” in the article on PDFs in the Resumé Glossary.)
Extras include two resumé formats that very few resumé specialists offer. They’re standout presentation tools for executives, consultants and freelancers, people in science and technology, and in the arts and media.
• HTML Resumés (Web resumés) for use as Web pages or for e-mailing—in Windows, Mac, and Unix environments.
• True Typographic Resumés produced with professional typesetting software—not word processors—for the ultimate in visual effectiveness and professional appearance.
And just about everything else you might need:
References. A free References Sheet template is included in the Resumé Consulting Service package. You can use this template to create a professional-looking list of your references for use by potential employers. The template includes valuable tips on putting together an effective references sheet.
I also offer custom-written references sheets, which are occasionally desirable for executives, people in technical fields, and people with complex job histories. Employers who are checking references will not tolerate being led, and a references sheet is no place for sales talk. However, if this is kept in mind, a list of references can be made more effective by including selected (but very brief!) additional information, and by careful presentation and writing. A well-written references sheet will make sure that employers know everything you need them to know to get a fair picture of your background, and make it easier for them to find out what they need to know—which they will appreciate. For custom-written references sheets, we’ll ask questions during the interview process to collect the needed information.
A4 (international letter size) for electronic or paper documents going abroad.
I’m also available for corporate consulting on resumé-related matters, including outplacement counseling. If my schedule permits, I’m also up for special projects, and business writing and editing. If you don’t see what you want, ask for it. I’ve probably done it before.
PLUS—VALUABLE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE
Be sure to bookmark this site. There’s a lot of information here you won’t find anywhere else. It will help you decide what resumé products you need (and don’t need). And there’s useful information for your job search as well.
• First, shop this Web site. Think about which of my services might interest you. You’ll find full detail on my services, including prices, on the Services page.
• I’ll be happy to discuss your project on the phone. If you’d like to discuss a project or get a price quote, or are ready to place your order, it’s a big help if you e-mail me your existing resumé in advance. I’m also glad to answer questions by e-mail.
— Call me at 763-954-1385. I also have a toll-free number for use by clients outside of Minnesota. I give it out only to clients—otherwise it’s bombarded with junk calls.
— If you like, I can make an appointment to talk at a time that’s convenient for you, including evenings or weekends. Just call, or e-mail me at email@example.com. Give your phone number, with a specific time or times when I can call you. Afternoons or evenings are best. I’ll reply to confirm a time, or suggest another if necessary.
• Like all resumé services, I require full payment in advance before beginning work on your project. Partial payment options may be available for projects over $1000 only: half on settling the schedule, the other half immediately after the in-depth interview is completed. In no case will I put in time for which I haven’t been paid in advance. In no case will I deliver anything unless full payment has been received.
(Some resumé services offer a deal like this: Total price $600, $300 in advance, $300 on final delivery of the resumé. From what I’ve seen, this means you’re getting what they consider $300 worth of time, and anything else they collect is gravy.)
But you don’t have to pay for extras (like cover letters) when you order your resumé. If you’re interested in optional services (cover letters, alternate-target resumés, etc.), you can wait until you’ve seen the approval version of your resumé. As long as you order and pay for them no later than the time you give me your final approval of the resumé, you’ll get them at the same price you would have paid if you ordered them at the beginning. (Otherwise there’s a surcharge.)
• I accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Diners Club, and PayPal. (PayPal is easy and safe, and you don’t need to have a PayPal account.) I cannot accept cards issued by non-U.S. banks. I can also take checks and money orders, but I cannot begin work or commit to a schedule until the payment has been received.
• Like all resumé services, I have a no-refund policy. I don’t haggle when I take on a job, and I certainly don’t do it while I’m working or after I’ve delivered. No experienced professional, and no business, does first-rate work unless they’re certain they’re going to be paid for it—or unless they add a large premium to all fees to cover the risk of non-payment.
(Some resumé services offer what they call a guarantee. But if you look, you’ll see that they never offer money back. It’s never more than this: We’ll re-write for free if you’re not satisfied.)
• Turnaround times:
— I’ll always tell you in advance how long your project will take. Typical times are as follows:
— For the Resumé Consulting Service, I’ll need one week to prepare for the interview. After the interview, I’ll need another two to three weeks to get you an approval version for your review.
— Cover letters may require a few additional days.
For more details about the stages of each service, how long things take, and some tips about working with me, see the Process page. Also look at my Business Policies page for more about payment policies and options, and for my policies on privacy and confidentiality (total!), revisions, etc.
Beware of imitations! You are not dealing with Crystal Resumés if you are dealing with anyone under that name using a Web site other than this one, or a Web or e-mail address other than crystalresumes.com.* “Crystal Resumés” is a registered trademark and registered d.b.a. of Dezhnev & Co., Inc. Dezhnev & Co., Inc. has no relationship with any other persons or firms offering resumé services. (*The domains crystalresumes.net/biz/org/us are owned by Crystal Resumés to protect the name, but not actively used.)
Office hours: Monday–Friday,
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Eastern M–F 1–7 / Mountain M–F 11–5 / Pacific M–F 10–4
Evenings and weekends by appointment.
Outside office hours, leave message: we’ll respond ASAP.
Toll-free number available on request, for customers in U.S. states outside Minnesota. Fax number available to customers on request.
All contents copyright © 2016, Dezhnev & Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.
I have been told that a young would-be composer wrote to Mozart, asking advice as to how to compose a symphony.
Mozart responded that a symphony was a complex and demanding musical form, and that it would be better to start with something simpler. The young man protested, “But Herr Mozart, you wrote symphonies when you were younger than I am now.”
And Mozart replied, “I never asked how.”