Welcome to Crystal Resumés
On this page, you’ll find basic information on the process and on my background. The primary services are the Resumé Consulting package and the optional Cover-Letter package. There are also options for specially targeted resumés, professional biographies, international CVs, U.S. professional CVs, and special projects. You’ll find full detail on my services, including prices, on the Services page.
Don’t miss the Tips & FAQ page: there’s information there that may change the way you think about resumés—and information about some killer myths about resumés that can destroy your job search no matter what else you do right.
Then give me a call, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. I’ll want to get a certain amount of background on your experience and objectives. (E-mailing me your existing resumé in advance can speed up the process.) Then I can give a specific quote on the fee, and we can set a schedule. If I’ve seen your existing resumé, I can discuss the more general ways in which I can improve it.
I’ll then prepare further questions and lines of inquiry on the basis of the information you’ve given me. These will be developed to get the most out of your specific background, in the light of your objectives. I’ll draw on my experience with others in your field, and also, as needed, on some basic research, especially about specialties in your field, and your past employers. I don’t use standardized scripted interviews.
Next is the in-depth interview. This can be scheduled for weekdays, evenings, or (subject to availability) weekends. Typically, I’ll spend two to three hours on the phone with you, digging into your background, to get at the sort of skills and experience that people take for granted and so don’t think to mention, or don’t realize that employers want to see. It’s a pretty intense experience, both for the client and for me. My clients often say that they’ve learned a lot about how to think about their own background and experience, and about how to present it to employers and respond to questions during interviews. Some clients have said that they never realized they were so well qualified. One client called it “resumé therapy.” Here’s some more of the feedback from my clients about the interviews.
Then I’ll do the writing, carefully checking facts and coherence, and crafting the wording and information structure to best get your qualifications across, and to meet the needs of readers at every stage of the hiring process. (That includes real-world keywords for best results with keyword processing and LinkedIn searches.)
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 fees. It’s also a good example of what goes into professional-level writing of any kind.
During the interview, and while writing, I pay special attention to any aspect of your background that might raise doubts in an employer’s mind. It’s surprising how often these can be cleared up by presenting them in the right factual perspective, without hiding or stretching anything—sometimes, in fact, with a little additional information somewhere in the resumé. I’ll also keep an eye out for talking points that might lead an interview in a fruitful direction.
After the writing, I put in more time on quality control than cheap resumé services spend on the entire job.
Then I send you a version for your review. After I’ve had your feedback, I make revisions, and discuss with you anything that needs discussion. One to three rounds is typical. Sometimes more are needed, but this is mainly when there are lots of little details to get right. We’ll work together to make sure that your experience and qualifications are presented accurately and in language you’re comfortable with. (Things can start going downhill after three or four rounds, and I reserve the right to limit the approval stage to three rounds.)
Then I do your LinkedIn profile. It’s specially written to get the best response to employer profile searches. As needed, information will be carefully selected and re-written to fit LinkedIn’s size limits, their conventions for handling certain types of information (such as job titles), and best practices for search-engine optimization. Anything that shouldn’t go on the Web will be excluded. Certain information required for LinkedIn but not needed on your resumé will also be provided: I’ll get this from you during the in-depth interview. Your LinkedIn profile will be provided in a document specially designed so that you can easily cut and paste the material into LinkedIn’s forms. That document includes detailed instructions that will make the process easy, and ensure that every relevant section of your profile is filled out.
Then I do the final package, with all documents in every digital format you might need for each: Word, plain text (for pasting into online forms), PDF, and RTF. I also send you detailed instructions on when to use each format, and how.
Your resumé will be fully compatible with current electronic transmission and resumé-processing technology. Technical issues—including commonly-used resumé formatting techniques—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 creating, 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. I’ve had a lot of technical document production experience, and I stay on top of these issues. You’ll find interesting details on many of these issues on the Resumé Glossary page, especially the entries on Word resumé and Plain Text.
Your documents are built so you can easily make changes in them. I’ll send you some little-known tips that will make it a lot easier. Many of my clients revise their resumés themselves for the next job or two, and come back when their objectives have changed or when they’re breaking new ground. (One client 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. If you have questions about using your resumé, give me a call or an e-mail.
By the way, I have a total confidentiality policy.
I also do cover letters, and they’re as unique as the resumes: templates and examples you can easily tailor for each job. The generic cover letters others provide often go straight to the trash before an employer finishes the first paragraph. Here’s what my clients have said about the letters I’ve done for them.
And I do professional biographies, for corporate publications, websites, and press releases.
With the resumé thoroughly nailed down (and all the information I send with it), you’ll save a lot of wasted time, lost opportunities, aggravation, and frustration. You can go about all the other aspects of your job search without worrying further about your resumé. Tweaking will rarely or never be necessary for any job within the range of objectives we’ve discussed.
(Sometimes separate versions of the resumé may be needed from the start, if your objectives include distinct job categories, each with very different qualifications. But most of the time, when clients ask me if this is necessary, a single resumé can be written to do the job, without including too much material that would be considered superfluous for one or another of the job categories.)
Your presentation will be tailored to meet the needs of your situation in your job market. I’ll present the facts to show, more clearly and plausibly than anything else could, your value to your next employer, and your ability to fit in as a part of a new team.
It all adds up to a resumé that can make you stand out even among the strongest competition. Even in fields where talented people are sought after, competition for the best jobs has gotten a lot more intense. And nothing less than a thoroughly professional resumé will do for highly qualified people. 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. 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’ve written hundreds of resumés since Crystal Resumés began in 2007. Most of my business is repeat business and referrals from happy customers. For examples of what my clients have had to say, see the Testimonials page. To see what my work looks like, see What the Resumes Look Like, below.
Since I put in so much time and effort on each resumé, and do all the work myself, I can take only a limited number of jobs, and the process typically takes three weeks. Rush service is not an option. A rushed resumé is a vastly inferior resumé, and that’s not what I do.
The myths about resumés that everyone is bombarded with can wreck your job search several times over. Most of what passes for conventional wisdom about resumés is just urban myths and sales hype. Take a look at the #1 Resumé Tip on the Tips & FAQ page. Then read on for the most dangerous killer myths about resumés.
There’s a lot of valuable information on this site that you won’t find anywhere else. (Be sure to add it to your favorites.) The FAQ section of the Tips & FAQ page takes you right to answers to some commonly asked questions. Look through the Resumé Glossary, with definitions and in-depth information about resumé terminology and technology. There’s also a unique guide to Shopping For Resumé Services.
Those pages will probably change the way you think about resumés. This is one of those markets where it really pays to be an informed shopper.
Farther down on this page, there’s information about my background and how I work.
I hope you’ll read on. Thanks for looking.
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS OF MY RESUMÉ SERVICES AND FEES
I’m also available for corporate consulting on resumé-related matters, including outplacement counseling. If my schedule permits, I’m 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.
Crystal Resumés is me, Ken Dezhnev. I’m a communications professional who specializes in resumés.
I serve 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. (I’m located in Plymouth.)
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. 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 companies in a highly competitive job market. These 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 approach I take to writing cover letters for my resumé clients is based directly on the system I developed to create targeted letters for my own diverse range of prospects and specialties. And I’ve been a hiring manager too, and know what it’s like to screen hundreds of 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.
The resumés shown here (links below) will give you an idea of the general quality of my writing and visual formatting. The layout of your Word resumé (bullet points, paragraphs, order of information, etc.) may vary, sometimes widely, from the resumés shown here. The layout of each resumé I do is developed individually for each customer, to give the most effective presentation of that person’s skills and experience, for that person’s market. Resumés also have to conform to conventions in certain fields about the arrangement of information.
Senior Telecommunications Manager Finance: Senior Trading Manager Registered Nurse CV
But the general look—clean, plain-vanilla—will be the same. That’s because anything else—special fonts, colors, cute bullets, tables, etc.—will cause serious technical problems in the electronic transmission and processing which is normal for resumés today. A surprising number of resumés go into the electronic trash for this reason, often before anyone even sees them. For more about these technical matters, see the article on Word in the Resumé Glossary. With resumés, the art is to make plain-vanilla look good—even distinctive. That’s why this site is plain-vanilla, too—I designed and produced it myself, to show what I can do with plain-vanilla.
NOTE: Unlike the ones shown here, the Word resumés I produce for you will be normal Word files—fully editable and unrestricted. You will be able to do anything with them you can normally do with such files, including change them and print them. The resumés shown here are “secured” PDFs instead of actual Word files. That’s to prevent competitors from pirating my formatting. (That happens.)
Only a few resumés are shown here, because it takes time and care to anonymize a resumé, to preserve my clients’ confidentiality and privacy, while still leaving it a good showing of my work.
I’ll be happy to discuss your project on the phone, and give a quote for price and scheduling. 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. (For hours and contact information, see the Contact page.)
— 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Except for clients who are just entering the job market, I normally use the client’s existing resumé to provide the historical and chronological basis for developing questions and lines of inquiry for the in-depth interview. If you don’t have one, we can discuss alternatives—for more on this, see Sending Information To Me, on the process page of this site.
Depending on your field and your level of experience, fees for the Resumé Consulting package range from $450 (entry-level) to $1600 (senior executive in a sizable company). These are typical fees for high-end services, and if you pay much less you’ll probably get quite a bit less. The Cover- and Thank-you Letter package is an optional extra. (Free cover letters are worthless.) For the price/value realities about resumés, click here. For a detailed account of what I do to earn my fees, see How I Write Resumés, on the Process page. It will tell you a lot about resumés, and about what goes into professional-level writing of any kind.
The one-low-price-fits-all resumé services you see all over the place are not going to give you much, and are certainly not what experienced people in skilled fields need.
Like all resumé services, I require payment in advance before beginning work on your project, except for projects of $1000 and over, where I require half on setting the schedule, and the other half immediately after the in-depth interview is completed, before I start further work. (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.)
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.
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. There’s likely to be a long runaround before they do even that.)
See also the Policies page for more about payment policies and options, and for my policies on privacy and confidentiality (total!), revisions, etc.
Before you make any commitment, we’ll agree on a schedule in advance, including a delivery date for the approval version. Typical times are as follows:
— For the Resumé Consulting Service, I’ll need one week to prepare for the in-depth interview. After the interview, I’ll need another two weeks to get you an approval version for your review.
— Cover letters may require a few additional days.
— At the approval stage, I can usually turn around revisions within 24 to 48 hours. The same goes for the final package, when all the revisions are done.
Scheduling depends in part on my workload. I’ll also need to coordinate the interview and other contacts with you. So the time frame depends in part on your schedule, too—on how quickly you get back to me when I need input from you, and on when I can schedule the in-depth interview.
My delivery times reflect the time and effort I put into your resumé. 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.
Executive & Upper Management
What my senior management clients have said.
About one third of my clients are in upper management: director-level at leading national organizations, to C-level and board-level at organizations of all sizes. They’re in all sorts of industries, in corporate, public-sector and non-profit organizations. They’re in every area of corporate and organizational management: enterprise leadership, sales, accounts, finance, operations, technology, human resources, planning, marketing, facilities, security, and so on.
So I’ve probably got a good deal of experience that’s closely relevant to your career, and I can also anticipate the perspectives of the entire management team that may be considering your resumé.
The in-depth information I gather from you will enable me to tell stories with a few bullet points—portraying complex projects, business efforts, and achievements, and a trend of continual advancement, that points straight to your value to your next employer.
Sales & Accounts
What my sales & accounts clients have said.
I’m particularly happy that my many sales and accounts clients appreciate my own specialized sales communications skills. They’re in a range of fields: some are in B2B corporate, industrial, and consulting services, others are in manufacturing or distribution. Some have huge portfolios of simpler products, some have small portfolios of highly-specialized and complex technology products.
Senior-level sales and accounts responsibilities can cover a lot of ground, and I make sure I cover all that ground when I interview you. Then I select and arrange the information to tell the full story, a story more widely relevant to employers than what they’re used to seeing.
Information Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing, & General Technology
What my I.T. clients have said.
What my engineering, technology, and manufacturing clients have said.
An information-based approach to resumés is especially appropriate to technology—not only for the obvious reasons, but because you have to go beyond the technology, with information about how you achieved your results—how you used your resources, how you led teams, and how you worked with non-tech people and departments. The “how” side, in combination with a fully professional presentation of the technical side, will make your resumé stand out clearly from most technology resumés.
A large portion of my clients are in I.T., particularly at project management, department management, and executive levels.
I’ve had a number of clients in various fields of engineering, at all levels up to senior management and company ownership. Many other clients have been manufacturing managers and specialized technicians, and managers in other industrial fields such as logistics.
What my clients in various other fields have said.
Accountants, architects, law enforcement, a fire chief, HR (all levels), government relations specialists, teaching and school administrators, fundraising, commodities traders, investment bankers, state government employees, people all over healthcare and related industries, consultants, building contractors, tennis and hockey pros, and people in every area of general business administration.
I like the variety, and I like working with people at all levels. With my varied resumé experience, an unusually broad range of general knowledge, and highly developed interviewing skills, I know how to gather and present the information that will make you stand out in your field.
What my entry-level clients have said.
I’ll give you the best start possible by careful interviewing to make the most of your life experience and training. You’ll learn a lot from the interview process about presenting yourself, and about how to think about background of interest to employers. Your resumé will change in important ways in the first few years of your employment. I’ll send you information on what changes you will need to make, with tips on editing your resumé yourself.
Military-to-Civilian & Career-Change
What my military-to-civilian and career-change clients have said.
I’ve done a number of military-to-civilian transition resumes. In your military service, you’ve probably had a lot of valuable experience of all kinds that wouldn’t come through in a straightforward description in military terms and job categories. I’ll dig deeply into everything you’ve done to find that experience, and then present it in terms that civilian employers understand.
Civilian career change can be tough. However, it is a situation where in-depth information gathering and careful presentation is particularly valuable. During the in-depth interview, I’ll investigate your past experience in the light of my knowledge of your new target field. Then I’ll use the facts in the resumé to build a “show it, don’t say it” presentation of the hard and soft skills that your prospective employers are looking for, a presentation in which those employers will have confidence.
Other Special Situations
I’ve helped clients in all sorts of situations: established senior people who want to be ready for unexpected opportunities, people looking to pursue their specialty in a different industry, people for whom it’s time to make the next step up in a highly competitive field, international job-seekers, people applying for grants or key business loans, people returning to the job market after raising a family, people with a number of recent job changes, or with histories complicated by mergers and reorganizations.
I’ll look at your history, situation, and objectives, and then ask the right questions (and a lot of others, making sure I don’t miss anything). I’ll select the information and put it together to give the needed presentation of your background, and lay groundwork in the resumé for talking points that will come up in interviews. I can often suggest information strategies to deal with awkward questions that will come up in interviews—very often, information is in fact the key to giving positive answers to those questions.
Remember: it’s crystalresumeS-dot-com.
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.* If it looks cheesy, it’s not me. “Crystal Resumés” is a registered trademark and registered d.b.a. of Dezhnev & Co., Inc. Neither Dezhnev & Co., Inc. nor Crystal Resumés have any 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.)
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Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Perfect speech is like a jade-worker whose tool leaves no mark.
—Lao Tze, Tao Te Ching, XXVII (tr. Arthur Waley)