Free résumé critiques have exploded in visibility since AI came on the scene. You can have your résumé critiqued by ChatGPT. And there were always humans who offered free résumé critiques. Go ahead—by all means try it with your existing résumé. But if you do it with a résumé I've written for you, don’t come to me with the results. I won’t pay any attention. Here's why:

If you bring your car in for an oil change, and they tell you that you need hundreds of dollars’ worth of additional work, you’d be suspicious, wouldn’t you? They might be right, of course. Cars, like résumés, often do need a lot of work, especially when they haven’t had skilled attention for a while. But if you’ve owned a car for a long time, you know that this sort of thing is a common scam. And knowing that, you’d be particularly suspicious of an auto shop that offered free oil changes to all comers.

It’s the same with “free résumé critiques.” These are usually just a cynical sales tool—the people who offer them give you an awful review of whatever you send—spouting lots of buzzwords and myths and bogus “rules”—hoping you will then hire them to fix it up. ( is notorious for this.)

If you let someone sell you résumé writing on the basis of a free critique, try an experiment. Wait a few months and send them the résumé they did for you and ask for a free critique. They will tell you it’s terrible (and it probably will be) and offer to fix it up for a fee. (The experiment has been made.)

There are some résumé services that offer free résumé critiques in good faith. But those critiques can’t be anything but superficial—anything more would take more time than a serious business can afford to give away. At best, they’re just small free samples of what the résumé service can do for you.

In fact, the practice of offering free résumé critiques was never well regarded among better résumé writers, even before AI came on the scene.

Most résumé services don’t offer critiques even as a paid service, because providing a really useful, thorough, professional critique is more work than just re-doing the résumé, and they’d have to charge more for it. Even then, it wouldn’t cover all the points on a given résumé: nothing less than a book-length critique could possibly cover the hundreds or thousands of little details that go into creating an effective résumé.

This sort of nonsense is one of the many reasons why all résumé services have a no-refund policy.