The worst way to shop for résumé services is the way an awful lot of people do it. They spend a few minutes on the Web collecting phone numbers for résumé services, and then call around and decide which one sounds best.

When shopping for résumés, your phone is not your friend.

These people are assuming that all résumé services are pretty much alike, and that they can find out what they need in a short phone call. These shoppers may be more or less aware that some résumé services may be better than others, but it’s assumed that they all perform the same operations, and generally do it well enough—because they wouldn’t stay in business if they didn’t.

That’s not at all true of résumé services.

It could easily happen that none of those you called is any good, especially if you are looking at the lowest end of the price range—say, under about $150 to $200 for a résumé for an entry-level job seeker.

There are no standards in the résumé business. (“Certfications” mean next to nothing.) If you don’t shop carefully, there’s a very good chance you’ll get ripped off. There’s an even better chance that you won’t get the best value for your money, let alone the best résumé you could get. The first step in shopping carefully is to read my Résumé Realities article entitled The Résumé Business In General: Cheap Résumés, Small Practices, and Résumé Mills; Price/Value and Size Realities in the Résumé Business; And Why Résumé Services Are Not All Even Approximately The Same. The next step is to look over the other pages in the Tips & Myths section. The Résumé Encyclopedia will help too, in the way of general education.

Then use what you’ve learned. Don’t pick up the phone until you’ve studied a bunch of websites. Go on the Web, find at least a dozen résumé services. Find some in the nearest metro area(s) and, if you like, find some national companies. Have a quick, preliminary look at their websites, to weed them out. Have a close look at the local ones to make sure they are local: it’s easy to fake, and many do fake it.

Then study the sites of the best-looking ones. You’ll learn a lot that way. You may be surprised at how much they differ from one another—unless you’ve chosen a bunch of big, national résumé mills. You’ll find a lot on their sites that you wouldn’t have thought to explore when talking to someone on the phone. You might decide to keep looking. When you find one or more that look like they might be right for you, then call them up and see what they sound like.

But if you do the job right, you might not have to make more than one or two phone calls.








“The mass of men are very easily imposed on. They have their runways in which they always travel and are sure to fall into any pit or trap which is set there.”

—Thoreau, Wild Fruit