Welcome to Crystal Resumés
... for a unique fact-based resumé that stands out from the strongest competition.
Crystal Resumés specializes in a consulting approach, based on intensive, personally-developed interviewing. For senior-level clients, the interviews typically take 2.5 to 3 hours.
My clients often tell me that I’ve found out a lot more than they realized they had to say for themselves, and learned a lot from the interview.
These are not the generic scripted interviews that “interview-based” resume services typically offer, determined by a one-size-fits-all generic information strategy. (“2 key projects, 2 key accomplishments,” and so on). I gather all the possibly relevant information—real-world, industry-specific, job-specific, you-specific information—asking questions the others don’t even think of. Then I develop the strategy.
That means that your resumé will stand out from anyone else’s—including those of strong competitors in your own field. Among other things, it will show management exactly how you’ll make money for them. So I don’t have to rely on the gimmicks and generic fluff that make most resumés look alike. Employers appreciate that, too.
My writing and technical document formatting are also meticulous and exceptionally effective. I can draw on hard-core professional writing, research, editorial, typographic, and technical production skills that virtually no other resumé writers have. (Including the certified ones. Especially the certified ones.)
The difference in informational value and professional appearance has opened doors for my clients.
The Resumé Consulting package includes:
• Your resumé in every format you may need: Word, plain text (best for online forms), PDF.
• Instructions on when and how to use each format.
• Tips for working with your resumé in Word.
• A free template for your References Sheet.
• Job-search tips that clients at your experience level have found to be valuable.
Optional search-optimized LinkedIn profile available,
written to make the most effective use of LinkedIn’s options, within LinkedIn's space limitations. It’s delivered in a user-friendly form with instructions that make it easy for you to get the most out of LinkedIn.
If you want a LinkedIn profile instead of a resumé,
I can do that. But keep in mind that you can say a lot on a resumé that you shouldn’t put in a LinkedIn profile: things that would alert your present employer that you’re looking elsewhere, things that can be said to selected people in your field but are not for the public Web, and things that go beyond LinkedIn’s rather limited space allowances, and the rigid, simplistic information structure imposed by LinkedIn.
Optional cover- and thank-you letter package available: as thorough and unique as the resumé.
Other services include international CVs, executive biographies, alternate resumés for clients with multiple specialties, and one-page networking resumés. We also do corporate consulting on resumé-related matters.
For details on all our services, with fee ranges, see the Services page.
Before you call, please look through this page, especially About Crystal Resumés, Fees, and Time Frame.
When you’re ready to make a career investment that will open doors in your present job search, and then continue to pay off for years, send us an e-mail.
Office hours: Monday–Friday, noon–6 Central Time
Eastern M–F 1–7 / Mountain M–F 11–5 / Pacific M–F 10–4 / Evenings and weekends by appointment.
“I want to thank you for your excellent work, guidance and patience. I sincerely appreciate what feels like you going the extra mile to ensure a great product.”
— B2B marketing program manager
The primary services are the Resumé Consulting package, the optional LinkedIn profile, and the optional Cover-Letter package. There are also options for specially targeted resumés, professional biographies, international CVs, U.S. professional CVs, one-page networking resumés, and special projects. You’ll find more detail on each option, including fee ranges, on the Services page.
First, look over this page, to find out about Crystal Resumés. On the rest of the site, at least take a look at the Testimonials page, for feedback from clients in various fields. Their comments also give a good picture of what it’s like to work with me.
Then call me for a free consultation. 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 us your existing resumé in advance can speed up the process and make it more effective.) Then I can quote a fee, and we can set a date and time for the in-depth interview, and a delivery date for the approval version.
If you like, you can make an appointment to talk at a time that’s convenient for you, including evenings or weekends.
I’m also glad to answer questions by e-mail. (For hours and contact information, see the Contact page.)
Except for clients who are just entering the job market, I normally use the client’s existing resumé (and/or LinkedIn profile, if it’s full enough) to provide the historical and chronological basis for the in-depth interview.
I’ll then prepare for the in-depth interview, developing questions and lines of inquiry on the basis of the information you’ve provided about your history and 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.
With the Resumé Consulting package, the next step 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 (or in my office, if you’re nearby).
It’s a pretty intense experience, both for the client and for me. The result: 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. Think of it as a highly individualized coaching session focused on how to present your background. One client called it “resumé therapy.” Here’s some more of the feedback from my clients about the interviews.
During the interview, I dig for professional background that is relevant to the concerns of all your prospects, and shows the full range of your most important abilities and knowledge, so that the resumé will ring multiple bells with any employer. I look for information that will position you for your specific objectives. I look for facts and stories that create a vivid, realistically detailed picture, so the employer can see you exercising those same skills to meet new challenges. I’ll also 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.
Your presentation will be tailored to meet the needs of your situation in your job market, including your value to your next employer, and your ability to fit in as a part of a new team.
“I think it looks FANTASTIC. I am so glad I came to you for help. You have been such a pleasure and I would highly recommend you. For you to get it all together based on that one long conversation is truly a talent.” — senior director (managing $1B) at leading healthcare company
“Thank you so much! After the interview I feel now more than I ever did, that I have marketable skills.” — marketing director, with most of her experience in other fields
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’ll write and arrange the resumé as a carefully structured presentation, without wasted words, that is easily scanned, or read for detail, according to the needs of readers at each stage of the hiring process.
Before I went into resumés, I had years of editorial and writing experience in publishing, business, and academic settings. I think that experience shows.
“I wouldn’t change a thing. I got a lot of compliments on the resumé. Among other things, I liked the way you made clear my rather complicated employment history during a series of mergers and acquisitions.” — senior commodities & accounts manager
“Thank you very much for the excellent work you did on my resume and the letters. The way you have compiled and written my resume gives such a complete and easy to understand picture of my abilities.” — Business & Marketing Manager, international technology company
Formatting the Word document is a separate stage, and an important one. 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 e-trash before anyone at the employer’s end even sees them. You’ll find interesting details on many of these issues on the Resumé Encyclopedia page, especially the entries on Word resumé and Plain Text.
I also build your documents so you can easily make changes in them. We’ll send you some little-known tips that will make it a lot easier. Many of our 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 us six years later: “I still use the format today—best investment I have made.”)
I’ve had years of professional technical production experience in graphic communications, and I’m used to thinking about documents at that level, and to finding out what the technical realities really are.
Then I put in more time on review and quality control than cheap resumé services spend on the entire job.
Then I’ll send you an approval version for your review. After I’ve had your feedback, I’ll 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 factual details to get right. I’ll work with you 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’ll do the final package, with all documents in every digital format you might need for each: Word, plain text (specially formatted for pasting into online forms), and PDF. You’ll get detailed instructions on when to use each format, and how.
If you’ve ordered a LinkedIn profile, it will be sent in the final package.
And I’m with you after the job is done. If you have questions, technical or otherwise, about using the documents I send you, give me a call or an e-mail.
By the way, we have a total confidentiality policy.
With the resumé thoroughly nailed down (and all the information and tips we send with it), you can go about all the other aspects of your job search without worrying further about your resumé, or having to stop and fix it. Tweaking the resumé will rarely or never be necessary for any job within the range of objectives we’ve discussed. You’ll save wasted time, aggravation, frustration, and perhaps a few lost opportunities.
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. 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 current employer.
I’ve written hundreds of resumés since Crystal Resumés began in 2007. Most of my business is repeat business and customer referrals. For examples of what my clients have had to say—and of what HR people and recruiters have said to them about my resumés—see the Testimonials page.
“The resumé paid off very well. I got a dramatic increase in response, and finally a good position at [leading insurance firm].” — project manager
“One firm said they’d never seen a resume like mine. Another interviewer looked at it and said ‘Wow, this is good!’” — field service engineer & project manager
Crystal Resumés is basically me, Ken Dezhnev. I’m a lifelong communications professional who specializes in resumés. I’ll do all the interviewing, writing, and formatting for your resumé.
I’ve had over twenty years of experience doing writing and editorial work for leading national ad agencies, corporations, and publishers in New York City (where I started out), along with digital typography and graphics work (including technical consulting, quality control, font consulting, and production with InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fontographer) for similar clients and for design studios and specialized type houses. I did the same in Minnesota for a while, before starting Crystal Resumés.
I’ve also 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 occasionally asked me for help with resumés. When they saw the results, they always told me I should make a specialty of it. Eventually I did, starting Crystal Resumés in 2007, a few years after moving to Minneapolis.
I serve clients all over the U.S., and I’ve worked directly with clients around the world to create international CVs for foreign employment. Of course, I have a strong client base where I live, in the Minneapolis—St. Paul metro area and the Upper Midwest. (I’m located in Plymouth, MN.)
Beware of imitations! Remember: it’s crystalresumeS-dot-com.
Since we started in 2007, we’ve accumulated some imitators, not to mention some resumé sites that have “borrowed” text from this site. That’s part of being a leader.
When looking for us on the Web, it’s best to use the URL, rather than searching for our name. 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. (The domains crystalresumes.net/biz/org/us are owned by Crystal Resumés to protect the name, but not actively used.)
If it looks cheesy, it’s not us.
“Crystal Resumés” is a registered trademark and registered d.b.a. of Dezhnev & Co., Inc. Neither Dezhnev & Co., Inc., Crystal Resumés, or Ken Dezhnev have any relationship with any other persons or firms offering resumé services.
Fees depend on your field and your level of experience. Write us to arrange for a free consultation and an exact quote. For full detail on fees for all services, see the Services page.
For the Resumé Consulting service, typical fees range from $225 for entry-level college graduates to $700 for senior executives in sizable companies (higher service levels available for executives).
LinkedIn profiles are also available as an option; fees range up to $125.
The Cover- and Thank-you Letter package is an optional extra. Fees range from $90 to $300.
We’re transitioning our credit card arrangements. At present, you can pay with your credit card via PayPal. You don’t need a PayPal account. We’ll have PayPal e-mail you an invoice—it’s super easy for you to pay that way. We’re notified the moment you pay.
We can also take checks and third-party payments, but we cannot begin work or commit to a schedule until the payment has cleared.
POLICIES: FEES, PAYMENT
Like all resumé services*, we require payment in advance before we commit to work or to a schedule. For projects of $550 and over, we accept half on setting the schedule, and the other half immediately after the in-depth interview is completed, before we start further work. We also have a no-refund policy—like all resumé services*.
* If you think you’ve seen resumé services that accept half up front and half on delivery, or that offer guarantees, click here for the realities behind those appearances. In brief, none of the guarantees involve money back, and what you pay up front may represent all the value you get.
BUT you don’t have to pay for add-ons (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. The price will be the same.
SECURITY: I do not keep your credit-card information. At the time of the transaction, I enter it directly into the Authorize.net gateway, the same secure connection used by many merchants and banks. Crystal Resumés is also monitored and certified by Trustwave, a security firm used by leading firms in the credit card industry.
PAYMENT TIMING: Payment must be received before I begin work or commit time for a project. On larger projects ($550 and over), I will accept half the fee before starting, and the other half after the in-depth interview, before starting further work. Once payment is received, orders cannot be cancelled or reduced, and no refunds will be made.
(That’s because once I’ve committed time, I may have to turn down or postpone other orders because of this commitment. And top-notch custom work isn’t done by people who don’t know whether they’re going to get paid for it. All firms doing special-order work have a similar policy, for the same reason.)
PAYPAL PAYMENTS: PayPal sends notification to me as soon as the payment has been made. I can’t start work until I receive notification of payment.
I use PayPal’s invoicing service. It’s very easy for you to use, and you don’t need to have a PayPal account—you can pay PayPal with a credit card. PayPal will e-mail you an invoice, with instructions.
FEES: These are typical fees for high-end services. The time and effort I put into a resumé isn’t sustainable at the prices charged by conventional resumé writers. I learned that the hard way.
I don’t haggle over fees. I know my market, I know the details of what my competitors offer, and I know what they charge. My services involve more time and effort than those of any of any competitors that I know of. And very few can approach my level of quality.
I think I also work more efficiently than my competitors, since I have professional experience that most of them lack. So I can not only give better value for the money, I can give better value for the time.
Since I put in so much time and effort on each resumé, I can take only a limited number of jobs. The work has to be done in stages, and can’t be rushed. Our other clients cannot be put aside. There’s no skilled help we can hire to accommodate volume—the very few people with those skills don’t have to work for someone else.
Rush service is not an option. Please don’t ask. A rushed resumé is an inferior resumé, and that’s not what I do. (For junior-level clients, I may be able to shorten the schedule by two or three days.)
Before you make any commitment, we’ll agree on a schedule in advance: the date and time for the in-depth interview, and a delivery date for the approval version.
If you need to re-schedule the in-depth interview to a later date, that’s easily done, but the delivery date for the approval version may have to be pushed back accordingly. Re-scheduling to an earlier date is usually not possible.
Scheduling depends in part on my workload. I’ll also need to coordinate the in-depth interview and other contacts with you. So my time frame depends in part on your schedule, too—on how quickly you get back to me with information needed to get started (we’ll discuss this when we first speak), on when we can schedule the in-depth interview, on how soon you can respond to the approval version, and on how many rounds of approvals are needed.
At the approval stage, I can usually turn around revisions within 24 to 36 hours. On approval I’ll usually get the final package, including the LinkedIn profile, to you within 24 to 48 hours. (I start on the LinkedIn profile when I’ve had your approval on the resumé, so I know the content is correct.)
For the Resumé Consulting service, the process typically takes two and a half to three weeks for mid-level to senior-level clients. To start things off, we’ll need to set a schedule and take care of the payment, and I’ll need to have your existing resumé. From that point I’ll need about five business days to prepare for the in-depth interview, and then one-and-a-half to two weeks to prepare an approval version of the resumé.
Cover letters may require a few additional days.
The layout of each resumé is developed individually for each customer, to give the most effective presentation of that person’s skills and experience, for that person’s market. The nature of the information to be presented varies quite a bit, and the way that information has to be displayed will vary with it. (Think of a senior hands-on IT guru, on the one hand, and a Sales VP at a Fortune 500 corporation, on the other.) Resumés also have to conform to conventions in certain fields about the arrangement of information.
But the general look—clean, plain-vanilla—will be the same. That’s because anything else—non-standard 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. The more distinctive they are, the more likely that they will turn into garbage at the recipient’s end. A lot of professional resumé writers don’t seem to know this. Even common Microsoft Word formatting techniques can cause serious problems when used in resumés. But there are expert techniques that avoid the technical problems—and look better into the bargain, because they allow for finer control. For more about these technical matters, see the article on Word in the Resumé Encyclopedia.
I worked for years in many of the best-known ad agencies and design studios in New York, and I’ve done just about everything that can be done with type and graphics, using InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Fontographer, and other professional software, for the most demanding clients. If you like, take a look at my old typography and graphics portfolio.
With resumés, I use that typographic experience—and the technical production experience—to make plain-vanilla look good, even distinctive, and to build documents that are easy for my clients to revise, and that will survive all the electronic processing that a resumé is subject to.
I don’t have anything to put here to show exactly what my resumés look like (much less read like), because that would mean posting one of my clients’ resumés. I take client confidentiality seriously. Even changing the names of people and companies, and the dates and a few other details, would still leave it recognizable by a colleague. I could try a wholly fictional resumé, but that just wouldn’t read right—unless perhaps I put a couple of days of work into it.
But you don’t need anything like that. Just think of the best-looking plain-vanilla resume you’ve ever seen, and imagine something that looks noticeably better, for reasons you can’t define.* A resumé that will make a consistently professional visual impression. A resumé whose contents are so interesting that you will quickly forget about anything else.
*Expert typographers have always known that text typography is there to not be noticed. Its function is as a vehicle for the content. Only an expert will notice the dozens of minute details that make the difference. But anyone will notice the difference.
The myths about resumés that everyone is bombarded with can wreck your job search several times over. A lot of what passes for conventional wisdom about resumés is just guesswork, sales hype, and information taken out of context, carelessly copied and repeated for decades, and mixed up further in the process. Take a look at the #1 Resumé Tip on the Tips & Myths 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 page takes you right to answers to some commonly asked questions. There’s also a Resumé Encyclopedia, with definitions and in-depth information about resumé terminology and technology.
(Client had called me when first shopping, but decided to go with a resumé service that charged less—but not a whole lot less. Then client came back to me.) “I have just had a very bad experience with another resume company.” After seeing my results: “Working with an excellent provider as yourself has made such a difference. I can’t believe I spent a cent with the other one.” — marketing/events manager (came back a couple of years later for the next job search)
Crystal Resumés, Dezhnev & Co., Inc., and Ken Dezhnev have a TOTAL PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY policy:
We will never sell, share, transfer, or give customer information to anyone for any reason (except the required information given to Authorized.net for payment processing).
We will never contact your employers in connection with work we do for you.
We will never disclose to anyone any personal information about you or the work Crystal Resumés has done for you, or the fact that we have done work for you.
We will never disclose to anyone any non-public information that you have given us.
While we are performing work for you, we must be able to contact you with questions, to deliver approval versions, and to follow up if we have not received necessary feedback from you. These contacts will be by phone or e-mail, and we will keep in mind your preferences about which method to use, which phone numbers to use, and what hours to call.
After your order has been delivered, because we want your feedback, we may contact you ourselves, no more than three times for each order you place. If we contact you for this purpose, it will be by e-mail or surface mail only, never by phone or fax. You may opt out of receiving these contacts at any time—just e-mail or phone us.
Free factual revisions for 30 days:
One round of minor revisions to factual content will be made without charge if it is requested within thirty days from the date the finished work is sent to you. This policy applies only to electronic documents delivered by e-mail.
Eligibility for free revision is subject to our approval. In general, changes to factual content that don’t require redesigning or re-working any part of the resumé, and don’t require content to be pushed to another page, will be eligible for free revision. These are typically changes to your contact information, or to an employer’s name. Adding two or three words to a list of skills in a paragraph of running text may also be eligible for free revision. The following probably won’t be eligible for free revision: adding jobs to your employment history; adding new categories of information; adding new bullet items to skills lists, etc.; anything that requires redesigning part of the resumé to keep content from running to another page. Editorial and stylistic changes are not eligible for free revisions.
Note that free revisions will only be made to the copies of the documents (Word, plain-text, and PDF files) that I have retained. I do not work on electronic files altered by the customer, or sent from the customer or from any other party.
Correction of editorial and typographic errors:
I are careful about proofreading, but the customer shares responsibility for checking, at the approval stage of each project, the correctness of the information in the version delivered for approval, since that is the time when the customer must look over the work done to check for any errors in the information given to me by the customer, and for gross errors of other types. I therefore assume no liability for the correction of such editorial or typographic errors, or for the correction of other errors, beyond providing free and prompt corrections and replacement documents. Revision charges will apply to the correction of any mistaken information provided to me by the customer, except as provided for under the “free factual revisions for 30 days” offer.
Editorial or typographic errors made by us will be corrected without charge at any time. Corrections of editorial or typographic errors made by us will usually be delivered by e-mail within about thirty-six hours.
My decision as to whether or not an error has been made by me is final. Examples of the sort of errors that I will correct for free include: a misspelled word; an erroneous number; a doubled punctuation mark; a missing word space; a missing period at the end of a sentence in running text; a bullet item running together with the previous bullet item where other items in the same list each begin a new line; part of a paragraph bumped onto the next page; a singular verb or noun where a plural is called for. Judgment calls and purely stylistic matters will generally not be counted as errors.
All other revisions are subject to charges. Revised files will be provided in all formats in my standard packages (Word, plain-text, PDF). Charges for revisions will be estimated on a case-by-case basis.
Sending revisions to me
Where discussion is needed, or in the case of fairly light corrections, I can take revisions over the phone. You can also send revision copy to me as written instructions in an e-mail message.
For more extensive revisions, send me your changes in the form of a revised Word document. However, do not use Word’s Review functions to add comments. Microsoft Word’s change tracking sometimes works well, but cross-version performance is unpredictable, and I cannot be responsible for changes sent in this way.
Instead, just make any changes you like in the body of the Word document. Write the comment right there in the document, and flag every spot you changed—including places where you deleted something without replacing it. To flag your changes and comments, you can use the highlight tool, or change the color of the text. If you like, you can put comments in a separate document.
Don’t worry about messing up the layout or changing the page breaks when you add comments in the document. I never work on revised documents sent to me. All changes are transferred to my own working documents. I do not work on electronic files sent by customers, or from other sources. (If I didn’t do it this way, the final documents I send you might have serious technical flaws.) The sole function of the document you send back to me is to convey your changes and comments, and it helps to have the changes and comments in the simplest and most flexible form possible.
Revisions marked in PDFs are strongly discouraged, and may entail extra charges.
Liability is limited to free and prompt correction of editorial and typographic errors that I acknowledge as such. (See the policy on revisions, above.)
Form follows function, function creates form.
— Louis Sullivan, American architect,
in “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered” (1896)
Master your subject. Then the words will come.
— Cato the Elder, 234–149 B.C., “the virtual founder of Latin prose literature,” written to his son.
Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves.
— The Duchess, to Alice, in Alice in Wonderland (echoing the saying, “Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves”)
Long copy sells more than short copy.
— David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, on the occasion of his induction into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame