First—and before you call—look over this page (or take the briefer tour offered on the Home page), to find out about Crystal Résumés. 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 give me a call. 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. (This is what many résumé services call a “free consultation.”)

E-mailing me your existing résumé in advance will speed up the process and make it a lot more effective. I’ll need your existing résumé anyway to provide the historical and chronological framework for the in-depth interview. The address is: info[at]

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. I’ll also take payment for the initial retainer at this time, or arrange for an invoice. (I can’t start work until payment is received.)

If you like, you can e-mail me with a time to talk that’s convenient for you. (And whether you’ll call me or I should call you. And your phone number, of course.) Given a day or two of advance notice, any time from noon to midnight will work for me unless I have some prior commitment. My normal phone hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 6:00 p.m. (Central Time).

I’m also glad to answer questions by e-mail. (For hours and contact information, see the Contact page.)



The in-depth interview is perhaps the most important stage of the process, and the one where I most need your co-operation.

Once we’ve agreed on a schedule, 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, your objectives, and your priorities. 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 and prospective employers.

I typically need a week to ten days to prepare for the interview, depending on my workload.

With the Résumé (or CV) Consulting package, the next step for you is the in-depth interview itself. This can be scheduled for weekdays, evenings (until midnight), or (subject to availability) weekends. Typically, I’ll spend two to three hours on the phone with you.

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 prospective 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 “résumé 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 résumé 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 and realistic picture, in a few words, 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 résumé.

Some of your answers will point me in directions I hadn’t anticipated when preparing for the interview—and I make sure to follow these up. Then I develop the information strategy for the résumé.

This is not the generic pre-scripted interview 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 ask questions—lots of questions—the others don’t even think of. I spend serious time thinking about which questions are needed for your project.

The result for me is a far more useful body of information than other résumé writers get, and much more than I could have gotten in any other way. (Not all of it will go on the résumé, of course. I’ll pick and choose the most important pieces later. Also, some of my questions are meant to make sure I understand things correctly, so that I can be sure to express them accurately.)

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. Your résumé will stand out from anyone else’s—including those of your strongest competitors in your own field. Among other things, it will show management exactly how you’ll make money for them—and how you’ll avoid risks. So I don’t have to rely on the gimmicks and generic fluff that make most résumés look alike. Employers appreciate that, too—in fact, that alone will make your résumé stand out strongly.

MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE: Because the interview is a demanding two- to three-hour session, I suggest to my clients that they make themselves comfortable by the phone, have some coffee first, and a glass of water handy. (I do the coffee and water, too.) I recommend that you also have your old résumé handy, and any other information you think might be needed, on paper or on your computer.

CONFIDENTIALITY CONCERNS: In general, if there’s information that shouldn’t go on a résumé, I don’t need to know it. I’ll always follow your lead about what you can tell me and what you can’t. But in certain situations, I may ask for a bit more, if you think it’s alright—if not specific details, then some sort of general range or category.

For example: It can be very important to give a prospective employer an idea of what sort of budgets (departmental, project, etc.) you’re accustomed to handling, or the typical dollar figure associated with the larger accounts you handle. Sometimes that information is confidential. So I may ask for a range: five figures, high six figures, seven figures, nine, whatever.

Another example: I want to convey on the résumé the types of companies you are experienced in dealing with as clients, customers, or vendors. Usually, I can just put the names on the résumé, especially names that will make an impression on your prospects. But sometimes the company names are confidential. So I’ll look for a category that describes them as specifically as possible without getting too specific. I usually do this by asking for a general description from you, and then running some suggested phrases by you.

Sometimes my clients don’t mind sharing information with me that shouldn’t go on a résumé but is the sort of thing that could be shared with a discreet industry insider—always with the explicit understanding that it’s confidential.

In any case, I’m always sensitive to my clients’ concerns about confidentiality.


“I am absolutely amazed! You’ve added so much to what I could have said for myself. But it’s all real. I can back it all up. It’s me!”

— purchasing manager, Crystal Résumés client


“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

— Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles




Then I’ll do the writing, to present your skills and experience as effectively and memorably as possible, and to meet the needs of readers at every stage of the hiring process, from screening at the HR stage, to the initial reading by the hiring manager, to readings—close or casual—by any of his colleagues or superiors who might be involved, to subsequent readings they will do to refresh their memories at various stages (including right before the interview). This is where I sweat. It takes time, and can’t be rushed.

Before I actually start writing, of course, I’ll prepare the information. I’ll take all the information I’ve gathered, from what you’ve sent me and what I learned during the in-depth interview, and integrate it into something I can use as effectively as possible. Then I’ll look for any holes that need to be filled in. I’ll check company websites to make sure that, where a company description is needed to inform the reader about a company that you’ve worked for or with, I can do it as effectively as possible in a very few words. I’ll also look for other information that could help me, about their markets or their products, for instance. I may check other information sources about a given industry or technology, to clarify my own understanding. I’ll look for inconsistencies that need to be resolved. I may get back to you with some quick questions.

Then I’ll develop an overall strategy: what information to present, how far back to go, what degree of emphasis to give to each stage of your work history, what stories to tell, what prominent simple facts to highlight, and how to make all these elements work together for maximal effect in a well-organized document that is easily accessible to the reader.

Then I’ll do what people generally think of as “writing”: putting the words down. You might be surprised at how much attention goes into each word. And by how much my experience is called on—experience with words and experience with facts. There’s too much detail, and the details are too specific to each job, to allow for generalizations. This is why so much of what is written about this stage—the “writing”—is so vague, and often off the mark. This is the stage at which experience counts for the most.

While writing, I’ll be working in real-world keywords—not the magic-list keywords that most people think of when they think of keywords. Real-world keywords get the best results with keyword processing and LinkedIn searches—and also at later stages of the hiring process, when people are reading. Using them involves a lot of detailed thinking and careful writing, to integrate them into a résumé that still reads well and performs all its other functions.

Then I’ll let it sit for at least a day, before reviewing it. The first review will be mainly about content—making sure that all the skills and experience and intangibles that should be there are there, that everything was worded correctly and that any questions the reader might have are answered, and that all the information is consistent. I’ll also be looking at spelling and grammar, but that comes automatically to me. Later reviews will be more focused on editorial details, and at this stage I’ll go through the more formal procedures needed to catch the things that my automatic responses missed. (Experienced editors may have rather extensive and individualized checklists for this, developed over the years, with branches and options for different situations.)

I can draw on hard-core, professional experience in informational communications in corporate, advertising, and scholarly environments: writing, research, editorial, typographic, and technical production skills that virtually no other résumé writers have. (Including the certified ones. Especially the certified ones.)


It is not enough to write to be understood clearly.
You must write so that you cannot be misunderstood.

— after a phrase in a technical bulletin, ca. 1917


“Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline;
Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head, and bite your nails.”

— Jonathan Swift   




The technical production of résumé documents is not a secondary matter. It’s as important as the writing, because it, too, can make or break your job application. In fact, it breaks quite a few—more than most résumé writers are aware of.

My technical document formatting is as meticulous and well-informed as my writing. I can draw on over thirty years of typographic and technical document production experience, in type shops, ad agencies, design studios, and corporations—experience that is considered exceptional even in those fields.

I’ve worked with all the standard software (Adobe InDesign, Affinity Serif, Quark, MS Word, Acrobat, plain text editors (BBEdit!), and other applications, as well as HTML/CSS). In addition to the ones I’ve used regularly, I’ve received and used content in documents created with all kinds of other software that someone, somewhere in the world, thought to use for creating documents. (I worked for some years in global translation companies, and you see everything there.)

I am also thoroughly familiar with what happens when you move content between these applications, and when documents from various applications are transmitted and processed in various ways, and printed or viewed with various technologies. I’ve learned to take nothing for granted, and to rely on fundamental technical knowledge gained though research and experiment, and to document key processes for myself—especially the processes used for résumés.

NOTE: Google Docs is not ready for prime time as far as résumés are concerned—and it’s especially unsuitable for executives and senior people. But if you want to send your old Google Docs résumé to me, that’s okay. I don’t care what it looks like. (For a bit more on this, see Google Docs on the Résumé Encyclopedia page.)


Your résumé will be fully compatible with current electronic transmission and résumé-processing technology. And with anything else that happens to résumés. Technical issues—including commonly-used résumé formatting techniques that cause no trouble for most other uses of MS Word—can cause your résumé to show up looking bad, or even so garbled that no one will bother to puzzle it out. (These include the column layouts, made with Word tables, that so many résumé writers use.) You’ll find interesting details on many of these issues in the Résumé Encyclopedia section of this site, especially the entries on Word résumé and Plain Text.

I also build your documents so you can easily make changes in them. I’ll send you some basic but little-known tips that will make this a lot easier. Many of my clients revise their résumés 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.”)


I'll also provide you with your résumé in a plain-text document. Plain-text versions of your résumé are important. Job-seekers should pay more attention to them.

The use of online forms for higher-level job applications has become much more widespread in recent years. This is well known to many in the résumé business and other employment-related fields. Plain-text documents are better for this purpose than Word documents.

But few résumé services send résumés in plain-text (ASCII) versions alongside the standard Word versions. Perhaps they don’t provide them because they think it’s best left to the job-seeker.

In fact, it’s not actually that hard. The first step is to just select all the text in your Word résumé and paste it into a text processor. (Text processors are applications that come built-in with computers—Notepad for Windows, and Notes for Mac. These are perfectly adequate for making plain-text versions of your own résumé. IT and Web professionals have more sophisticated ones for working with code. These include BBEdit, which I use for commercial résumé production as well as HTML and basic text slinging.)

But there’s more to it, if you want a really useful plain-text document. You need to do various things to fix the glitches that always result when pasting text from a Word document (which is not ASCII text) into an ASCII document. You also need some substitute for visual formatting so that a human being can easily find their way around it.

Which human being? You, when you’re in the middle of an online job application, pasting your résumé piece-by-piece into an online form, and don’t need any further distractions. You especially don’t need to be distracted by fixing glitches that show up. It also makes a difference to the person reading the plain-text résumé you pasted into an e-mail. (You should do this only if they request it. There are exceptions, but if they apply to you, you’ll know it for certain.)

So it actually takes time, concentration, and a certain amount of knowledge and experience, if you want to do the best job possible of creating a plain-text version of your résumé. Some of my clients have this, some don’t. I prefer to give them the choice. Even if you do part or all of the job yourself (as when you’ve made revisions in your résumé), you’ll have the plain-text files I send as examples of how to do it. I bet you’ll learn something from them.

For some further information about plain-text résumés, see the article Plain Text (ASCII) on the Résumé Encyclopedia page.

The plain-text versions of your résumé will have the same wording as the Word versions, except for certain minor changes in information order and headline wording for better compatibility with ATS processing.

NOTE: I will provide the plain-text version of your résumé as a MS Word document that is totally stripped of formatting. That’s because not all of my clients are familiar with handling .txt files. You can use it just like an ASCII .txt document. If you prefer, I’ll send a .txt file—no extra trouble, no extra charge. Either way, the document will be strictly ASCII, using only the ASCII character set. In fact, I prepare the text in a pure ASCII .txt document, using a text processor. One step in the production is to verify that all characters are ASCII. I then paste the finished text into a Word document that is void of formatting at any level.




Quality control is not a secondary matter, either. It’s another matter that can make or break your résumé. Good QC catches dozens of little things that the reader may not notice individually, but which add up to the difference between the many résumés that look sloppy, or so-so, or ordinary, and those that stand out because they make a professional impression—though the reader probably couldn’t get very specific as to why they make that impression. The reader doesn’t see the things that have been fixed.

And there are still, and have always been, decision-makers who will throw out your résumé if you make even one or two spelling mistakes. (It’s reasonable to hold a sloppy résumé against an applicant, but even I don’t think it makes sense to demand perfection from job applicants in general. But there have always been people like that, and I can help you get past them. I worked for years as a proofreader, editor, and typographic QC person, and there was little tolerance for mistakes in my résumé.)

However, it’s been a very long time since many in the corporate world—or in the design world or the résumé world—have seen quality control done at professional levels. Unless, by “professional,” you mean “anyone who does something referred to as quality control as part of their job.” In fact, the people who do proofreading or QC in corporate or design environments are usually just the people who are too low on the totem pole to get out of taking responsibility for someone else’s mistakes. Or they’re colleagues checking each other’s work, who never had professional QC experience, and in any case won’t risk offending their colleagues, much less their superiors. As the saying goes, “No control, no quality.”

Professional QC people lived by their professional standards, not by their employers’ approval. That’s part of what “professional” means. If their employers didn’t like the standards common to all the many working professionals, the professional could get a QC job somewhere else. Years after that stopped being true of editorial professionals, a first-rate typographic proofreader or QC person could still write his or her own ticket. Or just freelance, as I did. But eventually, they all found something better to do than work for people who no longer knew what QC required. (Or they worked, insecurely, at low salaries for publishers.)

Unlike almost anyone else producing résumés,* I’ve done editing, rewrite, writing, and editorial and typographic proofreading and quality control, for scholarly and commercial publishers, corporations, ad agencies, design studios, and specialized typographic production houses. So I know what serious QC requires (among other things, time, and an absence of BS), and how to deal with any questions that come up. I put in more time on review and quality control than cheap résumé services spend on the entire job. That’s part of what my résumé clients hire me for. No one else can hire me to do QC.


* I won’t swear to the “almost.”



“Perfect speech is like a jade-worker whose tool leaves no mark.”

— Arthur Waley, channeling Lao Tze   




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 or two rounds is typical. Sometimes one or two 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, so I reserve the right to limit the approval stage to three rounds.


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.

Revisions marked in PDFs are strongly discouraged, and may entail extra charges. Annotated PDFs may work well within a single organization, where an IT department sets things up and everyone’s using the same version of Acrobat, but it can be another matter when you send them outside that organization. Again, cross-version compatibility is the issue.

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. (You don’t have to bother about where the highlight starts or ends, as long as it guides me to the spot.) 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.



Then I’ll do the final package, with all documents in every digital format you might need for each: Word, plain text (ASCII), and PDF. You’ll get detailed instructions on when to use each format, and how.

WORD: The most important format, and normally the one you will send with your application or inquiry— because it is optimized for reading by humans, and because it is usually the only format HR and recruiters are accustomed to handling. (They are not accustomed to choosing between multiple formats if more than one is sent. They won’t read a plain-text résumé.)

PLAIN TEXT (ASCII): A Word résumé gives a messy result when pasted into Web forms—and it causes you extra trouble and distraction, too, which you don’t need while you’re finding your way through the typical on-line application process. If you use a Word résumé for this you’d have to break up and re-arrange the information while you’re in the middle of the application process. (You can’t optimize a Word résumé for this because then humans wouldn’t want to read it.)

I provide a specially-built plain-text version of your résumé that you can use for pasting piece by piece into on-line application forms. It’s built so that you can easily find your way about in it while you’re doing this. There are also some minor changes in the arrangement of information, for better compatibility with ATS processing.

(You can also upload the plain-text résumé in its entirety when an on-line application gives you the option of populating the forms with an uploaded résumé. However, it's best to populate the form manually rather than rely on the software to parse your résumé. In either case, however, the results will be much better than if you used a Word résumé.)

For more about plain-text résumés, see the article about them in the Résumé Encyclopedia.

PDF: Handy to have, but NOT usually the version of your résumé that you’ll send with your initial application. PDFs are common in some fields, such as engineering and IT, but even in those fields, you’d send them only to decision-makers after you’ve gotten past HR. They shouldn’t be sent to HR unless a PDF is specifically requested. (When in doubt, send the Word résumé. Don’t send a PDF just because it’s in the “list of acceptable formats.” PDFs are not compatible with ATS résumé-processing.)

For more about PDFs, see the article about them in the Résumé Encyclopedia.

PLUS MORE INFORMATION AND TOOLS: you’ll also get information about using the items in your package, including when to use each format. I also send some of my favorite tips about job-hunting. And I provide a free References Sheet template, with tips to get the most out of even that simple tool.

If you’ve ordered a cover-letters package and/or a LinkedIn profile, it may be sent in the résumé package, or it may follow a few days later. (I start the letters and the LinkedIn profile only after I’ve had your final approval of the information in the résumé.)



The layout of each résumé 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.) Résumés 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, multi-column layouts, etc.—will cause serious technical problems in the electronic transmission and processing which is normal for résumés today. A surprising number of résumé services don’t know about this, and their résumés tend to 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. Even common Microsoft Word formatting techniques can cause serious problems when used in résumés. 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 Résumé Encyclopedia.

Almost all of my résumés are done with the font commonly known as Times. There are strong reasons for this. See Fonts for Résumés, in the Résumé 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. There’s a list of some of them here.

With résumés, I use that typographic experience—and the technical production experience—to make plain-vanilla look as good as it possibly can, and to build documents that are easy for my clients to revise, and that will survive all the electronic processing that a résumé is subject to.

I don’t have anything to put here to show exactly what my résumés look like (much less read like), because that would mean posting one of my clients’ résumés. 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 résumé, but that just wouldn’t read right—unless perhaps I put a couple of days of work into it. And that résumé might not be for your field, so that yours would look different.

Instead of looking at an anonymized résumé, just think of the best-looking plain-vanilla resume you’ve ever seen, and imagine something that looks at least a bit better, for reasons you can’t define.* A résumé that will make a consistently professional visual impression. A résumé whose contents are so interesting that you won’t even be conscious of how it looks.


* 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, or at least feel, the difference. This principle was expressed in an essay, famous among typographers, by Beatrice Warde, entitled “The Crystal Goblet.” The principle applies to writing, too. This is where Crystal Résumés gets its name.



With the résumé thoroughly nailed down (and all the information and tips we send with it), you can go about the rest of your job search without worrying further about your résumé, or having to stop and fix it—or add to it something you forgot. Tweaking the résumé will rarely or never be necessary for any job within the range of objectives we’ve discussed. (That’s another benefit of our in-depth approach to information gathering.) You’ll save wasted time, aggravation, frustration, and perhaps a few lost opportunities.

It all adds up to a résumé 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 résumé will not only open doors now, it will be an excellent foundation for all your future résumés 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 résumé, you’ll be ready to jump on surprise opportunities—including opportunities with your current employer.

I’ve written hundreds of résumés since Crystal Résumés began in 2008. 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 résumés—see the Testimonials page.

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, I have a total confidentiality policy.






Fees, Payment, & Terms

Fees depend on your field and your level of experience. My fees are typical for high-end services. The time and effort I put into a résumé isn’t sustainable at the prices charged by conventional résumé writers. I learned that the hard way. I’ve been in this business since 2008.

The fees listed on the Services page should give you a good idea of what I’ll charge for your project. I’ll give an exact quote when we talk on the phone, after I know what field you’re in and your experience level. (It helps a lot if you e-mail me your existing résumé before we speak.)

For more about fee-setting polices, and price/value realities, see below. Fees are not negotiable.


Zelle   PayPal


Visa   MasterCard   American Express   Discover



Unfortunately, I cannot accept cards issued by non-U.S. banks.

I can also take checks and third-party payments, but I cannot begin work or commit to a schedule until the payment has cleared.

You can pay directly via Zelle, or with your credit card via PayPal. You don’t need a PayPal account. I’ll be notified the moment you pay. You’ll get a receipt immediately from Zelle or PayPal. I will acknowledge your payment as soon as possible—probably very shortly during office hours, otherwise within about 12 hours at most, perhaps longer on weekends.


• You will get an e-mail from Zelle with a request for payment.

• Log in to your online banking account or banking app.

• Click the link for Zelle on your account home page.

• The request will appear.

• Click “Pay Now.” Fill out the resulting form. (Your e-mail and mobile number are optional).

• Review your payment details, then click “Send.”

• You will receive a confirmation code.

• I will be notified of your payment immediately by e-mail.

PAYPAL PAYMENTS: It’s super easy. You don’t need to have a PayPal account. I send you an e-mail invoice via PayPal. Just follow the simple procedures in the invoice, to pay with the credit card of your choice or with your PayPal balance. PayPal will immediately send you an acknowledgement of your payment, and notify me as well.


Like all résumé services*, I require payment in advance before I commit to work or to a schedule. Like all résumé services*, I have a no-refund policy. For most projects, I require half on setting the schedule, before I start work, and the other half immediately after the in-depth interview is completed, before I start further work. BUT you don’t have to pay for add-ons (like cover letters) when you order your résumé. If you’re interested in optional services (cover letters, alternate-target résumés, etc.), you can wait until you’ve seen the approval version of your résumé. The price will be the same.

* If you think you’ve seen résumé 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.

SECURITY: I do not keep your credit-card information. If you pay me directly by credit card, I enter your information directly into the Converge gateway, the same secure connection used by many merchants and banks. (You can also pay via PayPal using your credit card, or securely from your bank account via Zelle.)

PAYMENT TIMING: Payment must be received before I begin work or commit time for a project. On most projects I require 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 businesses doing special-order work have a similar policy, for the same reason.)


I don’t haggle over fees. I know my market, I know the details of what my competitors offer, and the quality of their work, 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, on the basis of my experience since 2008, I believe that very few anywhere can approach my level of quality.

High-end fees cover the time and effort needed to deliver the best possible product. Less-valuable products are available for lower fees—from other résumé services, not from me. Some of them, but not all of them, give value for money and produce résumés that will increase your chances of getting a job. The better ones will do résumés that will increase your chances of getting the job you want. With résumés, you may not always get what you pay for, but you’ll never get anything you don’t pay for.

The one-low-price-fits-all résumé services you see all over the place are not going to give you much at all, and are certainly not what experienced people in skilled fields need.

For some price/value realities about résumés, see Cheap Résumés: Price/Value Realities in the Résumé Business, on the Tips & Myths page.

And there’s another reason you’ll get more for your money from me than you will from the volume-oriented national résumé mills. Unlike them, I don’t kick back a percentage to big-name “partners” in exchange for “partnerships” and being put on their “Best Résumé Writers” lists. I don’t spend money hiring people to post nice things about me all over the Web. (That’s what “social media marketing” means.) I don’t hire “influencers” or “ten-best” lists. I don’t try to outspend the big mills on Google, either, which could easily cost more than I gross. Deduct those expenses from what the résumé mills charge, along with big-company administrative overhead, and you’ll get a better idea of how much résumé value you get for those fees.

I think I also work more efficiently than my competitors, since I have professional experience that virtually all of them lack. So I can not only give better value for the money, I can give better value for the time.

Scheduling & Time Frame

Since I put in so much time and effort on each résumé, I can take only a limited number of jobs. The work has to be done in stages, and can’t be rushed. 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 the Résumé Consulting service, the process typically takes four weeks. 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 résumé. From that point I’ll typically need a week to ten days to prepare for the in-depth interview, and then two to three weeks to prepare an approval version of the résumé.

Cover letters may require an additional week. LinkedIn profiles will also add a few days. I don’t start on cover letters or LinkedIn profiles until I’ve had your final approval of the résumé, so that I can be sure the content is correct.

Rush service is not an option. Please don’t ask. A rushed résumé is an inferior résumé, and that’s not what I do.

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.

Scheduling depends in part on my workload—I’ll take that into account when I quote you a schedule. 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.

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 the interview to an earlier date is usually not possible.

At the approval stage, I can usually turn around revisions within 24 to 36 hours. Once I’ve had your final approval, I’ll usually get the final package to you within 24 to 48 hours.

Privacy & Confidentiality Policy

Crystal Résumés, and Ken Dezhnev, have a TOTAL PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY policy:

Crystal Résumés and/or Ken Dezhnev (hereinafter referred to as “I”) will never sell, share, transfer, or give customer information to anyone for any reason (except the required information given to Converge, our credit card gateway, for payment processing—this information is shared by any business that takes credit cards).

While I am performing work for you, I must be able to contact you with questions, to deliver approval versions, and to follow up if I have not received necessary feedback from you. (No one else connected with Crystal Résumés will ever contact you. No one else is connected with Crystal Résumés.)

Any such contacts will be by phone or e-mail, and I will keep in mind your preferences about which method to use, which phone numbers to use, and what hours to call. (I’ll ask you about these when we make our initial arrangements.) I’m careful about leaving messages on voicemail, which others might hear. No-one else will know that you’re working on a résumé. If, with your permission, I call or leave messages for you at your work number or work e-mail, I will not identify myself as a résumé service. (Typically, it will be something like, “Hi, this is Ken. We spoke on _____. I have a couple of questions regarding your documents.” E-mails to work e-mail addresses won’t be from the @crystalresumes account.)

I will never share or make public any information or images from which anything about you can conceivably be extracted or deduced—including the fact that you hired me to do your résumé. (That’s why the testimonials provided on this site are not named or traceable. And that’s why I don’t have any résumés for you to look at on the website. It’s remarkably hard to truly anonymize an executive or senior tech résumé so that it won’t be recognized by a colleague.)

I will, of course, never contact your employers in connection with work we do for you.

I will never disclose to anyone any personal information about you or the work Crystal Résumés has done for you, or the fact that I have done work for you.

I will never disclose to anyone any information that you have given me—whether personal information or business information.

After your order has been delivered, because I want your feedback, I may contact you myself, at your non-work address, no more than once for each order you place. If I contact you for this purpose, it will be by e-mail or surface mail only, never by phone or fax.

Free factual revisions for 30 days; correction of errors

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.

Eligibility for free revision is subject to my approval. In general, changes to factual content that don’t require redesigning or re-working any part of the résumé, 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 résumé 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 am 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” policy.

Editorial or typographic errors made by Crystal Résumés will be corrected without charge at any time. Corrections of editorial or typographic errors will usually be delivered by e-mail within about thirty-six hours.

My decision as to whether or not an editorial or typographic 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.

Other revisions

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

Revisions at this stage are usually things you can easily give me over the phone or as written instructions in an e‑mail message. For more complicated situations, see the procedures for the Approval Phase, above. 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.



Liability is limited to free and prompt correction of editorial and typographic errors that I acknowledge as such. (See the policy on revisions, above.)






Do you offer a guarantee? No résumé service offers a guarantee. Some résumé services offer what sound like guarantees, but they don’t stand up to examination. (Few skilled service providers of any kind offer meaningful guarantees. Real guarantees are usually for physical products with simple uses. Or they involve lengthy contracts drawn up by lawyers, and are apt to result in litigation.) For more on this, see Half-Up-Front Deals and “Guaranteed” Résumés, on the Tips & Myths page.


Do you have references? The total privacy and confidentiality policy means I don’t give out clients’ names to anyone—even first names. I don’t do anything from which anyone—for instance, a colleague—could deduce that I wrote a résumé for a particular person. I know that many of my clients couldn’t care less if anyone knew I did their résumé. One of them told his entire organization about me. But that’s the client’s decision. I think my clients appreciate my leaving that decision to them.

I do, however, have a page of samples of the feedback I’ve gotten. Hopefully, you’ve looked over this site. Assuming you find me plausible, my word on their authenticity is at least as trustworthy as anything else you’ll see on the Web. I’ve deliberately left them unedited. If I faked them, I think you’ll agree that at least I put vastly more effort—and vastly more skill—into making them sound real than do most of the people who post fake reviews all over the place—for the big résumé mills, and for all sorts of other products.




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The sage does first, when it is easiest, what the thoughtless does last, when it is hardest.

—collision between an Italian proverb and Lao Tze ch. 64