free resume evaluations

I’m fascinated by the concept of free resume evaluations. Many online sites offer them. When someone uploads a resume to one of these sites, they receive back what appears to be a customized appraisal that acknowledges what works, and explains what doesn’t work. The recipient is amazed by the time and effort that undoubtedly went into this analysis, and if he or she can afford it, hires the service to revise the resume properly.

Aha, I figured. That must be how these companies make money. They can recoup the cost of time spent analyzing the resume because most people – upon learning how bad their resume is – will pay to have it re-written.

But I think I’m wrong. It appears that these free evaluations are little more than sophisticated software programs. How did I come to this conclusion?

Recently, two clients each forwarded me a free resume evaluation from two different providers. The first one came from a client in the midwest whose resume I had written, and the second one was from a prospective client in Brooklyn, NY who thought the free evaluation made so much sense, he wanted me to revise his old resume to accommodate the recommendations made (I think he assumed it would cost less if I did it).

But take a look at these excerpts from both resume companies:

#1 Unfortunately, your existing resume gives the impression that you are a “doer” and not an “achiever.” Too many of your job descriptions are task-based and not results-based – telling what you did, rather than illustrating what you achieved. Employers and recruiters are looking for results-oriented resumes that help them envision how you could be an asset to their organizations. Your resume needs to show how you’ve made a difference or exceeded expectations, preferably with quantifiable information or data.

#2 From the way the resume is worded, you come across as a “doer,” not an “achiever.” Too many of your job descriptions are task-based and not results-based. This means that they tell what you did, instead of what you achieved. This is a common mistake for non-professional resume writers.

Now, I didn’t put that last line in bold type – the free resume evaluation service did. And yes, the second quote was in response to the resume that I – a professional resume writer – had written.


What else looked strangely identical?

#1 When I read your resume, I didn’t find compelling language that brings your work to life. I saw many passive words and non-action verbs. Phrases like “managed” and “served as” are overused, monotonous, and add no value to your resume. Strong action verbs, used with compelling language to outline exemplary achievements, are essential parts of a well-constructed resume.

#2 Your resume lacks compelling language that brings your work to life. It has many passive words and non-action verbs. Phrases like “managed,” and “served” are overused, monotonous and add no value to your resume. A well-constructed resume uses compelling language to outline exemplary achievements.

One of the clients is in his early 30s and has been working for about 13 years, yet the resume evaluation noted this about his resume:

It looks like your resume includes a career summary instead of an objective statement. Based on your level of experience, we recommend starting your resume with an objective statement, which is more common for recent graduates and candidates who are earlier in their careers.

Wrong. First of all, the client was not a recent graduate. Additionally, no resume writer who knows anything about contemporary hiring practices would encourage a candidate to start a resume with an “objective statement.” Why? Because we know that it’s not the candidate’s objective that matters – the only “objective” that counts in this context is that of the recruiter, whose objective it is to hire the best candidate!

And what my client’s original resume included  wasn’t a career summary, but rather a “summary of qualifications,” which articulated his professional brand and value proposition, and was precisely what a resume should lead with.

So bottom line – is a free resume evaluation worth anything? In my opinion, no. Nor are those websites such as Jobscan that run your resume and a job description that you provide through an algorithm to calculate how well the resume matches the job posting particularly accurate. I was asked to test Jobscan by its CEO; so I did, using 5 separate resumes and job details. The results were comical: 3 of my resumes scored very low, but 2 of those 3 candidates were invited to interview for the position. Of the 2 that received high scores, one candidate was still in the job market.

Do you want a free resume evaluation that doesn’t involve software, but instead the expertise of a HR professional? Click here to learn about my pricing and process.


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