Getting back into a civilian job search is a tough transition. One aspect of the job search is having a resume ready to present with all of the reasons why you should be hired for the job. But what actually makes a good resume? The expectation for what should be on a resume is the subject of countless articles and varies for each place of employment.
Though the expectations of what should be on a resume change, that does not mean it is an impossible task. However, it does mean that you may need some assistance with your resume.
No one is perfect at resume writing, but there are plenty of resources that can help you shape your own resume into a great example of what you are capable of doing. Here are several options available that are great resources for getting the best possible resume critique.
A Professional Resume Writer
The obvious solution would be to go directly to someone who has years of experience with writing. There are many writing agencies and independent contractors that are happy to take a look at your resume for a fee, whether it be a lump sum for the project or an hourly rate.
But how do you know if someone who has advertised themselves as capable of crafting a perfect resume actually knows how to write and edit great resumes? Anyone with an English degree should be able to help anyone with their resume, but the truth is that not every writer is equipped with the skills it takes to write a great resume.
For example, a local author may not have the type of technical writing experience that would help you get your dream job. They might be really great at writing compelling stories or mystery novels, but might not have the knowledge it takes to write a resume for the modern job market. Someone who has just graduated with an English degree could potentially have had relevant writing experience during their college career, but it is not guaranteed.
Luckily, most writers are multi-faceted and capable, but take your time and research your options before investing in a professional writer. Take a look at local listings in the newspaper or online to find someone locally to look over your resume. Do not be afraid to ask them questions and be weary of scams. Ask them for past samples of their work. A good resume writer will be more than happy to provide everything that is asked for and are understanding about it.
A Close Friend
Best friends know all of your best and worst qualities. They may also remember things about yourself and your qualifications that you forgot to include in your resume. Ask a friend who knows you particularly well if they could take a look at your resume. Ask them what they think that you could improve on or what could be missing.
Keep in mind that a friend – unless they just happen to be a professional writer – should not be the sole source of a resume critique. They are, however, a great resource to have around as a support system and an honest critic. To summarize, do not underestimate the valuable feedback a good friend can give you.
Libraries don’t just have books or host children’s story time. Libraries have an abundance of resources for their communities, including workshops for resume critiques and even job-searching resources. Most libraries have listings on their website or on social media, but the best way to find out for certain is to go directly to your local library and ask.
Don’t worry – they won’t yell at you for talking if you are asking about their vast resources readily available for someone like you. On the contrary, they will probably be thrilled that you are investing in the many fantastic resources available that are typically underused.
Career Centers and Unemployment Offices
Local career centers and unemployment offices have people on-hand to help you with your resume for either a reduced rate or even for free. Do not be afraid to reach out to them for help! Their job is specifically to help many people like you find a job as quickly as possible, so they only have your best interests in mind.
In order to find local unemployment offices, go to Eligibility.com. They have a listing of all available unemployment offices or related centers that could help you. You can also do a quick search on your favorite search engine to find similar resources. Similarly to if you were hiring a private contractor to look at your resume, feel free to do some research before taking the time to go to a local agency.
Colleges and Universities
If you happen to be enrolled in a higher education program, then take a look at what kind of resources they offer their students. There are typically career centers on campus that are ready to help you get hired from step one. They have seen many resumes and are more than happy to take a look at yours as well! Remember, their priority is helping you to succeed, so take advantage of what is being offered to you.
Veteran Support Services
Who better to look at your resume than someone who values your military service and knows how capable it has made you for the modern work force? Veteran support service offices are a step up from a normal career center or unemployment office because they specialize in working with people post-military service. They will even know how to carefully weave your military service into your resume in a way that highlights your service during and after enlistment, a common concern for many veterans. These services are available through military-oriented charities, colleges, universities, and more.
Other Important Things to Keep in Mind When Getting a Resume Critique
Remember that finding someone to look over your resume is only one part of the process. Keep these tips in mind during your journey:
1. Don’t Be Offended by Feedback
Hopefully, by reading this, you understand the importance of fleshing out a resume before submitting it to employers, but it is not uncommon for someone to be very sensitive about their writing. Keep in mind that no one likes to hear anything remotely negative about their writing abilities, but also know that every writer – no matter how skilled they are – also goes through a rigorous feedback process.
The same thing applies for resume writing. If you are not getting some sort of constructive feedback on your resume, do not assume it is completely perfect and nothing needs to be changed. As a matter of fact, you should always be weary of services that only find fantastic things about your writing. A good editor should always be ready to point out things to improve on with any kind of writing. If they do not, that is a warning sign of someone who is wasting your time and your well-earned money.
2. Getting Several Perspectives is a Really Great Thing to Do
There is no rule saying you can only use one of these options for a professional resume critique. Having several opinions can really help you shape your resume to be the best that it can be and bring out its full potential. Maybe ask a few friends as well as a career support service and have a professional resume editor to take a final look. Maybe you just have time to ask a few friends for help. Either way, several opinions are better than none.
Of course, if the need for a good resume is more urgent, go directly to someone who is a professional, but the more time you can devote to crafting a great resume, the better.
3. Compare Yourself to Past and Current Employees
We don’t recommend asking a place of employment in which you want to apply to look over your resume, of course. Instead, do some research about where you are applying. Do they have a mission statement that values certain personable qualities? Do they have features on certain employees who really go above and beyond? What qualities do they value in their workers?
We know that doing research takes extra time, but it could actually cut time on your job search. If you are taking the time beforehand to research exactly what a place of employment is interested in, you are already prepared for a potential interview and related questions – for example, “what do you know about us?” It is a more common question than people realize. By prepping your resume to reflect their values, the more likely you will be called in for an interview and getting the job. It can even help weed out jobs that would not be the best fit for you and allow you to better focus on jobs that are.
What resume critique services worked the best for you? Let us know where you personally found the best help.