Bias to Professionally Written Resumes: Is This a Real Thing?
I had an interesting conversation with friends about resumes this past month.
One person said a hiring manager they know won’t read any resumes that look like someone else created them.
Another person wanted to know why outsourcing this task wasn’t considered savvy. Why would a hiring manager negatively judge someone for seeking assistance with their resume?
I recognize that as a professional resume writer, I’m biased too, but here are my thoughts:
1. Job seekers are under enormous pressure to produce stellar resumes (and get a job).
Seeking assistance with the tough task of writing a modern resume is smart. After all, we hire professionals to help us maintain our cars, improve our health, coach us, and do our taxes because we don’t feel confident at these tasks. Hiring a resume writer is no different.
The most important thing is to ensure that the resume is an honest reflection of you and your work, which brings me to my second point.
2. A good resume writer doesn’t just type up work history or make up facts.
Truly excellent resume writers employ a collaborative strategy that analyzes the alignment between candidate and target. My clients provide all content and must support all claims. Where they often need the most help (and reap the biggest benefit) is identifying strengths, unearthing great examples, understanding target requirements, and learning ‘what matters most.’ I do so much more than just write a resume.
I work with savvy executives every week who recognize the value of resume investment and want to present their best self ‘on paper.’ It pays off.
If a hiring manager thinks a resume LOOKS to good to be true, they should be using other hiring tactics to investigate; not immediately passing a potentially great candidate over.
When I posted this topic on Linkedin, all types of people weighed in with their thoughts (including recruiters, hiring personnel, and career professionals). The majority felt that judging a resume by look alone was poor hiring practice.
I can’t say I was surprised, but I was super relieved. Job search is tough, and many people are looking for a way to get noticed. If their resume looks excellent, it means they cared enough to invest in this critical career tool. Give them a chance!
What are your thoughts on disqualifying an applicant because they hired help with their resume?
Here are just some of the comments shared in the LinkedIn discussion:
“Disqualifying someone on the basis of hiring a professional sounds like an outstanding way to eliminate from consideration the most career-minded and career-invested part of the talent pool.” – Ed Han
“Recruiters need to sort out their priorities here. If a person writes their own resume and is unable to identify and display skills etc. in the ‘correct’ format then the resume is rejected. If they go to someone for assistance with communicating the required message then they are rejected again. This is a no win situation. The recruiter misses the opportunity to hire a potentially excellent employee and the applicant misses the opportunity of a job that they really want and are suited to.” – Kevin Lonergan
“I’ve seen both great and horrible resumes. I couldn’t tell you if the person I’m speaking to actually did the writing. What I care about is if the person can speak to it and back up their claims written down on the paper.” – Bernie Cobb
“How in the world would someone know whether the candidate created the resume or a professional created it? … A professional resume writer will help that professional — look professional and compliant to the job opportunity. Again, who cares if the candidate wrote the resume or not?” – Eileen Kent
“When I first started writing resumes as a Recruiter I had someone ask me how I could “work both sides” of the equation. I think this thought stems from a belief that resume writers produce a product that is beyond the candidate. My goal is always to present a client in an authentic, value-focused manner. … Knowing when to seek advice, when to collaborate and when to outsource is a valuable business skill and hiring a professional resume writer is an easy way to demonstrate this competency! (In my biased opinion). :)” – Angela Watts
“Work smarter not harder. Resume building is an art especially since different industries look for different things. What a way to shoot yourself in the foot while looking for talent. Someone who recognizes their weakness (or inexperience) in something shouldn’t be punished for finding ways to make themselves a success.” – Tabitha Swain