Everyone Wants to Help You With Your Resume

The list of companies offering resume writing, enhancement, and tracking continues to grow faster than you can say LinkedIn, with new vendors entering the market this summer.

You may have already heard of some of the resume managers, like ResumeBear. The Bear’ll follow your resume and tell you who’s opening it, forwarding it, and printing it. New features are on the way. Or you may have come across the Resume Donkey. The Donkey’ll rewrite your resume, using professional writers.

Let’s not forget VisualCV. Recruiting-industry junkies might recognize this guy’s resume using the VisualCV tool.

Likely, you’ve heard of Zapoint, which will “take a resume and transform it.”

And a friend of mine (who has to toil in the uncomfortable environs of Laguna Beach) will be launching a “free, online professional resume builder.” Jeff says his new tool will allow employees to create or redo their resumes the way employers want ’em.

Those are just a few. You’ve got your Pongos and your Emurses; you’ve got your Resume Creator, Resume Maker, Resumizer, and resume everything else, some of which seem a little blah compared to all the new multimedia sites out there like VisualCV.

Now, at least three new players, some you may not know about, are joining the field:

  • Verbal Summary. Recruiters can use it either to present a candidate to a hiring manager, or to describe a job to candidates. The important part is the audio; see its demos. What Verbal Summary’s doing that’s a little different is focusing on third-party recruiters (the founder was amazed to see how little money is spent by agencies to differentiate their candidates compared to how much is spent on sourcing, social media, tracking applicants, and branding). Verbal Summary is $50 a month, $500 a year paid in full.
  • FacesForce, in beta, obviously excluded the word resume and its many variations, deviations, and permutations, from its name; the company hopes to be more than just for job-seekers. FacesForce wants to stay with people throughout their careers, such as if people want to record a video to pitch new business. Pricing, it says, is simple.
  • Rezbuzz. This offshoot of Corp Shorts offers a long list of features, but in a nutshell, candidates pay $495 to have a resume made, and housed for a year. For the time being, at least, companies access the resumes for free. It sees consistency as its advantage: one community of quality professional resumes, not a hodge-podge of do-it-yourself bios. The CEO is executive search veteran Mark Sadovnick, who’s enjoying the good PR Rezbuzz is getting.

The careers columnist Joyce Lain Kennedy, author of Resumes For Dummies, says that when it comes to all these new fancy resume variations, she’s “up for anything new and improved that connects people with jobs.”

But, she warns, “the new wave of infinite Internet spotlighting can have unintended consequences.”

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For one, Kennedy says, the multimedia features “revive with a heavy dose of steroids the classic photo-on-resume argument — legal exposure to charges of bias against protected classes.”

Kennedy also says the “wild card for the recruiting industry is what will happen when the federal government takes an updated look at discrimination and the ‘Internet Walking, Talking Applicant.'”

One of Kennedy’s favorite resume writers is Kathryn Troutman. Troutman is the CEO of The Resume Place, among the oldest resume services in the U.S. still operated by the original owner. Her firm’s sales doubled this year over last.

Troutman explains the multimedia-resume startup boom this way.

“Entrepreneurs recognize that the vast majority of potential customers have little idea of how to go about living their job hunts in public — adding videos, video clips, audio bites, and even RSS feeds to flesh out their digital beings. Resume providers are counting on a lack of technical skills, especially in adults of earlier generations, to boost demand for their wares. That’s probably why anyone who understands technology and writes well, but who lacks deep pockets for heavy investment in other industries, decides to start a resume-writing service on the cheap and jumps in. This inclination is especially true if the entrepreneur has a background in HR, recruiting, or some other claim to career management fame.”

Troutman says that if history repeats itself, the industry will shrink in a few years when the job market revives. “By then,” she says, “job seekers will have become more adept at preparing their own digital presentations.”


19 Comments on “Everyone Wants to Help You With Your Resume

  1. The challenge with these kinds of services is that they commoditize the candidate. The same template, the same tired phrases … everyone looks the same. Today, it is about being an A-player who stands out in a crowd … not an average Joe who blends in with the competition.

    Cindy Kraft, the CFO-Coach

  2. In retail we always said that “One size fits all” really means “One size fits nobody.”

    You have a captive group of job seekers, many unsure of new technology and most having never conducted a true job search. I would imaging some of these solutions look like a silver bullet.

    In reality, most provide a boiler-plate looking resume, rehashed career advice, some brief training on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and posting a resume up on the internet for a year.

    These are the dating sites of the late 90’s. One or two will actually provide a valuable service and survive and the rest will go silently into the night.

    Brad Attig
    Managing Partner

  3. The problem with resumes is no matter how well written one is, the content is still self authored and hence questionable. The best case scenario would be to have a combination of self authored data (work history, education, accomplishments, etc) and validated scientific data. ResumeFit has developed a unique solution that does just this. Candidates complete a 15 minute Soft Skill Survey that allows us to insert their assessment results directly at the end of their resume, and we then digitally sign the document so that it cannot be altered. The end result is a resume that better presents a candidates work place traits and behaviors, and one that allows employers to search against validated soft skills on the back end.

  4. Pure candidates in the diluted pool
    As jobless rates climb, so do applicant to hire ratios.
    This dilutes the candidate pool.
    Resume mills may actually be creating more information waste in the staffing process, adding a drip, drip, drip of subjective candidate data. This can add costs to capturing, storing and exploring each alternative resume source. Each new service provider is creating unique structures and formats etc. This can cause dilution of recruiting resources.

    Resume based approaches are still a HOPE filled model. The candidate HOPES she/he used the magic words targeted by searching methods. The recruiter HOPES to find the data to differentiate among candidates in a meaningful and valuable manner.

    Organizations that are adding robust filtering to their own careers sites with objective data gathering and engaging experiences produce highly concentrated candidate pools. Leveraging the in-house career site to produce pure candidate pools is where the real value is for both the candidate and the recruiter.

    Joseph P. Murphy
    Shaker Consulting Group
    Developers of the Virtual Job Tryout®

  5. Here’s my thoughts… if no one sees your resume who cares how pretty the grammar is. Who cares how nicely formatted it is. Who cares how much you paid for it.

    The reality is the entire web recruitment system is a complete mess.
    * Job boards are sending as many candidates to the employers as they can… That’s what they are paid to do, regardless of experience and qualifications.
    * ATS systems are totally broken; great candidates are getting told they aren’t qualified, recruiters can’t use them, and all they do is keep recruiters away from ALL candidates.

    Most of the “resume profile” systems above are nothing different than a slimmed down version of LinkedIn, with no connectivity, no search ranking in google or other search engines, therefore the marketing is left up the to the job seekers. At least LinkedIn profiles are highly ranked in the search engines, its free, and there are 500,000 HR and recruiting professionals using the platform.

    We all know that Connections trump Credentials. Mark and Gerry at CareerXRoads pointed out that 32% of employers were hiring at least 1 in 4 candidates through referrals.

    In in those referral interviews, the resume isn’t the primary driver, the conversation usually is about the job, and the reference.

    Job boards are doing what the market demands of them, helping candidates market themselves.

    The problem really seems to be teaching job seekers how to build a referral network, so they have a 25% chance of getting hired, vs a 1 in 300 chance, if applying through the corporate career site or job board.

  6. The feedback we have received from candidates is that they want an innovative way to present themselves to prospective employers, without breaking the bank.

    While these ‘resume-building’, ‘cv creation’ services are useful to some degree, the problem can be that these in fact create a generic CV pool as more and more people avail of the services. This excludes the fact they can often over-charge jobseekers in the process.

    If a candidate wants to stand out in the crowd they need to show what they can do succinctly and with evidentiary data. They also, in most cases, want the chance to ‘present’ themselves to employers at the earliest opportunity i.e. the classic ‘if only I could get to the interview stage I could REALLY show them that I am the best choice.’

    In this regard we have been witnessing the growth of new technology, not least in terms of our video CV product, TalkingCV – and had satisfied candidates as a result.

    Similarly, recruiters are happy to use the tool as a first-round video interview, saving them time and money, and also opening up a larger pool of candidates worldwide – see http://bit.ly/pyBcr for a case study supporting this.

    In essence, in this saturated market candidates see the need to market themselves – services like those detailed in the article and our solution, TalkingCV, will be used more and more as the number of positions available continues to dwindle.

  7. Regarding the “internet walking, talking candidate” [aka video resumes or resume videos or interview videos]– it’s a platform that’s here to stay, and not a trend. The legal paranoia will go away… as did the hesitancy of senior candidates to put their resumes online just a few short years ago.

    We must remember that NEW means CHANGE equals FEAR, and then the market calms down when ROI is experienced. So this down economy will actually, IMHO, be instrumental in bringing these info-rich profiles into play for many companies looking to save time and money in their hiring processes. These tools give much more interviewing data upfront so they cut out weeks in the traditional process (initial phone calls, culture matching cross-department interviews, first-interview rounds, and even skills testing or personality assessments).

    After all, you can’t give the market something (free public information about job seekers on Linkedin, Facebook etc) and then take it away… This never works. Of course there will be new rules and slight tweaks in the viewable amount/format of data about people (e.g. facebooks recent policy changes)but this “full disclosure” world of online data is here to stay.

    And we won’t see litigation about these until the systems become more sophisticated in their dashboards — providing who/what/when/where information about viewing behavior.

    InterviewStudio.com is one tool that certainly minimizes the lawsuit potential in that it displays no still photo images and gives equal ranking to resumes, endorsements, social media data and the video portions. See some examples here: http://www.interviewstudio.com/DisplayArchive.do

    Or view Thaddeus Gunn’s personal showcase here: http://www.interviewstudio.com/show/Thaddeus/Gunn/18

    We have a lot to say about this subject on our blog: http://www.interviewstudioblog.com

  8. I believe there is way too much focus on the resume. Yes, it can showcase what you have done to some extent, but from the employer side it is difficult to differentiate one candidate from another after a certain point.

    There is a better way to find talent, and that is what we are creating over at GrouperEye.com. The main concept behind our platform from a student’s perspective is, “Instead of letting my resume speak for me, let me show you, directly, what value I can personally create for your company.” Have a look http://www.groupereye.com/launchprogram/.

  9. Colleen,
    Just because someone can hide their photo on interivew studio doesn’t make the site OFCCP compliant.

    Employers are already being audited by the OFCCP and DOL on the definition of an applicant.

    I do think technology can be taken away, and the goverment, in its infinite wisdom, is doing just that.

    The OFCCP burdens of resume database searches has been a huge burden on both employers and job boards. Because the burdens are so high, many job boards just said, we don’t comply, while some employers completely stopped “sourcing” resume databases.

    So, can the technology be taken away? It already has happened.

    The question about social media and public resumes will be an interesting one because from what I hear the DOL is hiring lots of auditors. LinkedIn, Google, and other “public resume / profiles sites” don’t provide search logging and auditing, which is required by the OFCCP.

    It’s not a question of if, but Who and When the DOL suits the first company.

  10. Thanks for reading, Jonathan. Not quite sure where you got the idea that someone can “hide their photo” … there are no photos on our site…

    Regarding your comments about OFCCP and compliance, you might want to review the Webinar we did with the EEOC about this exact topic. http://www.interviewstudio.com/DisplayWebinars.do

    So, let’s discuss this. The OFCCP enforces the E.O. 11246 that prohibits employment discrimination by government contractors. It is not about video… or photos, but about human behavior when considering any data about a job applicant.

    Technology, when used to its fullest extent (i.e. not just for entertainment or cool display purposes) can, in fact, aid employers with compliance instead of hindering it. Consider that technology today can prohibit viewers from clicking on certain areas of content UNTIL another area of content has been reviewed and ranked.

    Technology will never be “taken away” but it may be tweaked to be utilized in the best way for compliance purposes.

    Will the OFCCP and DOL forbid the use of this technology and these mashups that provide more due diligence to employers? I seriously doubt it. However, they may create rules for technology vendors for creating very tight systems which lead the viewers of these online profiles (HR and Recruiters and Hiring Managers) through a series of checks and balances. Code can track who views what, when, where, etc as an audit trail, but even further, the same set of code can force a viewer to rate candidates only within narrow compliance guidelines according to job description language and specific skillsets, and words used to answer questions, for instance — no matter what the viewer is looking at, be it a resume or a video or an assessment test report.

    The issue may become one of technology “covering the butts of employers” rather than helping the protected class of candidates to get reviewed without prejudice.

  11. Thank you so much for posting this. People really need to watch who and what they trust. I prefer to utilize a trained professional for services which require knowledge and expertise. i.e medical, legal advice.

    It’s amazing how many “experts” and “solutions” have surfaced during challenging times…A recruiter is not a resume writer – nor is a resume writer a recruiter. In fact, there are local recruiters-turned-resume writers with our work posted as samples on their website – You can be sure they’ll be notified.

    At the same time, while I like and teach VisualCV – This technology will not generate your content as it should be to make you compelling, relevant and competitive. This is why you utilize a trained professional


    Jeremy Worthington

  12. As both a recruiter AND a resume consultant, the problem I have with “services” are:
    1) If they are long-established, such as career coaches, they have *no idea* how current search technology in the ATS realm works. I cannot *tell* you how many resumes I see that are completely ineffective if I pull up a boolean search and don’t follow current resume standards.
    2) One size does NOT fit all. Personalized service, spending TIME with a candidate/client to ask questions and develop a customized *set* of resumes and then to *teach* them how to continue on is something you can only get 1:1.
    3) Cost and *hidden agendas*. The sales pitches that accompany using anything like Jobfox just stresses candidates out more.

    From a recruiting standpoint, anything using visual media representing the candidate is verboten under North American privacy and employment laws.

    I have a free blog full of info on resumes, job seeking, interviewing, etc. etc.

  13. Just to clarify:

    The blurb above hasn’t mentioned RezBuzz’s video production. RezBuzz provides professionally produced video resumes online as part of the yearly subscription, so that applicants have video resumes, paper resumes, and access to an online networking community. For more information, visit RezBuzz.com.

  14. Unfortunately a lot of people writing a resume simply can’t afford for these great services. The good news though is that plenty of excellent resume writing tips can be found for free online. It is vitally important to research these free resources to make the resume as good as possible

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