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One bad apple doesn’t ALWAYS spoil the whole bunch

Today, an “innocent” link floated by in the Twitter stream. I’m normally a “live and let live, you’re entitled to your opinion” kinda gal, but when my entire industry is bashed, I have to take a stand. It doesn’t matter the original post is from April 2009. Broad brush generalizations about ANY industry serve no one.

This is the post: “Resume Writer Ripoff – Why not buy better drugs? (tips for the job search)” (And yes. I realize I’m driving traffic to a negative post, but sometimes you “gotta do what you gotta do” to circumvent that negativity.)

The site is selective about allowing comments, so rather than wait to see if I pass moderation muster, I’ll post “the other side of the story” on my own blog.

Here’s my response:

Painting the resume writing profession with such a negative broad brush is akin to saying all used-car dealers are crooks, all lawyers are sharks and many of the other ridiculous generalizations permeating our society today.

Yes. Absolutely. There are rip-offs out there — as in any other profession on earth.

To say “this is the general process” casts negative aspirations on those of us who poke and prod and cajole and spend hours ferreting out the career stories that differentiate our clients from the rest of the pack. And offer ongoing support during the process — frequently at no additional fee.

“Well, I believe that an excellent resume writer spends a lot of time talking with you and produces very few resumes.” You’re correct in this assertion. A good writer seldom goes back and forth more than once, maybe twice with a document. I don’t have time to tweak a document 15 times. I do the homework and research up front so by the time I deliver, it’s usually a slam dunk.

This line intrigued me:
“…when pressed on ‘what is your resume writing process” I got a lot of hand-waving. I should have stopped right there, but all these people had told me ‘his resume helped me get a job’, so I went forward.”

Personally, I’ve found when I don’t listen to my gut, I usually get burned. Sounds like peer pressure overrode common sense and now an entire industry is being blamed for bad research and decision-making.

I’m not foolish enough to think my CPRW credential gave me mind-reading capabilities. I won’t work with a client that doesn’t understand there is a lot of heavy-lifting and introspection involved in creating effective sales and marketing documents. It’s up to them to provide the career details so I can develop a solid presentation. I also expect them to research their industry so they are aware of what the “buyer is buying” — what the companies are hiring — so the document is focused on easing corporate pain.

As I said, there is “bad” in every profession. But failure to do due-diligence and establish expectations up front is not indicative of a bad industry. It indicates a lazy-job seeker, looking for a panacea without being willing to put forth the effort it takes to find a quality writer that meets their expectations.

Bash the specific provider, if you must, but don’t put true professionals or the entire industry in the same bucket because of a bad decision on the job seekers part.


PS: My dear friend  and quadruple-certified resume writing colleague Rosa Vargas started to post a comment a here, but ended up with so much to say on the topic, it turned into a full blown post on her own blog. It’s definitely worth the read. Check it out.

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  1. Karen Siwak says:

    I came across the post a while ago and had the same response you did. What kind of fool buys a professional service without having fully investigated the service being provided, and when inevitably disappointed, lambastes the entire industry?

    As it turns out, a clever fool. He is marketing an alternative – presumably the “better drug” he references in his title – which is a resume template that people can simply plug in their text into. And we know how well served jobseekers are by resume templates, don’t we?

    • Dawn says:

      Thanks Karen.

      Resume templates … *shudder*. ‘Nuff said.

      Like I said, it’s fine to have an opinion about a specific service, but don’t throw writers like you, me and many other dedicated professionals into the same basket with the individual providing less than stellar products and service. There’s a big difference between the scenario described in the original post and working with a writer who commits to their craft through professional associations, continuing education and certifications.

      Appreciate the solidarity. Who knew we were so reviled? 🙂

  2. Excellent post, Dawn, and one our industry needs to stand behind. There are so many aspects to the job search and this is the worst economy in 80 years. Employers are being much more selective and cautious in hiring while at the same time being inundated with 1,000s of resumes for even low level positions. Having a partner in your search is critical and you need to be able to keep abreast of the latest tips, strategies, and tools in the process.

    Yes, you are driving traffic to very old post on their site (which incidentally is a low-traffic site to begin with) but you are also answering a question that may be in the minds of every job seeker out there who is wondering if they should “invest” in professional help. And your high visibility on Twitter makes it more likely that this post will be read.

    As Karen mentions, he is pushing an alternative product but all of us write for the resume books that are readily available on the market for $12-$30 dollars. It is an art to truly work with a client to understand their gifts, talents, and abilities and tell the story of their accomplishments in a way that promotes them as the best candidate for the position they are targeting.

    Thank you for being a resource for your colleagues to help you spread the word that there are high caliber individuals in the industry who care so much about their clients and have invested in research and training to stay on the cutting edge of the industry.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JulieWalraven, Amy L. Adler. Amy L. Adler said: #Jobseekers: Do your research. RT @JulieWalraven: via @DawnBugni–> One bad apple >>great response>>: #resumes […]

  4. Kimba Green says:

    If we, jobseekers, could get it all from a book or template then why are there so many quality resume writers?

    Bashing one product to get notice to your own product is not the way to do good business but he isn’t doing good business. Hopefully quality jobseekers can see this. If not…

  5. Dawn says:

    Kimba –

    You said a mouthful: “Bashing one product to get notice to your own product is not the way to do good business.” The writer of the original post is certainly entitled to his opinion, but not at the expense of an entire industry.

    You know us. Have you ever met a more dedicated group, committed to helping and job seeker success??? Sure. I do this for a living, but I do what I can to help in between, client or not. If we weren’t willing to help, initiatives like #JobAngels and #HireFriday and Careerealim’s (now defunct)Twitter Advice Project (TAP) wouldn’t exist on Twitter. They’re all volunteer-driven by professionals, giving of their time freely. And would I spend an hour on the phone with someone I know can’t, at this point, afford my services, because I still want to do what I can to help? OK. Off my soapbox.

    Like I said, there’s scum in every profession. But one scum does not an entire profession define.

    Thanks for chiming in.

  6. Thanks, Dawn! Your thoughtful post adds to readers’ understanding of how professional resume writers work with our clients to help them reach career success.

    I also love your follow-up comment about the volunteer activities of career professionals. It’s so true! I can’t think of a single colleague I know who wouldn’t happily offer advice, their time, and other resources to help someone move forward in pursuing their job search and managing their career.

    I am proud to have you as a colleague! Thank you for being such a wonderful ambassador for the career development profession.

    • Dawn says:

      Shahrzad –

      Thanks for adding your voice to this discussion. Nice to have you here!!

      I cannot tell you how many times I’ve stood in a store or at a social gathering sharing tidbits of job search or resume advice with a complete stranger. I’m willing to bet you do the same, as do most of our colleagues.

      Like you, I’m hard-pressed to think of one who would walk away without offering at least a smidgen of assistance — paying client or not. I guess that’s why I had such a visceral response to that post. I KNOW how much we give, how much time we spend honing our skills, writing blog posts, tweeting job search advice, answering questions from distant acquaintances — at least two of my blog posts come from those types of exchanges, as a matter of fact. I KNOW how much money we spend on professional memberships, continuing education, resource materials, certifications, conferences … the list goes on and on.

      Perhaps the best thing about this industry is the collegial spirit of helping we have toward each other too. If I have a question about business operations, strategy, technology, client relations, you name it, all I have to do is ask. Someone jumps in to help — either through one of our organization e-lists, on Twitter, Facebook or on the phone. That level of support translates into exponential expertise for any job seeker willing to invest in themselves and their future. Janice Worthington (Executive Career Coach) put it best, “Hiring a career professional is a lot like the Verizon commercial. One person is in the forefront, but there’s an entire network standing behind them ready to help if needed.”

      We’re all ambassadors Shahrzad, conveying the value of professional career support while helping one job seeker at time find professional bliss.

      Thrilled we share the same profession and even happier for the chance to get to know you better through social media.

      See you on the Interwebz. 🙂

  7. Wow!

    Your substantive post, combined with the pithy comments: not sure I can add value. But you know me, I’ll try!

    Bottom line: I too, am mortified (and disgusted) when an industry or group of individuals is summarily ‘bashed.’ Having been in this industry for nearly 13 years (fall 1997 was my professional resume writing debut), I have bled word bullets, investigated writing and careers strategies, invested in courses, attended global conferences, connected and collaborated with colleagues (like you!), trained and practiced in the art of page design, absorbed and responded to the angst of my clients, helping, coaching, consulting, bearing down on their goals, pushing, encouraging, insisting, cheering them on …. and MORE.

    In a hand-ful of cases, I even parted ways with a resistant or belligerent job seeker who entered into an agreement with me only to prove s/he harbored some of the feelings the Resume Writer Ripoff author wrote about (and wasn’t willing to overcome those attitudes). In most, cases, though, even when individuals’ opinions of our industry are scarred, I can transform their objections and opinion of us via hands-on, in-depth and focused service on their behalf.

    All the while, learning the critical, tough, harsh, joyful aspects of being the CEO of my own business, and often embracing the aphrodisiacal effect of a job-search candidate success story to which I contributed.

    In our industry, there are 100s (if not thousands) of TOP-TIER writers and strategists who not only care about their clients’ needs, but also are savvy and forward-thinking business professionals who pragmatically, intuitively, smartly and assertively work to drive and execute RESULTS!

    Dawn, you are one of the best in the industry, and I am honored to support your message, hereto!


    • Dawn says:

      Jacqui –

      You bring value every where you go!!

      I couldn’t have said this better myself. The only thing I would dare add, is the lesson you’ve taught me:

      “A rising tide lifts all ships.”

      That defines our industry. That define our commitment to our clients and job seekers at large — client or not.

      THANK YOU for adding your value to this important topic and your kind words.

  8. I still “owe” you a comment. Do I need to tell you this was a very fantastic, thought provoking and writing infusing post? Let’s not forget, very spot-on. You brave soul, taking on the “fight.” I got your back!

    Thank you for writing this substantive (borrowing that, Jacqui) post! People need to know you are an excellent resume writer. I have seen your work and as a credentialing board member, I can vouch for that.

    Your friend and colleague,

    • Dawn says:

      Rosa –

      Silly you. You don’t “owe” me a comment, but it sure was nice you did. And WOW! I appreciate your kind words about my work. Your willingness to share ideas and techniques has definitely kicked my skills up a notch or two. (Sharing is rampant in the career industry. :))

      Thanks for adding your expertise and wisdom. The resultant post on your blog really adds meat and depth to the topic.

      PS … you may not owe me a blog comment, but you do owe me socks. *wink* LOL

  9. Dawn,
    In my opinion, the authentic resume writers and career coaches *are* out there on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – offering as you said additional free services to the people who need them the most. The advice by those of us in this field is given based on current employment trends, the economic climate and technological advances – combined with years of experience and innovative process.

    As you stated – of course there are self-proclaimed resume writers out there who do a great disservice to the people who need genuine assistance now more than ever. It is an absolute shame. A little research can go quite far for career seekers requiring professional resume writing and career coaching. We’re here, dedicating our professional lives to assisting people in reinventing their careers.

    Brilliant post, as usual. I’m off to tweet it now.

    • Dawn says:

      Heather –

      So nice to find you here. Thank you for adding to the conversation. I could NOT have said it better myself: “We’re here, dedicating our professional lives to assisting people in reinventing their careers.”

      I willing to bet it’s not just your professional life that’s dedicated to helping others find their professional bliss. I’m pretty sure you’ve done your share of casual grocery store line / social event coaching too. The passion for helping is something that doesn’t turn on and off.

      Great add and thanks for your kind words!

  10. WOW, Dawn, you go girl…in fact, to all all you fine ladies and colleagues, BRAVO! Brilliant post Dawn. You represent our industry well. I have always loved your wit and humor, combined with facts. =)

    It is quite sad that someone even has to take the time explain this. It seems SO common sense. I know that my CPRW, CFRW/C, CEIP, CARW, CIJSE, etc. does not make me a mind reader either, or give me a crystal ball to tell the future, but sometimes I wonder if that is what some people think. I LOVE to educate people, specifically clients. Sometimes I don’t get the opportunity to fully educate (and prove myself) to those who need it the most because they don’t understand the ROI, and don’t book the project. (But many come back after months of no results). Those who go through the process and get to the light at the end of the tunnel (which can be as little as one or two days to a month) GET IT. They can see the difference. Many have had the other ‘professionals’ do their projects, spend $$$$, it doesn’t work, then have to start over and spend more $$$$ and get a much better product from a ‘true’ professional.

    This makes me remember something…I’m still mortified thinking of a client I had in May of this year who spent TWO YEARS on a job search, unemployed most of that time. He spent well over $4500 with other ‘professionals’ and did not get any results, on the brink of divorce, in financial debt. He spent $2000 with me, got a call for an interview in 4 days, and a job offer in 7 and now he is making $$$,$$$ + benefits, and has his pride back. He was so emotional beaten down thinking it was him and that he wasn’t marketable. He was so skeptical of using my services, but somehow I convinced him to try and am so glad he did. He said, “You have given me faith in commerce and people again, but more important in myself.” He apologized for all his short, curt emails, and for the hour of venting about how horrible his experiences were with other ‘firms’. I looked at it as a challenge and was out to prove there are good business people in the world. 😉

    I truly believe the authentic career professionals are really “angels” just truly helping our clients reach their goals, and we are so caring, we even help each other! Not many industries have the camaraderie that we enjoy. I know all of you ladies are “angels” and I really respect all of you. I am honored to be in an industry of such caring, dedicated professionals.



    Camille Carboneau Roberts on Facebook and LinkedIn =)

    • Dawn says:


      So glad you stopped by. What a GREAT story. It really drives home the value of spending the time to find the RIGHT person to tell career stories. The professionals who’ve commented here are a very small sampling of the hundreds (if not thousands, as Jacqui said) of true professionals dedicated to and celebrating in client success.

      The common thread I see in each comment: passion. We do this because we love it. I too am honored to be part of this industry and so blessed that I can do what I love, help others with my expertise and pay my bills doing it. Life is good!

      THANKS for joining in the conversation. Hugs back to you!!

  11. Anne Landon says:

    I have only three words to say–wickedly good retort!

  12. Dawn,

    I applaud you for your courageous post!

    Of course there are bad resume writers, just as there are bad doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc. But, the title of your post says it all-these “bad apples” shouldn’t spoil the whole bunch! There are many amazing, intelligent writers out there, who truly want to help people. In fact, the reason I got into this industry is because two of my family members were helped by professional resume writers. Their brand new documents led to interviews, and ultimately jobs for both of them.

    I’ve gotten to know many, many fellow resume writers, and I have to say, the “bad apples” are truly in the minority!

    Dawn, thank you for defending our industry!

    Charlotte Weeks

    • Dawn says:

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting Charlotte. Interesting how you got your start in the career business … because someone helped family members. And now, here you are, president of one of our national associations and making your living helping someone else’s family members. Talk about coming full circle. Love it!!

      There’s good and bad everywhere. Lumping the good in with the bad and making sweeping generalizations — about any industry, not just ours — serves no one.

  13. there are professional career coaches out there that charges a small fee ,;*

  14. Happy this was worth the headache it caused me to actually see it. Utterly crazy what kind of work arounds I had to do to read this page. Don’t ever move to Australia, the most arbitrary websites have been blacklisted by the internet service providers here for no reason whatsoever. Kind Rgds – Kiesha Kalmus

  15. […] why I go to conferences, attend webinars, read books, peruse career websites, and interact with the best and the brightest in the career community daily. That’s my […]

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