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Top Resources for a Resume Critique

Top Resources for a Resume Critique

By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Not sure if your resume is the best it can be? You can be certain it isn’t if, for example, you’ve spelled your own name wrong (twice, each time differently); your Objective section says your goal is to earn enough money to get out of your cockroach-infested basement in mom’s house; or you listed “no longer carrying a gun” or “sexier than anyone you’ve ever hired” as your key strengths – all of which are real-life examples from rather clueless job applicants.
Don’t ruin your chances of getting a job by sending out your resume widely before it’s been reviewed by a trustworthy source. Free or for a fee, there are many ways to get helpful input.

Free Resume Critique

No need to spend big bucks if all you need is an extra set of eyes or two on your resume. Here are some resources that can evaluate your resume for free and give you useful feedback:

Friends, Family, Colleagues
Cheap and cheerful, these folks will give you an earful. Maybe more than you bargained for.

- Having a friend or family member check your resume will make it more likely that spelling and grammar errors will be caught
- If your boss or co-workers are willing to pitch in, they can comment on your achievements and make sure you use language that is common in your industry or profession

- Friends and family members aren’t experts in your field, so you’ll probably get a whole bunch of different, contradictory opinions
- Bosses and co-workers may let it slip publicly that you’re looking for a job – oops!
Government Agencies
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, as well as all sorts of local agencies like the YMCA or community employment centers provide free resume services to job seekers.

- There’s probably one not far from where you live or work
- They employ trained career specialists

- You may have to qualify or be unemployed before certain agencies will assist you
- Some of these places may not have access to the latest technology due to budget restraints
College/University Career Centres
If you’re a student or recent grad you can usually access your school’s career center for free.

- You can work one-on-one with a career counsellor who understands the concerns of students
- They are in touch with employers, so they tend to know what the market wants in a resume

- Some of the career counsellors may not have much industry experience themselves
- they don’t serve beer or pizza there
Job Fairs
Some job fairs offer free resume evaluations while you’re waiting to interview employers.

- You can receive some practical advice right on the spot
- Your session with the resume writer is quick and focused

- Lining up to see one of the resume experts may be a long wait
- They can only spend 10 – 15 minutes with you max, so it’s not an in-depth review
If you’ve applied to a job posted by a recruiting firm, the recruiter may offer to revise your resume so that it better fits with a particular employer’s needs.

- The result is a very targeted resume
- Recruiters know all the buzzwords and important things to say

- Recruiters tend to be super busy and usually only offer this service to their best applicants
- The targeted resume you get may only apply to one specific employer
Resume Writing Services – Free Evaluation
There are all sorts of advertisements from professional resume writers and career coaches to review your resume at no cost to you. Use your phone directory and search under “resumes” or try the following links, then contact the service provider for info: Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches; Career Professional of Canada; or Association of Career Practitioners International (by city).

- You might actually get some constructive tips for free
- The turnaround time tends to be fast, given that these resume writers want your business

- All you will receive is a brief commentary, not something in-depth, unless you pay their fee
- Since resume writers earn their income by getting you to pay, you need to watch out that their initial feedback is not just meant to lure you into an expensive package’s Resume Tips Forum
Monster members can seek resume advice on our very own online forum for resume help.

- The forum is hosted by one of Canada’s most accredited resume experts, Martin Buckland
- A wide variety of styles and levels of resume are discussed

- You won’t get the truly personalized, in-depth review of a paid resume service
- If you choose to allow other forum visitors review your resume, you can’t be sure they know what they’re doing
Resume Review For A fee

It can make sense to pay for a resume critique if you need fast, professional advice you can rely on. Look for services that offer a reasonable guarantee of quality. And shop around to avoid getting overcharged.
Professional Resume Writers and Career Coaches
In Canada you can find resume writers and career coaches in most any community. They don’t need to be accredited, so look for experience, references, available examples of their work, and relevant credentials if they’re available. (See Resume Writing Services – Free Evaluation above for listings).
- An experienced resume writer (or career coach that helps you with your resume) can make a world of difference in the quality of your document
- You can look around for one that has some expertise in your specific industry or profession

- Not all resume writers are created equal, and not all career coaches are highly experienced in writing resumes. You need to comparison shop before plunking down your hard earned money
- Price is no guarantee of quality. Some resume services that cost less do perfectly good work, while some very expensive ones can be a hassle to deal with
College/University Career Centres (ones that are open to the general public)
There are post-secondary career centers across the country that charge a fee to the general public for resume writing and career services. Check out the institutions in your city or province and contact them for more info.

- They may not charge as high a fee as private sector services
- They are in touch with employers, so they tend to know what the market wants in a resume

- Since they usually deal with students, if you’re mid-career or higher they may not have much experience helping clients at your level
- Some of the career counsellors may not have a lot of industry experience themselves
Free Or For A Fee, Your Resume Deserves A Critique
Maybe you’ve gone over your resume for the hundredth time and think it’s flawless. Or you just want to apply for jobs right away and don’t care if your resume might contain a few mistakes. Either way getting others to critique your document can reveal all sorts of ways to improve what you’ve produced on your own.
Just remember: when you get your resume reviewed for free, sometimes you get exactly what you’ve paid for, so the suggestions may not be all that valuable. If you do opt to pay for a professional’s say, don’t get suckered in by lowball pricing or inexperienced service providers.
 A second or third set of eyes can prevent you from spelling your own name incorrectly or leaving out critical content. But too many reviewers can lead to opinion-overdose. Just get the feedback you really need then go ahead and confidently apply to the jobs of your dreams.

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