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By PAUL FREIBERGER

 

Does everyone need a professional resume?

The correct answer can be derived from three simple follow-up questions:

· Are jobs going begging in the strongest employment market in recorded history?

· Are you applying for a position with a successful family-owned business and your father-in-law, who thinks you are magnificent, runs the company?

· When all is said and done, are you not really in a rush to be hired?

Unless your answer to at least one of those questions is resoundingly positive, investing in a professional resume can prove to be one of the best career decisions you can make, regardless of the field you are in or the job level you are targeting. Professional help is not just for those at the top of the ladder; it can be a highly cost-effective option for any applicant, no more so than in a tight job market. You can be sure that your competition is doing everything it can, whether the opening is for a CEO, a programmer, a welder or an assistant to an assistant’s assistant.

These are some of the ways in which professional help earns its keep:

Your Resume is Your Image

Prospective employers meet you in one context only. They do not start with a personal get-together or a nice chat by phone. They meet you in the guise of your resume. If you were sending a stand-in to meet with an employer, you probably would not choose a tattered, under-dressed, inarticulate acquaintance who planned to improvise his way through the meeting.

Specialists Have Special Skills

Perhaps there are some perennial job-hoppers who need a new resume every few months, but most of us have few occasions to draft, revise and perfect our resumes. There is both art and science to writing a resume that gets results and a professional practices his craft every day. Someone who knows a bit about web layout might be tempted to put his own business site together, but that does not mean that the do-it-yourself approach is the best or most efficient approach. Whether the product is a website or a resume, a specialist can get a better result, not only for the present, but also as a solid foundation for the future.

Professionals Know the Changing Landscape

Weak or strong, the job market is not static. The same is true of the practices of hiring managers. They constantly change their methods, emphasizing different criteria and using different tools to screen candidates, and they do not announce their changing preferences to the public. For a professional resume writer, part of the job is keeping current on the vagaries of hiring practices. This knowledge alone can save a resume from the discard pile, a pile that hosts the remains of many strong candidates who did not know how to make an employer listen to their stories.

 

Paul Freiberger is President of Shimmering Resumes, a resume-writing, interview preparation, and career counseling service based in San Mateo, California. Paul is the author of several books and the winner of the Los Angeles Times book award. He offers resume writing services, job interview and job search campaign coaching nationwide. He can be reached at: Paul@shimmeringresumes.com, or, by phone at 877-796-9737.