If I told you that I’d critique and revise your resume for just $1, would you believe me?
This is precisely what the resume writing service, OneBuckResume, promises. When you hover your mouse over the site’s Resume Builder tab, there’s even the grammatically incorrect promise “Use the patented $1 resume builder, and we’ll complete your resume in less than 5 minutes”. However, when you scroll through the site’s Terms & Conditions (T&C’s) box, it says the following:
Resume Distribution: By clicking the checkbox below, you signify your acceptance of seven days of free resume distribution services. IF YOU CONTINUE USING THE RESUME DISTRIBUTION SERVICE, YOUR CREDIT CARD WILL BE CHARGED $5.88 ONCE EVERY THIRTY DAYS THEREAFTER, UNLESS CANCELLED.
There is no way to not click the checkbox, since it signifies that you agree to abide by the site’s T&C’s. There is also no defined way to cancel the $5.88/month charge except by submitting support tickets through the site; no contact phone number or email is provided. Also, because the extra $5.88 monthly charge is posted on the company’s site, this disclosure allows it to make the “Didn’t you read the T&C’s?” rebuttal.
However, as several Ripoff Report testimonials attest, the site also posts fake job postings on Craigslist and asks job applicants to use OneBuckResume to properly format their resumes prior to sending them off to the hiring company. Unsuspecting job applicants pay the $1 fee and send their resumes to the provided email- only to have those emails bounce back to them as unrecognized. After 7 days, the mysterious $5.88 monthly charges begin.
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Another resume site, TheLadders, was sued in district court on March 13, 2013 for not only posting fake, unauthorized and/or misleading $100K job opportunities but for also not delivering on its resume writing service promise. TheLadders, as noted by Barbara Ward (the Plaintiff),
…promised a free “expert resume critique” for its premium members. However, TheLadders did not actually review resumes that were submitted by its premium members. Instead…TheLadders sent its members a form letter that failed to provide any resume criticism responsive to members’ individual resumes. The sole purpose of the form letter was to up-sell members into useless paid resume re-writing services…
Resume scams abound because, in this crappy economy, it’s very easy to take advantage of people who are scrambling to find work. The scammers often play on people’s fears, telling them that their resumes lack important “action items” that will prevent them from being hired.
Even when professionally written resumes are submitted to these scam sites, they are ripped up and cited as needing extensive work. Of course, a scam site will naturally rip up any resume, even its own generated resume, in order to make a quick buck. And the bucks, in this case, aren’t just $30 or $40; in the case of TheLadders, members who sent their resumes to be re-written were charged about $700!
Where can you find legitimate resume writing services?
Hardcore resume writers are often certified members of the National Résumé Writers’ Association (NRWA) and/or the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC). These writers don’t hide behind a resume writing site (although they may be employed by it); typically, you’ll find writer profiles and work examples on the site’s “About Me/Us” page. The better resume writers will be industry-specific and have some kind of education or experience in their chosen focus (e.g., law).
Beware of online forms
Granted, with almost everyone being online now, you are bound to have some online forms to fill out when you start working with a resume writing service. However, the writer working on your resume should contact you personally to obtain additional information from you. This typically includes several phone interviews spanning a total of 3-5 hours for a top-notch resume site. Local agencies may also schedule you for an in-person session with the writer.
Even a budget resume writer should speak with you personally for at least half an hour. Beware of resume sites that are online only and where you cannot reach anyone over the phone. Typically, this indicates that the writers (if any) are being paid slave wages by the site and have limited English language speaking/writing skills.
While working with a “resume mill” does not exclude you from obtaining a meaningful resume, it will probably require that you do significant editing and formatting of your own document (this issue has been reported for the resume mill e-resume.net, which pays its writers Taco Bell wages for resumes worth $155). This negates much of the reasoning behind hiring a resume writer in the first place.
Don’t forget to use Google
Google knows all, as I like to say. Before you consider working with any resume site, do a quick online search of that site with the word “scam” plugged into your search query. If you find testimonial after testimonial from dissatisfied customers or even records of a lawsuit, steer clear of that agency.
Questions to ask before you pay any money
Even “good” resume writing sites can be riddled with issues. Before you hire any resume service to take on your resume, be sure to ask the following questions of the writer:
1. What are all the steps of this process and associated fees? Alternately: What do you charge per hour and what does that cover?
2. What advantages do you personally offer when compared with other resume writers?
3. Can I speak with your previous clients and/or see their “before and after” resumes? If a writer cannot provide either, find another writer/service.
4. What guarantees do you offer (e.g., limitless revisions, money back if not satisfied)?
Other things to keep in mind
As the potential client, you should expect a free evaluation of your resume before you plunk down any money. Once you become an actual client, however, up-front payment is required from most resume writing sites. Expect the entire resume critiquing to writing to revision process to take anywhere from two weeks to even over a month; good results don’t happen overnight (or in “less than 5 minutes”).
Finally, be sure to keep your receipt; resume writing services are viewed as a legitimate employment-seeking activity through the eyes of the IRS and are tax-deductible.