14 Startling Signs You Need to Pay a Resume Writer

squirrel with pencil scolds about resume

Why would you pay a resume writer during military transition? You should just write the resume yourself already and save the money. No one knows your work accomplishments better than you do. Besides, a resume never got anyone a job. Ever. (Geez, I sound just like your mom, and I am not even trying.)

Tell your mom if writing a good resume was really that easy, the resume would be written already and the interview requests would be rolling in. Because that is what a good resume does: It nabs the interview.

 As the transition master coach for Military.com’s Veteran Employment Project, I see how writing the resume can be a major stumbling block for transitioning military. Just like money is never “just” money, a resume is never “just” a resume. A resume ends up being so stuffed with other meanings and hidden agendas that it is a wonder anyone ever finishes a resume.

For some people, a good resume professional can solve the resume problem pretty easily. In fact, I can think of 14 kinds of military job hunters who really would benefit from hiring a resume writing service. 

You might need to hire a resume writer if:

1. You Never Have Heard of Free VSO Resume-Writing Services. 

These are available from Veterans Service Organizations like Hire Heroes USA or Hiring Our Heroes or USO Pathfinder. This is where I would start. They write more veteran resumes than anyone.

2. You Don't Like the Resume You Got from a VSO. 

Most of the time VSOs do a good job on military resumes, but sometimes the process does not work out. Instead of complaining, use the free resume as a jumping-off point to define what you really want.

3. You Are a Terrible Writer.  

Frankly, I am bad at math. I can do it if my life depends on it, but otherwise I pay a pro. (Thanks, tax guy.) Many people feel exactly the same about writing. Resolve to go with your strengths during military transition. If you know you don’t write well, there is no shame in hiring someone to perform a service they do better than you can do yourself.

4. You Are Senior Military Switching Industries.

If you are senior military (an E-8, E-9, O-5, O-6, O-7) and you don’t want a job that has anything to do with defense, think of hiring a professional. Industry transitions are significantly tougher the older you get. Find a pro who has experience with coaching clients who are making major career switches.

5. You Are Applying for Federal Employment.

The federal resume is a mammoth document that is so heavily coded, it keeps most people out of being referred for an interview. Take our free How to Write a Federal Resume Master Class so you understand the complexity. Then look for a coaching service that specializes in the federal resume, like Federal Job Results.  If you absolutely must go it alone, buy a good reference book like Kathryn Troutman’s Federal Resume Guidebook. 

6. You Only Think You Know what a Keyword Is.

In the military transition world, you will hear the term “keyword” constantly. If you think you know what it is, but you are hearing crickets every time you submit a job application, you need some keyword clarification. Start by taking our free Reverse Resume Master Class before seeking out a professional resume writer.

7. You Were Told by a Recruiter Your Resume Missed the Mark

When a recruiter, interviewer or hiring manager speaks, you listen. No one is a bigger expert in their own field than the person who is interviewing you. If they tell you your resume needs help, get the help. Ask previously transitioned military friends for a specific recommendation for a resume writer.

8. You Suffer the Curse of the Misspelled Word. 

Our brains are wonderful things. When a word is missing or misspelled on our document, our brains naturally fill in the right answer. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the word “manged” instead of “managed” on a military resume. If you know you are a chronic misspeller, pay a friend or family member $10 for every misspelled word they find. Cheap.

9. Grammar, Schmammer.

You know what I hate worse than spelling? Grammar. Check our list of grammatical errors we see on resumes all the time. It’s free.

10. You Want More Control over the Message. 

Sometimes, a free resume service is going to give you the standard bullet points for your job. If you are switching industries, you have had a job most people don’t understand or you need your resume to match a new job listing, a resume coaching service is probably the way to go. If the coach has military and business experience themselves, that is so key. They will help you shape your message and apply to the right kind of job.

11. You Have Too Few Accomplishments.

If you are a young enlisted person or junior officer going through military transition, you might find that your resume feels a little light. Start with the free resume-writing services and check out our tips to make your resume more substantial.

12. You Have More Money Than Time.

If you are in command or deployed during transition, paying a service might make more sense than writing the resume yourself. When you have so much to do, it is a bargain to pay someone to take that off your plate. Be sure to find a certified professional resume writer who has years of experience with military transition. Check their LinkedIn recommendations to see what others have to say.

13. You Have Procrastinated Too Much. 

Sometimes the prospect of writing a resume makes transition much too real. I have seen the resume cause stellar military members to experience terrible anxiety, because the resume makes you feel like your choices are closing in on you. A professional resume writer can turn resume writing away from being a judgment on you as a person and back into a practical activity you can check off on your to-do list.

14. You Are Getting No Requests for Interviews.

This is the grand master of all reasons to get a professional resume writer. If you are qualified for the job you applied for and you still are not getting a request for interviews, there is something wrong with your resume. If you have applied for 12 jobs and have had zero requests for interviews, hire a professional.

There are so many things to do to prepare for military transition. They all take time you don’t really have to spare. Most of them, you need to do yourself. If offloading the resume onto a professional resume writer helps you move forward, do it with confidence.

Need to hire a professional resume-writing service? Our parent company, Monster.com, is offering transitioning military 10% off a custom resume and cover letter, with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, through Monster Resume Services.  Also check out our free master classes Reverse Resume and How to Write a Federal Resume.

Jacey Eckhart is Military.com’s transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website SeniorMilitaryTransition.com. Reach her at Jacey.Eckhart@Monster.com.

Learn More About the Veteran Employment Project

To get more tips on how to make a successful military transition, sign up for one of our FREE Military Transition Master Classes today. You can view previous classes in our video library. Questions for Jacey? Visit our Facebook page.

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