So you’re shopping around for a resume service. Do you really know how to evaluate all that’s out there between good and bad and everything in between? Let me help you.

First, look for samples. Many writers still post them. We no longer do. We found that our documents were being plagiarized. We want our clients to have the “Gucci” resume, and not the counterfeit. But if you do see samples, whether it’s in a book, or a website, here are some telltale signs your writer is a novice.

1.  The writing samples contain too many bullet points in a row or more than 5 or 6  lines of text in in a row. People don’t like to read. They SCAN!  Once you go over a certain number of bullet points, expect that none of it will get read. Eyes will glaze over it. Less is more on a resume.

2. Employments dates are on the left side of the document, rather than the right.

3.  Companies/Job Experience is split up in the middle of a paragraph or set of bullets between page one and page two. What’s worse is if page two doesn’t explain that the information is being continued from page one. Classic design error.

4. Education in the wrong place. Unless you’re in academia, or a new college graduate, people with years of experience should not list education toward the top of the resume.

5.  The verb tenses don’t match. The document waffles between past and present tense (usually in the wrong place) and from 3rd person.

6.  There are illogical keyboard symbols on the document to make it look pretty. Unfortunately these little buggers don’t scan well.

Sadly there is no regulation in the resume writing industry. With so many people out of work these days, people who are good typists with an HR background are suddenly becoming resume writers. But without the proper training in grammar, copy-writing, and the science behind how resumes are read, unsuspecting consumers can easily be duped.

Just because you can read a book doesn’t necessarily mean you can write one. The same holds true for resume writing. Makes sure your writer is certified or at the very least, a member of a resume writing association. That shows your writer is serious about their profession; plus if you are dissatisfied with the finished product,  you have recourse through one of the several resume writing associations.

Does your writer have a VISA/MC merchant account or PayPal only? Again this shows the professionalism of the business. Yes, I accept PayPal, but like most legitimate businesses, I also accept major credit cards directly.

Finally, has your writer bothered to trademark their business name? Spending that kind of time and money also shows how dedicated your writer is to their business. Chances are, they won’t be “here today, gone tomorrow” when the economy comes back.

1st Rate Resumes has been serving job seekers since 2000. We were here long before the recession. And we plan to stick around after as well. You won’t find our ads in every city on Craigslist. Our clientele is repeat business from satisfied customers and their referrals. And for that, we thank you.