My association with other professional resume writers includes an e-group thread that allows us to ask questions of one another (such as, how do you write a resume for a person getting out of jail? etc.) Over the past couple of days the topic has been about the Ladders.com and their “free resume critique offer.”
I used to be very loyal to the Ladders and even critiqued resumes for them for about a year when they first launched. I was a sub contractor for another company. The guy I subcontracted for was super nice and told all us who critiqued and sold resumes, if the resumes look good, say so! Ask if their phone is ringing. If it is, then leave the document alone. Many times I’d run across a resume that was obviously written by a professional resume writer and I would let the requester know it was well written. I didn’t sell a whole lot of resumes at $700 a pop. But those I did close sales from people that said they appreciated my honesty during the critique.
My relationship with the Ladders ended a year ago when the company decided we weren’t closing enough sales, and they took their critiques and sales in house. I didn’t stay on, because I’m just not that aggressive.
So, back to the subject at hand on our resume writers egroup. It turns out that the Ladders is ripping to shreds, documents written by certified resume writers. I got mine ripped apart about 6 months ago when one of my very loyal clients sent it in just to see what someone else thought. He was kind enough to send the canned form letter to me which was extremely verbose and mentioned things like “the document lacks a list of core competencies” which it blatantly had. My client knew they were trying to scam him into a $700 resume, and admitted he was thoroughly pleased with the $350 package I sold him. His first resume, which I wrote for him in 2002 yielded 6 interviews (from 12 applications), 3 offers, and $10K more a year, so he trusted my expertise enough to come back for an update when he was laid off 6 months ago. I sent him to the Ladders to find a job, only to have them slap me hard. I switched allegiances and never recommended the Ladders again.
The resume writers from our egroup forum were comparing notes. It turns out we all got the same critique from sales people who make a healthy commission on every sale. Some of my colleagues have been in business for 20 years, have authored books, and won numerous awards. These harsh critiques were unwarranted.
So just in case you’re sending in a resume to the Ladders for a critique. I suggest you send in a few different versions. Change the name, the companies, etc, and then compare what you get back. You’ll see what we saw. An impersonal long winded critique trying to get their hands on your hard earned money.
If your phone is ringing for interviews, then the resume is doing its job. It doesn’t matter what I think, or the Ladders. Leave it alone and don’t change a thing.
You are so right — the bottom line is whether the phone is ringing. As a resume writer, my job is to get that phone ringing.
What % of “free evaluations” are honest? Maybe 10%? And what resume writer hasn’t had clients fishing for free advice. I have always avoided evaluating clients resumes. When a client forwards me an existing resume, I set it aside and explain that I need to ask some questions before I can critique the resume. By the end of the interview, the existing resume is seen as weak and irrelevant. A new resume is in order. After all, they wouldn’t even be calling me if the one they brought in was working well.
The only use for the existing resume is to glean hard data — names, dates, etc. I have never in my career merely “tweaked” an existing resume. My job is to write resumes that get people interviews, and I do everything ethically possible to accomplish that goal.
The Ladders is a scam. They mostly hack jobs from other boards and DO NOT AND CANNOT guarantee that either the jobs or the talent are 100K. It is a complete falsehood – what our parents called “lies.” Their resume writing service is also a scam.
BUYER BEWARE: THE LADDERS WILL TAKE YOU DOWN
March 2009 – My free alerts look scam like to me; many insurance companies and jobs that appear on several other boards.
HAS ANYONE CHECKED THE REFERENCES LISTED ON TheLadders.com?
I work in HR, and see hundreds of resumes every week. A friend of mine passed along her resume to me, that she had “critiqued” by someone at the Ladders.com, she did not have to pay. Which was a GOOD thing. The resume really did come back as a long-winded critique. I know this “resume writer” that critiqued my friend’s resume had one week training and is in her early 20’s, with no prior HR experience.
The Ladders are at it again. Check out Jason Alba’s blog at
to find out for yourself.
I too worked for TheLadders.com and it is a scam. Before the phones were rigged to record I'd tell customers not to trust in the company. People would be crying and they would tell us to keep their money. I refunded ALL of it. I was taught business ethics in college for a reason Marc.
More complaints about the Ladders at http://1strateresumes.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-bad-publicity-for-theladderscom.html
Your comments on job board resume services are right on target. Sadly all of the job boards are so eager to make an easy buck they think they can knock out resumes like a fast food item. Many people are getting ripped off and worse yet, they are getting terrible advice for their job search. Bad enough to loose some money, tragic to screw up a job search and perhaps miss a great job opportunity and extend the search even longer!
I just posted a blog on Jobfox and would appreciate your comments on the resume review & resume service or any other comments. My blog is at http://blog.careerxl.com/
BEWARE OF LADDERS.COM
They’re a resume mill and their resume reviewers work on a commission only basis. Therefore, they will blast just about any resume that is put in front of them to be critiqued so that they can get a resume rewrite sale out of it and get paid a commission for every resume rewrite that is purchased.
It’s part of their corporate marketing strategy. They don’t really care about the clients goals/objectives etc. They’re in our business with the sole purpose of making money. They’re just a corporate greedy giant that’s in our professional career development industry to benefit their bottom line.
Job seekers be warned I wouldn’t really recommend using any service from Ladders.com since they charge the poor client for every single service by extorting money out you any chance they get. I would recommend that you spend your money on a couple hours of some solid coaching techniques with a certified coach in order to apply true and tried techniques to land a job that you’ll be satisfied with.
L. Byers, CPRW, GCDF