Should you write your own resume?

February 26, 2018 The Job Blog


The task of writing a resume is a necessary one, but it can be stressful. Depending on your language, composition and spelling abilities, writing any type of document may or may not be your natural forte. It may seem like a chore, or an intimidating task, or a scary prospect that is better left to a professional resume writer. A lot of folks don’t like to write resumes, which is why an entire cottage industry was created to provide such a service.

The question is, should you write your own resume, or hire someone else to do it for you?

There are two schools of thought on this which merit thoughtful discussion. On the one hand, hiring a professional to write your resume for you may provide you with a professional document that gives potential employers a more favorable first impression of you as a professional. If it is perfectly formatted and perfectly printed with perfect punctuation and no spelling errors, your resume may be more likely to impress those who read it.

It may also relieve a lot of the stress involved in preparing for your job search. Simply put, hiring a professional to write your resume for you is easier than writing it yourself. Of course, it costs more, but it’s easier.

On the other hand, there are many advantages to writing your own resume, but I will mention three.

First, your qualifications and experience are written in the first person, not by a stranger, and you can promote yourself and your abilities in the order that you think is most important or relevant to the job you are seeking. After all, who knows you better than you?

Second, writing and printing your own resume can allow you to customize it for each individual job you apply for, expanding opportunities during your job search and possibly increasing the chance that you will land a specific job in a field in which you previously did not expect to search.

Also, it doesn’t cost as much to do it yourself. If you are currently out of work or have been out of the job market for awhile, you may be on a tight budget, so hiring a professional may be a financial burden. A good resume writing service isn’t cheap, and a cheap one may not be any good. However, there are a lot of resources available to help you write your own quality resume, and many of them are free. At the end of the day, if you do it yourself, you may save more than just money.

There is also an issue of ethics. If you present a polished resume to a potential employer that you did not create yourself, and the decision to hire you is based at least in part, on the writing skills presented in the resume, would that be considered a form of false or misleading advertising? If that writing sample was important criteria, for landing the job, it could become a serious problem down the road. At the very least, it could lead to disappointment when your employer realizes that your writing skills don’t match what was presented in your resume.

Should you write your own resume or should you hire someone else to write it for you? Perhaps the best way is to utilize elements of both. Learn the basics of resume composition, then draft it yourself, in your own words. Once you have the general document ready, put it aside for a day or so, then read it again. Change it as needed and when it seems complete, take it to a professional, not to write or re-write the resume, but to evaluate and proofread it. Don’t let them re-work it for you, but allow them to notate any recommended changes. Listen to their advice and suggestions, then finalize your resume based on their input and what makes sense to you.

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