UPDATED ON 12/12/2021
Software can do great things. Constructing and writing a good resume is not one of them. Here’s why this job is better left to humans.
If we ask ten people about one thing on their bucket lists, at least two will dream of writing the next greatest novel or blockbuster movie.
Yet, for some odd reasons, we all hate writing resumes, especially our own.
Why is that?
It is only one to two pages long. We do not have to do much research on it since we have lived it. And we do not have to come up with anything that is literally out-of-this-world.
Those are the reasons that make resumes difficult to write. Talking truthfully about ourselves in a concise manner stresses us out. We rather get someone else do it for us.
That is, if we are lucky enough to find someone else. And even then, that someone else might cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
So when there are free software or online applications that claim to create our resumes for us, who wouldn’t want to get on board?
And I will tell you why.
They do not know how to market me.
Applications assert they can use artificial intelligence (aka AI) and search engine optimization (aka SEO) to enhance our resumes with keywords that would make us the perfect fit for our target companies.
However, these enticing apps don’t know me.
They have not sat next to me in the office, work together with me on a project, or conversed with me on the phone.
Sure, more comprehensive apps may require me to fill out a questionnaire for myself, but who besides a robot would actually read and attempt to really understand my answers? That makes them nothing more than a formatting tool.
So if they don’t know me, how can they possibly market my strengths, my importance, and my values?
They won’t teach me how to write my resume.
In my previous life, I did go to applications for guidance.
I found none.
They might tell me what sections to include such as education, experience, skill set, and awards; but these are things I already knew.
Beyond that, they do not teach me which assets I need to promote. They do not teach me how to incorporate voluntary experiences. They do not teach me how to add numbers.
And most of all, they do not teach me how to include and write accomplishments instead of tasks.
The worst are those that come with thousands of pre-written phrases because they do not reflect my achievements whatsoever. All they do is cookie-cut me into someone who looks like everyone else.
They misuse head shots and graphics.
Browse Google for examples, and you will notice an increasing trend of resumes with head shots and graphics.
This is absolutely misleading.
Because when I ask current recruiters whether they like these colorful documents, the answer is no. Every time.
You may be thinking, “This is ludicrous. Who doesn’t like to read something with color and pictures?!”
Well, the issues are not necessarily about liking or not liking the pictures.
The first is a legal issue, and this pertains to head shots. No recruiter wants to be accused of discrimination because another candidate may have a more attractive head shot than me. Plus, if the recruiter really wants to see my head shot, he or she can see it on my LinkedIn profile anyway.
The second is a distraction issue. What if the colors are not pleasing to the recruiters’ eyes or the recruiters think the graphics are ugly? I do not want that to be the reason people skip over me…
…unless I were a graphic designer or the like.
If you are a graphic designer or any other type of visual artist, use your resume as a canvas to showcase your art instead of relying on resume software. Just make sure the art does not overwhelm the important stuff and render it unreadable.
They usually have hidden charges to unlock technical restrictions.
As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as free lunch.”
And all these software applications have to get their money somehow.
Of course, those that require payment upfront are more honest. It’s the ones that claim to be free that I need to watch out for.
Upon getting access to the app, it will ask for my name, contact info, and education. Then it will have me answer some questions so that it can compile my experience, awards, and any other relevant sections. Once that’s done, I can choose one of several templates and voila! I am ready to save or print.
It finally throws out the price or a prompt requiring me to subscribe to something that’s not free.
Hidden charges not only appear when I am trying to save, print, or download. They can show up when I want to use its SEO or AI features, add a little color, create more than one tailored resume, choose a premium template or font, save in another file format, or do whatever it is I want to do.
So by the time I get my resume to look and read the way I want, who knows how much I would actually pay.
They spam me.
Let’s say I am lucky enough to find a resume application that does everything I want for free. Congrats are due…right?
Well, then I will get inundated with spam in my junk box.
Once I provide the app with my email address (which is likely required to create my resume), I would give them the right to email me.
It’s called email marketing.
Granted some emails may actually provide important and useful advice on resumes and job searching, most want to upsell me for other services the app may offer.
Now, I am not here to badmouth all email marketers because a lot of them do mean well. If you wish to opt out, legitimate email marketers will include an unsubscribe link in their email and will have set up their systems to automatically comply with your request.
However, there will be some that are not-so-legitimate, so be cautious of those who also sell your contact information to others, or you might end up with more spam from who knows where.
I do use a resume writing application sometimes, but that occasion rarely happens. And never in full capacity.
No one knows how to market me better than me. If I weren’t, a resume app won’t help me. I would be better off asking my friends who can give me an honest objective opinion about me as a person.
When no one in my circle is available, human resume writers or career coaches have assisted me. Their primary job besides constructing me resume and preparing me for the interview is to ensure that I understand my accomplishments and personal brand. In fact, believe it or not, the truly dedicated ones not only help me get my next position. They also teach me how to deal with all future job-searching endeavors for the rest of my life. Just like teachers whose objective is to turn students into masters, real coaches do not wish for repeated customers who have not learned the first time.
Hence, if you don’t mind being misrepresented, don’t want to learn to write one yourself, don’t care about unknown fees, and love receiving a ton of spam, then use resume software at your own discretion.
For me, it’s a risk I am unwilling to take.
Rather put you resume in the hands of a human than in the trickery of a computer? Give me a call.