Writing a resume can be time-consuming, so that’s why some job seekers hire a resume writing service to lighten the load. iHire is one company that offers this service. Sure, iHire is perhaps most well-known for being a job search site that brings candidates and employers together in 56 different industries, so the resume service seems like a second thought to the company’s business plan.
Nonetheless, we wanted to review iHire’s resume writing service to see how it stacks up against some of the top competitors in the industry. So we signed up for iHire’s resume writing service’s Professional Plan, completed a portion of an eight-page questionnaire, and submitted a resume from the manufacturing industry for them to rewrite. What did we think of it? Here’s the lowdown: For someone who needs a resume and is willing to do a great deal of legwork, iHire is a viable resume writing service. Read on to see our complete thoughts.
How it Works: The process was longer than expected
- The first step in our review process was to sign up for the service.
We sent payment via credit card to iHire and received a response within a day. This was typical of other resume services we reviewed, as most of them use an automated system to notify their consumers that payment has been received.
- The next step in the process was to complete a questionnaire and send a copy of our resume to iHire.
After signing up for the service, we were asked to download a resume questionnaire to our computer, fill it out, and send it to iHire along with our resume. The questionnaire we were asked to fill out was extremely extensive and redundant. Much of the information asked on the questionnaire was information already on the resume we submitted: contact information, skills, position and company details, and university experience. Additional information iHire asked us to include was the size of our candidate’s companies and as many accomplishments, we could think of for each position. We sent the questionnaire to the resume service, explaining that much of what it asks is something we wanted to discuss with a resume writer, and also attached the resume (which was for the Manufacturing industry).
- We communicated with the resume writer via email 18 days after submitting part of a questionnaire along with a copy of our resume.
Ten days after sending in the questionnaire with our original resume, we received an email reminding us that we needed to complete the questionnaire; to which we reiterated that we’d rather communicate with a writer via email. Six days following this, we received another email where our resume writer apologized for the misunderstanding. And we were more than willing to answer any questions he might have regarding our resume. When all was said and done, our resume was delivered to us seven days later. The total time to receive our resume from inception was 23 days.
Resume Quality: Content was strong, but the design and format were dated
Although we found the design and format dense and outdated, the resume writer, who claimed to be award-winning and published in various publications, produced a document with some of the best content of the services we reviewed. For content, we looked for the following criteria:
- Summary Statement (should be devoid of clichés, must be brief, and demonstrate value)
- Skills (skills should easy to spot and be relevant)
- Experience (here’s where the accomplishments must be impactful)
- Education (generally placed last on a resume; traditional format preferred)
- Training (should highlight all of the courses our candidate studied)
Design and Format
We found the design of our resume to be dense with .55-inch margins for the top and bottom and .5-inch margins for the sides. Our resume writer used these dimensions to keep the two-page resume we submitted to one page. The font style our writer chose was old school. It was serif (Georgia) at 12 pt. for our client’s name and the headers and Book Antiqua at 10 pt. for the body. The font was small and might be difficult to read for some. Today’s resumes are written with sans serif font such as Arial or Calibri.
Out of curiosity we changed the margins to normal and expanded the font to Calibri at 11.5 to make the resume more readable. Doing this made the resume a page and a half. The resume we submitted was a page and three quarters. Had our writer expanded the Training section on the resume he rewrote, the resume would have been approximately a page and three quarters, which would have been preferred as opposed to a cramped one-page resume. As well, a candidate with 15 years of experience warrants a two-page resume; and with the content our writer produced, the document would have made a nice two-pager.
The format was traditional, including the following sections in this order: Contact Information, Summary, Skills, Experience, Education, and Training. What made our resume more dense and difficult to read was that our resume writer devised a Summary that was seven-lines and included too much information under our candidate’s last position of his work history. (More on this later.) While we were not impressed with our resume’s design and format, the overall content of the resume was one of the best we read.
Of all the sections, the Summary was the weakest one our resume writer produced. Most notably it was too long (four lines for the first paragraph and three lines for the second). There’s no reason why a Summary should be this long and consist of two paragraphs. If our resume writer were able to condense the seven lines to three or four at most, perhaps the resume’s readability would also have been improved.
The purpose of the Summary is to grab the reader’s attention using industry keywords, value statements while also being brief. Three to four lines are all that are required.
Another fault we found with the Summary was a slew of clichés. We counted eight clichés, some of which were “motivated,” “dedicated,” “professional,” etc. On the bright side, our writer included strong industry-related words and phrases, such as “logistics,” “distribution,” “manufacturing,” “warehouse relocations,” “ISO 9001,” and more. Strong industry-related words are necessary to get a resume past an applicant tracking system (ATS), which scans a resume for keywords. If the resume doesn’t contain them, it doesn’t get read by human eyes.
Our resume writer hit the mark on listing the most important skills our candidate possesses. Among them were: “Purchasing,” “Inventory Control.” “Contract Negotiation,” “Quality Control/Assurance” and others that were suitable for our candidate’s occupation. However, instead of placing the skills below the Summary, he placed them in a margin on the right-hand side, which distracted our eyes when reading and made the Summary section seem more crowded, thus more difficult to read. In addition, this style, like the font he chose, is outdated. Resumes today are flat, meaning the text runs from left to right without any sidebars and boxes. Finally, most ATSs don’t digest tables well; words end up scattered and out of place on the reader’s screen. We were not impressed with the formatting our writer used in listing our candidate’s skills, but we appreciated that he included strong industry-related ones.
We found this section to be the strongest of the resume’s sections. Where the resume hadn’t overly impressed us thus far, the content in the Experience section turned our thinking around. What made this section strong? The first plus was the Job Scope, which was less than three lines long while still providing a solid understanding of our candidate’s overall responsibilities. Keywords like: “supply-chain,” “inventory,” “purchasing,” “planning operations,” and others were easy to spot. A Job Scope shouldn’t exceed three lines as a general rule. Other resume writing services didn’t follow this general rule.
A strong Experience section will follow the Job Scope with bulleted accomplishments, and this is exactly what our resume writer achieved. Most of the accomplishments were quantified with numbers, dollars, or percentages. Accomplishments with quantified results are what makes a job candidate stand apart from others. Employers can really sink their teeth into accomplishments that show metrics.
This is one of many examples of accomplishments our resume writer produced: “Researched product and market trends to strengthen demand/inventory forecasting; fulfilling new product projections with 91% accuracy.” The original statement was: “By watching and examining current market trends on new products, I was able successfully fulfill new product projections by 91% accuracy.”
Here’s another example of a strong accomplishment our resume writer crafted: “Created employee manual and ‘How to Run the Day’ training documentation—partnering with office manager to compile information—delivering instruction to 50–75 associates individually and in group settings.” It was only through asking probing questions such as who our candidate worked with to create the manual, who it benefited, and how training was delivered that he was able to create the accomplishment from: “Created documentation Instructions for ‘how to run the day’ processes for all new employees, trained and maintained updates.”
We were slightly impressed with how our resume writer handled our candidate’s earliest position (our candidate’s resume contained two positions). Instead of listing the duties for this position, our writer wrote a three-line Job Scope and one bulleted accomplishment statement that wasn’t one originally listed on the resume, but our writer dug a little deeper.
However, he also included the years of experience for this position. Information beyond eleven years in work history is rarely relevant to what employers are looking for today. So we thought the years could have been left off.
Lastly, we were very pleased with the clarity of our resume writer’s prose. He was cognizant of avoiding typos and writing sentences that flowed nicely, which was not the case with some of the other resumes we reviewed.
Our expert says
Strong industry-related words are necessary to get a resume past an applicant tracking system (ATS), which scans a resume for keywords.
We prefer the traditional way to write the Education section which includes the degree in the first line and the university and location in the second line. Here’s our candidate’s education:
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Minor in Urban Spatial Development
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Our resume writer didn’t take our route. Instead, he listed all the information on one line: “BA in Anthropology (Minor in Urban Spatial Development) – University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.” It’s apparent why he chose not to follow the traditional method; he wanted to save space and keep the resume from running over to a second page, something other resume writing services did as well.
One major fact our resume writer failed to note is that our candidate completed an intensive training course, in addition to earning certifications in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Associate Project Management (the writer included these). He undoubtedly simplified our candidate’s Training section to save space. Our candidate’s original resume shows him taking eight classes over the course of a month.
Resume Writer Certifications: Resume writers hold prestigious certs
According to iHire, their resume writers are trained and certified in modern resume writing techniques, which include formatting and optimizing resumes to beat the applicant tracking systems (ATS). Posted on its website are two images of resume certifications, Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW) and Toast of the Resume Industry, (TORI). These are two of the most respected certifications in the industry, but it is unclear if all their resume writers hold one or both certifications.
Guarantees: No guarantee apparent
iHire’s website shows no mention of guarantees, whereas other resume writing services we reviewed offer guarantees (such as more interviews or free resume rewrite if you’re unhappy). Guarantees are a plus, although no resume will double the number of interviews to which a candidate will be invited and, most certainly, ensure they land a job.
Samples & Testimonials: Eight resume samples and testimonials
iHire provides on their website eight “before” and “after” examples of clerical resumes they’ve produced. We would have liked to see iHire show a wide array of resume samples from many different industries on its website.
iHire displays three testimonials of happy consumers. They are a little vague though. For example, “I am ecstatic that I invested in a new resume.” Another consumer writes, “I now have a full-time job because of my resume. Having my resume redone by iHire was the right thing to do. I am very happy.”
Use keywords that make the resume get hits from Applicant Tracking Systems. Ask your resume writer to point out the keywords used.
Available Plans & Pricing: Expensive
We selected iHire’s second tier of pricing because our candidate met the criterion of having 5 to 20 years of work experience. We found this to be extremely high for a resume rewrite. Below are the four price tiers:
- For students or new graduates with 0 to 5 years of total professional experience
Professional Resume: $395
- For individuals with 5 to 20 or more years of experience or career changers breaking into a new industry.
- For senior leadership and C-level professionals with 10 to 20 or more years of experience.
The Competition: iHire vs. Monster.com
When it comes down to resume quality, iHire bested Monster.com. While we felt Monster.com’s writer produced a stronger Summary, the writing of the Experience section wasn’t as compelling as iHire’s. It’s mostly because iHire’s writer was excellent in asking questions to bring out the accomplishments that were lacking on the resume we sent him.
Customer service is important to any job seeker, especially if they are in a hurry to get their resume out there. This is where iHire did a poor job. When we initially asked our resume writer if he would communicate with us via email, he wrote back to us 10 days later asking us to fill out the eight-page questionnaire. Monster’s process was easier and quicker; we had a resume from them five days after our writer was assigned to us. Monster’s price was also a huge plus: $266 less than iHire. For these reasons, we feel Monster is the better option of the two.
Strong resume, but it just took too long
We were pleased with the content of the resume iHire produced, despite a lengthy Summary and Skills being placed in a sidebar. Our resume writer was well versed in the manufacturing industry, as well as our candidate’s occupation. He utilized keywords that would satisfy an ATS. However, his customer service was one of the worst of the resume writing services we reviewed. Twenty-three days is a long time to wait for a resume. Perhaps better communication on his part would have reduced the time it took to deliver our resume.