sahara holding purple colored laptop with stickers 'women who code', 'brunch.code.repeat', 'built by girls', and 'educate a girl change the world'

About a month ago, I decided to give TopResume a try. I kept getting emails from them after uploading my resume to Glassdoor when I applied to a role on there months ago. For reference, this was prior to my ZipRecruiter Misuse post where I dissected terms and agreements of all popular job board sites. They have some sort of deal with Glassdoor when someone uploads their resume to apply for a role, you can opt to have your resume looked at by them for free. After you let them look at your resume for free, they keep emailing you. Constantly.

At this point, I did get call backs but they never went anywhere, so I gave TopResume a try.

You'd think my soul left my body when the $149 went out of my bank account. I was just scared - was it going to be worth it? Based on their reviews, they were top tier a blessing for job seekers. But then again, websites that offer a service to job seekers usually make it sound like they are the light at the end of the tunnel. My neighbor talked highly of them - I'm not sure she ever used them, but it just felt like I was going nowhere with what I had so I had no other option but to have a professional resume writer to take a look.

So, what package did I get?

The cheapest one - I paid for the Professional Growth and Resume Writing Package for $149. Except, here's some quality tea: Remember how I said they kept emailing me after that ~free~ viewing of my resume? Yep, so here's the funny part. They sent an email saying with a specific link sent to my email there was a sale on the package with $179 crossed out and $149 as the new price. So, I purchased it and then 3 hours later as my parents were asking about the price, I was going to show my parents the price crossed out and the price I paid only now that I clicked the link the discounted price was $139. The very same link I clicked on 3 hours earlier had a $10 cheaper price after I used it to purchase.

I emailed their customer support about the issue, they were no help on there.

I even sent a video recording of me clicking the link from my email  - the regular price now on the website was $149 rather than $179,  and the discounted price when I clicked my link was $139. Their customer support via email kept saying essentially too bad, not our problem. So I called the next day, explained to the person on the phone what happened, she saw the email thread as well, and agreed that I have to be refunded because the discount came after I purchased via the link a few hours earlier. The opposite of how a discount link should work.

What did the service offer?

A professional resume writer in your field to look at your current resume and basically give it a makeover content wise. You go back and forth with the resume writer for 7 days only - in those 7 days the back and forth edits only stop once you say you are satisfied with the resume.

How was the service, honestly?

In all honesty, I wouldn't recommend them unless you yourself are an english native and personally know a wrong sentence structure when you see one. Also, if you read a lot that's also a plus because sometimes the resume writer used words wrong.

I don't think that it's a professional resume writer in your field, that bit - from my experience - couldn't have been further from the truth.

My first revision - I sent in my one page resume - came back to me in the form of 2 pages with the following:

  • Chunks of keywords thrown in with no sentence structure
  • Incomplete sentences that didn't read well
  • A massive paragraph (if we even want to call it that - it was just a lot of keywords thrown in with no periods) at the start of my resume
  • My name and title in my profession were centered awkwardly in a way that didn't visibly make sense
  • My technical abilities (the coding languages and frameworks I know) was all the way at the bottom
  • She eliminated my Personal Interests section which lists my blog and the fact that I am a USATF Track Athlete; 5000M.

Overall the format didn't make sense, and it was just too much on the eyes - there was no whitespace! I get why she wanted to put as many keywords as possible so that companies that use artificial intelligence to screen through resumes won't put me in the No Pile but just chucking in keywords isn't the answer.

You can kind of think of it when using keywords in your blog post: Google will notice what you're doing if you keep using your keywords to get a better ranking on google, so you have to use them smartly throughout your post.

That's the mindset that you should have with your resume:  You can flurry in all the keywords you want but make it make sense. Don't start getting generous and sprinkle your keywords all over your resume like you're Rupert Grint* handing out free ice cream. If Google's algorithm is smart enough to know what you're doing when you keep using keywords to get a higher ranking on Google, don't you think the algorithm the company uses to screen through the resume is too?


* Actor who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter Series. 


I will be getting back to the importance on the Personal Interests section in a future post, but I will say this: Keep This On Your Resume! Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. I have some stories that I'm going to get into in a future post of 'mentors' degrading my interests and equating listing my blog and being a USATF Track Athlete on my resume to writing 'I like Ketchup'.

I let the resume writer know I was dissatisfied with this edition and essentially wrote a whole 6 paragraph essay picking apart what was wrong with it. I guess you can say I became an english teacher for these 7 days, I had to explain proper sentence structure format, provide alternative words due to words they used weren't used correctly, and also edit a lot of sentences entirely. I didn't want to be rude picking it apart, but I was also paying for this service. $139 to be exact.

It's a two way street between you and the TopResume Writer.

You give the resume writer feedback and they make the changes to get that much closer to the resume that you are going to be satisfied with. You can't say you don't like the revision and not explain what it is that you are dissatisfied with. There were some occasions where the way she edited a section - compared to my resume I sent in - it sounded too simplified technical-wise and I would redirect her to my resume I sent in and the technical language I used.

As we kept revising it, the amount of things I pointed out became less and less; we worked together bouncing back and forth via email on what changes to make. Each resume revision was sent in a Word Document, so you can easily edit it on Google Docs once they send it through!

Tip for Resume Writing: ADD COLOR. Do you know how boring it is to look at a document with no color at all, all resumes just start to look the same (if a person is looking through them not Artificial Intelligence). Change your name, and heading for each section to a neutral color. I chose a dark-ish blue - not sky blue but also not navy, kind of like jeans colored?

In terms of the sentence structure, did that ever get better?

Not really. I had to really dissect each sentence and line to make sure that the structure made sense and it wasn't just random words thrown together to make it look intelligent when in actuality it made no sense. I mentioned this earlier but I read a lot, and obviously as a blogger write a lot, so I was well aware of an incorrectly structured sentence when I saw one. If English is not your first language, or you are not fluent in it, RUN.

How would I rate the service?


2 out of 5 Stars

In the end I did end up with a resume I was satisfied with but the process was a lot of me pointing out my industry's standard as if she wasn't a professional in my field as advertised on the TopResume website. I am rating the process, not the final product.

Everything is now written better than what I had previously, and as for call backs has it changed? Well, in some ways its the same, but in other ways it's not. I attended an interview last week and the person interviewing me said he took one look at my resume and knew he had to see me, so I will say that the changes made were most definitely needed for my resume.

According to their terms and conditions they say that if you don't get an increase in calls in two months or so then you can tell them that and they will go through the whole resume revision process again, free of charge.

This 2 out of 5 star rating is mainly because for the reasons I listed above:
  • The resume writer wasn't a professional in my field as advertised.
  • Sentence structure was poor until I had to continuously point it out and offer alternatives.
  • The format of the resume was all wrong in the beginning.
The only reason we ended up on a resume format that was satisfactory was because I did my own research on resumes in my field to get some inspiration and edited the resume writer's sentences to actually be complete sentences- it was clear I needed to pull more weight in this revision than I originally thought.

Okay so where should you go if your resume is in need of a glow up?

Luckily for you - and unluckily for me - I came across this tweet a few days ago detailing websites that offer free resume revisions - Free Resume Help List + some extra stuff tweet!

Have you recently fixed up your resume? Would you give TopResume a try?