You Wouldn’t Engage A Plumber To Do Brain Surgery, Would You?


I’m like the Lady Mayoress of CrankyTown today, and I’m about to have a rant.


You pay a registered builder to build your house. You pay a licensed plumber to do your plumbing. So why would you trust your career, earning potential and livelihood to anything less than a professional? If you can’t pay a certified professional who will stand behind the documents they produce for you, you might just be better off doing it yourself. And if you’re going to that, you’re going to need this.


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I’m having a bit of rant today, not least because I’ve had yet another call today from someone who has been applying for jobs for months without getting a single job interview after paying an organisation to write their documents for them, but also because the message clearly isn’t getting through.

What’s worse is that the errors on their resume were blindingly obvious with a brief glance.

The face of recruitment is rapidly changing, and  it’s changing so quickly it’s hard to keep up. I like to think that I’m all over what’s going on in my sector, however I fully accept that what I know barely scratches the surface of the reality of what is happening in practice.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few years or have been out of the job market altogether, you should have heard about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or resume parsing programs by now. If you haven’t, you can read more about them here.

They are becoming more and more sophisticated, and so are the organisations that use them. (At best estimates, around 80% of organisations in Australia who have more than 100 employees, will use some form of ATS or parsing software).

So, before you spend ANY money on a professionally written resume, make sure you, and your resume writer (who should be certified, by the way) have the facts at hand.

Here are just a few recent advances in the job application process:

  • When you apply for a job online, you may be directed to a brief questionnaire to complete after submitting your resume. The way you respond to the questionnaire may screen you out as a candidate (instead of screening you in), simply because you are not a good fit for the organisation. So it won’t matter how good or bad your resume is, if you are not a good company fit, and you cannot prove that you have the skills, qualifications and psychological profile to fit that organisation, you will not get shortlisted.
  • Some organisations have actually STOPPED accepting resumes as part of the initial application process, instead directing candidates to online testing platforms that will test your ‘can do’, ‘will do’ and ‘fit to’ a position. Only then will they ask for your resume (which will need to be laser-focused specifically for the role in question). Failure to do this, will result in a failure to be interviewed if the few other candidates they shortlist have made the effort to tailor their applications.
  • If your resume has NOT been optimised for ATS, and the organisation to which you are applying is using ATS to screen all applications, a computer may make the decision about whether your resume gets read by a real person in the first instance. This is literally a situation where the computer says no! If your resume writer cannot speak knowledgeably about ATS and getting your resume through ATS screening, run away, and quickly, There are 16 certified resume writers Australia – any of them can help you.

So, before you spend anything on getting someone to write your resume, I’d use this checklist before giving it to someone who you are trusting your livelihood and earning potential to.

And if you’re not in a  position to pay for a professional to do it for, mine everything you can from this website, because all the answers are here. Or buy this book – written by a certified resume writer – and do it yourself. For goodness sake though, do not risk not putting food on your table by placing your career in the hands of an amateur. Please…


It’s  a false economy thinking you can get a resume professionally written for less than a few hundred dollars, and it will cost you  (quite possibly a lot) in the long term, as my client today has discovered.


Think about it in the context of the minimum hourly rate in Australia, and the fact that a certified resume writer PLUS a proofreader PLUS a QA reviewer will take around 12 hours to get your ATS friendly resume to first draft, before any edits or amendments are made by you.


How many job applications are you prepared to send off, and how many months are you prepared to wait for that elusive interview? I hope you know where I’m going with this …


Rant over.

If you’re a DIYer – good for you for having a go – but please get the guidelines from an industry leader here.

*No disrespect the Electricians, Plumbers or Brain Surgeons intended. Or anyone who re-trains from any profession to become a certified resume writer.

(updated 2021)

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