Executive Resume Writer Con Artists! Be Careful!

As an executive resume writer and career coach, I’ve run into quite a few people who have been scammed by con artists. This includes resume/LinkedIn services and other job search companies.

It’s sad, but some companies have stooped to ripping off the unemployed. After all, they’re vulnerable and often desperate, so why not take their money?

Unfortunately, it has led some to conclude that career professionals are generally not to be trusted.

The $800 Executive Resume Writer Ripoff

An Evanston man called to ask me about the $800 resume he’d gotten from some company he’d found online. “Was I conned?”

I asked him to email the resume, as the price alone didn’t mean anything. After a quick glance, I had to tell him, “Sorry, but yes. You were conned.”  The resume looked like a high school student had written it.

I asked the name of the company, looked them up on Google, and found a horrifying number of complaints.

The Email Blast Con              

A woman from Skokie came to see me for some job interview coaching after paying a company $3,000 to write her resume and send mass emails to companies. It sounded like such an easy way to get a job.

But many of the companies emailed were out of her geographic area—and she didn’t want to move. The emails weren’t personalized—a major turnoff. Who reads emails addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam?”

And who knows who in those companies actually received the emails. I doubt any hiring decision maker ever saw those resumes. If they did get through to the right person, the resume was amateurish and would’ve been deleted instantly.

Worse, this company hadn’t helped this woman with even the most basic preparation. She wasn’t able to articulate her skill set. She couldn’t tell me even a single coherent story about her accomplishments. She had no networking strategy.

Apparently, she was just supposed to wait for an employer to call her with a great job. Bad idea!

Resume Writing –We’ll Review Your Resume—Free!

A company that runs one of the big career websites started to offer free resume reviews. It was appalling. One of my clients sent in the resume we’d developed after many hours of work. The resume reviewer said it was terrible, and offered to fix it—for a fee of several hundred dollars.

Now, I believe that any resume can be improved. The resume reviewer did point out two legitimate, but small, items for improvement. But as I read through the scathing review of this resume, it became clear that this was a standard letter. Much of what the reviewer said had absolutely nothing to do with my client’s resume. The feedback was mostly formulaic.

Company trashes their own resume

More on the free resume review company.

After paying this company several hundred dollars for a “major resume upgrade,” one woman decided to do an experiment. She submitted the upgraded resume back to the company, asking for a free resume review.

As she suspected, the company trashed the resume they had created for her. They provided a long list of needed improvements and recommended that she pay them hundreds of dollars to fix it for her.


Just to be clear, I’m NOT saying that any company that offers a free resume review will scam you. Many reputable places do this.


Looking for resume help? Check out our resume page. We do resumes right–taking the time to do an indepth interview so you don’t forget–or understate–the great things you’ve done. Or call 847 673 0339.

Ultra cheap resumes

Some places offer ridiculously cheap resumes. They will write them for $75 … $50 … I’ve even seen them as low as $25. Well, you get what you pay for.

Usually, they will put your name, contact info, and an outline of your work experience into a template. Presto! They’re done.

Typically, they won’t take the time to do a good interview to dig into your background and accomplishments to learn how to sell you and create a resume that stands out. Or they may not know how to do that.

Compared to the $800 resume scam, these people seem relatively harmless. EXCEPT that they can cost you a bundle in the long term. You might be using this weak resume for months–and making a poor impression–before you figure out that you need to upgrade the resume.

Some of these people are not dishonest. They are amateurs, just trying to make a buck. All you need is a computer and a printer and you have an executive resume writing business.

How Do I Avoid Being Scammed?

  • Do an internet search to see if you can find complaints about the company. If there’s a complaint or two, that’s not necessarily bad. Most every business has had a disgruntled customer here and there.
  • Ask for references and see what you hear from a couple of their customers.
  • Ask to see samples of their work. Of course, this is not helpful to those who don’t know a good resume from a mediocre one.
  • Friends, co-workers, and others may know a good executive resume writer. Ask them.
  • Be sure to get the help you really need. A lot of people think once they have their resume written, they’re done. In fact, the resume is just the beginning of the job search. Other important elements include: your LinkedIn profile, your verbal presentation, marketing plan, networking, job interviewing, salary negotiations, and guidance and support through the ups and downs of a job search.

In summary, there’s no shortage of people who want your money. Many of the executive resume writers are good and reputable. Some are well-meaning and honest, but not skilled. And there are con artists who get rich by providing lots of hype and terrible services. Beware!

Are you struggling with your resume? Is your job search stalled? Not sure where to begin?  Call for a no-obligation conversation 847 673 0339 — or send us an email.  

Salary Negotiations: Underpaid? Change That!

Salary negotiations didn’t go so well back when you were hired? So now, you’re working your tail off and producing huge dividends for the company–for what? Your work is stellar; your pay is ordinary. You’re getting paid the same as co-workers who aren’t nearly as bright, hard-working, or talented. What do you do?

The Consequences
First, let’s discuss the consequences. Assuming you’ve got a number of good years left in your career, tolerating a low rate of pay is harmful in the short term and devastating in the long term. Raises tend to be awarded based on a percentage of current salary. Consequently, the longer you stay underpaid at this company —or if you take a job elsewhere without negotiating well–the costs multiply over time.

An academic concerned about underpaid women calculated that a 22-year-old woman who accepts a $25,000 starting salary instead of negotiating for $30,000 could lose over $500,000 by the time she is 60. Ouch!

But it gets worse. Because you know you’re underpaid, at some level, you resent it. This affects your self-esteem and (often) your attitude and work performance. You think, “Those so-and-sos aren’t giving me what I’m worth, so I’m not going to put myself out for them.”

People who are unhappy or have a bad attitude get passed over for promotions, denied raises, or worse—laid off.

Marilyn’s Boss Takes Advantage of Her

A while ago, we worked with a woman we’ll call Marilyn from Wilmette, one of the Chicago suburbs. Marilyn’s boss was taking advantage of the fact that she was so hardworking and efficient. He gave her a punishing workload, and she had almost no time for a personal life. The poor woman told us that a particularly busy time, she spent three days at the office, only going home for a quick meal and a shower. She caught short naps at her desk and kept grinding out the work.

We helped her set limits on the number of hours worked and sent out feelers about a raise in pay. When it became clear that her boss wasn’t receptive, we helped her look for a new job.

What should you do?

Don’t Expect the Salary Issue to Fix Itself

Sure, the boss MAY come to his/her senses and give you a whopping raise. But don’t count on it. Your current boss may well like the current arrangement because underpaying you makes more money available for other employees who demand more money, and/or for his own purposes, like a country club membership.

Or, the boss might understandably be focused on the trouble spots. Since you’re doing such great work, he can ignore your area, and may not realize that you are doing great work. It’s up to you to make sure that you are paid fairly.

Justify Salary Increase: Document Your Impact

In business, what gets counted counts. To get a raise, you need to show that you deserve it. So document all the things you’ve done. Keep a job journal:

♦ Calmed an irate customer, saving a $100,000 account.
♦ Fixed the company’s chaotic filing system, saving untold hours of staff time, PLUS preventing the embarrassment of being unable to locate client files.
♦ Took initiative to locate a company that develops apps and created one that greatly improves accuracy and efficiency.

Research Salary Levels In Your Industry

Good sources include salary websites, professional association, recruiters, conversations with your peers inside and outside your company, and online postings..

Learn Salary Negotiations Techniques

Don’t just accept that you’re not good at negotiating for yourself. You CAN learn and improve. Read and study Jack Chapman’s book, “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute.” It has helped people across America and beyond to put more money in their pockets. You might want to hire a salary coach for help, since negotiating for yourself can be much more difficult than negotiating for the company.  Contact Jack today at 847-251-4727 to discuss how to get paid what you’re worth.


Negotiations don’t come easily for a lot of people, so practice is important. Make sure that you try out the new behaviors ahead of time with your career or salary coach so you don’t wilt during the uncomfortable discussions.

BTW, we’re happy to report that all ended well for Marilyn. She was offered a job with a rapidly-growing Glenview company. This time, she did some due diligence on the company and the boss. She found it was a company that respects and values work-life balance and the boss was very fair.  With Jack’s help, she also negotiated a substantial pay raise and an extra week of vacation.

Marilyn was astounded–and felt so good about starting her new job–with the attractive compensation package she negotiated. This included a number of benefits and perks, including tuition reimbursement for her MBA program.

Every day, people find that they can win the salary negotiations game. Are you ready to take action to get what you’re worth in your job and career? Call us today:  847 673 0339