Be Careful of LinkedIn and Resume Writing Rip-offs

A man from Glencoe called me about misgivings he was having about the resume he’d received from some online LinkedIn profile writing service. He’d paid a lot! He asked me to view what they’d done and tell him if he’d been scammed. A quick look showed the work was amateurish—like this company had hired some high school kids.

A Google search turned up dozens of bitter complaints about this company.

Resume email blasts

A woman from Kenilworth approach me sheepishly after paying thousands of dollars to a company that wrote her resume and sent it out in email blasts. They did her a huge disservice by first creating a mediocre resume that made this outstanding executive look ordinary and then sending this resume to lots of companies.

Fortunately, these bad resumes didn’t damage her reputation much. Unsolicited resumes rarely see the light of day. Many of the companies receiving the resumes weren’t companies in her field. Then, since the email list was hugely out of date, many of the resumes didn’t reach their targets at all. Further, they weren’t personalized. Who wants to get an email addressed to “Dear Hiring Manager”? Were anyone to actually read her resumes, she would be quickly passed over because of the poor quality resume.

In the unlikely event that she actually got an interview for a decent job, she most likely would have blown it. This company had done nothing at all to assist her in speaking powerfully about her skills and accomplishments. They also had done nothing to help her with networking techniques.

Their strategy was to send out all these emails and hope that some employer would call with just the right job. The advantage of this strategy is that it’s easy. You don’t have to pick up the phone and call strangers. There’s little chance of rejection. The obvious disadvantage it doesn’t work very well. She’d been waiting a long time for someone to call.

That said, email blasts can be part of a job campaign, if done well. But don’t rely on them. As we’ll discuss in another blog post, it’s important to use all the available job search tools and strategies.

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.  


Career Site Offers Resume Reviews—FREE!
One of the big career websites figured out that they could make a lot of money on resume scams. One of my Evanston clients sent them a resume we had laboriously worked on together, and they ripped it apart. They said it was awful. To be fair, a resume can always be improved. They did make legitimate points on two small things, but mostly, the advice was boilerplate. It had nothing to do with the resume my client sent them.

I saw a post on LinkedIn from a woman who lives in Glenview. She related her story about how she paid this company a lot of money to upgrade her resume. Just for fun, she decided to send them the resume they had created to get a free review. She soon got a scathing review from this company. The resume is terrible, they said, but they would be happy to fix it for her—for close to a thousand dollars.

This is not to say that free resume reviews are necessarily a scam. I sometimes offer that service myself. But I also have told a number of people that they didn’t need to spend money to upgrade their resume because they (or the person they’d hired) had done a great job.

Resumes and LinkedIn Profiles Done Really Really Really Cheap!
A man from Skokie got upset when I quoted my (modest) fee. After all, he’d seen services that will write resumes for fifty bucks. But the only way to make money on a service like that is to do the resumes and LinkedIn profiles really fast. Plug in the basics: name, company, titles, duties, and so on—and presto! The resume is done—and on to the next customer.

It takes time and expertise to dig into a client’s background to create a document that will be an asset in their job campaign.

These cheap resume people are usually not crooked; they’re just not very good.

So … You have been warned. Many companies see the unemployed as a population to steal from. Take action to protect yourself and your bank account.

  1. Ask for references
  2. Search for online complaints. Be aware, though, that any company that has been in business for a long time is likely to have a disgruntled customer or two. But if there are a lot of complaints, steer clear.
  3. Ask for references
  4. Find out if your colleagues, friends, and family might recommend someone.
  5. If you can afford it, get what you really need. A great resume is only about 10% of what it takes to get hired. A career coach can help with so much more:
  • Creating a marketing plan
  • Training in effective networking
  • Assistance in developing a powerful verbal presentation
  • Job interview training
  • Support and troubleshooting during the ups and downs of a campaign, and
  • Salary negotiations

Does your resume and LinkedIn profile need some help? How about your job search? Call us today at 847-673-0339 or send us a note.

9 Resume Writing Mistakes That Make Your Resume Downright Awful–Or Just Mediocre

Here are just a few big resume writing mistakes that can keep you from being taken seriously as a candidate.

These resume mistakes practically guarantee yours will be:



–and maybe even ridiculed.

There are millions of resumes floating around out there in both paper and electronic formats.

  • Some are downright awful. They’re an embarrassment. They should be burned or deleted.
  • Most are just mediocre. They’re not horrible, but they don’t make the boss jump up and down with excitement. Being “just OK” is not a recipe for a successful job search.
  • A few are fantastic and make the boss want to pick up the phone to set up an interview.

Here are a just a few of the many mistakes people make with their resumes. Fixing these things may not get you all the way to fantastic, but it will definitely move you significantly in the right direction.

Mistake #1:  Yucky Career Summaries

What better way to start down the road to creating a downright awful resume than with a career summary chock full of career jargon? People who look at lots of resumes practically get nauseous when they see something like this:


Hard-working, results-oriented executive who impacts the bottom-line. Problem solver and team player who communicates well and gets the job done….

 “Results-oriented” is a worn-out phrase. Most people are hard workers. We ALL solve problems. In fact, my dog solves problems. So, don’t tell me that you solve problems; let me know what kinds of problems you solve. What can you do that most people (and my dog) can’t?  Communicate your best skills in meaningful, plain English, like this:

THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING OF THIS REPORT.  Click here to get your free copy of the entire report.  Just write “Resume Report” and we’ll send it right out. We’ll also periodically send you other helpful tips and articles.

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.