I once read a story about a young bride-to-be who wanted to wear her grandmother’s wedding dress on her own big day. While it had been carefully preserved, the fabric had yellowed with age and the delicate lace looked a bit too fragile to wear one more time.

This hopeful gal took the dress to the dry cleaners, who warned her of what the outcome could be. The forecast was correct – the dress fell apart at the seams and the lace disintegrated – making it both unwearable and unrepairable.

You have an existing resume and think it looks and reads okay. So, why pay for an entire rewrite when you could pay for a slight tweak here and there? Like that wedding dress, your resume most likely needs a lot more than tweaking. It needs to be completely recreated.

resume writing start from scratch

First of all, there are the applicant tracking systems (ATS) to consider. Tweaking your resume does not include making it compatible with these widely used ATS platforms. You need a rewrite to ensure your resume meets the formatting and content parameters necessary to pass the screen and make it to a human reader.

Another key consideration is format. Is it boring and lackluster or does it catch someone’s eye and encourage them to read? A simple tweak will not cover revamping the format either. In the example below, the person placed their name in the header. This is a big no-no not just because it doesn’t view as clearly as the rest of the content, but also because anything in a header or footer is not “viewable” by ATS platforms. Even if the rest of this resume was great, the candidate would never get a call back because his name and contact information were not visible.

Related: Writing Your Resume? Make Sure You Know the Rules

Finally and perhaps most importantly, is content. Many of our clients have been either emotionally tied to their careers or simply in the dark about what is important to include in their resumes. As a result, they listed every single responsibility, making the document read more like a grocery list than a compelling career document. Furthermore, they often include “accomplishments” that really shouldn’t be classified that way. If you managed a $1M budget and listed it as a key contribution, your reader will not be duly impressed. Your budget was part of your responsibility. Now if you managed a critical project at 10% under that $1M budget while meeting the timelines and the specifications of the project, that is definitely an accomplishment. But, again, redefining and rewriting your accomplishments is not a tweak – it is a rewrite.

Tweaking an old resume rarely yields the results you really need. This example of a “before” and “after” resume shows the dramatic difference a complete resume rewite can make.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can pay for a simple update or edit to your resume and have it meet your needs and those of a prospective employer. You will end up making a purchase twice – one for that “tweak” and one for the actual rewrite, which is what you needed in the first place.

Because the stakes are high — and because it can be hard to take a birds-eye view of your experience, and to be able to identify what skills and competencies to highlight — hiring a professional resume writer can be one of the best investments you make in your career. We can create a powerful resume that helps you stand out from the crowd … for all the right reasons!

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Writing Your Resume? Make Sure You Know the Rules