Every month in the US, about 3,000 people hit Google and search for phrases like “Best Resume Writing Services.”
And right now, lots of them are being scammed.
Hundreds of job seekers fall victim to junk resume writing services, and they have no idea they’re being scammed.
We want to help.
Sites like Best10ResumeWriters and Top5ResumeServices are scams. We have an entire section detailing this below.
This article is full of information. Use this table of contents to navigate to each section
Hopefully, anyone who reads this will know to steer clear of the scammers out there.
As always, we hope you’ll read through this post and leave a comment below if you think we missed anything or to commiserate with other resume writing scam victims!
Let’s dive in.
We put up this article to help innocent job seekers avoid being scammed by bogus Google results, after searching for phrases like “Best Resume Services” and “Top Resume Writing Services.”
The list below was compiled after years of first-hand experience. Resume writing is what we do. We’re experts at it, and we hope to prove it to you.
You didn’t think we could write an entire article on the best resume writing services and not include ourselves, did you?
But the scam websites listed below, we’re being 100% transparent about how and why we wrote this list.
Most companies today use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software to automatically screen resumes.
An ATS is a computer program that scans your resume, reads the contents, and extracts data for the hiring managers.
But it also has one other really important job — saying no. On average, applicant tracking systems delete 75% of the resumes submitted.
The most common reasons for these rejections are:
So if the ATS can accidentally disqualify otherwise-qualified candidates, what does that mean for you? That’s where we come in.
We use the same ATS technology used by employers to screen your resume to ensure it’s being parsed properly, and our writers are experts at keyword-optimizing your resume.
Here’s a short list of all the things that make Zipjob’s professional resume writers the very best in the business.
Second on our list is LinkedIn. If you’re applying for jobs, you’re almost definitely already on LinkedIn. But did you know they offer a “hire someone” service?
They call it ProFinder.
The professional-yet-social network’s hiring board functions a lot like the other major boards out there.
Answer a couple of questions about the services you’re looking for—resume writing, in your case—and their ProFinder service provides you with the a list of local (maybe) professionals from their curated list.
You’ll get up to 5 offers from professionals on LinkedIn’s list. Each offer will include a message, price quote, and access to the pro’s profile.
Bonus: they offer an option for local-only or remote professionals. So if you want to meet your pro in person, that’s an option. Major bonus points there.
Select the right pro based on their experience and location. If you need any help, LinkedIn offers their “ProFinder concierge team,” basically a tech support for hiring a pro.
First of all, it can take a while. When you submit your request to ProFinder, you’ll get an email confirmation explaining that you’ll get offers in about 24 hours.
Thanks for telling us about your Resume Writing needs.
Here’s what you can expect next:
- Top Resume Writers local freelancers will be notified of your project.
- You’ll get up to 5 custom proposals from top Resume Writers – each with a link to their LinkedIn profile, pricing, and contact info.
- Review and compare your options. Then reach out directly to the pro that’s right for you.
But the 24-hour notice may be inaccurate. When we tested this service, we started getting proposals back almost immediately. The first one arrived within 15 minutes.
There are lots of great resume writers out there, including many of the folks you’ll find on LinkedIn’s ProFinder. But it’s difficult to vet them. LinkedIn doesn’t provide any information other than what’s on the candidate’s profile, and any other links they provide.
If you go this route, you can find a great writer, but it may be time consuming.
You’ll have to set up calls or send messages with a handful of writers and interview each. That level of connection is valuable—no doubt about that. But it can mean a labor-intensive process in picking the right person.
Also, if 5 proposals arrive in your inbox within minutes, it’s safe to assume those candidates are sending cookie-cutter proposals to every request they receive. That may not be a bad thing, but the system can be a bit less personal than it may seem.
When you interview LinkedIn ProFinder candidates, make sure to ask for references, and their website and portfolio.
See also: Craigslist, Thumbtack, Upwork, and Uptowork. They all function in very similar ways.
If you’ve been searching around for the perfect resume service, you’ve almost definitely come across TopResume before now.
They’re one of the biggest companies in the industry, and they’ve built a very strong brand on the success of their service.
They’re technically one of our direct competitors, but our list of the best resume writing services would be incomplete (and would probably be considered misleading) if we omitted them. They do great work and they do belong on this list.
TopResume has built a very successful business in an industry with a lot of competition and a lot of noise. They deserve real credit for that. Let’s look at some of their strongest qualities.
Their website says they’re “the largest resume-writing service in the world.” They were founded in 2014, and they’re owned by Talent Inc.
Their stats say that they write and analyzes more resume, CVs, and LinkedIn profiles than any other service. Talent Inc. reviews 4.5 million resume/CVs annually. They have 1,000+ career experts “in their network,” and 300+ job board partners.
Their size and stability allow them to attract lots of very talented writers. They don’t say publicly how many writers work for them, but if they’re processing millions of resumes every year, it has to be a lot.
Given how big they are, they’ve had the opportunity to help A LOT of people. And that’s awesome. Everything that helps someone land a job is good for the employer, employee, and the US workforce in general. TopResume deserves credit for contributing to that, and their hundreds of 5-star reviews back that up.
Nobody’s perfect. TopResume has their share of weaknesses. In fairness, we need to mention a few areas that TopResume could (and is probably trying to) improve upon.
It can take up to 2 weeks to get your resume returned by their writers. If you’re in a hurry, that might be too long.
TopResume does not provide unlimited revisions. If you’re not satisfied with their work after you hit your limit, you may walk away with an incomplete resume.
They don’t offer direct access to the writer by default. If you ever want to have a real conversation with your writer, they charge extra for the phone call.
If you’re on a budget or entry-level—looking at you, recent graduates—Fiverr may be a good choice. They’ve built a worldwide brand on offering affordable services.
Resume writing is a popular service offered on the site, with more than 3,300 “gigs” listed for English-speakers.
For the budget-conscious, Fiverr is a good option. There are hundreds of writers to pick from and the rates are usually low enough to allow a few revisions or even experimenting with a few different writers.
There are some pretty obvious up-sides to using a service like Fiverr. Our favorites are price, selection, and flexibility. If you’ve never bought a Fiverr gig, here’s what you need to know.
This is, by far, the biggest advantage Fiverr has over other options. Gigs start at $5 and often may only go as high as $25 for some of the standard add-ons like Cover Letters or editable files.
In our research, gigs with 24-hour delivery, editable files, and edit/rewrite options still started at $5. Starting prices went as high as $125.
Fiverr’s entire philosophy is bringing together buyers and sellers—and they do a great job of it. Exact figures were hard to come by, but our research suggests that they have more than 100,000 active users. Probably much more than that.
There’s something for everyone. That’s especially true for budget shoppers who are trying to get the best deal or find a vendor whose taste and style match yours.
The size and competition of the Fiverr gig economy means that sellers are always trying to compete for more buyers. And as with any economy, demand drives supply.
Fiverr gig sellers are generally very flexible, and are willing to offer customized addons or upsells for a price. That gives buyers the chance to get exactly the personalization they want, with a professional quality.
The downsides of Fiverr are pretty obvious, too. And, in some ways, the very features that we just described as up-sides can also have considerable down sides.
Given the hand-off approach that Fiverr takes to its marketplace, you won’t have much recourse if you don’t get what you were promised or if you’re unsatisfied with the results.
Yes, you can dispute and complain, etc.—similar to how eBay handles disputes—but that’s not the same thing as being able to speak to a support rep or a supervisor to get your issue addressed.
Fiverr is notorious for fakers, especially when it comes to their reviews. It’s basically impossible to trust any reviews you see on a Seller’s profile.
Buying Fiverr reviews is rampant, even though it’s against their terms. There are even how-to articles written about how to buy Fiverr reviews and avoid detection.
Unless the gig seller allows it, you’ll have no access to them other than the communication channels built into Fiverr—no phone, no direct email. Just a dashboard.
In most cases, that works out fine. But many job seekers want the reassurance of a verbal conversation with their writer. Very hard to do on Fiverr.
Last on our list of top 5 resume services is Livecareer. You may have come across them, too. But they’re unique on our list because they’re a resume builder first and foremost.
A resume builder is a software platform that takes the place of MS Word or Google Docs and helps users create their own resumes, usually with nice-looking layouts and other aesthetics.
Livecareer is actually the large resume builder in the US, and they do a very good job of it. They started offering resume services a while back—writing, review, editing, etc.—and that’s why they’re on our list.
LiveCareer’s resume services have some strengths to their credit. Here’s what we like about their service offerings.
LiveCareer has been around since 2004. Their business has over 200 employees, and that may not even include contract or freelance writers.
They have great reviews on Google, Glassdoor, and TrustPilot. A few unhappy clients too, of course. But nothing out of the ordinary.
LiveCareer is headquartered in New York City, and they have offices in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. You may notice that those are all majority-English-speaking countries.
They’re easy to contact (though that may not be true of their writers—we don’t know) by phone, contact form, or even live chat.
To their credit, LiveCareer offers a satisfaction guarantee. They don’t promise to refund your payment, but they do swear to live up to your standards.
Their website says “Quality is guaranteed. If you’re not satisfied with the results, we will rewrite your resume for free!”
The biggest drawback to using LiveCareer’s services is that they’re not a services company, first and foremost. They’re a SaaS company—software as a service. And their company mission, investments, and structure are aligned to support that.
Their services team may do good work, but ultimately they’re secondary to LiveCareer’s main job: technology.
Let’s look at these two websites and explore why we’re calling them into question.
If you google the right phrases, you’ll find this result and its similar domain name.
We included a screenshot here to help you recognize it, but we kept it small so it’s somewhat difficult to read. The info on it is unreliable, after all.
The site claims to be unbiased and impartial, but that’s untrue. The makers of this “Top 10” website own the Resume Professional Writers (RPW) website that they’re ranking #1—but they don’t tell you that.
Here’s what their site says:
Our team of Career Experts have done the dirty work for you. Check out our unbiased reviews of the 2019 Top 10 Resume Writing Services from our list.
Leverage your job application by choosing the best online resume writing company. With fake reviews and bogus companies lurking around, it’s safe to say that the online commerce is filled with a lot of rubbish. We’ve been reviewing online resume writing service companies since year 2000 and periodically updating our rankings, making sure we deliver top rated resume writing services reviews.
The idea of ranking the best resume writing services is not a problem. This happens all the time. It’s why Consumer Reports and Angie’s List exist at all.
But those are trusted sources.
If Consumer Reports or Angie’s List published a list called Best Professional Resume Writing Services or Top-Rated Resume Writing Services of 2019, you’d believe them. They have credibility and authority.
They’re ethical, and they can’t be bought. You know there’s no conflict of interest or bias in their reviews. That is sadly not the case with some of these websites.
Ranking themselves first wouldn’t be a big deal if they really were the best. In fairness, we did that too in this very article.
Even if they were the best (they aren’t), there’s more to it than that. Because “best” is subjective. Best according to whom? How did they earn that top spot? We wanted to know, so we investigated.
If you click around enough on that website, you’ll eventually find a form where anyone can, hypothetically, submit their own review and testimonial. Each of the services on their “best” 10 list has its own form.
We submitted reviews to each of these forms to see what would happen: positive reviews, negative reviews, real names, fake names, high scores, low scores—we tried it all.
We never got an email in response. We never saw the review score change. Our testimonials/comments were never added to the website. In fact, we can’t really even be sure that our submissions went anywhere.
The lines of ownership on this website aren’t quite as clear, but they’re doing 2 things that raise some eyebrows:
First, they’re using a Google Sites domain and website. That’s important for 2 reasons:
If you know anything about SEO, you’ll know that domain authority matters. And what domain could have more authority than Google themselves?
It’s a well-known trick in the SEO world to use Google Sites domains to try to pick up some extra bump in the Search Results pages (see also: Medium, Blogger, WordPress.com, etc).
That means that this site, full of junk though it is, has a higher-than-it-should-be chance of ranking well in Google searches, and influencing searchers who don’t know any better.
Some users may not know that Google Sites is a free product available to anyone. And therefore, users might think that they’re looking at an official Google website. And that Google themselves were the ones endorsing these resume services as “best.”
A note of disclaimer here: neither of these two points are “bad” per se. Anyone is free to use Google Sites, with its SEO benefit and Google-looking URLs and all. But there are good ways and bad ways to earn consumer confidence.
This Top5ResumeSites website is using its position in Google Search results to make money, by using “Share A Sale” and similar affiliate links.
ShareASale.com and lots of similar affiliate programs out there work on the premise of commissions: you send me a paying customer and I’ll pay you a cut of the sale.
So if you want to earn some of those commission payments, it’s in your best interest to send as many paying customers as possible to the ShareASale partner.
It means that the author of these money-for-traffic sites wants to send you to the website that pays them the most, not necessarily the one that will give YOU the best service.
Again, quick disclaimer: affiliate sales have been around a long time, and they’re not necessarily shady by definition. After all, it doesn’t cost the user anything.
But there’s supposed to be some transparency in these affiliate setups. Just like the “Best 10” website, you need to know if you can trust the recommendation. And sales commissions could erode that trust.
If you skimmed the rest of the article, and just wanted to reach this part, here’s all you need to know about WHY some of these resume writing service websites are scams, and how to spot the signals for yourself.
Some of the websites ranking and/or advertising near the top of Google search results aren’t what they seem to be. And the stats predict that ~30% of searchers will click on the #1 result.
That’s 900 new victims a month. Clearly something is wrong here. We’ve even talked to Google about it. Hopefully we can update this post when if we get the matter sorted out with them.
But in the meantime, here’s how to spot a resume writing scam.
They appear as though they’re genuine “best of” posts, meant to help users. But they’re just marketing. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
These deceptions are hard to spot unless you know the industry, but they become pretty clear after some research.
We’re reminded of those “4 out of 5 dentists recommend” commercials. If you asked 5 dentists, you’d see a clear majority pointing toward the same recommendation.
But what if you only ask one dentist? Then how would you know? You need a few more points of comparison in order to draw the best conclusion. The same is true here.
When you find one of these “best of” articles (this one included!) take their rankings/reviews with a grain of salt, and do some follow-up research.
They’re run in other countries, while claiming to be US-based and/or US-experts. Nothing against our international neighbors, but they don’t live and work here. Location matters.
In some cases, they go out of their way to repeat on their website—over and over again—that “We’re a US-based business!” when they’re really not.
They do this by using a virtual address—and they’re all too easy to get.
It should be noted here that not every business with a virtual address is guaranteed to be a scam. But it just means that you have to do your homework.
Even Yelp is getting in on the virtual address party:
The links they have pointing to the other resume services are affiliate links. That means that these scammers earns a commission when anyone signs ups with these services by way of their junk website(s).
Another important note here: affiliate links don’t automatically make something a scam. The problem is a lack of transparency.
When the affiliate links aren’t disclosed anywhere on the page and they never tell you that there’s money on the line with their recommendations, we consider that a problem.
That lack of disclosure means that you—the customer—don’t have all the information. And therefore you can’t make the best decision about whether or not to trust the reviews.
You can write your resume yourself. Most job seekers write their own, at least to start. In most cases, we actually recommend it. It forces you to think critically about your skills, accomplishments, and experience.
There are a few types of resumes to choose from:
Here’s a breakdown of each—
Chronological is the simplest style, and most people start there. List your positions in reverse date order, starting with the current or most recent position at the top, and oldest position at the bottom.
We have an entire article on how to write a reverse chronological resume, with examples included. Among all the different resume formats used by job applicants, none is more popular than chronological. Chances are that you’ve seen a few of these in your time, or even used one yourself!
If you have employment gaps or similar issues, then functional may be the resume format for you. The functional format highlights your abilities, skills, and qualifications, rather than job history.
Because the functional resume format focuses on what you can do, rather than what you have done, it’s popular among job seekers starting over, and (ironically) those with expert-level experience in their field.
If you want more info on the functional format, check out our full article on how to write a functional resume with 6 steps and examples for how to write yours.
A hybrid resume is a combination of the chronological and functional formats: chronological highlights positions; functional highlights skills. The Hybrid format—as the name implies—does both.
On a hybrid resume, you’d detail your relevant skills at the top of the resume, and list your reverse-chronological work history (along with brief descriptions) at the bottom.
Hybrid resumes show that you’re qualified, and they prove it by showing professional experience. If this resume format interests you, check out our article on how to write a hybrid resume.
Note: in most cases, the hybrid format used by candidates with a lot of experience in a single field.
No matter which resume format you choose, remember to format and optimize it for ATS scans and software. All the major job sites use them, and the vast majority of hiring/HR departments rely on them to screen applicants.
We’ve got pages and pages of information on how to optimize your resume for ATS. Does your resume pass the ATS test? Use our free tool to find out.
Writing a resume is hard. Job searching is stressful. The industry analysts say the average job search lasts 40 weeks—about 9 or 10 months.
There are a lot of great resources out there and some not-so-great ones.
Do your homework and keep the faith. Everyone finds a job sooner or later. It takes patience, persistence, and preparation.
We hope this article helped you improve your job search, or better yet—end it! But if you still need help, please get in touch! This is what we do for a living, and we’d love to help you too.