Should your resume writer provide samples? by Krystal Yates

This question frequently arises because common internet advice says you should ask for samples. You need to be able to see what you are getting, right? Our stance is absolutely not. Content is what matters, not the way the resume looks – beyond some best practices. A good-looking sample resume doesn’t mean you will get an effective resume.

Why we don’t provide samples:

As stated above, content is what matters, not the look. We want to get to know you and learn more about your industry, background, and even personality before deciding on a format and style for your resume. Samples aren’t always a good indicator of what your resume is going to look like. And again, strong verbiage and the right content are far more important than the look of the resume. I’ve seen some truly tragic-looking resumes over the years – and still called the applicant because, as a hiring manager, I understand that the best employees aren’t always the best resume writers. As long as I can find the information I’m looking for, the resume is doing its job.

There is no “right” way to write a resume. If you ask ten recruiters and ten hiring managers what the best look, format, style, etc. is, you will get twenty different answers. If you ask their top tips for writing a resume, you will get at least one contradictory piece of advice. When EBR writes resumes, we do it based on you – your background, industry, next job, and even personality to get the look right for you.

Even then, we occasionally don’t get it right on the first try. But that is why we collaborate with our clients. We are the experts on resumes, but you are the expert on you. When we work together, we can do great things.

There are four types of resumes. Until we’ve spent time with you, we won’t know which one makes the most sense.

Chronological is the most common type. If you’ve had a linear, progressive career and are looking for a job equal to your most current one, this could work.

Functional works better for certain industries, specifically when the work is fairly straightforward without much change between jobs. Examples include many medical positions, bookkeeping, basic customer service, and many manual jobs.

The hybrid resume is our favorite based on the demographic we commonly work with. This is the resume type we recommend when a client is changing industries, trying for a promotion, or is in a position where a focus on achievements is important. We find this format works best for most executive resumes as well.

Tailored resumes are the final option, although we don’t do many of them. A tailored resume is targeted to one specific job posting. If you are in an active job search, this doesn’t usually make sense.

We are good at what we do (modest, not so much!), and our clients will back us up on that. We have been named one of the top ten resume writing services in DFW for the last three years running. We are in the top 8 cover letter writers nationally according to the same website and the top ten best military to civilian resume writers. Our results speak for themselves.

If not samples, how do you qualify your resume writer? Reviews are probably one of the best places to start. What other customers think of the writer is a pretty good indication of what your experience will be like. Don’t just look at how many stars the company has, though. Read the reviews to get a solid feel for how the company operates. Google “How to Hire a Resume Writer,” and you’ll find countless articles, all with slightly varying advice. Top Resume says this, while Forbes says this, and LinkedIn says this. We think Mac’s list provides the most comprehensive list of considerations.

Bottom line, how well are you communicating with your resume writer? Do they seem to understand your needs? If so, you can work together to create the right resume.

What Every Jobseeker Should Know about Recruiters

There are 5 common types of recruiters, and it is likely that if you are on an extended job search, you will come across all of them.

Internal, In House, or Corporate*: Internal recruiters work for and source full-time employees for the company they work for and are paid a salary and benefits like any other employee. Companies often use contractors to work as recruiters to avoid paying outside agency fees, effectively insourcing this activity.  Example:  WalMart, US Army, Amazon, Google

Contingency Recruiter:  A Contingency Recruiting Agency does a full-time employee search on a contingency (paid only if they find a candidate) basis for a client company. The recruiter is responsible to do the initial recruiting, screening and interviewing and arranging interviews with the candidates for the client/company. The company pays either a flat fee or a percentage of the first year’s salary usually 15-35% depending on the difficulty. Jobseekers do not have to pay a fee. A lot of regular staffing companies typically offer contingency services too. They will typically advertise these jobs as ‘Direct Hire’ or ‘Contract to hire’ to indicate they are different than the regular staffing positions. Example: Robert Half, Spherion, Matrix-FA

Retained Recruiter: A Retained Agency is similar to a contingency recruiting with the main difference that the client company pays a retainer (fixed upfront amount) fee to have that company perform a search. A portion of the search fee is paid upfront and the remainder is due upon a successful hire. The initial retainer fee is paid irrespective of whether a placement is made. This is more typical for higher level positions to incentivize the recruiter to spend time on a low probability of placement. (It is harder to find a CEO, CFO as opposed to a software developer) Such firms may also call themselves Executive Search firms to distinguish the kind of talent they acquire.

Example: Korn Ferry, Witt Kiefer

PS: Both Contingent and Retained Search companies are also commonly called “Headhunters”. (A term many recruiters don’t like).

Staffing Agency (Temp/Contract): A Temporary/Contract Staffing Firm hires temporary employees for a client’s company. The individual is employed by the staffing agency and the staffing agency pays all wages, employer taxes, medical insurance and benefits. For all purposes the individual is an employee of the staffing company but their work is determined by the client where they work. The client company pays an hourly rate for the contract/temp employee which is higher than the employee cost – the premium or markup to take care of the staffing company’s costs and profits in exchange for the flexibility and ease of hiring and terminating such resources.

Example:  Volt, Adecco, Manpower, Aerotek

Outplacement Recruiter: An Outplacement Agency provides job seeking assistance to downsized/displaced/riffed employees. Often the employer will hire an outplacement company to help their recently downsized workforce find jobs as a matter of goodwill. Outplacement services provide resume and interviewing assistance, career counseling, etc. Several of these companies are divisions of larger staffing companies.


Regardless of which recruiter approaches you, there are some “Do’s” and some “Don’ts” to keep in mind.


Tell the truth – Recruiters cross reference information, check references, check education claims.  That’s their job! If you have been out of work for a while or are concerned about a past issue, be up front.  Recruiters have pretty much seen and heard it all and will know immediately whether they are wasting your time – and theirs.

Always be on Time – When a recruiter wants to talk about a potential role or even wants to interview you for an impending one, it’s crucial not to be late. The recruiter always wants to put the best candidate forward for a job. They’ll be taking note of the basics when it comes to timing, appearance and preparedness before they refer you on. Show up approximately 10-15 minutes before if in person. Dress well,  be organised and friendly even if you’re Zooming the meeting!.


Ghost a recruiter -While your recruiter may not be able to help you with one specific role at one specific time, they may be able to help you with a role in the future. In this day and age, jobs aren’t forever.  It’s in your best interests not to completely ghost a recruiter if things didn’t work out the first time round. Be strategic and think ahead, do not ghost your recruiter.

Bluntly say that you won’t do something minor – If there’s merely one aspect of the job spec that you’re not overly thrilled about, it’s better not to say ‘well I’m not doing that’. You can navigate the small things before signing a contract. Try to be open minded without compromising your preferences.

It’s important to remember that a recruiter wants you to succeed – because then they have also succeeded.  Be sure that you are really interested in the job they are recruiting for and show that interest when you talk with them.  If you are not interested – say so, that doesn’t mean that a recruiter won’t keep you in mind as they take up other positions to fill. The better relationship you can create, the better the chance that they will help you find your dream job!