Beware of Resume Scams When Looking for Work

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If I told you that I’d critique and revise your resume for just $1, would you believe me?

OneBuckResume

This is precisely what the resume writing service, OneBuckResume, promises. When you hover your mouse over the site’s Resume Builder tab, there’s even the grammatically incorrect promise “Use the patented $1 resume builder, and we’ll complete your resume in less than 5 minutes”. However, when you scroll through the site’s Terms & Conditions (T&C’s) box, it says the following:

Resume Distribution: By clicking the checkbox below, you signify your acceptance of seven days of free resume  distribution services. IF YOU CONTINUE USING THE RESUME DISTRIBUTION SERVICE, YOUR CREDIT CARD WILL BE CHARGED $5.88 ONCE EVERY THIRTY DAYS THEREAFTER, UNLESS CANCELLED.

There is no way to not click the checkbox, since it signifies that you agree to abide by the site’s T&C’s. There is also no defined way to cancel the $5.88/month charge except by submitting support tickets through the site; no contact phone number or email is provided. Also, because the extra $5.88 monthly charge is posted on the company’s site, this disclosure allows it to make the “Didn’t you read the T&C’s?” rebuttal.

However, as several Ripoff Report testimonials attest, the site also posts fake job postings on Craigslist and asks job applicants to use OneBuckResume to properly format their resumes prior to sending them off to the hiring company. Unsuspecting job applicants pay the $1 fee and send their resumes to the provided email- only to have those emails bounce back to them as unrecognized. After 7 days, the mysterious $5.88 monthly charges begin.

TheLadders

Another resume site, TheLadders, was sued in district court on March 13, 2013 for not only posting fake, unauthorized and/or misleading $100K job opportunities but for also not delivering on its resume writing service promise. TheLadders, as noted by Barbara Ward (the Plaintiff),

 …promised a free “expert resume critique” for its premium members. However, TheLadders did not actually review resumes that were submitted by its premium members. Instead…TheLadders sent its members a form letter that failed to provide any resume criticism responsive to members’ individual resumes. The sole purpose of the form letter was to up-sell members into useless paid resume re-writing services…

Resume scams abound because, in this crappy economy, it’s very easy to take advantage of people who are scrambling to find work. The scammers often play on people’s fears, telling them that their resumes lack important “action items” that will prevent them from being hired.

Even when professionally written resumes are submitted to these scam sites,  they are ripped up and cited as needing extensive work. Of course, a scam site will naturally rip up any resume, even its own generated resume, in order to make a quick buck. And the bucks, in this case, aren’t just $30 or $40; in the case of TheLadders, members who sent their resumes to be re-written were charged about $700!

Where can you find legitimate resume writing services?

Hardcore resume writers are often certified members of the National Résumé Writers’ Association (NRWA) and/or the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC). These writers don’t hide behind a resume writing site (although they may be employed by it); typically, you’ll find writer profiles and work examples on the site’s “About Me/Us” page. The better resume writers will be industry-specific and have some kind of education or experience in their chosen focus (e.g., law).

Beware of online forms

Granted, with almost everyone being online now, you are bound to have some online forms to fill out when you start working with a resume writing service. However, the writer working on your resume should contact you personally to obtain additional information from you. This typically includes several phone interviews spanning a total of 3-5 hours for a top-notch resume site. Local agencies may also schedule you for an in-person session with the writer.

Even a budget resume writer should speak with you personally for at least half an hour. Beware of resume sites that are online only and where you cannot reach anyone over the phone. Typically, this indicates that the writers (if any) are being paid slave wages by the site and have limited English language speaking/writing skills.

While working with a “resume mill” does not exclude you from obtaining a meaningful resume, it will probably require that you do significant editing and formatting of your own document (this issue has been reported for the resume mill e-resume.net, which pays its writers Taco Bell wages for resumes worth $155). This negates much of the reasoning behind hiring a resume writer in the first place.

Don’t forget to use Google

Google knows all, as I like to say. Before you consider working with any resume site, do a quick online search of that site with the word “scam” plugged into your search query. If you find testimonial after testimonial from dissatisfied customers or even records of a lawsuit, steer clear of that agency.

Questions to ask before you pay any money

Even “good” resume writing sites can be riddled with issues. Before you hire any resume service to take on your resume, be sure to ask the following questions of the writer:

1. What are all the steps of this process and associated fees? Alternately: What do you charge per hour and what does that cover?

2. What advantages do you personally offer when compared with other resume writers?

3. Can I speak with your previous clients and/or see their “before and after” resumes? If a writer cannot provide either, find another writer/service.

4. What guarantees do you offer (e.g., limitless revisions, money back if not satisfied)?

Other things to keep in mind

As the potential client, you should expect a free evaluation of your resume before you plunk down any money. Once you become an actual client, however, up-front payment is required from most resume writing sites. Expect the entire resume critiquing to writing to revision process to take anywhere from two weeks to even over a month; good results don’t happen overnight (or in “less than 5 minutes”).

Finally, be sure to keep your receipt; resume writing services are viewed as a legitimate employment-seeking activity through the eyes of the IRS and are tax-deductible.

 

Photo credit by Jaypeg

10 Comments

  1. I connected with Dillard and Associates about doing my resume. I gave them required documents, payment 11 days ago, and not so much a draft. I’ve emailed and called, but they keep making excuses. Spoke to owner today he claimed he emailed it, but when I told him there was nothing in my box he changed up. He keeps trying to hurry up and get off of phone. Trying to stay calm, but getting very irritated. Unprofessional and I want my funds back.

    Reply
  2. I have been fighting with e-resume for weeks… they simply refuse to make any changes to their first draft, which looks like an apocalypse at an ant farm, there is so much text jammed onto the page. Their response to every request is, “do it yourself”. Meanwhile, several potential employers have specifically told me that the resume e-resume gave me needs to be replaced, as it is unreadable. My advice is to find a local service through yelp rather than use any of the on-line companies.

    Reply
  3. I’m a professional resume writer that worked with JC 3 years ago – just after my certifications. You are expected to maintain a daily quota of 3 or more ‘professional’ resumes per day at a payout of 25.00 per resume.
    I didn’t work for her very long, or any online company for that matter before I opened my own business. On line companies are a lot of hype. They overcharge the client for little or no personalized services, such as one-on-one consultations and/or critiques and expect the writer to develop something beneficial to the client. As a professional resume writer I can tell you – that’s ludicrous. There is NO way you can do that. For those serious about resume writing – join a nationally recognized affiliation such as the NRWA and start your own company. Don’t waste time degrading your professional image by being forced to put out shoddy work due to time restraints. Clients deserve our very best – and that’s what they pay for. You will always win by providing top-quality service at a price that everyone can afford…and the referrals will definitely keep you busy.
    Glad to have learned so I can share with others.
    Dawn

    Reply
    1. Dawn, what is your site and or resume service contact information? I’d like to enquire about your services.

      S

    2. You should let others know about it on as many reviews sites as possible. JC Resumes has morphed into TopResume which owned by Talent Inc which also owns JC Resumes which runs offers on Groupon. They contract out their work to freelancers and sometimes people get lost in the shuffle.

      TopResume is rated “F” by the BBB. You can see their profile here:

      http://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/business-reviews/resume-service/topresume-in-new-york-ny-151339

  4. Eric Long says:

    Great article.

    Here is another scam.
    Amazon, guaranteedresumes.net, Amazon Local, JC Resumes.com, J. Melissa Cooper, Resume2hire.com Discount resume service not such a deal. Company offers same price without offer. Internet

    Amazon Local is offering $227 in resume services for $79. Offer tag B00LH56DGM. This may seem like an excellent deal until you look at the total package.

    This offer is a ripoff for the following reasons:

    1). The discount is not real.

    You can see multiple resume websites run by J. Melissa Cooper here:

    http://www.big-list-of-resume-writers.com/Resume2Hire.com-Review.php

    J. Melissa Cooper created guaranteedresumes.net just for this deal. She sells resumes on resume2hire.com for the following prices:

    A resume costs $49.99

    Cover letters are $29.99

    Follow-up letters cost $9.99

    Thank you letters are $9.99

    So when you compare the regular price to the “Amazon” price instead of saving $148 (65%) like the ad says, you are saving $20.96 or 21% and since the follow up letters and thank you letters are the same for everyone you are really getting $79.98 worth of services for $79! A whopping savings of 98 cents.

    It’s like saying we give you 50% off of everything that is double priced.

    2). The offer is not local.

    Amazon Local is for Local deals. guaranteeresumes.net is located in Naples, Florida although the deals are tagged local for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Boston, Dallas as well as many other cities. This is a deceptive as those who sign up for emails for these deals enter a city and zip code to receive deals from local vendors. To send them a deal that is tagged as local and really hundreds of miles away creates distrust among users.

    3). The offer includes a guarantee that is not a guarantee.

    It states, get an interview in 60 days or they will make a second new resume for free.

    First of all, if they can’t figure out how to create a resume that works and they waste 60 days of potential employment time, how are they going to create an effective resume later. It’s like saying if your plane crashes we will give you a new ticket out on the next flight!

    Second of all, the guarantee is not redeemable. In order to qualify, you need to prove that you looked for a job. The only proof accepted is certified letter receipts or fax receipts. No one looks for jobs using this method and it would cost nearly $200 to send out certified letters to meet the requirement for a free rewrite. So in other words there is no real guarantee. They can say no one has used the guarantee because it is unrealistic and unreasonable.

    The Better Business Bureau has indicated that this type of guarantee advertising can be construed as deceptive. A company which offers a similar guarantee was cited by the BBB. You can see the Advertising Review here: http://www.bbb.org/central-florida/business-reviews/resume-service/azooscom-in-clermont-fl-13005931

    4). This company does business under multiple names, but you can’t find who is in charge.

    This company operates under different names and changes tactics when they get bad reviews.

    They started as Jaime Cooper Resumes, then J. Melissa, then JC Resumes. They operate Jaime Cooper Consulting, R2H, Inc., resume2hire.com, reszoome.com. The do not offer addresses, direct contact information, telephone numbers and register their domain names under proxies so they can’t be identified.

    5). No phone support is offered.

    The pricing is listed similar to services offering full interview, editing and finalization services. In this service, you submit your information and deal only by email. You can not choose your writer, discuss your needs or get advice. The information you provide is poured into a template, edited and returned to you with a generic thank you letter and follow up letter. It’s like ordering a discounted grand piano and upon arrival the package is the size of a tissue box (this has happened and was justified because the picture in the ad said “actual size”).

    In the end, you can imagine the time a writer has to produce 4 documents at an average pretax pay of $30. Beware of potential quality issues.

    The good news is that Amazon backs all their transactions. If you have any concerns about this purchase, contact Amazon directly to determine your recourse.

    Reply
  5. I recently used the service of a so called SCAM site:
    http://resumegenius.com

    They also offered a 14 day-trial for 1$ + 3.95$ and in very fine-print say that you will be charged 34.95$ per month if you don’t cancel your auto-subscription.

    You never receive a warning or receipt for this “additional” auto subscription and after seeing this on my credit card billing, I talked to their customer service who simply refer me to their terms of service and eventually did not even answer me.

    This is terrible customer service, intentional misdirection and misleading.

    Beware of resumegenius.com – It’s a scam site that will auto-charge your credit card without your approval and without notifying you at all.

    Reply
    1. Halina Zakowicz says:

      Thanks for the information, Gilad! Hopefully, ITT readers will take note of this site as well.

  6. Offers a 14-day trial for $1.95 but charges $34.95 a month unless membership is cancelled. Auto billing is automatic once you sign up for free trial. BEWARE

    Reply
  7. Thanks for a superb post.
    Loved the tips.

    I agree that NRWA and PARW/CC membership are definitely a good sign.
    I would also check the company’s info on the BBB website.
    Usually, bad resume services tend to leave a long trail of consumer complaints and that’s a huge warning sign.

    Reply

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