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Is hiring a resume writer considered cheating?

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

People seem to value secrecy to a high degree when it concerns their career. recently did a study in 9 countries to evaluate job seeker concerns about the job search process. Here’s what they found:

  • 64% of job seekers said they felt anxious when looking for a job

  • 50% of job seekers felt secretive about it

  • 33% said they felt like they were leading a double life

From my own practice, I’ve noticed that clients value their anonymity intensely - many times a client will praise me in private for work I did that helped them land a new role, but will be reluctant to provide public support, as if there were some stigma from working with a career coach or resume writer.

One client even specifically told me that they felt dishonest by having someone else write their resume. I asked that person if they felt the same way about other services such as legal services, accounting services, medical, marketing etc. After all, society does not expect us to handle these aspects of our lives on our own, so why the negative association with career services?

From my own experience, I believe it boils down to two key beliefs:

The belief that we can do it on our own

Other people get jobs and promotions every day, so why can’t I?

And while I do agree that anybody can make it on their own, I have to point out that even Olympic athletes and elite sportsman need coaching.

The belief that it’s shameful or dishonest

I realize I am biased on this topic as a vendor of career guidance services myself, but if we apply this line of reasoning (that working with a coach is shameful or dishonest), then we would end up with beliefs that don’t make a whole lot of sense! For example:

  • Is it shameful to hire a programmer rather than write your own?

  • What about hiring a plumber?

  • An automotive mechanic?

  • A hairstylist?

If we applied that reasoning to the other areas of our lives, we quickly come to a conclusion that just doesn’t make a whole lot of common sense. After all, we don’t do all of these things on our own because our time is finite and valuable- we’d rather be doing things we enjoy than figuring out how to build a website or fix a car!

One thing to remember about working with a resume writer is this: A good resume writer will extract and communicate the skills and experiences that YOU ALREADY HAVE. If you work with a resume writer and get a job as a result, it’s because you already have the prerequisites and the writer simply helped you bring them to the surface. Just a thought.


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About the Author

James Cooper is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for 15 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.

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