Jobfox Resume Critique is a Scam

In Job Search on February 8, 2010 by lnicks Tagged: , ,

Update 11/29/10: Jobfox is now frantically trying to prove to the internet that they are Not A Scam. Ha!
Update 4/2/10: Read about my response to the letter here.

Now, I really was planning on writing an entry not about job searching. I swear! I have a couple half-written already. But I got an email today that just made me so angry, I had to switch the schedule up a little bit.

I’ve been following a couple of unemployment blogs lately, and they’re always warning against scams. There are lousy people out there, always looking to make a quick buck off of the insecure and vulnerable- and who is more insecure and vulnerable than the average unemployed schmuck these days, who has likely been laid off by a company they’ve worked at for years, been unemployed for several months by now, is facing foreclosure on their house, and facing the possibility that they might have to change fields altogether or take a job flipping burgers despite a decade of experience in finance (or wherever) just to make ends meet? No one, that’s who.

I never really doubted that such scams existed, but I never really considered the possibility of encountering one until today.

Sometime last week I created an account at It’s a pretty new site, from what I can tell, and they have an interesting search method- they basically mine data from your resume and try to match it with keywords in job postings to give you “likely matches.” It’s a really cool concept, which totally failed in my case. I’m a recent college grad who was involved in everything under the sun for the last four years. I loved all my experiences, and I know each of them gave me incredible and useful skills, but none of them are strictly related to my career aspirations. I shrugged it off as a fluke (for all I know, the site works well for others), but before I signed off the site without much intent to return (I can’t see a way to search for jobs on my own terms, so I am literally only able to see positions that don’t match my real qualifications at all), I checked the box next to “get a free resume critique from!” Why the hell not, right?

Today I had an email in my inbox from one Madeline Willis, telling me that my resume critique was ready and I could view the comments online.

Well. I did. And now I’m fucking pissed.

I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t reading too closely. It was long, so I started skimming. This was the first thing I saw:

Your design is very flat…by way of example, it’s like the difference between a professionally printed brochure, and one that was done at home and printed on an inkjet printer.

Ouch. That seemed unnecessarily harsh. “They must be trying to sell me something,” I thought. But I kept skimming. And it just kept going. I kept reading, waiting to find the part where they want me to pay them something, but all I found was an endless sea of criticism. After awhile I forgot that I ever thought it was a scam.

I found [your resume] to be drab, uninspiring, and unlikely to catch anyone’s attention…For people at your skill level, I’m used to seeing much stronger visual appeal…I concluded that much of the information was superficial …[If I were a hiring manager] I wouldn’t remember you…you come across as a “doer” not an “achiever.”

A sliver of doubt entered my mind. I’m sure my resume isn’t perfect, but I spent a lot of time on it, and had it critiqued by the MIT Careers Office through several iterations. I figured it was at least alright, maybe even better than average. But wow, now it sounds like it’s the worst resume ever written.

Keep in mind, I am reading this as someone who graduated from a top-notch school, let’s see…8 months ago, and is still unemployed. My emotional state is a little fragile here. I don’t want to tell you how many times I’ve collapsed on the floor in tears over this mess I’m in over the past few weeks. I don’t want to go into detail about the dark thoughts that force their way into my mind as I try to fall asleep (they’re nothing short of “my entire life plan is irrevocably destroyed and I will never be able to find a job in my chosen profession for the rest of my life.”) I store tissues under my pillow lately.

And now it turns out my resume sucks. The more I read, the more panicked I became.

Then I read:

Most people are like you – they struggle to put themselves down on paper effectively, but that’s where we come in….The Jobfox Deluxe Package includes…

Oh, thank God! It was a scam after all! I suddenly started breathing easier, knowing I could completely disregard everything they said. (Not only that, after careful inspection, I found a lot of their claims to be demonstrably false.)

But now, instead of panicked, I was pissed. I went back and started from the beginning, reading more carefully.

I should warn you about my style: I’m direct and to the point, so I hope you won’t be offended by my comments.

Ha! Translation: “I should warn you about my style: I’m direct and to the point. My hope is that you will feel so beaten and depressed by how shitty I tell you your resume is, that by the time you finish reading, you’ll be willing to cough up 400 bucks for me to fix it.”

That’s right. FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS. (I laughed at myself when I remembered being annoyed that a particular job search engine wanted to charge a registration fee of $19.99.) Of course, if you’re unemployed and can’t drop $399 on a professional resume service, you can pay it in monthly installments instead. Just six easy payments of $69.95! (Which actually adds up to $419.70. I guess they charge interest.)

The letter ends with the contact information of this Miss Madeline Willis, and I will be taking complete advantage of this. You can expect to hear from me, you slimy piece of crap.

No one likes used car salesmen for a reason. People find it slightly icky, at the very least, when other people are trying to push a sale on them. It’s bad enough to have someone pushing a sale on you. (I should know, I just got two phone calls and an email about a “job application” I filled out for a teaching position at a post-secondary institution which turned out to not be a job but a way to “partially subsidize the cost of tuition once you enroll with us.” On the topic of job scams and all…) But when you try to sell something to someone by making them feel like absolute crap, that’s low. And in today’s tough economy and competitive job market giving people enough stress at it is, this is tantamount to kicking someone while they’re down, curled in a fetal position, sucking their thumb and crying. All so you can get them to open their wallet to you. How disgusting.

It turns out that “TheLadders” (which is a a complete lie in and of itself) does the same thing. They’ll even write scathing critiques of resumes they’ve written. Some scumbags just aren’t smart enough to keep track of what they’re doing, I guess.

I’m trying to decide exactly how to proceed here. Should I just send this woman a nasty email? Should I actually call her? Demand to speak to her manager? I mean, it’s not like I can convince them to not be slimebuckets or anything, and I’ll probably just get hung up on. But I bet it will feel so, so good. Let off some frustration at people who really deserve it. Thoughts?

Here’s the full nearly full text of the email I received:

Dear Laura,

I’m the Jobfox resume expert that was assigned to critique your resume. I reviewed your resume with the goal of giving you an honest, straightforward assessment of your current resume, and not a judgment of your skills and qualifications. I should warn you about my style: I’m direct and to the point, so I hope you won’t be offended by my comments. My perspective is that resumes get chosen, not candidates. In a perfect world, interview candidates would be selected based on their strengths and experiences. In reality, this isn’t how the process works. A recruiter chooses the short list of candidates from a pile of resumes. Meaning, we have to make sure your resume does the heavy lifting in the selection process.
Here’s the good news: my first impression of you is that you are off to a good start in your career. You’re an up and coming Mechanical Engineer, with a lot to offer an employer. Now, here’s the bad news: your resume isn’t doing a good job saying that to an employer. I found it to be drab, uninspiring, and unlikely to catch anyone’s attention. If you were selling yourself as Sizzling Grilled Steak, it’s as if your resume is saying “cooked meat.” Which one would you want?

Your resume needs a boost from a visual, content, and organizational standpoint to engage the reader. It needs to make them want to learn more about you. I didn’t find it to be exciting and it didn’t make me want to run to the phone to call you. These days, employers are being flooded with resumes, and we need yours to compel a hiring manager to continue reading and contact you for an interview. Countless studies have proven that resume quality is the key determinant as to whether a candidate is selected to be interviewed.


Here are the major issues I see on your resume:

Your design is very flat. The appearance is not polished, and doesn’t say high potential Engineering professional. By way of example, it’s like the difference between a professionally printed brochure, and one that was done at home and printed on an inkjet printer…

As I was reading your resume I was trying to imagine myself as a hiring manager, looking for that ideal Mechanical Engineer. I then asked myself whether I’d have picked your resume, and whether it was memorable. I concluded that much of the information was superficial and that in many instances it was too brief. Simply put, I wouldn’t remember you. There are a lot of words on your resume, but they’re not formulated into powerful and impactful statements….
From the way the resume is worded, you come across as a “doer” not an “achiever.”….Here are some examples of task based sentences in your resume.

  • Performed experimental tests of Bluetooth signal reliability

  • Designed and performed experiments to study curing rates of photosensitive resins

These statements are more about what you did, not what you achieved. It would be like you saying “I played tennis last week” when you could have said “I won the tennis tournament at my local racquet club last week unseating the person that held the title for the past three years.” Which sounds more impressive?

Additional Issues
Lastly, I’m a little concerned that you won’t be found in resume databases. A well-designed resume includes the keywords and formatting that makes it easy for a resume parsing machine to learn about you and route you to a decision maker…

Most people are like you – they struggle to put themselves down on paper effectively, but that’s where we come in. All the recommendations above can be combined in a cohesive, strategic manner so that you can distinguish yourself from other candidates. Our resume writers are experts in doing this. Countless studies have proven that professionally written resumes get more interviews, and, if it shortens your job search by even one day, a professional resume will pay for itself.
Purchasing the right resume writing service is important. You want to be sure you are getting everything you need to be successful in your job search without being nickel and dimed. We designed our package to be affordable by spreading the payments over a six (6) month timeframe. Money is tight for everyone but getting back to work with the best possible income is the goal. Countless studies have proven that professionally written resumes get more interviews, and, if it shortens your job search by even one day, a professional resume will pay for itself.

The Jobfox Deluxe package includes:
A Professionally Written Resume
A Cover Letter
An Electronic Version of your resume
Keyword Optimization

What’s the process once I purchase?
1.We will assign a resume writer to you who has experience writing for your industry.
2.We will send you a questionnaire that will get you thinking a little differently about your career and what you have to offer. It will help you discover your skills, qualifications, and personal attributes.
3.The writer will complete the first draft of your resume within 4 to 6 business days.
4.Once you are completely happy with your new resume, the writer will finalize the document for you and send it to you in two formats…

It was a pleasure reviewing your resume and providing you with this critique.
Please give me a call if you would like to discuss more details about our resume writing service. I’m here to help. You can reach me at 1-877-456-2369 x1115.
You can also e-mail me at

Best Regards,
Madeline Willis
Candidate Service Consultant

220 Responses to “Jobfox Resume Critique is a Scam”

  1. I Googled ‘Job Fox Resume Critique’ after a couple days of feeling depressed due to this horrible email i recieved from these disgusting people. Im sure most of you instantly saw through their scam and immediately knew something was up as did i thus resulting in me searching it on google. Luckily, i found this amazing post. Well written article btw. I was never going to pay these people anything but its nice to know that my resume isnt as horrible as they made it out to be. The craziest thing is that im reading this article more than a year after your post. Is there no stopping these people?

    Well i hope you found a mechanical engineering job Laura. I graduated in may of 2010 with my BSME as well and i still havent found a job and if i wasnt so perspicacious i definitely would have fallen into the “insecure and vulnerable average unemployed schmuck” category. Hopefully other people find this post and arent taken advantage of by these people.

    Thanks for the post

  2. I received the same shiat about bullets and action words. I have a few action words for the Jobfox douche-canoes that are taking advantage of desperate job seekers…

    GO F%&K YOURSELVES!!! How’s that for the cover letter heading you a$$holes!?

  3. Thank you for writing this in your blog. I almost fell for the JobFox critique of my resume and was thinking about shelling out the money for the rewrite that they suggested. I am so glad that I read this first. Something told me to google JobFox.

  4. Thank you so much for this. I realize your post is about a year old but is still 100% relevant. I got the exact email today from some ass hole named “Skip Freeman” about how I’m a doer, not an achiever, and basically every other catch phrase from your email like how Skip is honest and doesn’t want to offend. Yeah right. I basically got the same email as you but I’m a reporter, so the word “engineer” was replaced with “reporter.” I hope whoever wrote that lame template for them got a job elsewhere.

  5. Grrr! I share all of the rage in these posts. To think, I thought it was me. Maybe I had been going about it all wrong; what I refer to as, my Jobsearch 101.

    Because that is now how I feel about this process, and the sites I feel obligated to join – with hope, that one special employer will see me, they are really doing a good job at that one.

    Maybe, I’m looking for jobs in all the wrong places . . . lol, anyone have any success with other sites? Any and all advice is always appreciated. Thanks!

  6. Ten years ago I was laid off and my company signed me up with a local resume writer to update my resume. She recommended that I put my achievements under my job description – and put in the right HR scanner words. That resume got me a job for $50 an hour. I have continued to use the same style and have gotten great offers – My last job, I won out over 600 other people because of my resume. Too bad management can’t keep companies going and they later have to lay off their loyal employees.

    So while some of JobFox’s recommendations were constructive criticism, some were complete garbage. Dull, flat, uninspiring. Not going to have them run to the phone and call me? A doer, not an achiever, when I have several achievements in my resume? I even have two master’s degrees!

    And I didn’t ever ask for a critique to begin with.

    Anytime I want to buy something advertised on the TV or internet, I always look it up to see if its a scam. And of course – this was. Do yourself a favor, if you feel you need your resume critiqued, go to someone LOCAL who you see in person. You don’t need to pay over $300 to get something like this done.


  8. Wow.. I just received nearly the same letter from jobfox.. and felt the same way at fist.. Ok… maybe there are a few suggestions I should taken into consideration – and do a rewrite.. but really? $400 .. are you kiddin gme..

    Thanks for posting this.. I felt scammed as well – and further want to delete my info off their. It’s really rough these days.. everyone says to keep up on the footwork and network, yet the internet yields so many scams.

  9. I also just signed up with JobFox and got their “critique” and it appears to be identical to many of the ones copied here. Here’s the good news: There is no good news. You guys need to use more action words and emphasize your achievements. Also, your resumes seem to be very plain and aren’t visually appealing. (Gee, JobFox, I can’t POSSIBLY think of any reason to use a plain-text resume when applying for jobs online.)

    I was furious when I got the email, but I feel better now. Thanks!

  10. Thanks,
    As an 09 MIT grad who has a job simply looking to change fields, I was more than a little skeptical. However, there is that sinking thought, of maybe just maybe they are right. This blog definitely helped me put those fears at ease.

  11. Well Jobfox has changed the wording a little & instead of having to pay the $399 they give a discount on the price (originally 499) to $349 now. They are sending out about the same looking critique letter – so I guess calling the state’s attorney’s is not working. I almost bought it because I am about to graduate with my masters degree and wanted a good resume to further my career. I sent an email on the what the Guarantee means but have not heard anything. The posts above are 1 1/2 yrs ago so they are still in business & nothing has changed about their technique.

  12. I laughed at my critique, I do not handle criticisms well when it is a direct attack on something I spent a long time on. I doubted it on the first glance and googled jobfox scams…and well, here we are. Thanks for the heads up guys ;)

  13. If I had the money, here’s what I’d do.

    I’d pay $400 to have Jobfox do my resume. Then when I got that back, I’d pay another $400 to send that revised one to them, under a different name and email address.

    Something tells me I would get the same critique on the one they created as I did on the one I created.

    Not that it would matter to them. They would have made $800.

  14. So glad I found your blog post, because I was kicked in the gut last week with my resume critique – that I am a “doer NOT an achiever”…it really played on my mind that all the experiences I have had in my career life are not exactly quantifiable by how much I saved the company bs.

    My critique sounded exactly like yours, but it was from a guy. Their approach does instill panic and hopelessness. But not enough to cough up the $400 for a resume redo.

    Oh, then I went to a job fair the next day and had a free resume critique – and that woman said my resume looked great : D

  15. Hi Laura,

    Well it looks like I almost fell for the same scam. I got the critique in my email today. Very similar wording to everyone else’s it seems. When I called to speak to the writer (John Sanders), I was told that ‘he now works in a different department.’ I immediately became skeptical, so I asked if John was a real person. They said ‘yes’, so I insisted ‘OK, can I speak to him’?

    I did have a reasonably intelligent conversation with someone claiming to be John Sanders but, I knew something was not right. He advised me to watch a Webinar this coming Monday before I commit myself to have my Resume rewritten.

    They claim that The Ladders charge $799, but if you look at their website, they are asking $395, I think! Either way, I have never paid anyone to help find me work in the past. I think my main problem was moving to U.S. in the first place. I should have stayed at home (UK). It’s not much better there than here right now, but at least I knew the ‘system’ in my own country.

    I am fed up with being scammed – I think it’s the national pastime here.

    By the way, I like your attitude and your language. I think you have guts voicing your opinions the way you do and I find it entertaining for all the right reasons! Keep Calm and Carry On!

  16. I’m so desperate for the perfect words I almost bought into this, thanks and good luck everyone.

  17. Lordy, am I ever glad I decided to do a bit of background checking before actually going through with a purchase! To think that here I was initially so impressed that I’d had a real person actually read my resume, not just an “auto-response.” Here on this blog I find the exact same wording used by my guy, Ian Richards, over and over again. My price was “only $349.00 (a $150.00 savings!)” Time limited value of course. So, I’d already suspected that my resume might need some professional tailoring and I plan to obtain it–locally by a real person I will actually meet and talk with! Thanks everyone for your posts. I add my wishes for your own successful job search outcomes.

  18. Can everyone contact the better business bureau when they read this? These questionable individuals now have our personal info. Thanks for your help.

  19. Thanks for posting this. Particularly, since Jobfox spams Google with all of the “Jobfox is NOT a Scam” sites. A tactic that is not only pathetic, but the surest sign that they are indeed a scam.

    Anyway, I’m not even sure how Jobfox got a hold of my “good” e-mail address, but they’ve started spamming me there lately. They’re relentless. Are they that hard up that they have to e-mail me several times a day.

    The form letter they send is hysterical. They tear me apart as though I’m trying to get a job as a CEO or Executive VP, when all I am is a lowly Machine Operator at a factory with a background in Supply Chain.

    I’m looking for the type of job where an employer wants someone who is a “doer” )i.e. a robot) not an “achiever” (a.k.a. troublemaker).

    I have no doubt that my resume sucks several dozen eggs. Regardless of that fact, I would never, ever in my wildest dreams consider paying several hundred dollars to have my resume professionally rewritten. However, on a generous night, I would pick up the tab for a couple of beers at a local pub, if a colleague helped me out with such a rewrite. I may even buy that person some nachos if the rewrite turned out exceptionally well. But that’s about all I’d do.

  20. Laura:..I can’t thank you enough… I had convinced my older sister to pay for a professional resume, and now I’m glad I can tell her to save her money. I too am not adverse to criticism in a constructive manner and format, but when I took the opportunity to really read their critique of my resume, it dawned on me that had they really read my document they would have seen that over the last 12 years, I have been a temp.. on assignment at various companies. And prior to 9/11 I have worked consistently and with regularity in a temporary capacity… Which what works for me!!!

    So JobFox… if you monitor blogs… take a look at this… and understand in no uncertain terms, you can kiss my ass in Macy’s window during the Christmas Holiday with every one looking…

  21. I read your article after getting my ‘free’ jobfox review of my resume…. and let me tell you, it was nearly word for word exactly the crap they gave you. I’m glad I spent some time looking for reviews before doing anything else and getting ‘foxed’ by Jobfox.


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