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 jobfox.com. 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 jobfox.com!” 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?
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?
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidate Service Consultant