Boost Your Competitive Edge in the Job Market With the Help of Free Resume Services


May 20, 2024 | Resume Service

Picture a pile of 250 resumes – that’s the average number of job applications a recruiter receives for an open position.

It’s quite a high number, but do you know what’s even more alarming? 80% of those resumes are rejected within the first 11 seconds of being reviewed, and only 4-6 candidates are invited for an interview.

Now, add to that other facts, like that more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes and that the average hiring manager spends only 6 seconds reviewing a resume, and you’ll understand why having a strong resume in today’s job market is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.

On the bright side, there are now plenty of free resume review services available to help you improve your resume and increase your chances of getting noticed by recruiters. These services can offer a range of helpful resources – from feedback to keyword optimization guidance – all without costing you a single penny.

Sure, they may not offer the same level of personalization as a professional resume writing service and do come with their own limitations, but they can still give your resume the boost it needs. And in a competitive job market, every little bit counts.

Let’s go into more detail about some of the ways these free resume review services can improve your job search success.

What to look for in a free resume review service

Just like any other service, not all free resume review services are created equal. If we were to give you 2 tips on what to look for to get the most out of a free resume service, they’d be:

  • Human Reviewers: Some services may only use automated tools (bots) to review your resume, while others may offer personalized reviews from real human experts. Sure, automated tools reviewing your resume can still be helpful, but the best advice will always come from a human expert who isn’t relying on algorithms or pre-set criteria to evaluate your resume.
  • Tailored Feedback: You won’t always need the same improvements to your resume as someone else. As such, services that only offer generic feedback like basic proofreading and formatting suggestions won’t be of much use to you. Look for services that provide tailored feedback based on your industry, job level, and career goals.

Pro Tip: At Let’s Eat, Grandma, our free resume critiques are done by our senior writers and provide feedback on content, wording, design, and ATS optimization. If you haven’t booked a free resume critique with us yet, now’s the time!

How to prepare for a resume review

Many job seekers make the mistake of quickly uploading their current resume to a review service without taking the time to prepare for the process. The result is that they may not get the most accurate or helpful feedback.

There isn’t a lengthy to-do list, but here are a few simple steps to take before sending in your resume for review to get more out of the experience:

  • Choose your free resume review service based on your needs: Wanting general feedback on your resume isn’t the same as wanting confirmation that your resume is ATS-optimized or that you’re using the correct resume format. Be clear on your goals and choose a service that aligns with them.
  • Understand how to use the specific review service’s platform: Many review services have their own guidelines for submitting resumes and receiving feedback. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these guidelines and tick off any requirements before clicking submit.
  • Communicate your expectations upfront: If you want the reviewer to focus on any specific areas of your resume, let them know (through an email, form, or however they like to be contacted) before submitting your resume. The better the context you provide, the better the feedback.
  • Analyze your resume review feedback: Your resume review will only be as helpful as you make it. So when you receive feedback, don’t just take it at face value. Reflect on how the suggestions align with your goals, skills, and experiences to make informed decisions about which changes to implement. After that, put them into action.

The limitations of free resume reviews

While free resume reviews have made for a convenient (and easy on your pocket) way for job seekers to get their resume critiqued, there are a few limitations to keep in mind so that your expectations are realistic.

  • Limited Feedback Scope: Since free reviews are often time-limited and offered to many job seekers, they may not provide the same depth and breadth of feedback that you’d receive from a paid service. This is understandable, as reviewers may not have the capacity to go into detail on every aspect of your resume.
  • Risk of Generic Feedback: For the same reasons above, free reviews may provide generalized feedback that may not necessarily apply to your specific job search goals, industry, or skillset. In many cases, the reviewer won’t delve deep into the specific areas of your resume that you may want more help with.
  • Lack of One-on-One Interaction: With free resume reviews, one-on-one consultations typically aren’t included. This means there isn’t an opportunity to ask clarifying questions or engage in a dialogue with the reviewer. This can be especially challenging if your circumstances may require exceptions to general resume rules since you won’t have the chance to discuss them.

When to consider professional resume writing

While free resume reviews may be the ideal option for some job seekers, others may benefit from a more comprehensive and personalized approach. In these cases, it may be worth considering professional resume writing services.

For instance, some job seekers struggle with the implementation of feedback given to them in free resume reviews. Whether it’s because of time constraints, lack of experience, or even not wanting to put in the effort, it’s sometimes a better option to have a professional resume writer take the reins and create a polished and effective resume that’s ready to go.

Another scenario is when you’re willing to make the upd ates yourself based on the free review but find yourself needing additional help to make sure you’re on the right track (i.e., you want the final seal of approval that you’ve implemented all the feedback correctly). With a free resume review, having another set of eyes to review your updated resume isn’t an option, in which case, a professional resume writer can step in to provide that final reassurance and expertise.

Other very valid reasons for considering professional resume writing services include:

  • Not having updated your resume in several years and feeling overwhelmed with the task because you don’t know what current resume trends are and/or what employers are looking for.
  • Not having writing skills (it just isn’t your strong suit and you know that isn’t going to change overnight).
  • Not having the confidence to know how to best market your skills and experience on paper.
  • Not having the time to dedicate to crafting a tailored resume due to work, family, or other obligations.
  • Not being able to cut down your resume to a manageable and effective length while still including all necessary information.

Of course, there are also more complex circumstances where a professional resume writer may be necessary, such as:

  • When you’re transitioning to a new career (since your resume may require a complete overhaul to showcase your transferable skills and position you correctly for the new industry/role).
  • When you have significant employment gaps or a non-linear work history (which need to be thoughtfully addressed on your resume with specialized writing and formatting techniques)
  • When you’re re-entering the workforce after an extended break (such as staying at home to raise children or taking a sabbatical) and need help updating your resume to reflect relevant skills and experiences during that time
  • When you’re seeking a higher-level position or looking to break into an executive role (since these types of positions typically have more specific and stringent resume requirements)

In all of these scenarios, a professional resume writer can provide valuable expertise and insight to help you stand out as a top candidate. They can also save you time, stress, and frustration by handling the tedious task of resume writing for you.

The bottom line

Just because free resume reviews are that – free – it doesn’t mean that they don’t require work, time, and focus on your end. The more you put into the process, the more you’ll get out of it.

Take your time to choose the right resume review service for your needs, and be prepared to actively engage in the process by preparing beforehand and following up afterward by implementing the suggested changes.

Remember, your resume is often the first impression a potential employer has of you. Make sure it’s a strong one! Whether through a free resume review or by hiring a professional resume writer, what matters is that your resume does the hard work of getting you noticed and ultimately, landing you the job of your dreams.

Ready for more job search help?

Sign up for a free Senior Writer Resume Critique to see what’s holding you back from landing interviews. One of our top professional resume writers will give you personalized feedback on the top 3 items you can improve based on our expert practices!


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