Attorneyresume.com STINKS!!!! (they charge ridiculous fees to provide generic advice from internal crib sheets and free web articles) October 5, 2009Posted by admin in : Critique , trackback
AttorneyResume.com provides stock advice from sources freely available on the internet for an exorbitant fee.
When I was first put in a tailspin about not having a job, I thought the most prudent thing to do was to spend some time (and money or payday loans if needed) polishing up my candidacy. Afterall as I explained in last week’s post not having interviewed since October 2006 created a nearly three year gap where my primary concern was on professional development and not resume and interviewing skills.
I have had career service counselors look at my resume, HR directors, friends and family, recruiters and head hunters. Every person I ask has something different to say. Some suggest using an objective section, some suggest against it, some say include a GPA if it is 3.5 or higher some say include it if it is 3.0 or higher because the assumption if it is not included will be that it is worse. Some say keep it to 1 page, others say going over 1 page is ok if you have significant content. Because of the inconsistency I received during my informal resume review process. I decided to sign up for one of the packages offered by AttorneyResumes.com, to get some “professional” advice. What a racket this outfit is.
First, a little peek at their pricing structure: Resume Creation: $250, Resume Editing: $175, Resume Counseling: $100 (for 45 minutes), Resume Consultation: $95, Cover Letter Editing (we will revise your existing letter): $30 per letter.
After being baffled at what exactly differentiated each service (all the descriptions read in an extremely similar fashion). For example the $175 resume editing service provides:
“Attorney Resume will edit and reformat your resume, giving it the fine-tuning and polish it needs to get you noticed. By making sure that everything in your background is properly showcased.”
Yet the $95 resume consultation advertises
“you will get helpful hints and suggestions to aid you in taking your resume to the next level. We take your original draft, thoroughly evaluate it, and provide you with key information in a full-page written critique. We will tell you what to emphasize, what to omit, and how to create a perfect profile or qualifications summary statement.”
Aside from the amount of time you have to continue to receive help from the service: 3 months with the editing service, 5 business days with the consulting service. I couldn’t see what you were really getting for the $80 extra dollars.
The time when I signed up for this service was right around the point in my life when money stopped coming easy to me— usually ELF paid for all development activities—CLE classes, certification fees, bar registration fees, travel expenses to attend professional conferences or workshops. Had ELF been covering the fee, I would have signed up for the full-blown resume creation service and not have though twice. But now that I was not dealing with OPM (other people’s money), I had to actually think, to put it in economic terms I had to decide for each additional dollar spent what marginal utility was I going to extract from the service?
If both the $95 dollar services and the $175 dollar service actually provided what was advertised, I couldn’t see what would be more valuable than a “full-page written critique” from an organization that agreed to “thoroughly evaluate” my resume.What would be more valuable then that I asked? Well, I found out the answer to that was… just about anything. Had I stood outside my 3rd avenue apartment and told a random passerby I would treat them to a cup of coffee if they shared what they thought about my resume—I think the responses would have done rings around the response I received and for a fraction of the price (note to self: this may make an interesting youtube video).
Anyway, after not being able to make heads or tails out of the services provided- I picked the one I felt was best suited to what I wanted (I knew I didn’t need a full resume re-writing service). My logic was my resume couldn’t possibly be that bad if, when I was in law school, it landed me 25 firm interviews, 8 callbacks and 5 offers (and a partridge in a pear tree?). I just felt it needed some tweaking, to put it in “AttorneyResume.com” terms some “consultation,” if you will.
So I signed up for the service. Sent over $95 of my hard earned severance pay and waited. I was first instructed to fill out a “questionnaire.” This questionnaire was a beast. It was 9 pages long and asked every detailed question possible about every experience I’ve ever had since being birthed. 42 questions all in all.
Here are some examples:
- How/to what extent does experience, background, and education relate to EACH potential employment opportunity?
- What are your strengths/skills/talents/abilities as an applicant that directly apply to your job as an attorney?
- What are your weaknesses as a candidate?
- Please list your accomplishments for this position. (Accomplishments can be anything you were proud of doing, great or small, such as improving a process or increasing efficiency, decreasing a problem, making someone’s life easier in the office, impressing a peer/superior/client/yourself, overcoming an obstacle or difficulty in a case, receiving recognition (even verbal) for your work or a particular talent that has emerged, or list cases in which you prevailed or obtained a more positive outcome than anticipated. These are important because they offer proof to future employers that you can employ the skills you have in practical situations to the benefit of your employer/client.)
- What do you consider the personal and professional attributes that set you apart from other applicants at your level?
- List in order of importance 2-3 shining moments of glory in your career.
Without exaggeration it took me an entire night to fill this form out adequately, three to four hours of my time went into it. But I thought, if this is going to help me sell myself, it’s certainly worth it. I also couldn’t help but think I had made a good choice. Judging by the thoroughness of these questions if their targeted advice would have been 1/10th as thorough I would have been ecstatic and considered it money well spent. Unfortunately, it was not.
Once I finished with the questionnaire I logged onto my account and accessed my personalized message board with my reviewer. I asked nine targeted questions that I wanted to know the answers to and were specific to my situation. One day after I posted my questions I received an e-mail notifying me that a response had been posted. Wow, I thought no wonder this place is so expensive they efficiently respond to their candidate’s questions (I would later eat these words/[thoughts?]).
To my chagrin this was the response to my nine targeted questions:
Thank you for signing up with Attorney Resume. Feedback and suggestions for your resume will be provided no later than March 16, 2009. If you have any questions or concerns before that time, please leave a comment on the message board. Thanks again!
Apparently due to my cunning nature and adept foresight I was already aware that I could use the message board for this purpose and in fact already had. If this person sending me this message would have spent 1 second looking at the very message board he or she posted their message to they would have seen this. Oh well, it was just going to take them a few more days to answer my questions, they were probably overwhelmed? Right…? (I’ll let you answer that one).
Further, they weren’t getting back to me until March 16th !!!! I was entering the job market. I submitted the resume on March 2nd ! 11 business days to review a single resume? At those prices? And with a firm that supposedly specialized in attorney resumes? This is when the faint smell of bull droppings began to enter my nostrils– the stench would linger and increase in intensity.
I waited, and I waited, and I waited. I actually held off on applying to jobs until I got my spiffy new resume all set. This was a BIG mistake.
On March 16th my “thorough” feedback report came. Did Christmas come early with this report… nope… I assure you it didn’t!
The document provided was 3 pages of left aligned block text. It was not personally addressed, nor did it reference my actual resume or any part of it at all in the entire 3 pages of generic verbiage. I couldn’t believe how off-the-shelf the advice sounded.
Remember those targeted questions I wrote, none of them were answered directly. Remember that 9 page questionnaire I filled out… not one piece of information, was referred to, incorporated, or mentioned.
With a leap of faith and some stretching of the imagination 2 of the 9 questions were indirectly answered with the standard form language I was sent. But even saying that is a generous gift from me, because it was clear no individual attention was provided to my materials or questions.
The document uploaded was so cookie-cutter in nature nothing prevented the company from sending the same exact document they sent to me to 1,000 other candidates, which they probably did (charging $95 to each of us and laughing all the way to the bank with a 100k). It looked as if all my “reviewer” did was cut and paste generic advice either from other websites or perhaps, their own internal documents, slapped it into a fresh word document called it feedback and sent it out.
I decided to test this theory so I plugged the feedback document they gave me into into a plagiarism checker. These plagiarism systems compare the language in word documents or text snippets that you provide with strings of text available on the internet. If there is a match for a long string of text it is noted.
This is the result a received from the AttorneyResume.com feedback report:
Warning: A significant amount of this paper is unoriginal. You may need to check your source(s) and perhaps revise or rewrite your paper.
58% Matches Other Sources (7 items)
Meaning 58% of what they were recommending was coming from sources readily available on the internet! Most of the text was taken directly, with no modification or tailoring, from two documents AttorneyResume.com itself makes available for free in the “writing tips” section of their website. The “experience” .pdf and the “.education” .pdf.
The remainder of the readily available text was from other websites trying to expose “resume critique mills”:
Sample text I was sent in my feedback from “AttorneyJobs.com”:
We recommend a more professional design or look-and-feel to the document to provide a more executive impression. A lot can be done with the formatting and design to improve first visual impression while still maintaining a conservative appearance.
Text from the resume mill crib sheet posted at“AskAHeadHunter.com”:
I would recommend a more professional design or look-and-feel to the document to provide a more executive impression. A lot can be done with the formatting and design to improve first visual impressions while still maintaining a conservative appearance.
And another example, the text I was sent in my feedback from “AttorneyJobs.com”:
Employers expect you to have a more pulled-together, slick presentation of yourself because they expect you to give a professional presentation to clients and others with whom you would be dealing at your target level. Visual impression is the first impression so make it good.
Text from the resume mill crib sheet posted at “AskAHeadHunter.com”:
Employers expect you to have a more pulled-together, slick presentation of yourself because they expect you to give a professional presentation to customers, vendors, and others with whom you would be dealing at your target level. Visual impression is the first impression so make it good.
Wow look at the slick word change here “professional presentation to customers, vendors” was changed to a “professional presentation to clients” other than that the text was unchanged.
Other sections I found eerily similar were from an article exposing a similar scam with “theladders.com” whereby sales and marketing consultants use scare tactics to sign anxious attorneys up for resume reviews (often at the price tag of $700 or more per review). I cannot personally speak to “theladders” resume review service. I actually, did find their job search engine adequate, albeit overpriced. But that is besides the point.
Language provided to me from “attorneyresume.com”:
We recommend using para-bullet format where we briefly sum up your position in paragraph format, then use bullets for your most marketable attributes – results of the duties listed in the paragraph. This strategy separates the duties from the results and really highlights your key accomplishments, making them easy to find when the resume is quickly scanned.
From the website exposing “theladders” scam:
… sum up your position in paragraph format, then uses bullets for your most marketable attributes – results of the duties listed in the paragraph. This strategy separates the duties from the results and really highlights your key accomplishments, making them easy to find when the resume is quickly scanned. As you only have SECONDS to grab their attention. You have everything bulleted - resulting in NOTHING standing out to the eye of the reader.”
Thankfully attorneyresume.com took out the scare tactic component, but the lack of personalized effort is readily apparent.
Now you ask what parts of their review were not derived from resume mill crib sheet templates, or taken as stock language from AttorneyResume.com documents readily available on the web? A brief introduction, an the importance of organization (wow, earth shattering news…), a paragraph explaining that objectives are not effective and a long 1 page example to explain the simple point that if you list a GPA for one school you should be consistent and list them for all schools. I’m convinced these points are also hiding somewhere on the internet or on a crib sheet but I could not easily locate them. In any event, even if they aren’t they are still certainly stock advice just from an unknown source.
Armed with this information I was ready to confront the company and demand my money back! First I thought I would make a simple request for a refund, and when they denied it I would hit them with the plagiarism report like a two ton sack of bricks! I never got my satisfaction (until now) because it never got that far. Processing my refund was the quickest thing “AttorneyResume.com” ever did for me. I typed in the message board:
“Please have a manager contact me immediately; I would like to request a full refund.”
The very next day I got a message stating that my full refund request had been approved. At least this proved their message board system did actually work!
Here is a copy of the full plagiarism report for your enjoyment. Note the yellow boxes represent unoriginal or copied text.
This whole experience convinced me that I single handedly could put together, a cheaper, more reliable, more personalized resume review process with quicker turnaround and better advice than what is out there today. Especially considering the shady dealings of “AttorneyResume.com” and allegedly from “TheLadders.com”.
Of course no one wants resume advice from a jobless lawyer, I realize this (so of course I wont be the one giving the advice). But I am a tough cookie when it comes to evaluating these things and if a service gets my stamp of approval it will be a quality service, I can guarantee that. This will be my challenge for next week or so.
Please send in your experiences with resume review services and what you would like to see if you were to build one from scratch (either via e-mail or the comment box below), because that is exactly what I am going to do!!
Here it is continued (updated 10/14/09) …blog comments powered by Disqus