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Buying Resume-Writing Help Requires Online Research

By Sarah E. Needleman

Buy resume help on eBay? Some job hunters might balk at hiring a resume writer from the same place they'd seek that missing rookie for their baseball-card collection. But more than a dozen resume writers are now offering their services on eBay, and scores market their services elsewhere on the Internet.

Some professionals contend eBay sellers aren't qualified to do the job. But the Web does have its advantages. Unlike the Yellow Pages, for example, the Web lets users compare prices and see samples of resume writers' work. Plus, eBay sellers often use the site as a marketing vehicle to prospect for new clients and so their prices can be a bargain for job hunters.

In December, Ron Johnson, 58, was the lone bidder on eBay for the resume-writing services of Sean Colfer in St. Clairesville, Ohio. The price: $39.95. Mr. Johnson says he needed help with his resume when he began seeking consulting work, coming out of a three-year retirement after 30 years as president of a meat-processing plant in Chicago.

The resume was completed in about three days. "I would have never even come close to doing the job" Mr. Colfer did, says Mr. Johnson. He applied to three jobs with his new resume and garnered three interviews. He was turned down for two and is still waiting to hear about the third. He's also posted his resume on

Mr. Colfer says he has been marketing his services on eBay for a year and has sold to nearly 44 eBay customers, earning about $1,600 in gross sales. He now begins his auctions at $29.95 and averages about two clients a week.

His "About Me" page on eBay links to his Web site, where visitors can view samples of his work. They also can see he has a 100% eBay seller feedback rating, which indicates the percentage of his eBay clients who were satisfied doing business with him. Mr. Johnson says he chose Mr. Colfer after reviewing 10 other resume auctions because his listing suggested he took pride in his work.

Mr. Colfer runs CPM Professional Resume Services, which he began in 2002 after earning a bachelor's degree in business from Ohio University in 2001. "EBay is almost a pro-bono service for exposure and future referrals to my business," says Mr. Colfer. EBay clients are from across the U.S. and career fields. "I've done resumes for forklift operators and bank presidents," he says. He charges his "offline" clients an hourly rate of $35.

Other eBay sellers, such as Ed Wooller in Atlanta, are search professionals. His own resume includes 25 years of experience as an executive recruiter. He started selling resume-writing services on eBay in 2003, mostly working on the weekends, since he still works full time as a recruiter. He says he sells to about five customers a month, starting his auctions at $29 and charging $119 for "Buy It Now," an option allowing shoppers to skip the auction and make an instant purchase. Mr. Wooller earns about $3,000 in gross annual sales.

For little or no charge, some resume writers on eBay provide other services, such as cover letters or career coaching.

Bruce Degerdon, who sells resume services from his home in West Milford, N.J., offers a range of extras. His auctions, which start at $45 and include a "Buy It Now" option for $75, include list of interviewing tips and an hour of career counseling by phone. Mr. Degerdon, who describes himself as semi-retired after 35 years in business administration and management, gives clients up to a month to request resume revisions at no charge.

Most eBay sellers advertise prices that are far less than other resume-writing businesses. A recent search on the site turned up a list of auctions starting at between $9.99 and $150. Several eBay sellers interviewed say they'll do resumes for all levels of job seeker. Still, it's wise to check whether an individual resume writer has written resumes like yours before. charges $335 for an executive-level resume, and $179 or $239 for a professional and mid-career resume, depending on whether you want a standard, scannable or a text-based format (the latter is suitable for e-mailing). Resume writers certified by the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches in St. Petersburg, Fla., typically charge between $300 and $600 to produce an executive resume and $200 to $400 for a document for a midlevel professional, says Frank Fox, executive director of the organization. ( partners with Career Development Services Inc., a Rochester, N.Y., nonprofit that offers, among other things, a resume-evaluation and development service for $79, which includes a career-counselor review and 30-minute phone session.)

Brian McCullough, chief executive officer of New York-based, an online network of certified resume writers, is skeptical of eBay sellers who market resume-writing services. "Anyone can sign up tomorrow with no qualifications and put him or herself out there," he says. "Large, established [resume-services] companies on the Internet tend to work only with credentialed professionals they know by reputation." His firm charges $149.99 for resumes from job hunters at all experience levels and promises a rewrite if your resume doesn't attract at least one job interview within 30 days.

Mr. Fox recommends job hunters check for the following when hiring resume help: examples of resumes written for other customers, client references and certification from and membership in a resume-writing association. He declines to comment on resume services sold on eBay, explaining that he hasn't reviewed their listings.

The Web sites of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches and the National Resume Writers' Association list their certified resume writers and their contact information. These directories include links to members' individual Web sites where visitors often can view "before and after" samples of their work. Just by looking at these, you can glean some general ideas about how to best present your credentials if, say, you're a student, a financial professional, career changer or other typical client.

-- Ms. Needleman is associate editor at

Article from CareerJournal Today – February 2005