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TopResume is a solid resume writing service. The company has about 1,500 writers, many with advanced certifications. It also offers fast, attentive service. But, its final product is better for those seeking entry-level positions.
- Pros and Cons
- Key Takeaways
Relatively simple signup process
The price is stomachable (lowest package is $149)
An initial quick response
Attentiveness of the resume writer and clear communications
The design and format of our one-page resume
The length of the Summary and Job Scope sections on our resume was rather long
Bulleted paragraphs that lacked punch to really sell our candidate
The Training section wasn’t highlighted enough
We wish the resume writer asked more detailed questions about our candidate's experience
- We got quick, attentive service after signing up
- TopResume’s questionnaire wasn’t too time-consuming
- Our writer did a great job with formatting and saving space
- Many of TopResume’s writers hold certifications
If you're looking to get your resume ready for prime time job hunting, it's often helpful to enlist the help of a professional writer who knows what it takes to make sure yours is at the top of the applicant pile. TopResume is one popular resume-writing service that many job seekers turn to for some help getting their employment history and experience up to snuff, so they can land their dream job.
We decided to put TopResume to the test by purchasing the Professional Growth package and submitting a sample resume to be rewritten, so we could evaluate the quality, turnaround time, customer service, types of plans available, and more. Read on to see our full findings, so you can determine whether TopResume is worth using to help you get the offer letter you're looking for.
How It Works: A Few Simple Quick Steps
- The first step in our review process was to sign up for the service.
Within a day, TopResume sent an email confirming that our purchase of the Professional Growth package was received and that the service was thrilled to help us take our careers to the next level. The response time and welcome were not dissimilar to those of other resume services we reviewed.
- The next step in the process was to complete a questionnaire.
It was not extensive—asking for target occupations; three URLs for specific jobs in order to optimize our resume; and as many accomplishments as we could provide. The resume we sent was geared for the manufacturing industry (specifically materials management), and it was stripped of accomplishments, so we provided TopResume three to use in rewriting the resume. We found that filling out a questionnaire is standard fare with some other resume-writing services we tested.
You have to pay extra for a 30-minute call, which most services don’t charge for.
- After completing the 20-minute questionnaire, we uploaded the resume to their website.
Shortly afterward, we received an email assuring us that a first draft would be delivered within a few days. TopResume was true to its word; our first draft was delivered after three business days.
- We communicated with the responsive resume writer via email and received three rounds of edits.
We worked with our writer exclusively over email. If we had wanted to talk via phone, we would have had to pay an additional $50 fee for a 30-minute conversation. It’s worth noting that other services we reviewed don’t require the consumer to pay an additional fee for a phone conversation. This was one of the biggest drawbacks of TopResume’s customer service.
However, TopResume redeemed itself a tiny bit in the revision process. Generally, the company allows for two drafts, but our writer exceeded their guideline of edits, providing us with three rounds, which was a big plus for us. In the next section, you'll see how we worked with the writer to end up with our final product.
Our writer made edits, but not as much as we would’ve liked.
Resume Quality: Nicely Formatted but Lacking a Punch
This is where the rubber meets the road. In considering the overall value that TopResume delivered, the quality of the product is paramount. And while the design and format of a resume are important, it's not as important as the content. We were critical in our review of the sections of our rewritten resume, including:
- Summary statement: This should be concise yet show value.
- Skills: These should be laid out with the most relevant ones in a clean format.
- Experience: This section should use impressive action verbs and quantified accomplishments.
- Education: Entries should include the name of any institution, its location, degrees earned, and discipline of study.
- Training: Highlight the courses studied and other pertinent information.
Design and Format
Overall, the design TopResume produced was excellent. It was crisp and had the appropriate amount of white space (in other words, wasn’t crowded), it was written with Corbel font, and it contained a splash of gold on the top border and lines for the section headers, which made it pop and really stand out.
The format was well done, too. A well-formatted resume guides HR and the hiring manager through it like a map. Section placement generally follows as such: Contact Information, Summary, Skills, Experience, Education, and Training. We submitted a two-page resume in this order. The first draft we received was a one-page resume, which we felt downplayed our candidate’s overall experience that was between 10 and 15 years.
For the first draft, we were hoping for a summary that would be brief—three lines—while showing the value our candidate would offer employers. The first iteration of the Summary was five complete lines. The final version was four lines and two words. A well-written summary not only should be brief but also should include a quick value/accomplishment statement such as: “Consistently saves companies thousands of dollars annually through improved processes.”
It was evident that our resume writer used the three job ads we provided to create a summary that reflected the skills required for the collective job ads. She incorporated many of the keywords from the job description, including "procurement," "strategic negotiations," "contract management," "vendor relations," among others, which mostly contributed to a lengthy summary.
Finally, we were hoping for a summary that was devoid of cliches and fluff, especially at the beginning. To our dismay, this is exactly how the writer began the summary: “Results-oriented professional . . . proven track record.” Other cliches included “exceptional,” “with proven ability,” and “demonstrated.” With some coaching, our writer removed most of the cliches.
A skills section is a way to show employers that the candidate has the required skills for the position. The resume we submitted included a skills section that was roughly formatted. Our resume writer was able to organize it better and give it a cleaner look. She was crafty in saving space by excluding the Skills or Core Competency header and simply placing the skills under the Summary section.
The experience section is the most important part of a chronological resume, because it's where the accomplishments must stand out. Ideally, this section begins with a Job Scope that describes the overall responsibilities of the position and is written in paragraph format. Following the Job Scope are bulleted achievements that should include a result that is quantified with numbers, dollars, or percentages. For example, the number of employees one manages or the dollar amount saved and the percentage of productivity that is increased would make solid bullet points.
A Job Scope, or any paragraph in a resume for that matter, should not exceed three lines. For the first draft, our resume writer came back to us with a Job Scope that was six lines long. We asked her to cut it down by at least four lines, which she did. Still, we felt that she could have reduced it to fewer than four lines without diminishing its value.
Take the following sentence she included in the Job Scope: "Managing a team of 5, analyzed inventory, demand, and vendor quality to make the most advantageous acquisition decisions and to ensure supplies were available when needed to meet demand." This sentence could have been written more concisely: "Directed team of 5 in inventory control, purchasing, and vendor relations; consistently meeting company goals." That would have brought the number of lines to three.
To our resume writer’s credit, she asked questions that would demonstrate more impact for certain bulleted items. For example, she asked by which percentage the workflow was improved for the following statement: “Redesigned production floor layout, reclaiming wasted space and improving process flow.” The revamped bulleted accomplishment she produced read: "Redesigned production floor layout to optimize space and improve process flow by 45%.”
While we found the revised bullet point concise and to the point, Monster.com’s writer came up with a better version of this accomplishment: “Reclaimed wasted space and increased seamless flow of operations 45% by spearheading floor redesign through the implementation of a lean-orientated production layout.” We felt that this one painted a better picture than that of TopResume’s writer.
Job candidates often have a work history that exceeds 10 or 15 years, as was the case with our candidate. One solution to de-emphasize a long work history is to create a Previous or Additional Experience section. We were pleased with the way our writer listed the previous position. She condensed it to “Additional Experience as Materials Manager with (Company Name and Location).” This was a way to de-emphasize the additional experience as well as save space. A nice touch.
As mentioned above, the Experience section of a chronological resume is the most important one. It is where the resume must pack a punch with powerful accomplishments. While we felt that our resume writer asked clarifying questions, some bulleted statements could have been better worded. For example, the bulleted accomplishment, "Analyzed new product market trends to fulfill new product projections with 91% accuracy," could have been more powerful if it had begun with the quantified result: “Fulfilled, with 91% accuracy, product projections by analyzing new market trends in a competitive crafts’ manufacturing climate.” We would have liked her to mention the kind of market and industry attached to this accomplishment as well. So, for us, the bulleted accomplishments she wrote were just middle-of-the-road.
On most resumes, the academic institution is listed, followed by the geographic location and years of attendance, which is optional but generally discouraged. On the line below one would write the type of degree, such as Bachelor of Science, and major such as chemistry. Our resume writer was clever in listing all of this information on one line, thus saving space.
Our candidate engaged in a six-week training program of 10 courses, which was noted on the resume we submitted. Training of this type is extensive and also explains a gap in employment. This fact was lost on our resume writer. The first draft we received had the Training section placed on the bottom with no dates of attendance.
We asked our resume writer to move the Training section closer to the top. She complied with our request but didn’t highlight it as much as we would have liked; they were listed in a paragraph, probably in order to save space. After another go-around of emails, she listed the dates of the Training below the paragraph. This was the best we could hope for.
Resume Writer Certifications: Not Very Transparent
TopResume states that their more than 1,500 resume writers hold various resume writing certifications; however, it doesn’t list which ones. Resume-writing certifications included: Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW), National Résumé Writers' Association (NRWA), to name a few. We were a bit disappointed with the service’s lack of transparency.
Interview Guarantees: Twice As Many Interviews
TopResume states on it website that you will land twice as many interviews within 60 days when you use the service. If you don’t garner as many interviews as promised, TopResume will write the resume again, free of charge. In our opinion, that is unrealistic. Sending the same resume, albeit optimized, to multiple employers won’t demonstrate a candidate’s understanding of the job. Furthermore, a generic resume won’t pass the applicant tracking system (ATS) which is scanning a resume for keywords from the job ad.
Samples and Testimonials: Resume Formats Span 25 Industries
TopResume provides a wide array of resume samples from more than 25 industries on its website. The samples range from customer service, executive CEO, graphic design, military to civilian, and more. A quick look at the resume samples revealed similar formats, either one- or two-page documents, with splashes of color. To TopResume's credit, each sample resume has a modern look with contact information, a summary, core competencies, an experience section, and, lastly, an education section.
There’s verbiage above each sample resume explaining the importance of the consumer’s resume passing the ATS, which is software that reads an applicant’s resume for keywords found in a job ad. If the resume lacks those keywords, it is eliminated from consideration. Approximately 98% of large companies use ATS. The resume that our writer created for us was, in fact, ATS-compliant.
Available Plans and Pricing: Fair
TopResume claims to produce resumes that are optimized for your occupation by using technology that compares your resume to three job descriptions that you provide. The service will also write cover letters and LinkedIn profiles for an additional cost. If all you need is a resume, TopResume is priced reasonably. Here's a look at the current packages offered:
Professional Growth: $149
- Written by experts who know your industry
- Formatted in a way to get a potential employer’s attention
- Keyword-optimized to get you past the applicant tracking system (ATS)
Career Evolution: $219
- Everything that the Professional Growth package offers
- Includes a cover letter
- 60-day guarantee that you will land interviews
Executive Priority: $349
- Everything that the Career Evolution package offers
- LinkedIn profile makeover
The Competition: TopResume vs. Monster.com
TopResume excelled in customer service, where others were extremely slow in reacting after the initial payment. We found our writer to be flexible and attentive. She exceeded the number of drafts allowed and was punctual in her replies, and she did a great job in the design and formatting of the resume. Where we felt TopResume wasn’t as strong as some of the other services, such as Monster.com, was in the quality of the resume. As mentioned earlier, resumes must be easy to read and demonstrate value to the employer. The paragraphs for the Summary and Job Scope were too long, which made it difficult to capture the information. The bulleted accomplishments didn’t show as much value as the competition. There were other sections that were well written, but on the whole the resume was just adequate. We're giving this one to Monster.com.
OK to use for entry-level positions
TopResume delivered strong customer service. Our resume writer was attentive and timely in responding to our emails. For someone who needs a resume soon, this is a definite plus. Where we felt that TopResume didn't hit the mark was in rewriting the resume. It would pass for a resume with adequate prose as well as one that would pass the ATS. Overall, however, it wasn’t a resume that would do a great job of selling our candidate. The paragraphs were lengthy—making it difficult to read quickly—and the bulleted accomplishments lacked punch. We would recommend this service for someone who is looking for an entry-level position, but if you're really trying to move up the ranks, you might want to try another service.
Jobscan Blog. “Over 98% of Fortune 500 Companies Use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).” Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.
TopResume Services. "Land Your Next Job Faster." Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.