Cheap Ways to Get a Great Résumé

You don't need to spend hundreds on a professional writer.

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Outside Voices - ''Working Girl'' aka Karen Burns
Many career professionals claim that résumé writing is only for, well, the professionals—meaning that if you need a résumé, you've got to pony up a few hundred bucks to get one done by a pro.

But in case you haven't noticed, a lot of folks don't have as much money as they thought they had, oh, just last month. These same folks may, incidentally, be needing a new résumé. If that's you, here are some tips for how to create a résumé on the cheap:

• Do you have a mentor? (You should.) One of the things a mentor can help with is résumés. Ask.

• If you're a current or recent student, your college's career center may offer free résumé help.

• Don't forget: How-to résumé books are free at the library.

• What's more important than a good résumé? A good network! Ask others in your field how they write theirs.

• Speaking of network, when you think you've made your résumé perfect, show it around—to friends who are good writers and editors, to former teachers, to former bosses, to former colleagues, to a family member/neighbor/friend who works in your field.

• Still want to go the professional route? Consider barter. There may be something that you have or can do that the résumé writer needs or wants.

Any other ideas? Feel free to speak up!

One last thought: A résumé is an important job-hunting tool, but not the most important one. Contacts are supreme. Make some.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com.