Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any of the questions below for a detailed response.


Click to expand How personalized is your service?


Career counselors, coaches, recruiters, employment specialists, fellow resume writers, and past customers confidently refer people to us because they know their colleagues will receive the red-carpet treatment.

As the demand for BrightSide has escalated, we’ve toiled over figuring out how to accommodate more customers with the same highly personalized service. No call centers, no email-only rule, no stock resume verbiage, no cookie cutter templates.

Our clients communicate with a living, breathing person before, during, and after their projects. It’s not uncommon for Cliff (our CEO and the one who writes all of these resumes) to pick up the phone and help get clients started down the right path.

We’ll never take on more business than we can handle. If we accept you as a client, you’ll be pampered with the best of ‘em.

Click to expand Where are you located?

BrightSide was founded in 2001 in San Francisco, California. We’ve since relocated to Oakland but continue to serve all of the Bay Area and, indeed, the entire nation.

All of our BrightSide staff are based out of the US, so if you call our 800 number you won’t get an impersonal call center or a hired gun; you’ll get an informed team member ready to help you out.

Click to expand What’s the most inexpensive way to get help from you guys?

Book some time with us on the phone via our job-search strategy service. We’ll coach you on absolutely any aspect of your job search, be it drafting a tailored cover letter, acing interviews, or choosing and presenting references. We can drill down deep into one topic or give you an overview across several.

If it's resume guidance you seek, consider our hourly resume consulting service. The flipside is since we’ll be purely guiding you (and not writing anything ourselves), you'll have a lot more to do on your end once we get off the phone.

Click to expand Can I purchase a service as a gift for a friend?

Absolutely. In fact, we we have a gift certficate available should you want to formalize your gift-giving. Either contact us with your friend or family member’s resume OR just purchase the package you feel is appropriate and we’ll take it from there. We can keep this confidential from the benefactor, if you’d like.

Resumes, Cover Letters, & Profiles

Click to expand How long will my resume be?

Depends. We’ll have to hear more about your situation and career goals before we can answer that one. But for the most part our packages work like this:
  • Executive Resumes are usually 2-3 pages
  • Management Resumes can be 1 or 2 pages
  • Professional and Technical Resumes can be 1 or 2 pages
  • Graduate and Creative Resumes are usually 1 page
There are exceptions to every rule but these are the patterns we’re seeing. If you’re still waffling on length, read about when you should consider sticking with a 1-page resume.

Click to expand Do you write cover letters too?

Absolutely. We’ll create a personalized cover letter tailored to a specifc job or just a general letter to match your resume in message, tone, and format. We can be as clever or traditional as you’d like, and we’re great at explaining work history challenges elegantly.

Every single cover letter is crafted specifically for you and your situation. Also, if we've already done your resume, we probably won't need to get back on the phone with you.

Click to expand Can you craft me a LinkedIn or social media profile?

Definitely. And good thinking. Online profiles are an essential job-search tool these days. We've done tons of profiles for our clients at our hourly rate. Usually profiles take 2-3 hours, including a 15-minute check-in to confirm a strategy, if you feel it's necessary.

Click to expand What’s the difference between resume services?

Your resume's content and format is dictacted by who's going to be reading it. This brings us back to the old marketing mantra "Know your audience"." Here's a breakdown of each service so you can compare them.

Click to expand Do I need a full resume service if I already have a resume?

Yes. Even if we work from an existing resume, we’ll add so much new content and change the structure, focus, and message so completely, you won’t even recognize the document we send back. Sometimes, it’s actually easier for us to start from scratch.

Years ago, BrightSide offered only "a la carte" services (e.g. resume writing OR resume consulting). We quickly noticed that clients were almost always selecting 1 hour of hour of consulting and a subsequent rewrite, which is why we created our all-inclusive resume packages. The market spoke and we listened.

There's a possibility that the resume you have is mostly effective and just needs our finishing touches, format-wise. Sound about right? Take our online self-assessment and we'll let you know for sure if a Polishing is all you need.

Click to expand What exactly is the Resume Polishing Service?

The Polishing service focuses exclusively on appearance-related aspects of your resume. That is, we'll focus on perfecting your resume's format and grammar to showcase what you've already written.

The Polishing service is an outstanding option for people who love their resume's content and strategy but think it looks bland, unprofessional, confusing, hard-to-read, and/or unappealing. It's a less expensive alternative to our full packages because we spend less time with you (there's no phone consultation needed) and less time on your resume (since we're not doing any wordsmithing).

More specifically, here are the criteria we examine and enhance via our Polishing service:

Presentation: Margins, use of white space, headers and footers, paragraph alignment, word and line spacing, bullets, rule lines, borders, boxes, tables, pictures, logos, images

Readability: Underlining, bold, italics, all caps, fonts, point size, color, navigability, tab and return symbols, character spaces

Pagination: Page breaks (ctrl + return), widows and orphans, table breaks

Consistency: Lack o consistency in voice, tense, parallelism, style, syntax, diction, punctuation, typography, formatting

Grammar & Spelling: Awkward and incorrect mechanics, misspellings, typos, capitalization, hyphenation, abbreviation, misnomers, commas, semi-colons, back slashes, verb tense, sentence structure

Structure: Insufficiently placed or labeled sections, use of structure compatible with background and target job

Even easier, have a look at our samples to see what we can transform your resume into. Never underestimate appearance.

Click to expand How much does a resume update cost?

Glad you’re back for more (or already thinking about coming back for more).

First off, updates are for return customers only. Here's why: In our experience, after adding 1 or 2 job records to the front of your "work experience" section, we'll inevitably need to condense, reshape, and reposition your previous work as well. Perhaps more important, just as your skillsets have changed since taking on one or more new positions, so too should your entire resume. Put another way, whenever we've tried to do "just an update", we end up rewriting the entire resume.

That said, for return clients updates vary in scope, which is why we charge by the hour. The cost all depends on how much your life has changed since we last spoke.

For example, if you’ve been at the same job and gathered a few more responsibilities, that should be a quickie. However, if you’ve since left your job and perhaps even your field, we may need to restructure the entire resume, add in new training and education, build an interests and activities section, and downplay or eliminate accomplishments related to your old objective to make room for new achievements. See what we’re saying?

The best thing to do is order a half hour of time on the phone with us. After we discuss your plans and build a strategy, we’ll have a much better idea as to how much time the update will take and can therefore give you an accurate quote.

Click to expand Who’s really going to be writing my resume?

Cliff Flamer, proclaimed "The World's Best Resume Writer" will be writing your resume from start to finish. You will work with him 1-on-1 in a consultation and then he'll sit down to build a strategy tailored to your needs. From there he crafts the document, usually from scratch, which leaves more room for personalization.

Other people who will be involved in the process include a team of proofreaders and a project manager, who will make sure everything's getting completed on time and on spec.

Click to expand Will the resume you deliver set me up to apply online?

Word and PDF files, in their lovely and eye-pleasing formats, serve their purpose, but they’re not the best option for online applications. What you need is an ASCII resume. We definitely do ASCII, or text-only, resumes which are ideal for online applications via email or web forms, for example. Here's an article on what an ASCII resume is and why it's helpful in anyone's job search.

For more information, read about our ASCII conversion service.

Click to expand Do I get a chance to review your work and give feedback?

Of course. But we’re pretty sure your list of requested changes will be minimal.

To make sure you’re absolutely satisfied, we offer 1 round of revision with all of our resume services. This way, you can be sure that you’ll have a document you can be proud of. All we ask is that you submit your revisions all at once and within 3 business days of receiving your first draft. That way, we'll still have your project fresh in our minds.

Counseling, Coaching, & Consultations

Click to expand What does a resume consultation entail?

You’ll be surprised how much ground we can cover during our consultations. Although the nature of the chat changes from project to project and client to client, here are some common threads, in terms of topics covered:
  • Identifying and refining your objective
  • Underscoring your strengths
  • Addressing areas of concern
  • Expounding upon achievements
  • Quantifying the results of your actions
  • Developing a strategy for your resume
  • Discussing format options
A lot of material comes up when one talks of their career in great detail. It’s our job to ask you questions you’ve not thought of before and hopefully inspire you to see your work history, skills, and qualifications in a different light. We’ll do our best work if you remain candid, open, and focused.

Click to expand Will we be meeting in person or over the phone?

Over the phone. Years back in 2001 we used to meet people in person to do resume consulting and career counseling but we quickly found we could be much more productive by conducting these meetings over the phone.

This way, we can throw on a headset to keep our hands free for typing content directly into your resume. This means no transcribing later. It also lessens the chances of redundancy and inaccuracy inherent to interpreting your comments from an audio player or several pages of chicken-scratch notes.

Another perk to phone appointments: people tend to be on time for them. Transit adds unforeseen variables to the equation, making us late when we don’t want to be. Losing just 15 minutes of a consultation will cost us dearly. You’d be surprised what we can cover in that time.

We’ve never had a complaint about our ability to "get" people over the phone. In fact, it’s this skill—being able to translate your stream-of-consciousness-out-loud thinking into concise, flattering prose—that’s kept us in front of our competition.

Click to expand What if we need more than an hour on the phone?

It’s bound to happen, which is why we’ve created all-inclusive questionnaires to complement our interview with you over the phone. These questionnaires are particularly helpful for people with 10+ years of work experience or more than 5 positions that need to be explored for accomplishments.

We’ve folded in a career counseling element to this exercise and tailored our questions to the different packages we offer: Executive, Management, Professional, Technical, and Creative.

Another option is booking more time with us at our hourly rate.

Click to expand Do you call me or do I call you?

Indeed. We’ll use the number on your resume, unless you tell us differently. However, there are circumstances that warrant you initiating the meeting.

Consider calling us, if you’re
  • based outside the US
  • expecting to be in transit
  • unsure as to where you'll be
  • in need of finding a confidential space to hold the call

Click to expand How can I best prepare for our resume consultation?

Just show up. We’ll take the lead.

To help you recall information more quickly, have a copy of the resume you submitted to us right there in front of you, along with any of the following job search-related materials:
  • Alternate/previous versions of your resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Employee evaluations
  • Management-by-objective lists
  • Spreadsheets of your performance record (if you roll that way)
  • Business plans
  • Assessment interpretations
  • Web pages of training programs or degrees you recently completed
  • Company profile information
  • Testimonials from your supervisors
  • Cover letters
You needn’t send any of this to us, rather, just have it front of you for reference. If you want to send us something send us a single job listing that’s indicative of the work you’re pursuing.

Also, it’s a good idea to have a pen and paper handy in case you need to jot down a note to yourself as a reminder to source information that’s evaded your short-term memory. Oh, and be on time. Every minute counts.

Not finding the answers you seek? Try our online self-assessment to figure out where you're at and which service might best fit your needs.

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