Resume Scams: “Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives” and “Best 10 Resume Writers” Lists

Best 10 Resume Writers List ScamsThe Top 10 Executive Resume Writing Services list, 10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services, and other Top 10 Best Resume Writers lists written by Find My Profession (findmyprofession.com) and Mike Podesto are deceptive scams to trick consumers and harm hundreds of resume writers. They also violate FTC guidelines and other advertising regulations. This in-depth report is here to educate you, the job seeker and consumer, as well as educate resume writers who may fall victim to being placed on one of these fraudulent top 10 lists.

If you are a resume writer who has been placed on one of these self-promotional scam lists, I will explain why this is a scam, how you can report it, and who to report it to.  I will also explain why consumers and job seekers alike must do their homework and not be fooled by these Best 10, Top 10 or other similar scam lists written by companies that are using these as thinly veiled attempts at deceptive advertising and fake self-promotion.

The Better Business Bureau’s Report on Find My Profession

After this article was originally published as an informative, news reporting piece to put the resume industry and consumers on notice of the deceptive practices of these top 10 lists published by Find My Profession, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued an advertising review on Find My Profession:

In the advertising review, the BBB discusses many of the same issues this article and my subsequent one references to, specifically: FMP’s superlative claims that it is the #1 executive resume writing services company without substantiation to support this; deceptive and false disparagement of competitor or competing products; lack of substantiation for the claims that Mike Podesto has been featured in Forbes, Fox Business, and Recruiter magazine; untruthful reviews with no substantiation to verify the authenticity of those reviews.

Let’s go through how some of this has transpired and what it means.

Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives on LinkedIn

The #1 single most important thing to do when looking at these lists is to see who the author of the article is. This is where the deception lies (no pun intended).

In the current instance, these lists are all written by the same person (Mike Podesto) self-ranking his company (Find My Profession) #1, each and every time. Here is a screenshot of what comes up when you type in “Top 10 Executive Resume Writing Services” on a basic Google search:

Initially, at first glance, you think that the Top 10 article is legitimate because it’s on LinkedIn. Once you click on the link, you’re taken to it:

Mike Podesto - Top 10 Resume Scam

Lack of Transparency in the Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives

Most people don’t even pay attention to the author. Instead they just scroll through the list haphazardly and look at the names, then go to the company websites. However, the author (Mike Podesto) is the owner of Find My Profession which is ranked in position #1. In the article, Mike fails to provide the necessary disclaimer that discloses his affiliation with Find My Profession.

See below:

According to the FTC Endorsement Guides, “If there’s a connection between an endorser and the marketer that consumers would not expect and it would affect how consumers evaluate the endorsement, that connection should be disclosed. For example, if an ad features an endorser who’s a relative or employee of the marketer, the ad is misleading unless the connection is made clear. The same is usually true if the endorser has been paid or given something of value to tout the product. The reason is obvious: Knowing about the connection is important information for anyone evaluating the endorsement.”

But this is his reasoning throughout: his company is #1 based on (1) most reasonable pricing, (2) reasonable turnaround time, and (3) website design. Nothing based on merit, writing skills, aptitude, training, or credentials. His cons? Rather than 24-48 hours, the turnaround time is 3-5 days (not really a con when he is offering 48-hour expedited delivery OR when we begin to examine what he says about the others on the list). He then proceeds to rank other writers in slots 2 through 10, and makes sure to discuss companies 2 through 5 with respect to their their pricing and turnaround time, as well as other items to really take some no-so-nice jabs at them.

For example: 

There’s also this one:

So, he’s taking jabs at turnaround fees of others, while promoting his fast turnaround. Then there is this one:

And, he’s taking jabs at the website design of others, while promoting his. All is fair in love and resumes with this list, but not really.

He also discusses my site (The Writing Guru) which is in position 5, and makes sure to mention my high fees as a detractor for working with me, only he forgets the types of clients I work with — top 1% earners, currently (according to my 2018 and 2019 data) averaging $400-450K (but fully ranging from $175K to $3M annually). Every single aspect of this article is fixated on price, and I get to that later in my subsequent article about how I fought back against the fake reviews from him.

There’s also the misrepresented rating of me on Yelp. I explain that further down in this article.

Why does he do this? To deceptively detract and derail you from working with these other companies and instead choose his. But, it gets better.

After this article originally launches, Mike Podesto proceeds to write more articles, self-ranking these writers (including myself) on his very own website. He’s got an article for each and everyone of us. It has the writer’s name and the phrase “Executive Resume Writer Review” so it will rank on Google, hoping that you will read it, and potentially not want to work with the writer. Here’s what he has to say about Wendi Weiner, The Writing Guru, and my process (despite never being a client of mine):

His rationale for the “cons” of working with me is if you’re not an attorney, I might not be a good fit for you since I spent most of my life as an attorney. I’ve been licensed since 2004, but I also taught college writing courses for 7 years, business law courses, and worked in the corporate sector of law holding a role that included business leadership, all while he was still in elementary school, middle school, and high school. He also fails to mention that I have been featured and published in 50+ major media outlets (which he’s not going to mention since that would only accentuate my stature in the industry as compared to him). None of that is mentioned in the article, yet he’s ranking on Google for “Wendi Weiner Reviews.” The description of my process is not even accurate — it’s much more in-depth than that.

What the FTC Says: Reviews Must Be Objective and Not Deceptive or Misleading

The Federal Trade Commission, the governing federal agency on consumer laws, has very clear rules on what constitutes deceptive advertising and when it should be reported. Misleading reviews and deceptive endorsements are the #1 item to look for (and what the FTC looks at) when determining if a Top 10 list or award is objective. For example, in a case where a trampoline company was promoting its product on “independent review sites,” it was determined that the trampoline company was actually the one behind those reviews and creating the misleading endorsements. The FTC issued an administrative complaint on this company, a violation of which can include civil penalties.

There has to be absolute truth in advertising when you are promoting your company – it must be backed up by legitimate objective reviews and endorsements, not ones that are written by you, the company (as well as not your employees).

Putting this to the test, take a look at this email I received from a “company” adding me to a Best 10 list. Notably, the link in the article is for Mike Podesto’s company, Find My Profession. Look at how easy it is to determine this is a deceptive practice:

Best 10 Marketing Executive Resumes Scam Email

Look a little closer at the link in the article:

The link traces back to the same company (Find My Profession) that is owned by the same guy (Mike Podesto) writing the Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives seen on LinkedIn. In this case, the “author” is purporting to be a Best 10 company acting as an independent reviewer: “Angela M. of Best 10 Resumes.” However, there is no such person and no such entity.  They even gave me a badge to put on my website which actually had the real website encrypted on it – a sneaky SEO tactic to drive more traffic to their website.

Initially, you may not connect the dots. But, head over to FindMyProfession.com. The email is coming from that site. Looking at what they do, it’s clear to see they provide resume writing services — just like I do (i.e. a direct competitor).  Once I look closer into the website, this is what I see:

 

Pages and pages of Top 10 Best Lists — in every major U.S. city, state, and even industry — all purporting to be an entity “Top 10 Best.”

It’s a deceptive practice to hijack traffic to your website, and instead self-promote your own company while providing “cons” (that aren’t even true or are misleading) about other companies that are your direct competitors.  Important to note: since this is not a Top 10 list generated by a third-party unbiased source or an actual consumer of the services, it violates FTC guidelines.

The Scam Behind the 10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services Lists

I have had MANY prospects contact me after finding me on that list openly noting they realized the author of the article (Mike Podesto) was the owner of the company in the #1 slot. My advice to them is always to research resume writers and verify their credentials.

Note the comments from the article (which have recently been disabled by Mike Podesto  around the time this article launched):

Top 10 Executive Resume Writing Services - SCAM

False Statements in the Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives 

Another aspect of the scam behind this article is to objectively look at what the author of the article wrote and the misinformation put out there. For example, the article states that I have a 4.5 rating on Yelp. That’s actually false. I have always maintained a 5-star rating on Yelp, except for a 12-hour period when an alias “Resume H.” added a fake 1-star review. 

I will include the screenshots here as they are very telling why the author of the article (Mike Podesto) “knew” my Yelp rating had temporarily dropped.

Fake Yelp Review

After I received this fake review and posted my own response to it, I clicked on the profile of “Resume H.”

Why would “Resume H.” need to ask Find My profession (the company authoring the Top 10 list and putting itself #1) a question about their resume writing practices, yet write me a 1-star review? Obviously, it was very connected. Notably “Resume H.” was the abbreviated name for “Resume Harassment,” an alias of this company used to harass various female resume writers (which I get into in a later article). I submitted all of the documentation to Yelp’s legal department, and the review was removed within hours.

Find My Profession Reviews from “Best 10 Resumes” Are Fake

Interestingly, when I delved deeper into Find My Profession reviews on Google, this is what I saw:

This review and the email I posted above is 100% misleading to consumers and the resume writers put on the lists. There is no company Best 10 Resumes and by impersonating a third-party reviewer, this violates federal consumer laws. Additionally, this may also rise to impersonation under state statutes since the company is looking to unlawfully gain a benefit for itself (draw in clients) by defrauding consumers who see this review.

Notably, after I put the resume industry on notice of the concealment violating FTC guidelines, the review mysteriously disappeared from Find My Profession’s Google page. FYI, he’s notorious for doing this. Backtracking once facts are put to light. Not to worry. I got the screenshot in time. 

I also want to make mention of a recent case where the FTC has stepped in and prosecuted a company buying fake reviews on Amazon. Buying fake reviews is apparently a “thing” and the FTC has just brought its first case challenging this, advising: ““People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online….When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.” The moral of this: keep reporting the Top 10 lists and corresponding fake reviews to the FTC!

“Angela M.” Strikes Again!

I also received this recent follow-up email from “Angela M.” (as all of the other hundreds of resume writers did) with direct links to FindMyProfession.com:

This email is still perpetuating the deceptive tactic that “Best 10 Resumes” is a legitimate entity when it is not. It’s Mike Podesto and Find My Profession.

Spotting the Find My Profession Resume Scams

Spotting the fake best 10 lists is rather easy. In the example above, Find My Profession (by way of Mike Podesto) has posted over 60 articles putting itself as #1 on Top 10 or Top 5 list in every single U.S. city (even Canadian territory and Australian city) for every industry – operations, sales, marketing, etc. You name the industry or city, this company has found a way to call itself #1. Each week, the entity continues to publish new articles touting this fake ranking. You can find them by clicking on “About FMP” at the top of their tool bar, and tapping on “blog.”

If you are a resume writer, do not be concerned by the “cons” written about your company. This is all a ploy. I have been placed on nearly a dozen of these lists by Find My Profession and Mike Podesto and all of them contain contradictory information about my services.

Focus your efforts on reporting these posts to the FTC and national consumer agencies like the Better Business Bureau (which is currently reporting on Find My Profession about its advertising practices).

This begs the question: why so many articles? I have wondered the same thing. It doesn’t seem practical to build a business based on fake top 10 lists when you can be marketing in truthful ways through social media, podcasts, speaking engagements, and in-person networking. If I was a subcontractor writing resumes for an entity putting out misleading and scam articles, I would be highly concerned that my own professional reputation could be at stake for being associated with their unethical practices.

Whether you are a consumer purchasing resume writing services OR a resume writer who has been placed on one of these deceptive and fraudulent best 10 lists, you should be leery of trusting anything that a company like this puts out online. If a company can impersonate an entity claiming it received an award (albeit a fake award), what other deceptive and false information is this company putting out there for the public and consumers?

How to Report the Fake Best 10 Resume Writers Lists

You may be asking, if I see one of those fake “Best 10 Resume Writers” lists or I am put on one of them, who do I report it to?

Look to your state agencies or state representatives first, and they will direct you to the correct agencies. Generally, you want to report the fraud where the party is doing business – in that specific jurisdiction. If the activity rises to criminal activity, report it to the state attorney’s office. Consider reporting it to local, state, and federal agencies – these range from the Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission, and other relevant business and consumer agencies. Also, find out the legal contacts at these agencies. Directing your complaint to attorneys is most beneficial to expedite investigations and administrative filings. The FTC has a reporting form on its site that makes it easy for you to report the behavior. If you receive an email from one of these fraudulent Top 10 lists and you deem it to be deceptive and fake, make sure to provide it to the agencies in your report.

The bottom line if you’re a consumer: watch out who you do business with. Be sure that they are ethical (professional associations are strict about having members comply with codes of ethics) and their reviews can be substantiated. Google the names of the reviewers – see if their actual job titles and work history even line up with what’s being said in the review. Also check to see if the reviewers are employees of the company just seeking to deceptively bolster the company’s reviews. Top executives handle things very differently in online reviews.

Colorado Attorney General 

Federal Trade Commission

Mike Podesto’s DMCA Notice to This Article by Wendi Weiner

The resume industry was put on notice of these resume scams many, many months ago when the lists started popping up. However, this article was published in February due to the falsification of industry association pages on LinkedIn and continued false reviews published about my company. I truly felt that people needed to know what was transpiring and how deceptive the top 10 lists were. Mike Podesto filed a DMCA takedown of this article attempting to silence me and the truth about this situation (claiming I infringed on his trademark of his company name simply by mentioning it) while continuing to post defamatory articles about me to harm my business. My counsel’s counter-notice was published here.

This page was taken down from the period of March 14, 2019 to March 24, 2019 for the 10-day waiting period that the DMCA requires. However, the BBB’s report was published on or about March 20, 2019.

Please note, that if any changes are made by Mr. Podesto to his published articles and the screenshots provided infra, they will have been made after publication and re-launching of this report on March 25th, thus evidencing backtracking by Mr. Podesto.

Mike Podesto and Find My Profession’s Fake Top 10 Lists Continue

Despite the BBB reports, Mike Podesto and Find My Profession have continued to publish deceptive articles, now listing themselves as the Best Executive Job Search Site (ranking above long-established sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, etc.), and Best Executive Career Coach (in nearly a dozen cities thus far). Find My Profession reviews itself over and over again as #1.

If you are still unsure of what to do regarding these top 10 lists, consult with a business and consumer law attorney in your jurisdiction. They will help guide you. Don’t be blind to the fact that this is going on and continue to do your research.

If you have questions about how to report this situation, please feel free to reach out to me. Please also read my subsequent article about how I have fought back against fake reviews from Mike Podesto.Best 10 Resumes Scam Alert