CHOOSING A RESUME WRITER
If you've decided to hire a professional resume writer, how do you choose the right person? Here are 5 tips for choosing a great resume writer.
Don't choose the first resume writer that you find (unless that person has been referred by someone else, in which case go for it!) But if you're looking around 'cold,' contact a few writers before choosing one that suits you.
I don't recommend working with a resume writer who does not have a website. In this day and age, a professional resume writer without a website is just plain out of date. How can you trust their knowledge of up-to-date career marketing if they haven't updated their own marketing?
Don't choose the cheapest resume writer
This is a very common mistake. Hiring a resume writer is like hiring any professional - you get the quality that you pay for. If you hire someone whose fees are very low, it is likely that they are (a) sub-contracting the work out to low-paid writers or (b) not skilled enough to charge fair rates for their work.
Think of your new resume as an investment. If you choose wisely, your resume will pay for itself many times over because it will cut down the length of your job search and it may even result in a higher salary.
Look at resume samples
Any resume writer worth his or her salt will be able to show you samples of their work. These should be posted on the website, and ideally should contain 'before' and 'after' examples so that you can see the transformation. Look and see whether each resume is different, or whether the writer seems to repeat the same few styles over and over.
This is important because a good resume writer will develop a different document for each client based on their unique skill sets and experiences. If you see the exact same design and structure over and over again, you can assume that templates are being used and you should avoid that writer.
Ask about the process
It's important to choose a writer whose process suits your personal style. For example, I make my clients do some work before I write their resume! I believe that a resume is only effective if it truly represents you as an individual, and if you come away from the process understanding your own value. So my clients complete a lengthy self-assessment questionnaire that helps them develop a value proposition. The questionnaire is an amazing preparation for interviews and job search, but it's not for everyone.
Some resume writers use telephone or in-person interviews to gather the information they need. Others start with your existing resume and then send questions by email.
Each writer has developed a style that works for them and you should be sure to choose the one that suits YOU the best.
Do some independent research
Look your writer up online by googling their name. Have they written articles? If so, do you like the style of the articles? Do you like the tone of voice? Do you agree with the viewpoints presented?
Look them up on LinkedIn. This website allows former clients to provide testimonials and these testimonials are not controlled by the writer, so you will get an unbiased view of the writer.
Check out professional associations to see whether they are a member and to check that they have the certifications they claim. The three main professional associations are:
- The National Resume Writers Association or NRWA
- The Career Masters Institute or CMI
- The Professional Association of Resume Writers or PARW
Each has a database that you can search.
Choosing a professional resume writer is an important decision. Depending on your length of experience and the skill level of the writer you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 for an entry-level resume to over $800 for an executive resume (even more from some writers). That's a big investment and it's worth choosing wisely.
To get more tips like these, and learn how to completely transform your resume, sign up for my free resume writing course. We promise never to send sales spam.
Louise Fletcher is the President of Blue Sky Resumes, and Managing Editor and Co-founder of the preeminent careers blog, Career Hub. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and many of her resumes have been published in the JIST "Expert Resumes" series. She has contributed to many online publications including About.com, Monster.com, The Ladders, and Net Temps.