So you are on the hunt for a new job, submitted a few job applications and not made any progress, so you are considering hiring a professional resume writer.
After a short search on Google or Bing, you realise that there are thousands of resume writers out there, with prices that vary from less than $50, right through to a $2,000 at the top-end-of-town. So how do you determine good value and what should you be looking for when selecting a professional resume writer?
But before I get into the nitty gritty of how to select the best resume writer, I will quickly outline the current problem within the industry.
Right now, there is no regulation in the industry, so anyone can set up a website and call themselves a career expert and resume writer. Or putting it another way, there are no mandated codes of ethics, requirement for continuing professional development, competency frameworks in place, or professional standards. If you decided to, you could set yourself up as a resume writer, in spite of having zero experience or qualifications and charge exorbitant fees. This has left the whole industry open for abuse, in which people are paying for a resume in which the person providing the service has got about the same resume writing skills that you possess.
So with this in mind, how do you select the best resume writer?
Fortunately there are a lot of highly experienced and top-notch resume writers out there worth their weight in gold and I will explain exactly what to look out for, so you can work with a gifted resume writer that can help you stand out from the crowd.
Credentials & Qualifications
Increasingly the industry is self-regulating itself, so that you as the consumer can be more confident in your decision in hiring a professional resume writer.
The top resume writers are generally credentialed resume writers. Credentialed resume writers undergo testing and have their work reviewed by highly qualified professionals. Then to keep their credential, they need to undergo continuing education. Now while there is no 100% satisfaction guarantee of absolute success, you have significantly improved the odds by working with a credentialed resume writer. Some of the key credentials and qualifications include:
- Career Directors International (CDI): Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW), Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), Certified Resume Specialist (CRS).
- Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches: Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
- National Resume Writers Association: Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)
- Resume Writing Academy: Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW)
- Career Thought Leaders Consortium: Master Resume Writer (MRW)
Length of Time in Business
Since the industry is unregulated and it is often difficult to make a dollar, there tends to be a fairly large turnover of players. Some of the established resume writer’s are established for a reason, they deliver top-notch resumes to diverse clients and are very successful businesses as a result. Plus the longer they are in business, the more experienced they are and the higher the level of skills they posses. The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is true of most crafts and resume writing is no exception.
Acknowledged leaders in the sector
Most of the leading resume writers are well known in the sector. They belong to professional associations, attend regular training and conferences, have comprehensive blogs, have won industry awards, are published authors and are respected experts. When you visit a website you will be able to quickly determine whether they possess this background or not. Please note, most of the leaders can’t do a quick turnaround, so you will need to plan ahead.
You generally (not always) pay for what you get
It might be tempting to use a $79 resume writer with a fixed price and quick turn around, but you are wasting your time and money. Creating a ‘top notch’ resume takes time and the top resume writers invest hours in analysing what you have to offer, asking the right questions, planning and developing your document and ensuring that your presentation is authentic and unique, so it really sells you.
If a writer is only charging $79 – you are not getting this type of service. You are getting generic templates and cut-and-paste information. Truth be told, you could do a better job yourself if you read a ‘resume writing guide’ such as Resume Magic by Susan Britton Whitcomb, or PS… You Need a Resume, by Gayle Howard.
The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is on the whole very true in this industry. If you want to present yourself in a way that outshines your competitors, don’t opt for the cheap writers – they are cheap for a reason.
By taking into consideration, qualifications, credentials, length of time in business and price, you will generally be able to quickly identify the best resume writers on the market place.