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Writing a resume can be an uphill task, whether you’re creating a new one or just updating an existing one. If you feel like you’re hitting a block every time you try writing one, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Professional resume writers exist to make the work easier for you. By hiring one, you can get a quality resume that will capture the attention of recruiters and help you stand out. While the resume writer does the hard work for you, you can spend the time preparing for job interviews.
A good resume writer can:
- Produce a top-quality resume
- Offer you strategic career advice
- Create a document optimised for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
However, you need to do your due diligence before hiring one. After all, you’re paying for the service from your own pocket and need to make sure it’s money well spent. You’re also placing your career – and a large part of your financial well-being – into someone else’s hands.
No pressure, right?
It’s easy to visit Google, search for professional resume writing services and get dozens of results. However, how do you evaluate these writers and hire one that will actually deliver a top-notch resume?
Here are five important things to look for before giving your hard-earned money to a resume writer.
1. Look For Experience With Your Function.
A lot of clients want their resume writer to have experience in writing resumes for people in their industry.
While industry experience is somewhat important, it’s much more critical for your would-be resume writer to have experience in writing resumes for your role type.
In other words, you must ensure that your resume writer has worked with a significant number of people at your level, in your function. This will help them understand how your job adds value to the business – and enable them to highlight the most commercially salient aspects of your background.
Without this insight, they’ll be tempted to sell generic, BAU aspects of your job, rather than their strategic impact on the business.
2. Look For A Comprenensive Discovery Phase.
A key step in creating a great resume involves obtaining relevant information from you. The resume writer needs to learn about your previous roles, business context around each of them, as well as your personal values, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.
Some resume writers will ask you to provide this information via a form. Others will interview you via telephone or Zoom.
A dual-pronged approach allows the resume service to get a high-resolution view of who you are, what value you bring to the table and what you stand for as an individual.
3. Don’t Be Fooled By Professional Credentials.
Resume writing credentials are, at best, worthless. At their worst, they’re scams.
Certifications and credentials have legitimacy only when they’re issued by independent bodies that have:
- No conflicitng commercial interests
- The ability to enforce clearly defined standards
- The power to disbar its practitioners for malpractice
In contrast, the resume writing industry’s certifications are toothless and self-serving – and that’s putting it mildly.
They’re mostly run by resume writers who, unfortunately, haven’t kept up with rapidly changing expectations of the market.
A stream of their ‘certified’ resumes consistently cross my desk, mostly sent in by frustrated job seekers who have paid for promises of “a captivating career story” and “unique value proposition”, but have received generic, meaningless fluff.
I know that I’m being harsh here – and I wish things were different – but they aren’t.
The brutal truth is that resume writers’ certifications don’t correlate with the quality of their output. I’ve seen terrible resumes produced by certified writers, as I have seen really good resumes written by people who have never even considered being certified.
Just in case you’re curious, here is a breakdown of main associations that offer credentials and professional exams for resume writers:
|The National Resume Writer Association (NRWA)||A nonprofit organisation for professional resume writers. |
It’s a member-driven trade association that claims to help resume writers expand their knowledge in the field and grow their careers.
Members have access to resume writing certifications and various resources to help them "raise industry standards".
|The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC)||This is an association for resume writers and career coaches. Commonly recognised for its CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) accreditation, it aims to provide practitioners with opportunities for growth and networking. |
The association's Code of Ethics proclaims great intentions, but thousands of generic resumes that are produced by their members every year suggest that there's a gap between the organisation's aspirations and their day-to-day realities.
4. Cross-Check Online Reviews With LinkedIn.
Every resume writer will brandish their positive client reviews. I sure do. But how do you know that they’re real?
Well, a cool hack you may not know about is the ability to cross-check these reviews with people’s LinkedIn profiles. Just copy and paste people’s names into LinkedIn and look for a reasonable match.
Obviously, you’ll have a much higher hit rate if you search for people with uncommon names. LinkedIn’s algorithm will probably struggle to serve up the right Jane Smith for you, but it is surprisingly effective at intuiting who you’re searching for if you give it a hand – especially if you can narrow the search down to a specific city or a profession.
Beyond reviews, check these “common-sensical” (is that a word?) signals:
- Does the website say anything unique and meaningful or is it full of generic hyperbole?
- Can you see who will be writing your resume? What does your gut say about them? Does the person seem credible to you?
- Does the company seem to outsource the work overseas?
5. Increase The Cost.
Price matters when hiring a professional resume writer. Remember that for any services, you (mostly) get what you pay for.
The key is to always be suspicious of any resume writing services that promise to offer all-inclusive services, including resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and a thank you note, for as low as $100.
If you come across those types of deals, I strongly suggest that you abandon them in favour of mid- to top-market options. It’s highly unlikely that a cheap resume writer will be able to write a resume that blows the socks off recruiters and employers – especially if you’re hunting for a management or an executive role.
It’s also worth mentioning that your level of experience will affect how much you pay for the service. If you are in an executive role, expect to pay approximately twice as much as a graduate.
Finally, always ask whether there are additional charges for revisions. Some services only offer one revision and ask you to pay for subsequent rounds of edits. Others offer “unlimited” revisions, but only within a limited timeframe.
Hire A Professional Resume Writer Today.
It’s time for a shameless plug.
Arielle Executive is a resume writing service that has spent the past 9 years perfecting the art of writing resumes. My team focuses on creating the best possible career documents, rather than churning out resumes by the dozen, to ensure that you get traction in a competitive job market.
Contact us today for a confidential, obligation-free discussion about your career needs.