April 7

Hiring a Resume Writer? What You Need to Know Before You Do

Looking to have your resume professionally written? Not sure how to go about finding a great resume writer or what it should cost?

To help you in making your decision, we've outlined exactly how to review a resume writer’s skills and credentials to help find the best resume writing service for you. Here's what this post will cover:

1. What credentials your resume writer should have
2. What cost can you expect from a skilled writer
3. What questions should you ask before hiring a resume writer

Should Your Resume Writer Be Certified?

This is a gray area. If you ask a certified resume writer, they will likely tell you to be sure ONLY use a certified writer. However, we've personally worked with Certified Resume Writers who seriously lacked the skills to write any resume. Still, Resume writing certifications do have their place in the industry, but they really don't accurately measure the skills of the writer you hire. We're sure you’ve come across someone in your industry who is certified yet lacks the true skills to perform well. Well, this inadequacy can be found in the careers industry too.

To increase your chances of hiring a quality resume writer review, there are a few career credentials to look out for:

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
This the oldest-offered resume writing credential issued by the Professional Association of Resume Writers/Career Coaches (PARW/CC). Easy to obtain. However, the passing criteria for the CPRW has risen in recent years.

Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW)
This certification requires a sizable financial investment. Professional writers who invest in and maintain this certification could be seen as diehard resume writers.

Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)
This certification is affordably priced for members of the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA). The NCRW certification requires continuing education credits (CEUs) to maintain, which makes it a highly sought after certification.

Should Your Resume Writer Have Experience In Your Industry/Field?

While definitely a plus, a skilled resume writer knows how to gather information necessary to showcase your work history and accomplishments even if they have no knowledge of your industry. Truth be told, the best resume writers have seen it all and written for all types of industries. This is because an experienced resume writer will due his or her due diligence in researching your profession/industry BEFORE writing your resume. Some resume writers are stronger in writing for a particular industry, such as Engineering or IT. Be sure to ask if the resume writer has experience writing resumes for your field or target position but it's not a deal breaker if they haven't.

What Should You Expect to Pay for a Professionally Written Resume?

This question gets asked time and time again. Our best answer is that cost is directly related to quality...to an extent. Pay $100 or less for a resume and you're likely to get a generic template-style resume that won't be compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems. Keep in mind, the goal of your resume writer is to set you apart from the competition and this takes a specialized, custom service that the best resume writers have taken countless years to hone. So, if you expect a resume writer to spend a decent amount of time on the writing of your project, then you can’t expect to make such a small investment.

Additionally, do your research - some of the Top Resume sites are actually resume mills, charging you upwards of $300 for a resume, then outsourcing it overseas or to an inexperienced writer for $25. Ask yourself if that's really the type of company you want to give your hard earned money to.

What to Ask BEFORE Hiring a Resume Writer

Like any other professional you hire, you’ll want to ask the right prescreening questions. Asking these questions will also help you determine whether you “click” with the person you’re about to hire to write something as important as your resume. So, here are a few recommended questions to help you identify the right resume writer for you:

  • How does the process work? (Each resume writer will have a different process so make sure you know what the expectations are upfront).
  • What do you know about ATS resume compatibility?
  • Are you based locally? (i.e. does the resume writer know your local job market - this can make a huge difference. For instance, a writer in New York may be really talented but not have a pulse on what's going on in the California job market).
  • How long will it take to receive my resume? (A typical turnaround should be 3 to 7 business days).
  • Do you have a few resume examples I could review? (If the answer is no, you need steer clear!)
  • Any client testimonials I could read? (Check out Google Reviews or Trust Pilot; Yelp is okay but not as reliable as the former)
  • Do you offer other services in addition to resume writing services? (i.e. Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Development, Interview Coaching, or Job Search Tips).

The above questions will give you a good base of information, which helps when you’re considering more than one resume writing firm. Still, you might have specific resume writing needs too. For example, these questions might apply to you:

  • Do you write resumes for career changes?
  • Do you write resumes for USAJobs? Government employees?
  • Do you write resumes for military to civilian transition?

Despite asking the right questions, there’s more you should know. For example, who will be writing your resume? Yes, you read that correctly. As mentioned above, unfortunately, there are many resume writing mills online these days. For those who don’t know, resume mills are companies who offer resume writing services (e.g. $300 to $600+), and then, hire low-cost resume writers to complete the projects. Resume mills are essentially the “discount stores” of the resume writing industry.

Companies like these get the lion’s share of the profit from each project … and the resume writer is all-too-often paid the least - which can really affect the quality of the resume and service. This is the main reason most in the career industry frown upon companies like these.

Did You Get an Automated Resume Writer Review?

Another reason for dislike is that the “resume review” that prospects receive in most cases wasn’t personally completed by a real person. These companies sometimes “trick” prospects into thinking there’s something wrong with their resume. When, in fact, this might not always be true. Lastly, the person who “reviewed your resume” is actually a salesperson.

A free resume review is nice. But, there’s rarely real value in them unless they are specific to you. An honest resume company will provide you with specific examples of what IS working for you and what needs to be improved - not a canned response.

Pros of Hiring a Professional Writer

At this point, you want to know whether hiring a professional resume writer is right for you. So, let’s look at some of the pros of hiring a resume writer.

First, a professional writer can help you avoid some of the biggest resume mistakes. A skilled writer is knowledgeable about hiring practices and knows about some of the advanced writing techniques affecting today’s resumes. For example, resume writers know that complying with ATS software is a mandatory requirement for anyone conducting a job search.

There’s a lot that’s been written about Applicant Tracking Systems. ATS software is an internal CRM/hiring system for a company’s HR department - it basically helps to screen through the hundreds of resumes received for a job posting. Not too complicated right? Yet, the sophistication of each company’s software plays a key role in what the HR department sees/controls when hiring. For example, the ATS software used at Google headquarters would be vastly more powerful than the software used by your local bank. ATS software has become a go-to for many hiring companies because it offers time-saving functionality. For example, this software can pre-populate job postings, manage job interviews, automate communications with hiring candidates, and so on.

Second, resume writers can resolve a burden. If you’re someone who despises writing a resume, then look no further than a professional writer to complete the task for you. This is especially important when you have career issues that you just don’t know how to address when writing your resume. A resume writer can be impartial. And, sometimes, individuals need those “fresh set of eyes” that a resume writer review offers.

For example, a skilled resume writer knows how to handle:

  • Gaps in employment
  • Irrelevant work history
  • Changes in career focus
  • Challenging career/resume objectives

I help Southern California professionals ditch their outdated resume and job search approaches to land their dream job quickly and effectively.

Ready to stop spinning your wheels and transform the way you present yourself?

Get started by booking a free consultation. 

Ashley Milano - SoCal Resumes


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