I feel the need to write this blog after recently working with several clients to repair resumes written by unscrupulous “resume writers” or mills cranking out high-volume, low-quality work while claiming to be a “professional resume company”. These “professionals” are all over the web offering cut-rate services on Craigslist, or even fancy websites with resume prices that just seem too good to be true.
Hiring a professional to craft your resume is still a very smart move, but take a moment to do your research and ask yourself (and the writer) a few critical questions:
1. Who will you work with? There are numerous resume mills out there with well-optimized, fancy websites that promise excellent results. They talk a good game to hook prospective clients, but rarely deliver the goods.
Ask who exactly you will be working with, and if all of their writers are certified. The last thing you want is to be passed off to a worker making $10 an hour and cranking out as many resumes as they can, as fast as they can.
You want to work one-on-one with a professional, certified writer – even better if they have a background in recruiting or HR.
2. Does the writer/company have a professional online presence? Quality resume writing requires savvy marketing and personal branding, so in order to market their clients well, the professional resume service must be good at marketing themselves and their business.
Check our their LinkedIn profile and website. Do they portray a strong personal brand and use clear, concise writing? If their website is long and wordy, you can assume your resume will be the same way.
3. Are they certified? Certification isn’t the be-all-end-all of good vs. bad resume writers, but it does help build confidence. Certified writers have spent the time and money to qualify against stringent industry standards of resume writing.
Certified writers commit to providing cutting-edge service, quality and overall performance and are generally active members in at least one professional industry organization. These organizations provide continuing education, feedback and peer learning opportunities that someone going it alone just does not have access to.
4. Will you work well together? Writing a powerful resume is a collaborative effort, and it is critical that you fit and work well with your writer. Not every writer is the perfect fit for every client, so make sure you connect and have confidence in their ability to best represent you.
I generally recommend that you investigate and speak with 2-3 writers to get a sense of who they are, how they operate, and determine if there is a culture fit. Go with your gut!
5. You get what you pay for. Sure, you can find many resume writers out there that charge $100 (or less!) to write a resume. But buyer beware.. a well-done resume takes time and skill and any busy, productive writer is not going to undercharge for their time.
An updated, optimized and branded resume is an investment in your career and future. It will shorten your job search and position you to command a higher salary.
If you are thinking in “cost” vs. “investment” terms, you might want to consider what those terms mean. Cost involves paying for something and receiving nothing in return, but an investment involves value and return on what you do invest.
So if you are intimidated by the investment required by a professional resume writer and instead turn to some of the cheaper services you will get exactly what you spent: a $99 resume that doesn’t get results. Instead I recommend people write the documents themselves.
Choosing a career services professional to assist your job search or career transition requires some investigation and careful consideration before making the investment. But the ROI that a great writer can provide will be worth every penny!
Remember that most of us entered this business to help others. We genuinely care about our client’s success. Happy clients refer friends, family and business colleagues – and writers are well aware of the power of referrals and company reputation. Most of us will do anything to protect it. Follow these five tips, and you will be well on your way to a wise investment!