How can you tell if you would benefit from working with a professional résumé writer? If your résumé is not getting you interviews despite your certainty that you meet the requirements of your field. If you are struggling with identifying the skills you’ve developed in marketable terms. If the achievements in your background are void of context and appear lackluster. All of these conditions are symptomatic of communication issues that could be addressed with an effective resume writer.
Although you are the "expert" on yourself, it can sometimes be a real struggle to succinctly describe what you have to offer in terms of what the market seeks. Yet this is critical, especially at a time when competition for good jobs is fierce. A good résumé writer will help you to identify your "personal brand"” – essentially what makes you stand out from the crowd. A writer should also create several versions (such as Word, PDF, and ASCII) of your resume as needed for the multiplicity of application methods.
How to determine which résumé writing service to use? There are many; some promote the benefit of in-person meetings; some are strictly online; and others provide either option. Issues of credibility, trust, and competency come into play. Here is a checklist to keep in mind when considering a service.
• Are the Writer(s) certified?
Writers who have been certified in resume writing have had their knowledge tested and likely had their work reviewed by qualified peers. Sources for locating certified writers include the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (www.parw.com) and the National Résumé Writers Association (www.nrwaweb.com).
• Do They Have Relevant Expertise?
Inquire into the experience they have in writing for your field. Many writers specialize in particular fields recognizing the unique expertise they have. Those specializing in highly technical or complex fields will often command a higher fee. Also take a good look at their experience and educational background, essentially what foundation they have built their reputation as a résumé writer upon.
• What is Their Breadth of Offerings?
Writers should also be able to help out with cover letters and other job hunt tools (such as references, thank you letters, VisualCV, etc.) that complement and strengthen the impact of your résumé.
• Do They Have Examples / Testimonials / References?
Use these to help you gauge the quality of what they offer. Most résumé writing services include examples and testimonials on their Website. Even when viewing their Websites, take a critical look at how information is laid out. The overall look of their Website is another indicator of the quality they have to offer.
• What is Their Pricing Structure?
Although not always included on Websites because cost can vary according to career level and other factors; you will often find some fee information. Be cautious in considering services where "one price fits all."
• What is the Turnaround Time?
They should be able to tell you how much time will be involved.
Considering that people often put a great deal of money into career education, don’t shortchange yourself by thinking that spending money on a résumé writer is a luxury. It is another way to invest in your career. Just as we use lawyers for legal forms, resume writers can be a wonderful resource to rely on for help with documents that support career growth. In fact, it can be seen as a cost-effective strategy when you consider that making a stronger initial impression on an employer can help lead to a higher starting salary.