I write resumes professionally. About once a month, I take on a client who has paid a lot of money to another resume service only to hate the results. While I obviously like getting new clients, these situations make me both sad and angry on behalf of the clients who were hurt by one bad choice.
So here are my recommendations for selecting a resume writer.
1) Shop around. If you like the first company you find - even if it's mine! - I still recommend contacting a couple of other services just to be sure that you're in the best hands.
2) Look at samples. All good writers should display samples on their site - preferably in 'before' and 'after' format so that you can see what changed. Look for quality, but also look for variation. Does each resume have a different structure? Does each one use different words? Or are they all the same, as though a template was used. And finally, do they impress you personally?
3) Ask about guarantees. Personally, I think all writers should offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. But most are not willing to go quite that far so you may have to settle for less - at the very least, your writer should promise to rework your resume as many times as possible to ensure your satisfaction.
4) Evaluate their qualifications. What makes them qualified to write your resume? Do they understand your industry or function? Have they worked in recruiting or HR? If not, do they have other expertise in those areas that gives you a sense of comfort? (Perhaps they have written books, or have lots of certifications, or come highly recommended by other people in your field).
5) Ask what they DON'T do. We turn away clients who want to work for the federal government or academia because none of our writers have expertise in these areas. Any good writer should be turning away clients - it proves their honesty.
6) Are they web savvy? Is their website modern and well maintained? Have they conveyed their brand well? Do they blog? Do they have a Linked In or Facebook page? You are hiring someone to help market you - make sure they know how to market themselves effectively in today's world.
7) Check LinkedIn testimonials. LinkedIn testimonials can't be fudged because the site allows you to click through as see who wrote the reference. To see them, you must be a member but it's quick and easy to sign up. Don't hire a writer who doesn't have glowing testimonials.
8) Who else refers their services? If you're still unsure, ask who refers clients to them. Do they have affiliations with career counselors, recruiters or other websites? Such relationships - especially with recruiters - are indications that their work is respected by the people who count.
9) Be sure the process works for you. Resume services have different approaches to writing a resume. Some require the completion of worksheets to develop a career history and value proposition. Some utilize phone interviews. Some do a combination of both. I personally prefer worksheets and we've developed a very specific proprietary worksheet that helps us develop a truly compelling resume- but not every client is comfortable with this process and it's important to know that upfront.
10) Finally, don't base your decision on price. I know that price has to be a consideration, but don't make it the be-all and end-all. Those cheap services advertising on the web are cheap for a reason - in most cases they will outsource your work to underpaid writers who have to work quickly just to make a living. In other cases, the fee is low because the person is in no way qualified to do this but saw a chance to make some money from home. If you can't afford to hire a good resume writer, take the time to learn about resume writing from books or articles and do it yourself. You'll get better results, believe me.
You'll notice that I didn't include professional certifications in my list. That's because I don't personally feel they are a reliable indicator of quality. This is a controversial view in my industry and other Career Hub writers probably disagree, so take it as just my opinion. But if you do take professional certifications into account, I think we would all agree that they are only the first step in evaluating a resume writing service. All the points above still apply.
Choosing the right resume writer can make all the difference to your job search so take the time to understand what you're getting. Good luck!
Posted by Louise Fletcher