If tweaking and revamping your resume hasn’t helped you land a single interview, your resume may no longer be cutting it.
Maybe it’s time to call in the big guns: a professional resume writer.
But hiring a writer over the Internet is a scary task. In a world of scams and horror stories, how can you know you’re hiring someone who will help—not hurt—your job search? With a million “accredited” resume writing associations out there, how should you cut through the clutter?
Here’s how to make sure you hire a quality resume writer:
- Ask if they understand your industry.
It’s often said that a good writer can write about anything. While that might be true, when it comes to your resume, you want a writer with a general understanding of your industry.
At first glance, all resumes look the same. But in reality, each individual industry calls for different jargon, a unique style and a specialized look. To give yourself the best odds of success, hire a professional who understands the nature of your specific business.
- Get a bottom-line price.
As with any service, it’s imperative to understand how much you’ll pay and what you’ll get for your money. Many reputable resume writers will offer a conditional guarantee, including but not limited to a full refund, "endless" rewrites, etc.
If this is the case, the writer should provide this information up front. If you don’t sign a contract, take screenshots and print pages from their website that indicates the fee you’re paying and what’s included in that price. Find out more about the writer.
Even if the resume writing company is called John Smith's Resume Writing Service, there’s no guarantee that John Smith is writing your resume. Before you pay, find out exactly who you’ll be working with. Make sure the work isn’t outsourced, or if it is, that you’re happy with the person on the job. Know what you want.
Many resume writers ask right away what you want to do. It seems like knowing your realistic dream job should be a no-brainer, but it's actually a difficult question for many job seekers to answer. The better understanding you have of your needs and desires when it comes to your career, the more guidance you can give a resume writer.
And the more direction you give them, the better resume they can produce. So if you’re unsure what type of job you want, wait until you’ve cleared up those questions to hire a writer.
- Ask for references.
Any writer who advertises their services, regardless of the type of content they write, should be able to provide samples. But sometimes samples aren’t enough.
Since the Web is such a crowded space, it’s important to ask the resume writer you plan to hire for references. These should be people who not only used the service, but also landed the job they wanted as a result. Many businesses offer up references, but few customers take them up on the offer. Don’t be bashful!
Given the time and money you’re about to invest, you need this information to make an educated decision. Expect to put in effort on your end, too. Unlike many other services you pay for, a resume writer—at least one you’d want to hire—will require quite a bit of your time.
A resume should reflect your work experience and be an inanimate representation of you, which means the professional needs to get to know you and your experience to write the document properly.
I once conducted an experiment where I asked eight different professional writers to rewrite my resume. The ones who performed best took at least an hour to get to know me. Phone communication proved more effective than e-mail.
Each writer collects information in a different way, so be sure to ask how much time you’ll need to spend on the getting-to-know-you part of the process before you hire a professional.
What do you think? Is it worth your money to hire a professional resume writer?
Andrew G. Rosen is the founder and editor of Jobacle.com, a career advice blog.
He is also the author of How to Quit Your Job.