Should You Hire a Resume Writer? Are Professional Resume Services Worth It?
If you haven’t worked with a resume writer before, we know you might be hesitant to trust a third party with such a personal, important document.
You may be wondering whether investing in writing services is worth it, how the process works, and how to choose a qualified writer.
In this post, we address common questions we hear from potential clients who are deciding whether to hire a professional resume writer.
Even if you don’t end up working with us, we hope this article will provide you with comprehensive answers to the following questions so that you can choose the best writer for you.
- What does a resume writer do?
- Who should use a resume writer?
- What can I expect during the writing process?
- How much can I expect to pay for a professional resume?
- How do I know if someone is qualified to write my resume?
- Should I find an industry-specific writer?
- What are unethical industry practices I should be aware of?
- Are there any guarantees?
What does a resume writer do?
Resume writers are experts who craft professional job application materials that clearly and concisely articulate your work history and accomplishments in a manner that executive recruiters expect.
If you’re having writer's block, not feeling confident in your current resume, or simply in a time crunch, having a third-party expert listen to your story, ask relevant questions, and write up your career summary can ease the burden of applying for new roles.
The process also doubles as excellent interview preparation!
Resume writing is a collaborative process, so you’ll find yourself answering questions similar to those you would be asked in a job interview (without any of the pressure).
Who should use a resume writer?
Professionals of all experience levels can benefit from resume writing services.
Our executive clients recognize that their resume serves as a personal marketing document and are willing to invest in a service that ensures they present themselves in the best possible light.
Even if you’re applying for your first role out of college, you’ll end up with a document that you will be able to leverage throughout your career.
At Resume Pilots, many of our clients work in roles that don’t require much writing or simply struggle to explain their accomplishments on paper.
Others are strong writers but choose to work with us because resume writing isn’t an area they have significant experience in (and it can be awkward to write about yourself and your accomplishments in the third person).
What can I expect during the writing process?
Once you select a service and place your order, the resume writing process typically consists of the following steps: information gathering, writing, and revisions.
Your writer will gather information from you and learn more about your background via a questionnaire, phone call, or in-person meeting.
Some resume writers don’t require or provide a phone consultation. However, we have found this to be one of the most valuable components of the process.
Skilled resume writers have strong interviewing skills.
They’ll ask you specific, thought-provoking questions that allow them to articulate your accomplishments as effectively as possible.
If you only communicate with your writer via email, you may miss out on the opportunity to highlight valuable information that you didn't think to include on your own!
Your writer will craft your document based on your consultation and information provided, ensuring that it is ATS-friendly and tailored to the types of roles you are targeting in your search.
Because this is the most critical element of the process, you should choose to work with a reputable writer you can trust.
After you receive your document, you will have the opportunity to review it and provide feedback.
When you receive your first draft, it should already be strong enough for you to use for applications.
However, you should allow time for two to three rounds of minor revisions before arriving at your perfect document.
During the revision process, an experienced resume writer will play devil’s advocate and push back on your suggestions if they will not truly add value.
You should work with a writer that has your best interests in mind and will let you know if some of your proposals aren’t best practice.
Once your revisions are complete, you’re ready to start applying!
How do I know if someone is qualified to write my resume?
Before hiring a resume writer, conduct research to confirm whether the writer you are considering is qualified.
At a bare minimum, the company you choose to work with should be a member of a nationally-recognized resume writing association.
The most common organization – which Resume Pilots is a member of – is the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC). You can also consider companies that are a member of the National Résumé Writers' Association (NRWA).
Members of these organizations are generally well-versed in resume writing theory and practice, have significant industry experience, and remain up to date with recruitment trends. However, you will find that quality can still vary significantly from writer to writer.
Most importantly, choose a writer you can trust by:
- Reading their reviews
- Learning about their background
- Calling them to ask about their process
- Evaluating the types of clients they have worked with in the past
Based on this research, you will better understand whether you would feel comfortable working with them and trusting them with such an important piece of your job search.
Remember that choosing a resume writer is just as important as choosing any other professional to represent you, such as a lawyer or accountant.
A writer’s work may very well propel you ahead in your career and open doors for you – or hold you back.
How much should I pay for a professional resume?
You'll be able to find online resume writing services that fit into nearly every budget.
Resume writing services charge anywhere from under $100 to over $1,000 for a resume alone.
While hiring a resume writer can be a sizable investment, a writer’s fee is usually a reflection of his or her professionalism and skill level.
The best resume writers devote a considerable amount of time to:
- Understanding your employment history and career goals via a questionnaire and phone consultation
- Crafting an accomplishment-driven, well-written document
- Working with you to make any changes and edits, if necessary
Before deciding to pay someone to write your resume, consider whether the investment is worth it for you.
• Experienced Professionals and Executives
If you’re making over $70,000 per year, you’ll invest less than 1% of your annual salary on your resume.
In this case, spending money on a professionally written resume can be well worth it - especially if it leads to your dream job or a promotion.
• Early Career Professionals
If you’re early in your career and earning less, you may consider preparing your resume on your own and simply having your final document edited.
However, many clients who are invested in their careers still find working with a resume writer to be a valuable investment in their careers.
If you’re a student, you may be able to find the help you need at your school’s career services center.
If you are applying for a master’s program or MBA, working with a resume writer can help ensure you put your best foot forward.
Occasionally, resume writers also offer reduced fees for current students or recent graduates, so you may want to reach out to ask whether that could be an option.
Should I find an industry-specific resume writer?
The two most important characteristics you should look when hiring a resume writer are their writing skills and interviewing ability.
Resume writing principles and best practices are consistent across industries.
When evaluating writers, consider whether they will be able to present you in a compelling yet professional manner.
You want to choose a strong writer who will:
- Ask you targeted questions to incorporate metrics and accomplishments you didn’t think to include yourself
- Tailor your documents to position you for your target roles – even if you are making a significant career change
No resume writer has worked with clients in every position imaginable - and that’s okay.
The best resume writers conduct outside research and ask you questions about your role that will fill in any gaps in industry knowledge.
At Resume Pilots, we have worked successfully with C-suite executives across most sectors including:
- Finance & Investment Banking
- Real Estate
- Sales & Marketing
- IT & Technology
- Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
- Hospitality, Travel & Leisure
What are unethical industry practices I should be aware of?
Unfortunately, some online resume writing services take part in unethical practices that result in a frustrating experience and poor results for clients.
Generally speaking, the saying “you get what you pay for” tends to hold true in the resume writing industry.
1) Outsourcing Internationally
The most common unethical practice to watch out for is outsourcing.
Some online resume writing services outsource work internationally (often to non-native English speakers) to keep costs down.
You should expect your writer to invest time to understand your background and craft your documents. It typically takes a full working day to prepare a strong resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile for a client.
If a writer is feasibly able to write your resume for less than the price of a one-hour career coaching session, you may want to reconsider.
Many resume writers who claim to operate as individuals outsource their writing. Before signing on to work with someone, be sure to confirm who will be writing your document.
Because of the time-consuming nature of resume writing, it’s often unfeasible for one person to handle all of the writing and day-to-day business administration while ultimately running a profitable business – unless they charge accordingly (think $1,000+ for a resume).
At Resume Pilots, we invest significant time to hire and train exceptional writers who work with our clients one-on-one throughout the writing process.
By being transparent about our writing process and building a top-quality team, we’re able to ensure a consistent client experience and pair clients with writers who have experience writing for their industries.
Are there any guarantees?
Because your resume is just one component of the job search process, trustworthy resume writers should not guarantee that you will receive interviews or job offers as a result of using their services.
When you apply for a job, many variables determine whether you will be offered an interview or ultimately be hired that are completely out of the writer’s control:
- Your fit for the role and experience
- Your educational background
- The quality of other applicants
- Your networking strategy and effort put into the job search
- Your preparation for and performance during the interview
However, you can rest assured that professional resume writers will help you identify and articulate your strongest credentials to recruiters in the best way possible.
Interested in learning more about our services? Book an informal call to discuss your experience and requirements in more detail.
You can also email email@example.com or call (312) 428-6048. We look forward to hearing from you!
- The Advantages of Hiring a Resume Writer
- What Recruiters Expect to See in an Executive Resume
- Resume Pilots’ Client Reviews
About Resume Pilots
Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing, career coaching, and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.
Here's how we can help you:
Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Writing: After a one-hour phone consultation, one of our expert writers will prepare your top-quality personal marketing materials from scratch.
Career Transitions: A powerful combination of our document writing and career coaching services helps position you to secure a new role.
We're a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. All of our writers have studied in the Ivy League and other top-tier universities and have solid industry experience.