“Should I hire a resume writer?”
If you’re asking that question, what you’re probably really asking is “What should I look for in a good resume writer?” and “what kind of results can I expect?”
Because if you look online, you’ll see resume prices quoted from anywhere between $200 to $2,000.
And if you’re going to spend money at the higher end of that range, you absolutely want to make sure you’re investing your money in the services of the right person.
So, should you pay to get your resume professionally written?
I actually work on people’s resumes as part of my business, Interview IQ.
And I don’t always say yes to clients!
Because I screen my clients too.
I ask them a few questions to see if they really need a resume writer.
One of the first questions that I ask my clients is, “Is your current resume getting you an interview?”
If your resume is getting you an interview for the types of jobs that:
- You want
- You can do
- You’ve got an experience for
…and if you’re getting them on a fairly regular basis, then paying for the services of an expensive resume writer is probably not for you.
If you’re getting interviews from your resume, but you’re not getting the job, I would suggest investing your money in the services of an Interview Coach.
BUT, if you are:
- Not getting interviews for jobs you believe you’re qualified for
- Wanting to try something different
- New to the Australian market
- Wanting to change sectors
- Wanting to change careers
- Thinking about how to get promoted
- Needing a big boost of confidence before you hit the hustings
That’s when you should think about investing some money in a resume writer!
However, before you actually lay down your hard-earned cash, there are a few things that I suggest you ask your potential resume writer.
*I would welcome anybody asking me these questions as well!
You want to make sure your resume writer is attuned to what you want and what you need.
You want your writer to be invested in you too!
So, I’m going to give you 11 questions you should ask your resume writer before you decide whether you’re going to make the investment – and then, I’m going to tell you what kind of results you should expect from that investment.
Questions You Should Ask Your Resume Writer
The first thing to remember is that resume writing is an unregulated profession with low barriers to entry.
So, for the first question for your resume writer…
Question #1: What’s your level of experience?
Ask what’s their level of experience in helping somebody like you – not just someone in your profession, but the type of job search scenario you’re facing.
If you’re in a competitive industry, ask if they have helped people in highly competitive industries where there are hundreds of candidates with only a few jobs available.
If you’re in a position where you want to step up into a new role or a bigger role, ask what’s their experience with helping people in that situation?
Get quite specific in the questions you ask around their experience.
Whether you’re in a position where you actually want to change your career, change your sector, step into a completely new market, or a completely new region you want to ask what’s their experience in helping somebody in the same scenario that you face.
Question #2: Do you have experience in recruitment?
You want to know whether they’re going to put their recruiter lens on your resume.
By this I mean, instead of just putting a nice bunch of words on your CV, you want your resume writer to actually understand how a recruiter is going to be looking at it.
But I wouldn’t just leave it there.
I’d also ask the type of recruitment that the writer has had experience in.
Do they have experience in agency recruitment, in corporate recruitment, or in government recruitment?
The reason you want to be specific is that people in different roles in recruitment look at resumes slightly differently.
So, you want to ask if your writer has experience in recruitment and the type of recruitment they’ve had experience in.
Question #3: Do you understand my section of the employment market?
Your resume writer does not need to come from your section of the employment market.
But, you would want them to have written resumes for somebody in your particular area.
Or if they haven’t had that experience, you want them to actually be able to ask you the right questions.
They need to be able to unpack the type of value that you’re supposed to demonstrate in your particular section of the market.
Question #4: Will we be actually talking?
Will they actually talk to you?
Will they spend some time getting to know you?
Will they interview you in the same way that you would be interviewing for a job?
You’d be really surprised how many writers there are out there who just accept the information that you give them at face value – without actually probing that information!
If you don’t actually speak to someone, information that you don’t think is important, might be really important!
That means you’ll miss the opportunity to get all your information out on the table.
That information might actually form an integral part of your story.
The other reason that you want to be collaborating and talking to your resume writer is it’s really important that it’s your voice that gets injected into the resume – not just what the resume writer thinks you should say.
Question #5: Are you busy?
It might sound like a bit of an unusual question.
But, are they busy?
Are they in demand?
The reason I say this is good resume writers are really hard to find because GREAT resume writing actually requires many skills.
Resume writers are part investigative journalists, researchers, recruiters, and marketers.
On top of that, they need to be good with people, they need to understand the employment market and they need to be great writers.
It’s a rare combination of skills!
So, see if you can get an assessment of whether your resume writer is actually in demand.
Because if they are, it’s generally a good indicator that they’re experienced.
They know what they’re doing and they’re good at what they do.
Question #6: Will you train me to use the resume?
Again, this is an unusual question.
Will they train you to use the document?
The truth is that when you work with a resume writer you’ll get a great document.
But, you will be applying for other types of jobs that might be around the circle of the core job you’re aiming for.
In every single application, you want to make sure that your resume matches what the recruiter is actually looking for.
Otherwise, you may not get through the ATS, or you may just simply be overlooked.
So, you want to ask your resume writer if they will show you how to tailor that resume, and if they will help you understand the way you should use your resume for different scenarios as well.
Question #7: Can I see some samples of your work?
Now, a lot of resume writers have their samples on their website which is fantastic.
You can just go and have a look.
But you can always ask to see resumes if they’re not there.
You want to make sure that the way that they’re constructing a resume suits you and that you can be confident they know what they’re talking about, and that they’ve helped somebody in your scenario.
So, do feel free to ask to see some samples of where they’ve helped somebody in a similar scenario to you.
But just keep in mind that many resume writers do a unique kind of style of resume every single time.
Question #8: Will you give me confidence? Because I need it!
When you’re looking for a job, your mindset is absolutely critical.
You’re putting yourself out there every single time, with a very strong possibility that you’re going to be rejected.
So, you want a resume writer who will collaborate with you.
You want someone who will actually give you confidence around the things that you really should have some confidence about, but who should also challenge you on the things that are probably not your strongest points.
This is so you can be well-positioned when you go into the market knowing that you’re putting your best foot forward.
And also so you have somebody who’s on your side as part of that journey as well.
Question #9: How connected are you?
Next question is, how connected are they?
Are they collaborating within their own community?
You want somebody writing your resume who is keeping up to date with best practices in the employment market.
It’s very easy to set yourself up as a resume writer and sit at your desk and write from 9 to 6, not talk to a single person and get quickly out of touch with what’s actually happening in the employment market.
So, you want to ask your resume writer, how do they keep up to date with best practices?
How do they stay current with what’s going on in the employment market?
Who’s in their network?
Are there HR Managers? Are there Recruitment Managers?
Are there Career Coaches? Are there other Resume Writers?
You do want somebody who is really staying current.
Because that’s one of the things that you’re paying for.
Question #10: What kind of additional support will I get?
The support doesn’t necessarily have to be one-on-one coaching.
It could be that they’ve got a blog or a great Twitter feed.
They could be on Instagram or have YouTube videos.
What you want is to get that extra support while you’re looking for a job.
Because at that time you actually do need all the help you can get!
Question # 11: What results can I expect?
This is the most important question you want to ask.
You want to critically evaluate what the resume writer is actually promising you?
Because if they’re promising you that they’re going to get you a job within 2 weeks or 2 months, I would run a mile!
When you first talk to them, they don’t intimately know your scenario, the marketplace, your set of skills, and who you’re competing against – so making a promise like that is crazy.
So really look into what they’re promising you, in terms of a core promise around their service.
Those are the questions you need to ask before engaging with a resume writer.
The next thing I want to discuss is, what are the things you can expect after getting the service?
What to expect out of a resume writing service?
First off, I can guarantee you a good resume writer will not promise you that you’re going to get a job within 2 weeks.
What you should expect are:
More confidence in marketing yourself
You want to come out of this process feeling far more confident about how to market yourself than when you entered it. You should emerge knowing the best way to position your experience, strengths, and achievements.
Your resume should get you better results
You should be hitting the mark more often and getting more interviews.
Someone on your side – who can help you identify what’s good for you
Your resume writer should speak to you and listen to you.
You should feel more confident since you know now that you’ve got a professional on your side and someone dedicated to helping you market yourself in the best way possible.
But also, you now have someone who has now walked in your shoes throughout your career and can help you identify good opportunities to position you for the future.
Confidence in interviews
The process of developing your resume should give you more confidence when you sit down in interview – as you’ll have had your best stories laid out on the table.
Knowledge of the best job search strategy for you
Your resume writer should be able to give you an idea of the effectiveness of your planned job search strategy. They will know whether you should network, approach recruiters, apply online or approach people directly.
An experienced resume writer will have lots of great stories to share with you about all the ways people have approached their job search – and been successful in doing so.
How to position the job decisions you’ve made that don’t fit your current direction
We’ve all had those jobs that in hindsight we regret, or made choices for expediency rather than as part of a planned career move. These can be difficult to “explain” or talk about in an interview.
A good resume writer, through the process of developing your resume, will help you find a “truth” in your story, the common theme in your choices, and give you a way to feel confident in how to position yourself when you talk about the “odd” move.
Your resume writer should be accessible to you if you’ve got any questions or concerns. If there are revisions you want to make, that person should be accessible and available to answer any of your questions.
So those are the questions you need to ask and the results you should expect from a resume writer.
I hope you found this very useful!
I hope this gave you a clearer idea if you actually need to invest in resume writing, what to look for in a resume writer, how to screen them, and what to look forward to when you avail of their services.
Here’s a link to my services page – where you see exactly what you can expect from me.
Are you currently looking to change careers and unsure how? Get your FREE career change resume samples here! It also includes top job-hunting tips!
You might also want to check out the video on our YouTube Channel where I discussed these must-ask questions and resume writing expectations: