In Should I Hire a Professional Resume Writer, I reviewed the most common pros and cons to hiring a company or freelance professional to polish your resume. The most notable con was cost. After disclosing that reputable companies and credentialed freelance professionals charge anywhere from $40 to $200, I made the following statement, “Be sure you invest wisely by choosing the entity with the most bang for your buck.” Learning how to choose a professional resume writer is your best bet to getting the most bang.
One of the most powerful tools you have when choosing a professional writer is questions. Questions can pack a punch and reveal whether the answerer is truly worth your investment. Remember that questions are a two way street, and your potential writer should be throwing some pointed questions your way. Let’s start by arming you with some must ask queries:
- How familiar are you with my industry?
An impressive array of knowledge spanning a broad variety of industries can seem appealing. In many cases, it can be enough to give your completed resume a leg up against the competition. However, you want your writer to have successful experience writing resumes within your target industry. They need to understand key word dos and don’ts, and how to make your industry relevant experience pop—even if it is as simple as a strong internship. The only way to successfully do this is to know the industry or research it thoroughly.
- Can I see samples of your work?
If the company or freelance writer displays samples on their website, ask for other samples. You’re looking for the “wow factor” appearance and professional writing. Ask for a sample of a resume in your industry, or a closely related industry. See how the writer highlights positives and writes away negatives. Ensure skill sets relevant to the industry are spotlighted. You can learn a lot about a writer’s quality and skill via a sample.
- How will the writing (or editing) process of my resume work?
You are seeking a clear line of communication in response to this question. Quality writers will often ask you to complete a questionnaire mimicking an intense job interview. They should be flexible to completing it via written or verbal communication. The goal is to gain a deep understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and background.
Quality writers will also ask for any and all copies of your current and past resumes. If a writer only wants your current resume and does not intend to provide a questionnaire, chances are they will only skim the surface of your career abilities and history.
- What did you do prior to writing resumes?
Choosing a professional resume writer is like hiring an employee. Their background can bring spoils to the table or nothing of value. For example, if someone worked as a receptionist before becoming a resume writer, they may not be qualified. On the other hand, if someone worked as a hiring manager or closely assisted the hiring process, they have a qualified edge for knowing how to get your noticed.
Never be shy about verifying any information you receive. Most professionals will provide references to serious clients. Conducting a simple search engine inquiry of a company or freelance writer can give you a better idea of their business profile and networking. Speaking to current and previous clients can also be useful, but keep in mind many writers work under a confidentiality clause.