How to Maximize Your Resume Writer’s Services

Over the last several years, I have written hundreds of resumes for my clients. Many clients have been a joy to work with. They know what they want next in their careers. They happily provide the information I need. They treat me as a partner in their career journey.

Other clients… Well, I sometimes wonder what they are paying me for, because I never hear back from them at all. These are invariably people who set up their services through an online resume service. They uploaded a draft of their old resume for me to work from. Then, I assume, they take whatever I make of it and use that for their job search. I don’t know how their job search goes, because they never get back in contact. And there are others who reject all my suggestions and end up with a resume very similar to the one they had to begin with. Why pay me, I wonder, if you aren’t going to use my advice?

Resume writing services are expensive. If you work closely with your writer, the services are well worth it. But before you shell out $300 to $1000 dollars, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your money.

Select a package that includes a phone call. Individual job coaches and freelance writers will usually include a phone call, while mass online services restrict calls to their premium packages. If you need substantial edits, you will want to have a call included so that you can discuss your experience and your target jobs with your writer. Not only will this cut down on the back and forth emailing, but it will also enable the writer to hear your voice and then write in your voice.

Have a few target job links ready to give to your resume writer. This will help your writer understand your goals, target the keywords, and match the layout and tone to your desired seniority level. Additionally, if you tell your writer about your dream company and job, they can help you craft a perfectly suited cover letter.

Collect your information before you pay for a resume writing service. You will want to have job descriptions, dates of work, and major accomplishments all written up in some format before you begin working with a writer. A service package is usually limited to two or three weeks. If you do not have your information together beforehand, you will not be able to fully utilize your time.

Always be honest with your resume writer. I once wrote a resume for a man whose primary accomplishment in life was running a cocaine trafficking ring. We focused on leadership and logistics coordination for his career summary and listed his in-prison job as the print shop manager for his work experience. He landed a great job using that resume. On the other hand, halfway through writing a resume for a man who told me he had been a successful airline industry sales VP, I found out that he had greatly exaggerated. He resisted my feedback and had a difficult time getting any interviews. Your writer can work with any truth. Tell them what really happened.

Trust your resume writer to know what works. The job search process and resume trends change quite a bit from year to year. The “Objective” is out of style. Now it’s a “Profile” or “Summary” for some industries and an abbreviated graphic layout for other industries. What worked for you five years ago might not work anymore. What works in one industry might not work in another. Select a writer who understands your field, and then trust them to guide you on the best current practice.

Understand that most writers work in designated time chunks. Respect this process by sending your edits and requests in clusters. Do not expect an instant response. Writers often have several projects on their desks at once, and they will not interrupt their flow of thought to respond to your email. After all, you would not want them to be scatter-brained, hopping in and out of your first draft. That said, a professional writer will make an effort to respond by the next business day. If it has been two days and you have not heard back, it is reasonable to send a follow-up message.

Approach your resume writer as a networking partner. Writers usually specialize in writing for a handful of industries. That means that they have over a hundred interactions a year with mid- and senior-level leaders in your industry. Ask your writer what they know about companies, job boards, and the job market. They will not give out contact information for any client, but they might say something like: “This bank is opening up a new division,” or “That tech company has had a lot of executives looking to move on recently.” Once you get through a first draft with your writer, ask them, “What would you recommend I look at with this resume?” or “What do you see as my next steps?” A resume writer will not offer full job coaching (unless you paid for that too), but they will try to point you in the right direction.

Hiring a resume writer is an excellent investment in your career. Not only will you receive a perfectly crafted document for your job search, but you will also gain confidence for your interviews through recounting your successes to your writer. The resume writing process should give you the confidence to clearly articulate your worth and contributions. Before you enroll in a resume writing service, make sure you are ready to make the most of it.

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