How Do I Choose The Best Executive Resume Writer

The best executive resume writers will partner with you to create compelling marketing tools that tell your career story. They will craft a branded resume that demonstrates your distinct value and a LinkedIn profile that will provide an engaging narrative of your professional life.

Competition for plum jobs is always fierce. Down economies with rampant unemployment flood the job market. On the other side, boom economies filled with opportunity activates passive job seekers.

Competition increases as you rise in your profession. While most people think of climbing the career ladder, they are climbing a career pyramid. There are many jobs for early careerists and managers, far fewer once you reach the executive level and are pursuing director, VP, SVP, and C-Suite roles.

At that point, updating your profession your current resume or attempting to write your own won’t cut it. You’re great at your job, but you’re not a professional writer. Executive resume writing takes training as well as talent. A knowledgeable resume writer is a career expert who understands the power of personal branding.

That’s what brought you here.

Choosing a professional to work with can be daunting. A Google search turns up over 38 million executive resume writers. LinkedIn lists over 1 million.

How do you decide who the best fit for you is?

Asking friends, family, and colleagues for referrals is an excellent place to start. Even if you don’t get a recommendation, you may find out who to avoid.

Even if you get a referral, you should still do your research.

10 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Executive Resume Writer For You

#1 Experience

Most resume writers have two types of experience. Their time as a professional resume writer and their prior career. Both influence their capacity to craft a compelling executive resume.

Former recruiters have sourced candidates, conducted screening interviews, and worked directly with the hiring manager. That gives them the inside track on what executive recruiters and employers seek.

Some are former writers and journalists who have had years of honing their skills before becoming a resume writer. Others bring the perspective of someone who has worked in HR.

In some cases, the writer has gained knowledge by working in a specific industry.

Ask them about their resume writing experience and their previous career(s).

#2 Certifications

An executive resume writer who is serious about his or her craft will likely have at least one resume writing industry certification. Many have certifications in interview coaching and LinkedIn profile writing as well.

Earning certifications requires passing some combination of tests. A certified resume writer may have had to take and pass a course or submit a portfolio of their work. In some cases, they must create a resume and cover letter based on the certification body’s client sample.

Most certifications require completing a certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEU) over two or three years to maintain the certification. This practice helps to ensure that the resume writer is continually learning.

Several industry associations offer national and international memberships. Each offers industry-recognized certifications in resume writing or LinkedIn profile writing, or both. (click on the links to review their certifications)

Career Directors International

National Resume Writers’ Association

Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Professionals

Career Thought Leaders

#3 Ongoing Professional Development

Like any profession, career professionals who want to stay at the forefront pursue professional development. There are many opportunities for resume writers to learn new techniques, improve their skills, and stay abreast of best practices.

Ask how they keep up with industry trends. Have they attended any conferences in the last five years? Taken any courses or attended webinars? Pursued any new certifications?

You are investing in the resume writer. Make sure they are investing in themselves.

#4 An Initial Consultation

Look for a resume writer who offers a complimentary initial consultation. This gives you a chance to ask questions and see if you “click.” Talk about your needs. Ask about the process, pricing, and samples.

Some firms have fees posted on their site. Others provide a price range and/or a quote for services. In those cases, you’ll receive a verbal or written quote after your initial consultation.

Find out who you’ll be working with and who wrote the samples displayed on their site. Make sure they have at least one executive resume sample.

Some executive resume writing services have a team of subcontractors who work with their clients. Others don’t rely on subcontractors. One process isn’t necessarily better than the other: it’s just a different business model.

A resume writing service may offer other career documents like an executive bio for networking, a cover letter to sell you to employers, and interview coaching. They may provide job search and career coaching.

Most resume writers work from a home office and “meet” with clients via phone, email, and video calls. However, if meeting in person is essential to you, find out if that is an option and if there will be an additional charge.

Interviewing ten resume writers will likely be a waste of your time and theirs. However, it doesn’t hurt to talk to 2 or 3 before deciding. Experience, certifications, etc., are valuable, but you want to make sure you “click” with the other person in the end.

#5 Clearly Defined Process

Save time by reviewing the company’s website before your initial call. Most will have a clearly defined process outlined somewhere on the site. It will include whether consultations are via phone or video.

Many professional resume writers use a combination of questionnaires and phone consultations. Some work strictly by email. Some work only over the phone. Make sure their process works for you.

A reputable resume writer will happily refer you to a trusted colleague if you have conflicting styles. For example, you prefer to work entirely one-on-one over the phone, but they rely on questionnaires.

#6 Research

As far back as 2017, Career Builder found that 70% of employers were researching candidates online as part of the hiring process. You should conduct research when choosing a resume writer.

What does a review of their LinkedIn profile and a Google search turn up?

Do they belong to industry associations? If so, do they hold (or have they held) leadership roles?

Has their career advice been published and/or quoted on respected media outlets? Is there work published in mainstream resume books or writing guides?

While none of these may be deal-breakers, it will give you an idea of the executive resume writer’s standing in the industry.

#7 Your Budget

Working with a professional resume writer is an investment. Yes, a compelling resume that demonstrates value by highlighting your skills and achievements will likely shorten your job search. But, budget matters.

A cheap resume purchased from a company that churns out dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes a day is probably not worth the money. However, there are well-qualified resume writers available at various price points. And a higher price doesn’t always indicate a better writer.

Most executive resume writers set their pricing based on their experience, skills, background, certifications, etc. They might be more comfortable working with an executive client. A newer writer who holds one certification and previously worked in marketing will generally charge lower rates than a more experienced writer who has worked as a recruiter or journalist, earned several certifications, and maybe won awards.

In the end, the professional resume writer who is your first choice might be out of your current budget. Most writers have a network of people they trust and will be happy to refer you to a qualified writer who will work within your budget constraints.

#8 Job Guarantee

If a resume writer guarantees you will find a job if you hire them to write your resume, run away. And don’t look back. A solid achievement-based resume can open doors, but it’s unlikely that you will get a job based solely on your resume. Conducting a strategic job search and having successful job interviews is up to you.

The resume writer has no control of which jobs to which you apply. (As a former recruiter, I can say that most job seekers who responded to my ads were not remotely qualified for the role.) Nor is he or she going on job interviews on your behalf. You are the one who needs to sell yourself to the recruiter and the hiring manager.

Your resume is an investment, be sure to choose wisely. Working with a resume writer will be a collaborative effort. Make sure the professional you hire is not only well qualified but a good fit for your personality and communication style.

Still wondering if you need an executive resume?  


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