In most areas of the country you will be overwhelmed by the number of resume services listed in your Yellow Pages. Searching for a service on the Internet is even more daunting of a task. By and large resume writing is an unregulated field. Anyone can hang out a sign that says “Resume Service”. How do you determine which ones are good? You need to ask the same questions of all of them and then compare the answers.
1. How long have you been in this business?
The longer a person has been in this business, the more likely he is dedicated to and current with the art of resume writing.
2. Is this a full-time business?
If it is a full-time business, they probably know what they are doing and have to care about the quality of work they do. Otherwise, they would have found something else to do to earn a living. If they are moonlighting or part-time, they may not have the resources to assist you which a full-time service has; and they may not have the time to stay current in the field. A full-time, full-service business will normally have a laser printer, a fax machine, and 24-hour voice mail. Part-timers and price-cutters usually cannot afford this type of equipment.
3. How many resumes have you personally written?
On the average, a resume writer can handle no more than ten resumes a week. Most are more comfortable with five to seven a week. The maximum number a year would be 500+/-. However, most writers are not consistently overbooked. If someone tells you they have been in business for five years and have written over 7,000 resumes in that time, you can be pretty sure they are either using a computer program creating boilerplate resumes or they just picked that number out of thin air.
It takes the average resume writer anywhere from one to six hours to fully develop an effective resume based on the degree of difficulty. That does not include consultation time with the client.
4. What are your credentials?
The answers to this question can vary widely. The resume writer may have been a recruiter, a human resources manager, a career counselor, taught English and writing, and so on. Writing resumes for a few friends is not an acceptable answer. Merely having a college degree is not an acceptable answer.
5. Are you a member of a professional association?
There are three associations in the field: the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA), the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW), and Career Directors International (CDI). All associations provide their memberships with the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of the job search field. All send out newsletters. Two host annual conferences. All offer resources that are hard to find for nonmembers. NRWA is the only professional association that is not owned by someone. It is a member-driven non-profit organization.
6. Are you certified?
There are a number of associations that offer certification in resume writing. The National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA) offers the Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) status. The idea behind certification is to provide some way for the public to judge the ability of a resume writer before they hire him/her. An NCRW has to maintain that certification via continuing education every three years. At the present time there are less than 40 NCRWs nationally. Certification shows that the resume writer has a high enough skill level to pass the certification process. There are many good resume writers who are not certified and do not belong to a professional association, but belonging to an association and having certifications are good indications that you are dealing with a professional.
7. Can you supply references, testimonials, and samples of your work?
This can be a very sticky area even for a good resume writer. With a global market, due to the Internet, many writers will not give references as they do not want clients to be harassed by resume shoppers. However, a good resume writer will be able to provide samples of their work and offer LinkedIn recommendations from satisfied customers.
8. Are you available? What are your hours?
If they are available only from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening, you can be pretty sure they are part-timers. If you get an answering machine / voice mail, leave a message. See how long it takes them to get back to you. A good resume writer cannot always answer the phone due to consultations with clients. Some have regular office hours of 9 AM to 5 PM, and others have flexible hours to meet the needs of their clients with evening and weekend appointments.
These questions are a starting point to help you weed out the novices and the fly-by-nighters. Compare the answers from all of the services you contact and then decide which one is right for you. If they refuse to answer some of the questions or try to change the topic–beware. There is a reason why they do not want to answer them.
Originally published at ResumExpress.com