Did a Google search for “executive resume” land you on this website? Then you were hit with an astounding list of some 55 million search results.
With rising unemployment and more layoffs at the c-suite and senior executive levels, more people claiming to be the answer to your executive job search challenges have opened up shop online. Increased demand has created a real dilemma for job seekers.
Trying to sort through all those executive resume writing services is confounding, to say the least. How are you supposed to know which are legitimate and where you’ll get the best value for your investment?
People are distrustful of resume writers and perhaps with good reason. So much misinformation about what we do (or don’t do) is floating around out there by people who make sweeping generalizations about us as a group but don’t really know what we do.
We get a lot of bad press.
Lately, I’m seeing a growing number of blog posts and articles warning that professional resume writers are swindlers and resume writing credentials mean nothing. They lambaste us in general and place an arbitrary cap on what you should pay for a resume.
Many people don’t realize we exist as a profession – that there even is such a thing as a professional resume writer. Ever since the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW) – our first professional association – began about 20 years ago, we’ve been sharing and learning best practices from each other, and offering clients the best strategies to accelerate their job search.
And too many job seekers have had terrible experiences with resume writing services. I’ve done damage control for countless executives who paid top dollar for mediocre-at-best resumes.
Some executive job boards add fuel to the fire.
Toss in the behind the scenes battle between executive resume writers and The Ladders, and other job boards, whose resume critiquing practices routinely trash the resumes created by some of the country’s best writers without even reading them – all as a tactic to sell their own resume writing services. See Jason Alba’s insightful Jibber Jobber post, The Ladders Scam and please read all the comments.
Fact is, there are indeed thousands of fly-by-night, disreputable resume services out there ready to take advantage and fleece unsuspecting, bewildered executive job seekers. But there are also many highly skilled, dedicated practitioners whose services have a profound impact on their clients’ success in preparing for and landing their next great gigs.
A few words about resume writing credentials.
A number of reputable career professional associations offer certifications. They include:
- Career Management Alliance
- Career Directors International
- National Resume Writers’ Association
- Professional Association of Resume Writers
Certifications do not guarantee a great resume writer. They’re only one of many criteria to consider. But certification certainly does indicates the writer has been assessed by her peers to have met certain criteria – whether basic or advanced. It’s a good starting point.
The true value in working with a professional.
The best resume professionals know how to develop a personalized strategy so each client’s value proposition message will resonate with their target audience. They:
- Ask their clients the right questions to uncover the compelling information that defines their career distinction.
- Brand and differentiate their clients’ unique promise of value to their next employer.
- Incorporate the right key words, relevant to each clients’ target job, but still craft resumes that are an interesting read.
- Showcase the critical information hiring decision makers want to see and align everything in the resume around the requirements for each client’s target job(s).
- Desktop-publish documents that “sit” perfectly on the page, immediately capture attention, best position clients’ “selling” points, look appealing, and reflect the right brand image for each client.
Understandably, cost may be a major consideration when choosing an executive resume writer, but if that’s your first and only concern, you’re only thinking about the paper or digital document you’ll walk away with.
You’re neglecting to assess all the critical factors that go into crafting a winning executive resume, and overlooking all the benefits you’ll derive just from working one-on-one with an experienced professional who understands today’s job search landscape.
Many of us have been career professionals for many years. We’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge to help our clients demystify today’s executive job search experience. We’ve extended the kinds of services we offer to include online identity building, online job search, and other strategies to help clients keep pace with their competition. And we know what hiring decision makers want to see in resumes.
We’re also really good at confidence-boosting.
We help our clients uncover and focus on what differentiates them from their competition and what makes them valuable in the job market. Given the fact that many clients who come to us have just been laid off or have been floundering in job search for some time, having someone to champion you through is a powerful bonus.
Deciding on which resume writer to work with requires the same thought as making any major purchase. Along with asking friends and colleagues to recommend a writer, you need to do research and weigh all the issues and finer points. It’s all about knowing just what you’re getting for your investment.
How to choose the right writer.
Last year I wrote a 3-part series of blog posts that should help, How to Vet the Best Executive Resume Writer For You.
Aside from fees, here are some of the criteria to consider:
- Know where to find the best resume writers.
- Will you work directly with the actual resume writer or is work contracted out?
- How to assess each writer’s qualifications.
- Be sure to view samples of each writer’s work to assess quality.
- Find out how their process works.
- Is personal branding part of the development process? If so, does the writer have personal branding training and/or certification?
- Find out what other services they offer – collateral documents, online identity-building, social networking profile creation, etc.
- Know what questions to ask when you interview them.
The more informed you are about what to look for, the easier it will be for you to determine which executive resume writer is the best fit for you.
Related series of posts: