If you are planning to hire a professional resume writing service, you are doing one of the best things you can for your job search.
However, choosing the right resume writer can be challenging.
You need to know what to look for, especially if this is the first time you’ve used a professional resume writing service.
Most resume writing services may seem very similar, but there can be some significant differences among them.
Here are the things you should consider to help pick the best resume writer for you:
- Resume writing process
- Customer reviews
- Price and budget
- Turnaround time
- Writer credentials
- Resume samples
- Website and social media presence
- Length of time in business
- Industry experience
- Company specialties
- Number of writers available
- Full-time vs. part-time writer
- Ordering process
Some of these things may not matter to you. That’s okay.
You just need to decide what the most important traits are to you and make your choice from that list.
We’ll lay out all the differences among resume writers and how that might affect you so you can choose the best professional resume service for you.
Check out this handy worksheet to keep track of it all!
To use the worksheet:
- Review the differences among resume writers in this article.
- Decide what your preferences are in a writer or writing service.
- Evaluate 3 or more services against your preferences.
To get started, click on the link above, click File, and Make a copy to save in Google sheets. Or, click File, and then Download as a different file type.
Read about the resume writing process of the companies you are evaluating very carefully.
The resume writing process can vary with different services:
- Are there forms to fill out to start the process?
- If there are multiple writers, how is your writer chosen for you?
- Will you speak with your writer before they write your resume?
- How will your resume writer communicate with you during the process?
- Is the editing process limited by time or edits?
Your writer will need to get your background information from you to write your resume. If you don’t already have a resume, that is usually done with a questionnaire. However, some services gather your information in-person or with a phone or video call.
It’s best to be paired with a writer with previous writing experience related to your situation. Will the service pair you with that person or just the next available writer in their queue?
Having a conversation with your writer helps clarify your information and makes sure they understand the goals of your resume. This phone call is not offered by all resume writing services. If you can’t interact with your writer directly at all, the service may be using non-US-based ghostwriters to write your resume.
Editing processes vary significantly from one service to the next. Some writers limit the time for edits or the number of revisions you can make after you receive the first draft.
Customer reviews are another factor that you should check out.
Most established writers include customer reviews on their website and third-party review platforms like Yelp, Google, Trustpilot, Sitejabber, Facebook, Yellow Pages, BBB, and others.
The goal of third-party review sources is to be impartial, the website is not.
Read through the reviews, don’t just look at the rating number. See who the reviewers are and if they seem legitimate. Does the service respond to unsatisfied customers?
Some things to consider about customer reviews:
- A low number of reviews isn’t enough for a precise evaluation.
- Only out-dated reviews may mean the service isn’t as active or effective anymore.
- Not responding to negative reviews might indicate that the business doesn’t care about its reputation or its customers.
- Only five-star reviews can mean the reviews are from personal connections or swayed somehow.
You can also look at the LinkedIn profiles of writers to see recommendations they have received from previous clients and colleagues.
While browsing different services, one thing will surely catch your attention.
It’s the various kinds of resume guarantees that are promised.
You are likely to see four types of resume guarantees:
- Satisfaction guarantees
- Interview guarantee
- Job guarantee
- Money-back guarantee
You’ll need to decide what kind of guarantee, if any, provides the most value to you. Not all services mention a guarantee, but it is nice to have some recourse if you are not satisfied with your resume.
Satisfaction guarantees can mean different things to different services. You’ll have to see what it means to the writers you are considering.
An interview guarantee usually states you will receive interviews with your new resume or you will be given some sort of service (a resume rewrite for example).
A job guarantee states that you will receive a job offer with your resume. Check the fine print!
Money-back guarantees are usually given if the writer fails to deliver on their promises but check the terms and conditions.
Always check the fine print to see what the guarantee being offered actually mean. Is it a marketing ploy or a sincere backing of their services?
(Related: What Does a Resume Guarantee Really Mean?)
When it comes to the cost of a professionally-written resume, the range is quite broad.
The price of a resume ranges from less than $100 to thousands of dollars.
Some services include a cover letter, LinkedIn profile writing, or other services with their resumes, others keep everything separate.
While picking a resume writer, of course you need to consider your budget.
However, you should also keep in mind that some low-cost resume services often turn out to be resume mills, high volume quick turnaround services.
They outsource the resume writing process to ghostwriters overseas or use templates. So, it’s likely that you won’t get the best quality resume, and communication with your writer is limited to none.
You get what you pay for is very true in the resume writing industry. A resume should be seen as an investment in your future and you don’t want to sacrifice quality.
(Related: Resume Writing Service Costs)
Like pricing, the turnaround time of your resume can vary significantly from writer to writer.
The most common turnaround times range from 3 to 7 business days.
Many services also offer a rush delivery option that will have your resume ready in about 24 to 48 hours.
On the other hand, some writers may take almost a month to create your resume.
Keep in mind that turnaround time is often the time from your writer receiving all the information they need to you receiving your first draft. Extra time should be allotted for scheduling calls with your writer and the editing process.
You will need to decide what works within any deadlines you have. It’s always recommended to get your resume prepared before the situation is urgent.
While reading a writer’s profile, you will probably see their education, professional background, and career-related certifications.
The resume industry has five main certifying associations:
- Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC)
- The National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA)
- Resume Writing Academy (RWA)
- Career Directors International (CDI)
- Career Thought Leaders Consortium (CTL)
Resume writers come from all walks of life. Some writers have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in English or Business. Other writers use their hands-on professional experience to guide them.
Also, keep an eye out for industry awards and recognitions, like the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award, the writer may have received.
Certifications don’t always guarantee quality. And just because a writer hasn’t applied for certification or an award doesn’t mean they’re not a great writer.
You should view education and credentials in conjunction with other aspects like customer reviews and the amount of time they’ve been writing resumes.
(Related: Top Certifications for Resume Writers)
If a resume company offers samples for you to review on the website, check them out.
Resume samples offer an easy way to see the style a writer uses and decide if that’s what you are looking for.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if a sample is a good resume or not. But if it looks like something you could do on your own, you may need to move on.
If all the samples use the same format, it may indicate that the writer uses a template and fills in the blanks with your information. You don’t want a generic resume!
Some writers offer resume samples, but you need to take time to contact them to receive them.
Quality resume writing services will have a high-quality website and a social media presence, especially on LinkedIn.
Check out whether the website is user-friendly, appealing, and modern.
Also, pay attention to the career resources they provide, like a well-developed and value-rich career blog.
Is the company or writer active on social media and sharing career-related content?
If a writer provides a LinkedIn profile writing service, definitely check out their LinkedIn page. If their page is bare-bones and doesn’t look that great, what will yours look like?
Some writers have been in business for a long time and have antiquated websites. Are they up-to-date on resume writing trends?
Some websites are overly cluttered with information and are hard to navigate. Will your resume look the same way?
New resume writers show up on LinkedIn every day.
It goes without saying, experience matters when it comes to resume writing.
Do you want the writer who has seen it all or the writer practicing with your resume?
Resume writing dates back to 1481 with Leonardo da Vinci’s letter to his potential employer.
Today, you will find resume writers with up to four decades of experience in the industry. That is a lot of resumes and they have probably seen every possible situation!
However, you should also note that resume trends and best practices are changing fast. So, experienced may not always mean up-to-date.
On the other side are the newcomers to professional resume writing.
If a writer has only a few years of experience, see what they did before resume writing. Is it a related profession? Some new businesses were started by writers who had been writing resumes for years before they ventured out on their own.
Typically a company will have a team of resume writers experienced in multiple industries. Different writers write resumes for different industries and situations.
Make sure that you will work with a writer experienced in your industry.
Some writers claim to be experienced in all the industries that you can possibly imagine. Although this might be possible for a highly experienced writer, it can also be a marketing tool.
Call the service to talk to them about your industry and their writers' experience writing for it. Are there sample resumes from your industry on the website?
One thing to note is that while it would be great to have a writer who previously worked in your profession, that will not usually be the case. Not all professions produce great future resume writers!
Do you want an IT guy writing your resume?
Probably not, but you can still work with a writer with in-depth knowledge of your industry and how to write a successful resume for your job.
There are resume writing companies that specialize in particular career situations, industries, and career levels.
For example, a company can specialize in writing for the pharmaceutical industry while another can specialize in working with career changes or executives.
These truly niche services are few and far between. If you come across one, see if they have just created a webpage dedicated to your industry, or if they really specialize in just your industry.
You’ll need to decide how specialized you’d like the service you work with to be.
Companies can also offer other business-related services in addition to their resume writing services.
Some offer career coaching and recruiting services, while others offer business or essay writing services in addition to resume writing.
There are resume writing services of all shapes and sizes, from one-person shops to multinational organizations with thousands of writers.
There are pros and cons to both small and large organizations.
Usually, small boutique companies with a closely-knit team of writers can offer more personalized attention to every customer.
But more writers in an organization creates a bigger pool of experience and specialties.
However, an owner-operator service can control the service quality better.
But with one writer, time constraints may get in the way.
No matter the size of the team, make sure you are getting the care and attention you should.
A large professional resume writing service is likely to have a full-time resume writing staff.
However, there are lots of businesses popping up that are run by writers as a side business in addition to their regular full-time job.
There are a few advantages to using a full-time writer.
Full-time writers are focused on resume writing day in and day out. They will naturally gain more experience.
Part-time writing doesn’t necessarily mean lower-quality resume writing.
When dealing with part-time writers, it’s a good idea to take a look at their past track record on timeliness, responsiveness, and writing quality.
How you order services and begin the process can vary from writer to writer as well.
It's easier to make a decision when pricing is fully disclosed on the website.
Some companies share their pricing, allow you to purchase your resume from the website, add rush service if you need it, and get started right away.
On these sites, you can see pricing and evaluate the service quickly. If you're motivated in the middle of the night, you can purchase your resume and get the ball rolling.
With other companies, you will need to schedule a meeting, discuss your situation, find out how much the pricing is, make your decision, and then get started.
This can be a problem if you are pressed for time.
These companies will often evaluate your situation and base their pricing on your needs. Some argue that without transparent pricing, it's hard to know how fair the pricing is.
Choosing the best resume writing service for you can be tough.
However, taking a strategic approach to evaluating each service based on some key criteria will help you find a great resume writer.
Your resume writing service should:
- Offer communication with the resume writer before and during the writing process.
- Have a significant number of positive customer reviews from recent clients
- Stand behind their resumes with a guarantee or other continuing support
- Be priced within your budget and still maintain quality writing
- Have a turnaround time that fits your timeline
- Offer resume samples and valuable career-related information on a modern website
- Maintains a social media presence, especially on LinkedIn
- Experienced or specialized in your professional field and career situation
Do you want to see a resume writing service that matches all of these criteria and much more?
Let us introduce you to Find My Profession. We are confident that you’ll like what you’ll see! When you are looking for resume services to compare, you can start by finding the best resume services near you.