More lessons from the Jobacle Resume Writing Challenge. Here are some essential questions to ask prospective writers – and yourself – before you hire someone to conduct a re-write.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
Understanding how the resume writer works will increase the odds that you will be satisfied with the final product. Aside from asking is you are entitled to re-writes and edits, it’s important to know…
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO COMMIT?
When I say ‘YOU’ I mean you the resume owner. Depending on the writer, I spent anywhere from four hours to two minutes involved in the process. Whether it was fielding questions, completing questionnaires, or exchanging e-mails, I strongly advise that you be honest with yourself on how much time you are willing – and able – to commit.
I personally felt that the writers who spent more time with me did a better job, but the panel of Jobacle judges didn’t necessarily see it that way.
Ask what the writer’s process is and how much involvement you will have. Know your own time constraints and the writer for an estimate before you hire someone.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?
Some resume writers might display one price and then look to charge another. I did not come across any shady business practices during this exercise, but it’s always a good idea to clarify everything up front. Find out when you paym how you pay and how much you pay. Be sure to ask if there are any extra fees, such as requesting the final product in a specific format, edits, etc.
ARE YOU THE ACTUAL WRITER?
It sounds simple, but in several cases, the person at the resume writing company with whom I spoke with, was NOT the person actually doing the work. I don;t know about you, but I generally like to speak directly with the person who will be performing the service I am paying for, especially when it is as personal as your resume.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND MY INDUSTRY?
Many of the stronger resume writers I came across specialized in specific fields. That’s not to say a good writer couldn’t do a nice job on your resume regardless of industry. But if you’re coming from a niche part of the business world, you want to make sure the writer has a solid understanding of what you do. You can’t expect them to know the ins and outs the way you do, but they should convince you that they have a basic comprehension of the industry and target.
ARE YOU CERTIFIED?
I’m not sold on this credential, though it’s something highly touted by many writers. With so many governing bodies handing out so many certificates, it’s hard to recognize what is impressive and what is just generic fluff. Look for a future post on this in the near future which will help cut thru the haze.
**I would also like to note that I have often recommended that folks update their resumes regularly, once a year at a minimum. However, I would not recommend hiring a professional resume writer if you are NOT looking for a job. Sounds silly, but if you are happy where you are, and up in the air about where you’d like to go, the process might not be for you. I was asked by several writers what my target job was, to which I did not have a strong answer. When/if it becomes time for me to move on from my current gig, that is clearly a question I must be able to answer before I hire a writer.**
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