Hiring a Professional Resume Writer
WHEN IT COMES to writing a powerful resume, it's necessary to take full advantage of whatever written communication skills you have, whether they're based on natural ability or the result of years of studying and hard work. Unfortunately, not everyone has mastered the ability to communicate well in writing. If you fall into this category, one of the first things you should do in order to enhance your overall skill set and make yourself more marketable in the corporate world is find ways to improve your business-writing abilities. This can be done by taking classes, participating in home-study courses, or reading books and writing and rewriting. In the immediate future, however, you might consider hiring a professional resume writer to assist in creating the best possible resume on your behalf.
Although you may be totally qualified for the job for which you're about to apply, unless you have the ability to communicate your knowledge, skills, and experience in writing, your chances of being overlooked by a potential employer are high.
A professional resume writer can take all of the information you provide about your career objective, skills, educational background, and previous work experience, and then create your resume using the format the writer believes will best showcase and market your abilities.
Even if you know your writing skills need work, you can still take advantage of resume-creation software (discussed previously in Chapter 8) to create your own resume, because the software is designed to walk you through the entire resume-creation process and assist you in choosing the best possible wording. If you're willing to make a slightly higher financial investment in your job-search efforts, hiring a professional resume writer can often help you more swiftly land a higher-paying job, because your resume will work harder and become an extremely useful marketing tool.
Professional resume writers come from a wide range of backgrounds. Many are former educators, professional writers or editors, career counselors, headhunters, or human resource professionals. These people typically know exactly how the whole job-search process works and therefore can create resumes for their clients that are specifically designed to get attention.
Depending on the individual you hire to create your resume and the services he or she offers, the fee structure will vary greatly. For most job seekers, having your resume professionally written should cost between $50 and $300, depending on who you hire and how much work is required to create your resume.
If you have already tried to create your own resume, but you're simply not pleased with the final results, many professional resume writers offer less expensive critiquing services. So, instead of writing your resume from scratch, he or she will simply take what you created and improve it, or make suggestions on what you can do to enhance it.
The best way to find a talented professional resume writer is through a personal referral or word of mouth. Ask friends and family who have recently found new jobs if they used a professional resume writer. Also, many colleges and universities offer resume-writing services or workshops for free (or for a small fee), and you can likely obtain a list of professional resume writers from your school's career services office.
The Internet is also an excellent resource for finding professional resume writers, because many of these services operate primarily over the Internet and communicate with clients via e-mail and telephone. Using any Internet search engine or information portal (such as Yahoo!, Excite!, or AltaVista, for example), enter a search phrase such as "resume preparation," "resume creation," "resume writing," or "resume tips" to find a listing of the websites of professional resume writers available for hire.
Another excellent resource for finding a resume writer is the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (www.parw.com). This is an organization that makes its membership list available to potential clients.
Even if someone is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (or another professional organization, such as the National Resume Writers' Association), before hiring a professional resume writer, there are a variety of questions you should ask, listed in Exhibit 9–1.
Although it may seem like there are a lot of questions, keep in mind that by working with a professional resume writer, you are hiring someone to create a document that represents you to potential employers. This document will be the first impression you make when contacting companies. The quality of the writer's work could easily determine whether or not an employer will consider you for a position and how highly a company will value you.
Because you will be providing the professional resume writer with personal information, it's important that you feel comfortable working with the person you ultimately hire. Once you choose someone to create your resume, it's vital that you provide him or her with as much truthful information as possible about yourself, your skills, educational background, and employment history. No matter how good a resume writer is, he or she is not a mind reader. The quality of raw information you provide the writer will greatly determine the degree of impact your resume will have.
"Resume professionals know the business. Most have been on both sides of the process; they have been both hirers and hirees. A professional knows how to present a candidate's skills in the best possible light using key-words, action verbs, and power phrases."
—MIKE, SALES PLANNER
If you're already somewhat successful in your field and looking for a better job that offers greater career growth potential and the ability for you to earn a higher salary, investing in the services of a professional resume writer is just one additional thing you can do during your job-search process to ensure you will achieve your objectives.
On the other hand, if you are seeking an entry-level position, you probably have limited work experience and are still developing your skills. Thus, you will probably be fine writing your own resume or taking advantage of resume-creation software.
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