A couple of weeks ago, I shared a reader note that dealt with two subjects: working as a temp and having your resume professionally prepared. Just in case you missed it, here’s the reader note again:
I’m a struggling “wannabe HR professional”. By that I mean, my resume is all over the place. I’ve been a temp worker for so long. I feel like I’m unsuccessful when it comes to landing great HR positions. Instead I keep landing recruiting coordinator roles, and to me it’s not HR.
I’ve paid over $300 to get a professional resume and I feel as though I was taken advantage off. What advice would you give someone like me?
In the first part of this series, I spoke with Joan Ciferri, former president of a regional staffing company about temporary work: why people are attracted to it and how to build a good working relationship with a staffing company. I hope you’ll check out the article.
Today, I want to deal with the second part of the note: resume writing. To help us understand more about finding a good (and professional!) resume writer, I asked my friend Chris Fields for assistance. He’s an expert resume writer and human resources consultant who helps job seekers with their resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and job search strategies over at ResumeCrusade.com. Chris has helped us before – this post about which job title to use on your resume is one of my favorites.
Chris, what’s the best way to find a resume writer?
[Fields] First of all, I’d like to say that I’m sorry to hear about someone having a negative experience with a resume writer. As a resume writer, I know one of my client’s top concerns is “Am I going to be ripped off?”
I always tell people to vet your resume writer carefully. Have a conversation with them and, if they are unwilling to speak to you, that’s not a good sign for sure. Three things that someone might want to ask a resume writer include:
- What’s the process?
- Do you have any testimonials or ‘real people’ that can verify your work?
- Can I see examples of your work?
Let’s expand on this conversation a bit more. What types of questions should someone ask a resume writer to make sure they’re qualified?
[Fields] I like when my clients ask tough questions about how my process stands out from the others. I want them to know that I am going to work with them to get their resumes in the best shape possible.
Also, I talk with clients about the initial process and then the correction process. As a resume writer, I need to know how much time clients can give me in terms of answering questions and request corrections, so we can meet the timeline for the project.
One other thing to consider: I suggest going with a person over a service. Resume services have become automated, so everything is a template for a faster turnaround. Individuals should ask if the resume writer uses templates.
I’m not going to ask you to disclose pricing. But if I were in the market to have my resume professionally prepared, what types of questions should I ask a resume writer specifically about pricing?
[Fields] Some people only want to pay $100 for a resume. Just understand that you get what you pay for.
Others will pay $1,000 or more. Personally, even though I am a resume writer, I do not feel anyone should be paying $1,000 for a resume only. If we are talking about a resume, cover letter and LinkedIn optimization, then sure $1,000 – $1,500 is right, but for a resume only? No.
You should have a reasonable budget set aside for a resume writer. Depending on career level (entry level to executive) it could be as low as $150 to as much as $500 or $600 dollars. $300 is a good starting ballpark amount for a customized resume and not some templated document.
As you’re thinking about your resume budget, think about how many old resumes or documents you have that the new resume writer would have to read and research. The more stuff that the resume writer has to examine and analyze to make you the best resume, that will factor in the cost.
Most importantly, whatever the price point is, don’t be afraid to negotiate. The resume writer will tell you their price but maybe they are open to knocking a few dollars off.
What types of questions should someone expect a resume writer to ask them?
[Fields] I’ve already mentioned a few in terms of the process. But once the process gets started, they should ask you about:
- Job duties
- Strengths as an employee
- Major accomplishments
- Valuable results from your hard work
- Future career goals
It sounds like, if the resume writer and client do all of the right things on the front end, the result will be a fantastic resume. But if someone wasn’t pleased with the end result, do they have any recourse? How could they let the resume writer know?
[Fields] First, before saying anything, ask yourself what you don’t like about the resume and why. And what you think is missing.
I will be honest, I have had clients tell me that they were unhappy with the finished product and when I ask what it is that they do not like about it, they say, “I don’t know.” or “I’m not sure, I just don’t like it.” For me, it is hard to fix something if you can’t tell me what’s broken. So, I usually start from the top down, “Do you like the heading?” or “Okay, so do you like the “Career Profile”? And I continue all the way down, including the bullet points.
So first, figure out what you don’t like about it. Then, contact the resume writer and let them know specifically what you don’t like and see if they are willing to explain and/or change it.
One last question. I know our conversation has been focused on resume writing. But what would you say to the reader who is frustrated about being a recruiting coordinator.
[Fields] There is nothing wrong with a recruiting coordinator role, in fact some would say HR’s most important job is recruiting because if you can’t recruit then you won’t have a team of workers to do any other HR functions.
Well said, Chris. I can’t think of a better closing.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, NV14