Questions to Ask a Resume Writer Before Using Their Service Blog Post
Career,  Resume Writing

6 Questions to Ask a Resume Writer Before Using Their Service

Using a resume writing service can be both a blessing, but it can also be a hindrance (if you don’t hire the right person). I am a resume writer but the truth is… using a resume writing service does not make sense for every job-seeking situation.

If you are an active job seeker – it may make more sense to learn how to write your resume because you are going to have to tailor it for each position you apply for. Because of the AI that has been introduced to help recruiters perform their jobs easier, you need to adjust each resume you use when you apply for a job. If you have to make edits anyway and understand how to target your resume, why pay the big bucks to have someone write one for you?


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Having your resume reviewed and truly understanding how to write one, will prove more worthy in helping you with your job search.

Here’s why:

  • You won’t waste money having someone else write your resume for you – especially when you are going to have to adjust it each time you apply for a job online that uses an ATS (applicant tracking system).
  • Although a good resume writer will try to sound “like you” in your resume, this may not be the case. And, you may look silly when you interview for a job and the vocabulary in your resume is not consistent with how you speak.
  • You will be able to speak to each point in your resume in a job interview. I have interviewed job candidates before who have clearly hired a resume writer and didn’t even know what was in their resume. Don’t let this happen to you! If you do hire a resume writer, go through the entire resume… line by line, and ensure that every detail is accurate.
  • A lot of people who “lie” on their resume, have used a resume writer who embellishes their competencies. A bad professional resume writer will do this, so you get callbacks on the resume they have written for you (which makes them look good because their resume is leading to interviews).

Alright, the purpose of this post is not at all to bash resume writers, because again I am a resume writer!! There are some situations where using a resume writing service is the best option if you are looking for a professional and polished resume but don’t have the time or ability to write it yourself.

Here are the situations in which I believe it makes sense to use a resume writing service:

  • You are a professional, or an executive who is reaching out to a head-hunter to look for new opportunities for you. In other words, you need one resume to give to a head-hunter who recruits professionals and executives for their clients.
  • Someone (referral, recruiter, etc.) has reached out to you to ask if you are interested in an opportunity they are recruiting for and they ask you to forward along your resume – you may not be given specific details about the position until they determine if your resume is a good fit for their client base.
  • You are applying for a promotion at work and have a copy of the job description and need someone to help you put your best foot forward – on paper.
  • You are looking for someone to write a resume for you to apply for a specific job in a specific industry. Ex. Digital Marketing Specialist in Fashion-Retail.
  • You really don’t know what you are doing and you need someone to write a template for you, explain “resume writing”, and provide you with tips to move forward.

You can use a resume writing service if you are on the market and “job searching”. However, my advice to active job seekers (those who are daily hunting and applying for various jobs online), and what I tell my clients is, that the resume I write for you is often non-specific and needs to be tailored when you start applying for jobs.

It’s a template with all of your details ready to go that you can quickly edit when you apply for a job. Take the template and tailor it to the job you are applying for. I also provide them with quick training on how to target their resume as well as a copy of my resume writing guide.

Alright now that we have gotten all of that out of the way let’s talk about the discussion you should have with a resume writer before you agree to have them write your resume.

You should have a conversation to discuss your current job search situation…

Discuss your current job search situation with them – chat about what you plan on using the resume for. In other words, are you using it to apply for multiple jobs, sending it to a head-hunter, applying for a promotion at work…?

What is your “need” for a resume (refresh)?

Once you have clearly communicated your need for a resume you’d hope that they will lay everything out on the table. However, if they don’t, ask them questions to learn and understand more about them and their writing process.

Here is a list of questions that can help you decide if their process and services are the right fit for you:

1. Can you tell me about your process for collecting my information?

Ask the resume writer what their process is for collecting your information to transpose onto your resume. Ideally, you want someone that is going to review your current resume against your “need” for a new resume first. They should then tell you based on your current job search situation what they will require.

As an example, here is my standard process for collecting information from clients:

I will ask a client/ potential client to forward me their resume and I review it. We then schedule a time to discuss their job search situation – a discovery call.

I will advise them of my different services…. a resume review or resume writing packages based on how much work I think their resume needs. And to be honest, I think more than half the time, they don’t need a writer they just need some advice.

If they decide to move forward with a resume writing package (where I do all the work), then I usually ask for the following documents in addition to their most recent resume (1) a copy of their current job description (if they are employed and can easily access it), (2) copies or details from their performance reviews to be able to quantify their achievements, and (3) details about the job they are using the resume for. If it is a specific job, a copy of or link to the job listing, and other documents as necessary (credentials, certifications, etc.).

2. Will you write a job-specific (targeted) resume or a generic one? Or, will you write one based on my needs?

This may be a question that catches them off-guard, and I’ll clarify what I mean. Some resume writers will only write a resume for you based on the details in your current resume and from obtaining more information from you to then insert powerful action verbs and hard (quantifiable) skills.

They jazz it up, put it in a new template, and add the details of your most recent position.

Whereas others will work with job description(s) that you need the resume for. If you are using the resume to apply for a specific job, you will want them to target your resume for that job and your conversations should be based on that.

3. Do you use an ATS (applicant tracking system) friendly template?

If you are using your resume to apply for jobs online, then you will want your resume writer to use an ATS-friendly template. If you are emailing it off to a recruiter or head-hunter and it is not being filtered by an ATS, then it doesn’t matter if it’s ATS-friendly. Ensure they use a template that suits your needs.

4. Will you send me both a Word and PDF version once completed?

If you need to be able to later edit your resume, ensure that you will have the ability to do so (without having to re-type the whole thing). Some resume writers will only provide a PDF version that has locked editing. If you would like to easily edit it in the future, ensure you get a copy in the format that suits you.

5. What is your turn around time to have my resume written?

If a quick turn around time is important to you, be sure to clarify this and let them know what your deadline is.

Work together on a schedule to have the resume completed. And, if part of the schedule is you submitting documentation and additional details, ensure you also abide by the deadlines to meet the turnaround time.

6. What are your fees / packages and what is included?

Learn How To Write A Resume ImageThe first question that all clients tend to ask is “how much”. Get an understanding of not only the resume writer’s fees, but also what is included in their resume writing or resume review package. Do they also provide a cover letter (generic or specific)? A LinkedIn audit? The price associated with a resume writing services is something that most people ask upfront – and this is the only question they ask. Ensure you do your due diligence when looking for a resume writer by asking some additional questions. Clarify what you need the resume for and any other expectations that you have from the beginning before agreeing to their service.

Best of luck in your search for a resume writer! I’d be happy to help you with either a resume review or by writing your resume for you. If you are looking to DIY it, and you totally can…I suggest you check out my resume template + ultimate resume writing guide.

 

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