Professional Resume Writers Deliver Client Value

By Kamee Gilmore.

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”  Red Adair

While we all have strengths, resume writing is very rarely at the top of most people’s list of skills, especially when it comes to writing their own. As recently as a decade ago, a resume was often just a simple black-and-white “career obituary” – a history of past employment. Today, though, this important document has the dual challenge of competing with potentially thousands of other applicants for those all-too-rare opportunities, AND it must be optimized with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in mind. Few job seekers are up to the challenge of conquering this dual challenge, yet potential clients often hesitate when it comes to making the decision to hire a professional resume writer.

What is a “Professional Resume Writer” and what does a professionally crafted document cost?

Currently, in Canada, there are no regulated qualification standards or guidelines for the role of  “Professional Resume Writer” – anyone can claim the title. In addition, there is no standard pricing schedule for clients to view and compare. Clients may search trusted old Google or sort through online “writer for hire” ads, but that may leave them feeling more confused than before they started their research. How can one company offer services for less than $100 while others charge $1,500+? That is a huge difference in price, and hopefully clients are wise enough to reject the notion that cheaper is better; after all, their careers are far too important to take uneducated risks.

Recently, I set off, along with Maureen McCann, to uncover the value in hiring a Certified Career Professional in Canada. By initiating a group study that entailed surveying members of Career Professionals of Canada, we were able to delve deep to uncover what independent career marketing experts charge. Compiling our research, we produced a baseline to help clients make more informed and educated choices when faced with the important decision of how and where to invest in their careers. Our findings also provide important considerations that practitioners may wish to discuss with potential clients.

Although some of the Career Professionals studied offered flat rate pricing, most used a tiered pricing model, with the cost reflective of the complexity and anticipated income of the client’s career level.

Below is a breakdown based on the survey results:

What additional value does a “Professional Resume Writer” provide?

All those involved in the study are active members of Career Professionals of Canada, demonstrate commitment to continuous learning and professional development, and maintain up-to-date knowledge of industry trends and strategies through regular involvement in workshops, seminars, and courses. Additionally, all career experts surveyed have a background in Human Resources and/or are Certified Resume Strategists (CRS). Potential clients may be impatient to start the process, but they’d be wise to check the credentials of their chosen writer.

Of course, clients may argue that they can easily find “bargain” writers who charge under $100 and promise to produce a document in just a few hours. While this may be tempting – especially if the person is out of work and highly conscious of finances – it’s important to remind clients that the resume is an important marketing document that can either help or hinder job search success. An industry-certified professional writer devotes significant time providing one-on-one, customized service.

Many clients are curious about how the writing process works. Some seem to think that they can simply hand over an existing resume to the resume writer, and then just sit back and wait for the new-and-improved document to arrive via e-mail.

In reality, it’s much more collaborative. Potential clients need to understand that they will very likely have “homework” to complete as the intake process often starts with a thorough career exploration worksheet. This may be followed by a 1+ hour consultative interview, vital to uncovering pertinent information needed for crafting a uniquely designed, personal-branded, value-focused, ATS-friendly resume that will captivate hiring authorities.

When considering their options, clients should be coached to keep in mind that the amount of time required to thoroughly and accurately complete the entire resume writing process, ensuring the final document is strategically crafted and error-free, could not be justified if the writer is being compensated at a bargain-basement price.

Comments

  1. Great overview. Thank you for pulling this together.
    Consumer education is important and this will be a great resource for our Canadian job seekers. It is better to invest out of the gate not after you realize what you thought was good wasn’t good enough. Best foot forward always to make the best first and lasting impression. You will reap more than your return on investment. Ask yourself, just how many days pay will cover the cost. You will be earning quicker with a targeted ATS friendly resume.
    Well done!!

  2. Great article Kamee filled with clear and valuable information. It is really key that consumers understand their relationship with the resume writer and that expectations and deliverables are agreed upon. Thanks for sharing and good job!

  3. Adrian Schuurmans

    Just as a curiosity point, how did people come up with their fees. Approximated hours involved, valued their hours at $xx.xx an hour.

    So the question becomes, how many hours spent on average for a student/entry level and senior level?

  4. Hi Adrian,

    From our research, we learned that many resume writers came to their pricing from trial and error. One of the reasons we wanted to conduct this research was to learn what people were doing (best practices) and share it with CPC members so that everyone was better informed about pricing in general.

    We did not ask your specific question. I imagine it might vary. I was talking with a colleague yesterday and she was concerned that it took her “so long to complete a resume package” She was relieved to learn that it took me about the same time. I can only share with you my own experience. I spend approximately 40 hours on an executive portfolio.

    This includes
    …reading all the client files
    …researching the client target industry, positions, company
    …researching best practices for resumes in that industry and for that position
    …reviewing and analyzing the client’s current documents
    …interviewing the client (about an hour)
    …designing the documents (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, and more depending on the service package)
    …thinking, strategically, about how to position this client, in this market, for this position.
    ….creating a custom, tailored value proposition
    …selecting the perfect word to begin each bullet point
    …describing, in detail, the accomplishments (and relevance) of each bullet
    …adding context to each position held
    …organizing and re-organizing the best way to present the data so that it catches the employer’s attention
    …sifting through the data
    …write, re-write, edit, write, re-write, edit.
    ….then finally clicking “send” and shipping the document to the client.

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