What’s Involved in Creating a Professionally Crafted Résumé?
By Kamee Gilmore.
Following the Canada-wide résumé pricing survey Maureen McCann and I conducted last fall, I was interested in taking a behind the scenes look at the résumé development process in order to gain a better understanding of the time that professional writers actually invest in crafting a strategic, value-focused résumé. I compiled the following information after receiving feedback from seven of last year’s survey participants.
I noticed a common theme across responses: each writer stated that project timelines could vary significantly due to numerous factors and considerations related to individual client requirements. Interestingly, many writers had not tracked their time prior to this study, but once they documented their processes some were surprised to discover the amount of time invested in a project.
The data below represents writers with varying ranges of certifications, education, and experience. I think it is important to note that we are unique writers with individual processes and styles – that is the beauty of our industry. It is imperative that we appreciate our own talents and processes and use the following information as a reference point only, not as a comparison.
How Much Time Does it REALLY Take to Craft a Professional Résumé?
I’ll admit that I felt I took an astronomically long time to develop a résumé, so much so that it was starting to affect my confidence as a writer. It wasn’t until I read Maureen McCann’s article about how a résumé is created that I truly began to not only understand but appreciate WHY projects can take so long.
As survey results came in, it became apparent that others in our industry also felt they took longer than average to create a résumé. I was particularly surprised to learn that even those with multiple certifications and significant industry experience invested substantial time and effort into each project. I realized that the amount of time it takes to develop a résumé doesn’t necessarily decrease with training or years of expertise.
Participants’ estimated working hours were reported as follows (for résumé service only):
By breaking down the résumé development process we can better understand where our time is spent during a client engagement. Taking a detailed look at the steps can help us establish appropriate compensation for our time and justify prices when selling services to potential clients.
CPC members share a similar approach to résumé writing, which includes key phases and activities.
- Perform Client Intake – Respond to email correspondence, schedule appointment, conduct initial “discovery call” to discuss client’s career goals and service needs, generate invoice, prepare client service agreement, process payment, provide additional forms or homework to client.
- Review Client Documents – Review client’s existing résumé, targeted job postings, completed forms or homework, as well as additional supporting documents essential for crafting branded, value-focused, career marketing documents.
- Conduct Interview or In-Depth Consultation – Prepare “deep dive” questions to uncover additional information and pertinent details during a face-to-face or telephone interview with the client. Survey respondents reported that interviews run approximately 60 minutes or more.
- Develop Strategy – Develop client’s value proposition, determine document format and design, and plan for the inclusion of creative elements, if appropriate.
- Write First Draft – Create résumé, proofread, and edit.
- Obtain Client Approval – Send completed first draft to client for review; address any changes requested by client.
- Finalize Résumé – Make final revisions, proofread, and edit. Produce versions of the document in different file formats, if required, such as PDF, MS Word .docx, and ASCII .txt. Email document(s) to client.
Having completed this survey of résumé writers’ processes, my already significant level of respect for these professionals increased immensely. One cannot help but admire the time invested in the delivery of client-specific services driven by the sincere desire to help clients succeed in the highly-competitive job market.
How does your own process and timeline compare to the survey results?
Have you implemented ideas to optimize the time spent on each client’s project? Do share your insights, tips, or dilemmas!