Putting It All Together
Whenever possible, you should create or update your own resume, or at least attempt to do so. You will need to edit and revise until you are satisfied. It should read well to you, as well as to others whose judgment you trust. However, if you are not confident in your final version, or if the resume you have created does not generate interviews, a professional resume writer may help to increase your chances of success.
Working with a Resume Professional
The key to working with a good resume writer or resume service is finding someone whose finished product — your resume — will positively reflect who you are in a way that you can also communicate verbally. A good resume can open doors, but you still have to go on the interview yourself. In other words, if you outsource the writing of your resume to someone else, you will still need to be able to articulate your experience and background as it appears on your resume. A good resume writer will understand this concept.
Time needed for the finished product and the overall pricing often depends on your work experience, career, marketplace, and other personal factors. Typically, you will help the writer by providing information on worksheets and via one-on-one communication, in person, online, or by telephone. Most writers provide a final resume in a digital file saved in Microsoft Word format that you can print and/or update as needed.
There's no shame in seeking out the services of a professional to improve or write your resume. Not everyone can create a document that showcases their talents and education to their best advantage.
How can you find someone to do this job? There are two major reputable associations in this field. Check out the National Resume Writers' Association at
Credentials. How did this person become a resume writer? Does she or he have an employment background? What is their success rate? Ask for references and review samples before making a commitment. A great way to find a resume writing professional is often by referral, so ask around or call a staffing service and see if they can make a recommendation for you.
Methodology. Ask about the process. How will the two of you accomplish your goal? What will you be required to do?
Chemistry. Are you comfortable working with this person? This is a collaborative process. Do not work with someone who treats you condescendingly, displays poor customer service, or appears unprofessional.
Product. Ask about the end product. What will you receive? What format will your resume be in? Can you make changes or updates yourself, or does the resume writer require you to work only through her?
Delivery and Price. Fees vary widely, but you should be quoted a price based on your experience and need. Prices generally range from $150 to $1,000, and turnaround time is usually a week or more.
Spell Checking and Critiquing
Use, but don't solely depend upon, spell-checking tools within word-processing software. After you have completed your draft, print out a copy. Proofread the old-fashioned way. Read it aloud. When you do, your eyes slow down, and your ears identify potential corrections or changes. Make changes, and then repeat this process one last time. Distribution-ready resumes must be free of typos.
Seek the comments of others, but don't feel obligated to make suggested changes immediately. Many still believe in the old-style tenets, but they might not be best for you. Solicit the feedback of those you respect, particularly those within your field of interest, and seriously consider their advice. When it comes time to make final editorial decisions, however, you are the one responsible.
There is no better way to review and revitalize a job search and facilitate follow-up than by distributing a revised resume. Whenever you desire, revisit the Resume Checklist (page 100) and Resume Before-and-After Review (page 101) to determine if you are due for a new resume. Three cheers for the inventors of word processing. Thanks to them, you can easily and quickly update your resume whenever you want.
Revising Your Resume
In many ways, the first task you complete for a new employer is your resume. At the very least, this document shows those who review it your project management and communication talents. Resumes and correspondence reveal your ability to collect, analyze, and present information in the most appropriate formats, using the best phrasing and tone. They are like the first business letter you send important clients, colleagues, or customers. Put your best metaphorical foot forward. Show all who review your resume your potential for effective and dynamic communication.
Of course, resumes are not permanent. While seeking constantly evolving perfection, feel confident to make changes or additions when situations warrant. Job-search circumstances may inspire you to revise strategies and fine-tune specialized tools. The process often requires that you revise resumes for specific jobs, maybe as often as every few weeks.