Choosing a resume writer.
What to look for, what makes a good writer, and getting your money’s worth.
By Jacquie Liversidge
And just like that, BOOM: the internet is jam packed full of resume writers.
As resume writers ourselves, we are regularly repairing resumes for our clients who have gone through Airtasker, Fiverr and through cheap online providers.
Resume writing has become a massive industry for a couple of important reasons:
- Most resume writers work from home, so do not need to have an office space
- There are NO pre-requisites for starting a resume writing business, and there are NO industry standards
- Resume writers can work with people all over the world and are not limited to their location
- As job competition gets harder, applicants need strong content
With this in mind, we’ve outlined for you the key things that you should look for when hiring a resume writer.
- REAL ratings – How to tell what’s real and what’s not
- Location – What location really means
- Cost – Airtasker, Fiverr, Gumtree and what you get for your money
- Commitments – Making sure your writer makes the right commitments
- Website – An important factor in assessing a writer
- Personnel – Who are they?
- Outsourcing – Make sure they don’t
1. Real Ratings
Google reviews can not be changed or removed and are generally an excellent indication of the quality of the business. It is easy to spot fake reviews on Google by looking at the dates, names and the content. Were they all posted at once, are the names similar and generic and is the content of the reviews tacky?
Facebook ratings have recently changed to ‘Business Recommendations’, so a business with an historic five-star rating will retain it regardless of whether quality has diminished.
Websites can post fake testimonials with considerable ease, the legislation regarding testimonials are extremely relaxed and fake testimonials are almost never challenged.
Product ratings on services like resumes and cover letters are extremely easy to replicate and are consequently unreliable.
The best source of real comments and ratings from real people are the Facebook comments section of a business page or the Google business location.
Bringing me to my next point:
You can work with a resume writer from anywhere in the world, the digital world grants us that opportunity—but your decision should factor in whether they have a physical location.
This might not actually seem like an important factor—people can be talented whether they work online or from an office—but what having a physical location indicates is consistent work coming in and confidence in working with clients face to face.
Not so well known and very wide-spread, is the business of resume writers employing something known as a virtual location. For a small monthly fee, a CBD business will allow a business to use their title without actually having access to that physical location.
You don’t even have to be in the same country.
How will you know?
If you’re looking at a resume service that has a CBD location but doesn’t offer a face to face service, there is almost total certainty that a virtual office is what they’re employing, and that they are not operating from that physical location.
Call your proposed resume writer and ask, “Do you offer a face to face location at any of your locations?”, and you will have your answer.
“A great deal of resume writers employ something called a virtual office, allowing them to advertise a CBD location in any country without actually working out of that space”
I’m definitely not attempting to discount the quality of anyone who chooses to offer services on contract work websites like Airtasker or Fiverr, but arming yourself with an understanding of these platforms will inform your decision in picking a writer:
Contract work platforms:
Airtasker takes a whopping 15% fee from their contractors. It’s free to post services on the site, but for each sale made, Airtasker takes 15% from the price listed by the poster.
This means that if you are paying your resume writer $80 for a resume, your writer actually only stands to gain $68 from the purchase.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How long do you want this person to work on your resume?
- Do you only want $62 worth of work performed on your resume?
Good copywriters start at $80 per hour. This means that assuming your resume writer is working at a good standard, they are working on your resume for less than one hour, or are they working at an inadequate rate.
Fiverr adds a fee on top of what the business or individual has listed at an even larger 20%.
This means that if you are paying $100 for a resume service on Fiverr, the writer has initially posted the service for $80.
Different to Airtasker who take from the original listed price, the individual gets the entire amount of what they have listed, but you have paid a 20% fee for the use of the platform.
As a nasty flow on effect resume writers often ending up dropping their prices on Fiverr due to the unrealistic price to the consumer.
To put that in context, customers expect $100 worth of service, and will receive $80-85 instead.
Gumtree is an easy way to find a writer, and the beauty of Gumtree is that the individual or the business actually gets the whole amount you pay.
However, Gumtree does not have the wealth of client testimonials that Fiverr and Airtasker do to verify the quality.
How do you judge quality on any of these sites?
There is an extremely easy and straightforward way to verify whether you are going to get a good writer, on any platform.
- Are you convinced by their own marketing material?
- Are there errors in their writing?
- Is their material structured well?
- Have they answered any possible questions you might have about the service before you have to ask?
- Have they provided examples which they can prove are their work?
Ultimately, what a good resume writer is going to do is develop your self-marketing material.
They can’t do it for you if they can’t do it for themselves.
4. Commitments to you
These are the main assurances that you are going to require from your resume writer in order for them to put together an application that actually requires your verification.
Otherwise, you can be sent a document with the words ‘Resume’ on it and your writer has technically upheld their obligations to you.
- File type (Word and PDF)
- Industry specifications
- Applicant Tracking System (ATS) testing
An assurance on file type is important. It is extraordinarily easy now to build a stunning resume through a template which is essentially useless when a Word document is required.
The file type should never be an image file (JPEG/PNG), should always come to you in a Word document which you can edit for the future and should be accompanied by a PDF version of the same Word document to ensure that the document is appearing correctly on your end.
How many revisions are you allowed, if it is stated at all? What is the time frame for revisions, is it reasonable? This is important in making sure that your application is signed off by you if there are initial errors apparent or if it requires tweaking
Are there assurances that your resume will actually be geared towards the right industry in the first place? It’s all well and good to note down that you are reliable and trustworthy (well, not really—no one says that anymore!) but will efforts be made to research your industry, do they have prior knowledge at all?
“Does their website look tacky? Does it look old?
A resume writer is marketing you. If their website is poor, there’s no guarantee that your application material won’t be”
Applicant Tracking Systems:
If your resume writer has no knowledge of ATS or does not have access to one, you’re in trouble! Over 70% of larger companies use one, and ATS are adopted by SEEK and Indeed.
If your resume is not geared towards ATS systems, contains infographics and images and sparse, irrelevant content then your resume is simply not going to get through to the human eyes of hiring managers and recruiters through SEEK or Indeed.
As an example, you can play around with the free applicant tracking system we have available for you here.
A quick timeframe is great, as long as your writer isn’t rushing too much. Creating content, researching, writing and proofing takes time. A long timeframe is going to harm your application ultimately, as job will close whilst you are waiting on its return.
Have they outlined a commitment that they can meet the deadline for your specific role?
If a resume writer is serious about what they do, they are going to have a website which supports their claims and outlines their approach and processes. The website should be easy to navigate, informs you of the content you need and answers any questions.
Because this is exactly what a good resume writer will do for your resume.
Does it look tacky? Does it look old?
…. Your resume shouldn’t. Their website shouldn’t.
6. Who are they?
Ultimately, you are investing in the person and their skill.
For larger resume writing companies, it is of course completely up to the employees of the company as to what they wish to have published online about themselves, but a resume writer or their company should at least mention what they are about, how it has all started and what they bring to the table.
The absence of information regarding the motivation of the people behind the whole operation is notable, and should be considered intentionally absent.
Because if they haven’t included information on who they are, then they have failed to identify their own main selling point, and they can’t be trusted to identify yours.
What do they have to hide?
I’m not naming names, but one of the biggest companies in the resume industry is guilty of this.
You as the consumer pay a premium for a reason. You do not pay upwards of $150 for your service to be outsourced overseas to workers on only a couple of dollars an hour.
Look for an assurance that your provider will not outsource overseas.
What it all comes down to:
Essentially a resume writer’s entire mission in working with you is to develop strong content that makes sense of your experience in a structured and strategic approach.
Basically, if they fail to do this for themselves then they are not able to do this for you.
We hope that helps you in your journey to sourcing a resume writer.
As always, happy hunting!