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Professional Resume Writers: Pros, Cons & A Dive Into What They Do

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job market has been improving for years since the Great Recession. There are fewer unemployed people today than in any decade except the 1960s. Even so, many people report struggling to get a job. A professional resume writer is an option, but before hiring one, you should do a little research.

What Does a Resume Writer Do?

Professional resume writers are hired to utilize their experience and skills to help clients restructure their current resumes or assist in creating the perfect resume for a job application. Typically, resume writers have experience with the hiring process of certain industries. With this industry knowledge, resume writers can give you a higher chance of catching the attention of potential hiring managers and landing an interview.

If you decide to hire a professional resume writer, they'll ask you about your previous experience and get an in-depth understanding of your skills, work history, and career goals. Based on the information you provide, along with your current resume, he or she will craft a document that is aligned with your target employers' requirements in addition to what you have to offer.

The Pros of Hiring a Professional Resume Writer

A 2012 report found that the average recruiter or hiring manager looks at a resume for six seconds before deciding whether they want to interview the candidate. In six seconds, no one can fully read your resume, so those in charge of hiring are looking at the resume’s format along with some keywords.

Does your resume meet this standard so you can make it to the next stage of the application process? Are there new standards you do not know about? What do you need to do to stand out? Working with a professional resume writer can help you answer these questions.

A professional resume writer can offer:

  • Inside perspective on the hiring process. Someone who works as a professional resume writer will keep track of changing industry standards. They know what hiring managers want to see — not just in terms of skills, education, or work history, but what they expect out of formatting, typeface, and keywords. Professional resume writers also understand what hiring managers do not want to see because it is unprofessional, outdated, or overused.
  • Professional writing experience. People who become professional resume writers have careers as professional writers first. They turn their love of words and design into skills that benefit you. This means they can clean up your listed objective, ensure your skills sound enticing, and help you discuss your education and experience using industry keywords and unique phrasing.
  • A pathway to understanding your offerings. A good professional resume writer or writing service will interview you to understand how you want to be presented on your resume. This process helps the writer, but their questions can help you understand more about yourself too.

    The writer will work on phrasing your professional experience and knowledge, which can help you in the interview process. You can learn how your industry might view your job duties, so you can reframe your accomplishments and personal goals to better match the company and position you want.

The Cons of Hiring a Professional Resume Writer

While working with a professional resume writer or a resume writing company can help you learn more about hiring managers’ expectations, there are some downsides to choosing this approach. The biggest one is that your personal “voice” could be lost in the process, and if you pay less for the service, you may not get the highest-quality product.

Cons of hiring a professional resume writer include:

  • High costs. If you hire a professional resume writer who works alone, you are likely to pay at least $100 per hour and sometimes up to $400. You can scope out these individuals through their websites and ask them for more samples from their portfolio before hiring them, but even if you are impressed, this is a lot of money, especially if you are searching for entry-level work. You can find writing services that have several resume writers on staff or services that contract out the work. These companies often advertise rates as low as $25 per hour, but you are at risk of getting an inferior resume. You might even end up with something unusable.
  • Generic style. Professional resume writers know industry standards, but that means they apply these to all the resumes they write, including yours. Unfortunately, this means your resume will potentially look and sound like dozens of others unless you spend the money to work with your resume writer to build a unique product.
  • You might end up with a resume that doesn’t match your writing style. Often, a professional resume writer or writing company will include a cover letter alongside the resume they produce for you. Again, this can be beneficial for formatting and keywords, but the cover letter is where your unique writing style and passion for the job comes through. You may choose to write your own, but then the writing style will not match your resume unless you work to match the two.

DIY Resume Writing Options

A woman holding her resume

Ultimately, most people end up writing resumes and accompanying cover letters on their own. There are several resume writing guides available online. Look at the date the page was published since standards among hiring managers and within fields change quickly.

If you want to have the most polished, professional resume possible, there are three main options:

  1. Use their template and personalize it. Some professional resume writers provide a template you can use. This can give you an idea of what hiring managers expect to see on their first glance. You can get a good example of formatting and your industry’s keywords without spending a lot of money on rewrites. You simply take the work of the resume writer and adjust it to fit your style or goals more closely.

  2. Look at resumes online. Using social media like LinkedIn or other professional websites, you can easily find examples of resumes from people in your field. Look at how they are formatted, how the objective and skills sections are phrased, then decide if you can use this style to include enough information about yourself.

    While you can start with one resume as a basic template, you can get a better idea of the overall approach if you look at several examples. Make sure they are recent examples.

  3. Write it entirely from scratch. If you know the basics of what hiring managers need from your resume, you can create one entirely from scratch.

    • Include the basics. Your name, contact information, mission statement or objective, relevant skills, work experience, and education are categories that a hiring manager expects to see, usually in that order.
    • Consider keywords. Sometimes, these function like keywords on websites, helping search engines or algorithms find the right information. With resumes, using keywords in context shows that you understand the industry you want to work in.
    • Highlight your accomplishments. Whether you’re using a skills-based, work-based, or combination resume format, focus on your accomplishments. Pick one or two solid examples of how you made a difference at your previous job, in your field, at your college, or in a volunteer position. Elaborate on these in your cover letter.
    • Double-check for accuracy. Make sure names, dates, and all other details are accurate before submitting it.

No matter how you choose to approach your resume, it is important to understand what your industry wants to see from your experience, skills, and personal goals. Making choices about this language informs how you present yourself. That can help you decide whether you want to hire a professional resume writer or create the document entirely on your own.

Both are valid options, but one approach may work better for you than the other. Whether you end up writing your resume or hiring someone to showcase your work experience, Joblist offers a large selection of jobs for you to submit your resume to!

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