If you type “resume writers” into your search browser, you’ll notice that the first big sites to come up are fondly referred to by reputable writers as “resume mills.”

These are companies with a lot of writers who generally have pretty slick websites and offer cheap resumes. I have often seen resumes offered on these sites for $199 and even “executive level” resumes offered for $299. If you are tempted to go with one of these mills to save a few bucks, here are a few things to think about before you take the plunge:

  1. Generally in life, you get what you pay for. I not only like that my resume prices are a great value, but that they include a lot of extras and bonuses, because I want my clients doing back flips about my services, and I want to help them in a holistically with their entire job search. I also offer a full money-back guarantee if someone isn’t fully satisfied with the quality of my work (which to date, I am happy to say, I have never had to use). But I can’t and don’t give my services away for next to nothing. And I generally don’t invest in services that do, because there is always a catch. I might not know where or what it is, but I know it’s there – either in lack of quality, lack of experience, lack of service or dependability, etc…
  2. Before you do anything CALL and talk to a live person. Some companies are involved in fraudulent business practices. Talk to a live person – ask some questions and trust your gut.
  3. LOOK at their resume samples. Once you do that, go to Career Directors International and search for certified and/or award winning resume writers. Now look at their samples. I have so very rarely seen these samples compare, because when you are a reputable, award-winning and certified resume writer, your charges are in line with the market. A good – a really good resume – is a critical piece of your job search pie. It’s not the place to skimp. It’s your career. Get the best writer you can afford. You are worth it.
  4. Be realistic. Here is what I have seen as averages for good/great/excellent resume writers: $299 to $450 for a new grad resume; $550 to $800 for an entry-level to mid-level management resume; and $800 to $3000 for a VP to C-level “executive” resume package. If you are making determinations in this range, generally you are in a good spot.

If the rates for a resume service or writer you’re researching seems drastically lower than the figures in #4, my suggestion is to check with the major Career Services Associations, look up some members websites, and conduct your own comparative analysis. In my opinion, Career Directors International is the best place to start, because their certifications are not cheap, the testing is very difficult, and they set their quality bar very high. To keep certifications current and in good standing with CDI, writers must provide a certain number of annual continuing education credits and hours of volunteer work. THAT is the writer you want to hire, because that writer is serious about their craft and getting you the biggest return on your investment possible.