A very common comment from my executive level clients is that searching for career and job search help on the internet is extremely confusing.

The internet is a great place for getting questions answered and researching economic and job search trends, but it is the sheer volume of information that can tend to make a professional’s head spin.

To cut through the fat, the best thing to do when you are vetting any new service is to start by going through associations.

Please understand that career services is an unregulated industry. That means buyer beware! Going through associations allows you to compare writers and other coaching services side-by-side, and insures that you can instantly find people who take their career seriously through industry-regulated memberships and association certifications. I like Career Directors International because in my opinion, they are the career services industries gold standard. Their certifications are not inexpensive and they are difficult to obtain. Certifications must be renewed and continuing education credits submitted to “hold” the certification.

Here are some initial credentials to look for when you are reviewing a resume writer’s website:

  • They are CERTIFIED, preferably thru Career Directors International (yes there are good writers who are not, but this is like an insurance policy!).
  • They have been seen/heard/published in major media like Wall Street Journal, MSN, FORBES, etc.
  • They have won awards for their resume writing.
  • They have authored or been featured in career- or resume-related books.
  • They have been in business for at least 10 years (if you are a top executive).
  • They have expertise writing for your industry/position.

What else should you consider?

  • Look at the resume samples on their site and read the site content. Do you like and resonate with what they are saying? My personal feeling is that a writer who knows how to market themselves will probably be pretty good at marketing you too!
  • Reach out to them. Do they respond promptly? Do you like them and are you resonating with the feedback they are giving you? This is important because remember, this is a person you are entrusting with a very important project! They will be giving you advice and you must like/trust them enough to take it and implement it.
  • If they can help you with other needs you may have in your job search, such as understanding how to use social networking like LinkedIn or helping you with other job search strategies, that’s a big plus!

What about price?

The truth is that top writers are offering resume packages anywhere from $800 to $3000 on average. If you have never worked with a writer before you may feel this is “expensive.” Remember these professionals, when at the top of their game, usually spend thousands investing in industry-related continuing education. Certified resume writers are highly trained.  They can save you tons of time and frustration, and have amassed years and years of experience – this is truly priceless when you are in need of the right help and best information.

It is also important to realize that resume writing is an unusually labor intensive service that requires many hours of concentration and communication, for every project they undertake.  Most often, executives who invest in themselves via an executive resume writer or coach make that investment back many, many times over. There is no guarantee of course, but it is safe to say, that is the expected and most often achieved outcome.

Of course, I am a certified resume writer but I am sharing this in the true spirit of helping. I am not everyone’s writer – the most important thing is that YOU find the writer who is a great fit for you! Merry Christmas!