If you are an executive, you may be wondering if it is worth it for you to invest in having your resume professionally written. VP Resumes, CIO Resumes, COO Resumes and the like are often professionally written for a few main reasons:

  1. The time it takes you as an executive to put together your own resume and do it well is usually a driving factor. You have probably already figured out that as a multi-six-figure plus executive, it costs you money to try to develop your own marketing collateral (at your salary) vs. hiring someone knowledgeable to do it for you.
  2. There is the struggle of writing about yourself and conveying a successful career track record without feeling like you are bragging.
  3. Perhaps most important is the edge a professionally written resume (also called a leadership resume) can give you as an executive in today’s market. Many studies have been done that show a well laid out document keeps the reader on the page longer. A resume that truly has a polished and professional appearance is more attractive and better received by key decision makers; it creates excitement, establishes trust and generally garners more interest. This is very important at the top executive level where there are statistically fewer opportunities.

So, with all the resume writers out there, how does an executive decide who to work with? Below is a checklist of items you can use as you determine the best writer for you.

  • Certification. There are very good writers who are not certified, but in an unregulated industry such as career services, a certification from a top association such as Career Directors International acts as an insurance policy to you.
  • Industry Expertise. Have they written for your level, your geographic location and for your industry before? This isn’t a deal breaker if they haven’t done all three, but it is important they have at least been in the general ballpark in terms of experience.
  • Price. At the end of the day your focus should not be the price of the resume but the return on investment you stand to gain. When it comes to resume writers, this is why I always say hire the absolute best you can afford. There is often a very good reason a top career pro commands top dollar. Lower-priced writers often do high volume. Think of what you want. Is it to change industries without taking a pay cut? Is it to get a 5k raise or make $50k more a year? Jeremy, a friend of mine that I recently wrote a resume for, told me that by using it, he landed a position with a Fortune 100 energy company and tripled his salary – in just a few weeks! So to Jeremy, does it matter now if I was $1000 less or $500 more than writer X? Not one bit with returns like that. Price should be way down on your list. Your confidence that your writer can help get you where you want to go should be top priority.
  • Brownie Buttons. What other brownie buttons (as I call them) does the writer have to offer you? Certifications, inclusions in books, magazine articles and major media, as well as winning awards, are ALL excellent indications that someone is pretty good at what they do. It also indicates that person is probably a pretty good marketer. When it comes to your resume – a marketing document – having a writer who has a strong foundational understanding of marketing 101 plays very well to your success. If you like how they market themselves, they will probably know how to market you, too!

  • Resume Samples. It is very important to check out the resume samples on that writer’s website and ask for more if you need to. Do you like them? Do you resonate with them? Do you want a resume that looks very similar? You should, because that is probably what your resume will end up looking like! Of course, understanding what represents good content is foundational too, but that’s material for another article!
  • The Writer. Do you like the writer? You’d better, because that person is going to be working with you – translating intimate parts of your career and personality for you and possibly giving you guidance to help you with next steps. You have to like and trust them enough to follow their lead. Can and will you trust them enough to let them lead you? Even if the writer is a fantastic resume writer, if they rub you the wrong way or they are not a good fit for whatever reason, it is best to keep looking.
  • Job Search Support. How much does the writer know about next steps? Are they savvy enough that they can accelerate your results with additional support, coaching, services and resources above and beyond your resume and/or LinkedIn profile? It is my belief that a resume writer who understands what happens after they give you your professionally written executive resume is going to be looking through that lens when they write your resume; thus they will produce a more focused and results-producing document overall.