Tag: certified resume writers

Executive Resume Writing Firms & Professional Industry Associations

The importance of association partnerships for resume writers including tips and strategies to discern the legitimacy, competency and quality of executive resume writing firms

When looking to hire a top executive resume writing firm or solo practitioner executive resume writer, you may be wondering how imperative it is that the firm be involved in an industry association. This article explores the different resume writing industry associations, how they help and support their members (resume writers), and, why involvement in associations is so critical to vetting a firm’s credibility.

The cornerstone of this important topic is that the career services industry is unregulated. Because the career services industry lacks both regulatory compliance measures and licenses in order to be a practitioner, association membership(s) become a very important indicator of a resume writing firm’s  quality and industry reputation.

Reviews and review boards do not replace this credibility. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to self-appoint ‘great’ reviews through overseas contractors – especially on B-tier review boards. In the same manner, bad ‘fake’ reviews can be written about competitors with relative ease and has become a recent problem for reputable resume writers. Consistent ‘glowing’ reviews over a period of weeks or months, systematically generated every other day or every few days, can be an indicator that said reviews are being procured through unscrupulous methods. Be prepared to use a wider set of indicators than online reviews when working to discern an executive resume writing firm’s overall credibility.

Most career-related associations have guidelines that professionals must agree to uphold in order to obtain membership (among these are good business practices like ethical and honest consumer marketing). The standards established to extend membership are therefore a solid indication that the executive resume writer or firm is committed to following criteria or guidelines in concert with accepted ethical business dealings and industry best practices.

Furthermore, most career-related associations offer opportunities for executive resume writers or firm representatives to serve on boards and committees, attend informative conferences, obtain advanced certifications in a niche or market (C-level executive resumes or military transition resume writers), and submit their work for award contests and recognition  where a panel of their peers judges their level of competency.

This provides exceptional opportunities for the executive resume writing firm or solo practitioner to learn, grow, advance and network with other industry leaders and career-services professionals.

In an ever-evolving market such as executive resume writing, staying current on best practices and market trends is crucial. I have made sure that my writing team and I are not only members of multiple associations, but also certified and actively involved in  them. In addition, many of us are multi-award winners for our executive resumes (more detail on this below).

This is an investment of time, effort and money, but I consider it a wise investment for any writer or firm wanting to truly reach and stay at the top of their game.  More specifically, we participate out of a commitment to our clients and our quality standards; to stay current on industry standards and market trends; to uphold our thought leadership in the industry; and to give back to our professional community by sharing knowledge, ideas and information that enhance our entire niche. This is why, if you call multiple practitioners, you may begin to get the feeling that we do not see each other as competition but rather as admired and respected colleagues. This is one of the many positive aspects of the resume writing and career coaching industry.

As you search for an executive resume writing firm, you may have stumbled upon a top-10 list in a niche, geography or industry. Here are a couple of points to consider when seeking to discern the validity of these lists:

  1. Who wrote the list? The author should be clearly stated on the article. Did the author appoint him or herself or someone related to his or her company as #1 on the list or anywhere in the ranking? If so, then the list you are reading is primarily marketing material for said company or person. Reputable third-party reviews or top-100 lists like FORBES do NOT self-appoint their team as winners and can therefore  offer you a higher level of objectivity.
  1. What authority do top-10 list authors have for producing the ranking? Are they a professional journalist, industry veteran, book author, retired partner from a top retained executive recruiting firm such as Kornferry or past or present association director? If not, what is their objective for compiling the list and with what authority and criteria have they established their ranking?
  1. How long has the author been in the careers industry? Are they a reputable thought leader and industry expert?
  1. What credentials, awards or recognition does the author have? Are the awards or recognitions self-appointed or did he or she earn them through a recognized third party or industry association?

The takeaway: discerning fact from marketing hyperbole or sometimes straight up deceitful marketing practices and/or scams (I wrote about that here) takes a little digging but it can be done. The good news is associations can help you filter information to establish who and what companies are truly committed to their industry, their clients and  best practices.

Resume Writer / Executive Writing Firm Checklist

When you are vetting resume writers, here are some things to look for that establish credibility….*

  • Years in the industry:
  • Price point (the best writers and firms usually command a premium):
  • Association memberships:
  • Association certifications:
  • Association awards:
  • Association board member:
  • Association committee member:
  • Price transparency (listed on website?):
  • Resume samples on their site (that you like):
  • Training in graphics or marketing:
  • Professional training in your industry or niche:
  • Major media mentions:
  • Keynote speaker/speaking engagements:
  • Book author/publisher:
  • Careers expert for (LinkedIn/podcasts/career related entity):

*Nothing 100% ensures a perfect partnership in any service industry, but these general guidelines can increase your chances of success.

Now for a quick look at the primary resume writing associations:

  • Career Thought Leaders (CTL): A think tank of careers industry leaders learning and collaborating to advance and promote the careers industry. Offers membership and certification. CTL is home to many of the top executive resume writers and career coaches in the world.
  • Career Directors International (CDI): A membership-based organization for resume writers, career coaches, recruiters and HR related professionals. Often considered the gold standard in the industry, CDI offers, membership, conferences, multiple resume writing and coaching certifications and is home to the famous TORI awards, held by the majority of the top resume writers in the world. (TORI: Toast of the Resume Industry).
  • The National Résumé Writers Association (NRWA): The mission of the National Résumé Writers’ Association, a nonprofit trade association for professional resume writers, is to increase the visibility of the industry, encourage ethical practices, promote excellence, and raise industry standards through peer marketing and training. The NRWA offers memberships, conferences, certifications and educational resources.
  • The Professional Association of Résumé Writers (PARW): Our first industry association, The Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches was founded in January of 1990. Today, those who display the association’s logo affirm their dedication to excellence in meeting client career goals. In addition, many members then choose to seek certification to further affirm their expertise as career professionals. PARW has over 1,700 members including independent business owners, as well as non-profit career centers such as colleges and universities, military bases, workforce development offices, and state Departments of Labor in North America. Additionally, the organization has members throughout the world. PARW offers membership, certification and conference opportunities for their members.

In closing, association memberships, awards and certifications are critical to give job seekers peace of mind that the executive resume writing firm or executive resume writer cares about the quality of their product, service and client. It is the job seekers insurance policy—in an unregulated industry—that the writing firm is following industry standard guidelines, truly committed to their craft, and has obtained some peer reviewed positive feedback.

Here is another top executive resume writer’s perspective on Associations from Wendy Weiner of The Writing Guru.


Mary Elizabeth Bradford, CARW, MCDMary Elizabeth Bradford is honored to be a member in good standing of Career Directors International, Career Thought Leaders, The Professional Association of Resume Writers and The National Resume Writers Association.

For Career Directors International (CDI), she has obtained the following certifications: Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), Internationally Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), Certified Master Career Director (MCD) and Certified International Advanced Resume Writer (CARW).

She has earned the following CDI recognitions: 4 CDI TORI Nominations and 2 TORI Awards, Career Directors International Career Innovator Awards: Nominee & Winner for The Job Search Success System, CDI Lifetime Achievement Award (The Highest CDI Award given).

Finally, for CDI, Mary Elizabeth has sat on multiple committees and has served as a past and current top tier judge for the TORI Awards (2017, 2018 and 2019). *Please note award winners are judged by a team of 15+ judges and work is submitted anonymously by entry number.

Maryelizabethbradford.com has been awarded the FORBES Top 100 Websites For Your Career.

The majority of writing team members for maryelizabethbradford.com  are both multi-certified and multi-award-winners.

To book a discovery call to discuss your next executive transition, working with Mary Elizabeth or her team, contact us here: https://www.maryelizabethbradford.com/.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford Awarded Elite Executive Resume Writing Credential

Mary Elizabeth Bradford, President of maryelizabethbradford.com, (a premier online provider of executive resumes and supporting documents for C-suite executives), has been awarded an international designation as a Certified Executive Resume Master. Evaluated and awarded by the Career Directors International Board of Certification, her work demonstrates an exceptional grasp of the discrete personal and business aspirations pertaining to astute, top-tier executives.  This knowledge includes use of the appropriate keywords and competencies, position responsibilities and challenges, and effective resume presentation styles for the ‘best and the brightest’ in business.

CDI President, Laura DeCarlo, states that, “When selecting a resume writer, a job seeker should always look for an individual who is certified and who has experience working with job seekers in their industry. Selecting a skilled professional with a Certified Executive Resume Master designation is the natural choice to confidently put your career in the hands of a qualified expert who has made the effort to specialize in this highly competitive population.”

CDI is an international association that provides proactive resources and assistance to empower its members in the undertaking and application of career development, resume writing and employment practices.

maryelizabethbradford,com, a FORBES Top 100 Career Website,  creates executive resumes, LinkedIn profiles, executive biographies and online portfolios for VP and C-suite executives in the global marketplace. Founded in 2008, maryelizabethbradford.com has grown into one of the premier executive resume writing services in the US and worldwide for top tier executives who wish to transition either within their existing career fields or to another industry. Mary Elizabeth Bradford is a recognized thought leader in the resume writing industry, who has been seen and heard in major media including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glassdoor, MSN, Inc., and TIME. She is has been awarded 8 of the highest industry awards including 2 CDI TORI awards, and has been appointed as a top tier judge for the CDI TORI Awards both in 2017 and 2018. She is a member in good standing of multiple gold standard associations including  Forbes Coaches Council, Career Thought Leaders, Career Directors International,  The National Resume Writers Association and The Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Mary Elizabeth lives on a  farm in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and daughter.

When and Why to Consider Hiring a Professional Resume Writer

resumeIf you have never invested in your career via having your resume or LinkedIn profile professionally written, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Sometimes it takes going down the path of applying for positions and not landing any interviews – or having a trusted college or professional recruiter tell you in confidence that it is your resume that may be holding you back – for you realize there is an actual ROI. However, more and more professionals are avoiding those uncomfortable situations by being proactive and planning their job transitions well in advance. I receive a lot of calls asking me about the value of having a resume professionally written.

The bottom line is when you retain and invest in your career, your resume writer becomes part of your professional support system, and you might be surprised by the benefits that can deliver. A really good, experienced and certified writer can:

  • Help you by properly diagnosing the core problems you might be experiencing in your job search and dispel any areas you might have misdiagnosed so you do not inadvertently sabotage yourself in your job search.
  • Help you identify your core motivations and crystallize your focus and goals.
  • Create marketing documents for you that will help you land more interviews that align with your goals.
  • Help you by stepping up the quality of your presentation which will improve potential employers perception of you and increase your value in their eyes; in other words, make you more money.
  • A good resume writer can be the strongest ally, professional sounding board, and positive support in your core circle when times of transition are most critical. A good resume writer’s baseline of perspective is very accurate.
  • It goes without saying that a professionally written resume gives you a distinct edge and advantage when working to naturally rise above your competition.

A few circumstances that come to mind when you should seriously consider investing in a professional (certified) resume writer include:

  • When you are applying for government positions and filling out “KSAs.”
  • When you are changing industries or attempting to move up in position.
  • When you have any challenges in your job search that are really concerning you.
  • When you need an edge. Generally, investing in a professionally designed resume ends up paying for itself and actually yields a bigger payoff. In many cases, having your resume professionally written is also tax deductible (check with your CPA).

If you look at my case studies here – you will see that quite often my clients write me to share they gained huge surges in income, among other benefits. Of course, every case is unique, but the odds are in your favor that this is a wise business investment in most any case.

When would it not be appropriate to retain a certified resume writer? If you really and truly don’t know what you wish to do next. A career coach is probably a better investment as they can help you identify your core skills and map out a direction.

Special Announcement – New Affiliate Program for Certified Resume Writers

Are you a certified resume writer who would like to provide your clients with gold star job search coaching that helps them successfully tap into the hidden job market?

Last week, I was honored to be interviewed by Laura DeCarlo, President of Career Directors International, on my brand new Job Search Success System and affiliate program for resume writers. The interview is about 15 minutes long and you can listen now here

I am so excited to announce the official launch of my brand-new affiliate program! If you are a resume writer what this can mean for you is:

You can provide your clients with a system that leads them through how to set up and manage a turnkey job search that focuses on the hidden job market and truly gets them great results.

You can be free from career and job search coaching you may not wish to do.

You can very easily create a significant additional passive stream of revenue for your business.

I have been helping all levels of job seekers tap into the hidden job market and secure more interviews and get bigger offers in both good and bad markets for 15 years.

If you would like to talk with me personally please feel free to call me at 830.331.9398 or email me at maryelizabeth@maryelizabethbradford.com.

***Listen to the interview here: http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/W3Q4BD64.

***Check out the Job Search Success System website here: http://job-searchsystem.com/.

***Register to be an affiliate here: https://www.mcssl.com/SYS/?m=130706&c=s.

*Please note, to protect the integrity of my affiliate partnerships and success of my clients I am ONLY accepting affiliate registrations from certified professional resume writers.

How to Pick an Executive Resume Writer and/or Executive Job Search Coach Who is Perfect For You

I love my assistant. She is incredibly sweet, supportive, intelligent, organized and experienced in all the technical areas that I know nothing about. I enjoy talking with her, reading her emails, I trust her and just working with her in general is an enjoyable experience.

This was one of my goals when I first knew I needed to hire an assistant – I wanted our working relationship to be easy, fun and productive. Being a sensitive person, I knew myself well enough to know that any other type of relationship in my “inner circle” would sap my energy and creativity. I remember in our interview I clearly communicated this to her.

So how does this relate to hiring a career coach or resume writer? It simply demonstrates that knowing your expectations and the way you like to work will help you determine the most harmonious partnership.

Here are several tips to help you choose the best resume writer and/or career coach for you:

1. Understand Why a Good Fit is Important
This is the person who is going to help market you, draw out your greatest strengths, guide you towards your ideal industry and position and possibly much more. You are putting a large part of your career success in their hands. You should like them and trust them. You need to have a good connection with this individual so they can help you.

2. Make Sure They Have Ample Experience
I am sure there are lots of great resume writers out there who are either new to the industry and/or not certified. However you are probably going to have better success overall by choosing a writer who has a good amount of experience (the more senior the executive the more experience you want your resume writer to have – working of course at your level).

3. Make Sure They Are Certified
You also will benefit from the peace of mind of knowing they are certified. Career Directors International and Career Masters Institute are my favorites. Their credentials are tough to obtain (a good thing), require renewal and these two associations are really good about keeping their members up on the latest trends and techniques.

4. Determine Their Style
You want to really make sure that you gel with their style. Are they super business-like and detail-oriented, or more friendly and informal? How does that fit with your style? With my site for example, you can tell right away I convey a highly personal, friendly and caring approach. I was very careful to design my site to communicate this to my clients and potential clients. Why? Because I want to attract and help professionals who are drawn to my personal style.

5. Do You Resonate With Them?
Here is a quick and easy way to discern whether you resonate with a resume writer/career coach (or not):

  • Look at their website. Do you like how it looks? Are you drawn to and do you relate to the content? Are you excited about their products and services? Chances are, if they know how to market themselves that’s a great sign they will know how to market you!
  • Talk to them. Does the conversation flow smoothly? Are they asking you a lot of questions in order to better understand your situation?
  • If the call was an appointment, were they on time? Have they returned your emails promptly? Do you feel that they understand your situation and have offered at least a general overview of what they can do to help you? Do you feel excited, or drained and overwhelmed at the conversation’s end?
  • If you get a funny feeling or sense it’s not going to be a fit, then quickly move on! It doesn’t necessarily mean that the resume writer/career coach is a bad one, but it could mean they are just not a good fit for you.

A Word About Money

I truly believe you should hire the very best you can afford. These professionals are paid to draw out and market your key skills and abilities and pull you forward in terms of everything career success means to you.

This is an investment in yourself; a serious one that helps you achieve wonderful results. Barring a few exceptions, this isn’t the time to go bargain basement shopping.

By keeping these simple points in mind, you can move forward with the resume writer/career coach of your choice with excitement and confidence!

You will be amazed at how your “partner” and “coach” will help you in more ways then you may have imagined during your job search. Having someone you like, trust and enjoy working with walking step-by-step beside you towards your goals will ease your burden, increase your confidence and motivation, and quicken your path to success.

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