Working with a resume writer/career coach should be a partnership. If they do all of the work and simply hand you a shiny resume, you have missed a great opportunity to understand yourself better and become a more competitive candidate. Great resume writers/career coaches empower their clients to compete effectively for current and future opportunities. Your current job search is unlikely to be your last!
If you are considering hiring someone to write your resume, you need to understand what you can expect from them in return for your payment. Here are some good questions to ask:
Q: What services are included in your fee?
A: “Package” deals are usually less expensive than a “per item” charge. But, what happens if, after you have purchased a single service, you decide that you need additional help? Negotiate this in advance. Make sure that you understand exactly what is and is not included in any “package” deal.
Q: What am I expected to do/provide if I work with you?
A: Resume writers and career coaches need information about your past work and present goals to create resumes and job search plans. Expect to spend time gathering information and thinking about what you want. Ideally, this information should be available when you initiate a conversation with a resume writer or career coach. If not, expect the process to take longer.
Q: What will the final product look like?
A: Resume writers should be able to provide samples of previous work. Each sample should be customized to the individual. Be wary if there seems to be a single template. You risk submitting a resume that is the same as a previous client’s who is applying to the same position.
Q: Will I be able to customize my resume to individual opportunities?
A: The answer to this question should be “Yes” and you should receive guidance on how to ensure that you address job requirements for each position. Many resume writers create very polished documents that represent you well in general but do not address specific positions.
Ideally, the resume writer should work with you to identify your skills, strengths, and accomplishments so that you present them in a targeted manner on the resume and cover letter, and in the interview. In addition, they should provide you with a document that includes all of the information gathered in the development process.
Q: What is the difference between job duties and accomplishments?
A: The response to this question will clarify whether or not the resume writer/career coach is knowledgeable about the current job market. They should be able to articulate that each job duty is the source of numerous accomplishments, and that the competitive candidate presents accomplishments, not job duties, on their resume.
Q: Do you guarantee placement?
A: The honest answer to this question is “No.” Use of a knowledgeable resume writer/career coach should increase your chances of landing a job, but there are no guarantees.