Are Resume Writers Worth It?

That’s a tough question to answer because it depends on what you’re looking for in a resume writer. That answer depends on your experience and how you plan to use the resume. This is true even when you are applying for jobs in a hot job market driven by candidates.

The Contingent Plan and other good resume writing services know how to target your resume to specific jobs and industries and will know how to make your qualifications and experience stand out from the competition. Professional resume writers will also know how to write effective cover letters and follow-up letters that will help you get one step closer to landing your dream job. However, it does not always make sense to work with a resume writing service. Here is everything you need to know about when it is and when doesn't make sense to work with a resume writer.

Resume Writers Are Not Worth it When:

There are times when it is not worth it to work with a resume writer. Here are the most common times it is typically best to not pay someone to write your resume.

The Resume Writer Won't Work With You

You can't write a resume in a vacuum. A good resume writer needs to ask you questions about your experience and your search to understand how to craft your message. A resume writer that does not ask questions or take the time to listen to your experience is not worth your time or money.

This Writer Doesn't Write Resumes for Your Industry

You want to be sure that the resume writer you work with has experience writing resumes for people in your industry. They should understand the skills and keywords that are important for your industry and how to craft a resume that will get you noticed by hiring managers in your field.

The Resume Writing Service Doesn't Know the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Most employers use an applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. In fact, over 99% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS and over 70% of all other companies use some kind of ATS. This means that your resume will go through the ATS if you are applying to jobs online. So, a resume writer that doesn't know or care about the ATS isn't helping you to land a job. And, working with them is probably not worth your time.

You're Not Willing to Pay for a Good One

There are a lot of resume writing services that will over-promise and under-deliver. However, most of these services are not worth your time or money.

A good resume writing service will not be the cheapest option but it will also not be the most expensive.

You can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for a good resume writing service. The price you pay will depend on your experience, the level of service you need, and the number of resumes and cover letters you need. However,  you should not pay thousands of dollars for a single resume and cover letter.

A resume writer that is too cheap or too expensive is probably not worth the time and money. And, you are unlikely to get the results you are hoping for in either situation.

You Need a Resume Yesterday

A professional resume writer is typically not going to be able to write you a quality resume overnight. It takes time to craft a well-written and effective resume. If you need a resume yesterday, then working with a resume writer is probably not going to be worth your time.

You're Unclear About Your Career Goals

A resume writer can help you to clarify your goals and target your resume to the right jobs. But, a professional resume writer is not a career coach. A resume writer is there to help you capture your message in a way that makes sense for the applicant tracking systems and hiring managers.

The professional resume writer can help you word concepts in a way that makes sense, but you will need to give the professional resume writer some direction in the process. And, if you aren't able to do that, then you probably aren't ready to work with a resume writing service.  

You're Not Willing to Do the Work

A resume writer can help you to create an effective resume. However, they cannot do the work for you. You need to be willing to put in the time and effort to create a well-written and targeted resume. This means providing the details about your achievements, answering questions, and providing clear feedback on the drafts prepared by the professional resume expert. You cannot expect someone to do this for you. So, if you're not willing to do the work, then working with a resume writer is probably not going to be worth your time or money.

Focused on Design and Not the Content

There are a lot of resume writing services that focus on the design of the resume and not the content. While it is important to have a well-designed resume, the words on that resume are going to serve as the talking points for your interview and spark questions by the people interviewing you. Make sure that you get a resume that gets you interviews and sets the tone for those conversations.  A resume writing service that is focused on the design and not the purpose of the resume is probably not worth the money.

The Resume Writers Haven't Ever Worked in Recruiting or HR

A resume is with you through the entire hiring process. It needs to get through the ATS, but a well-written resume should also connect with the different types of people that will skim it through the interviewing process. All of these people are looking for something different.

So, a resume writer that hasn't worked in HR or recruiting will not know what those people are looking for or how that process really works. And, this experience or insight is critical to ensuring that your resume works through to build a resume that helps you to land the job. And, if the resume writer doesn't have this experience or knowledge, then they probably aren't worth your time or money.

Resume Writers May be Worth it When:

While there are times when it may not be worth your time or money to hire a professional resume writer, there are also many instances where working with a resume writing service can be helpful.

You Have a Lot of Experience

If you have a lot of experience, then it can be difficult to decide what experiences and accomplishments to include on your resume and how to word those items. A professional resume writer can help you to determine which experiences are most relevant and how to word them so that they capture the attention of the reader.

They are able to objectively review your experience and they know what others do at similar points in their careers. This kind of insight can be invaluable and hard to do on your own. This kind of collaboration can make it worth it for someone to work with a resume writer.

You are Looking to Make a Career Change

Making a career change is hard. And, your resume is going to be the first step in that process. If you're looking to make a complete career change, then working with a professional resume writer can give you the guidance and direction that you need to get started on the right foot.

A resume writer will know how to target your resume for the new industry and position that you are seeking. They will also be able to help you to create a brand for yourself in your new field. This can make working with a resume writer worth it as you're making a complete career change.

You Have Been at the Same Company for Years

People who have progressed or stayed at the same company for several years frequently do not keep their resumes up to date. They also don't always know how to position that experience externally. In this case, it can be worth it to work with a resume writing service to build a message for your external job search.

A professional resume writer will know how to take your experience and target it so that it shows how you've grown and changed over the years. They can work with you to reframe that experience in a way that effectively positions you in the current job market. Your resume writer should also be able to help you define and capture those results into clear achievement bullets for your resume. If you need help with capturing your experience or recalling those achievements, then working with a resume writer can be worth it.

You're Applying to Senior-Level Positions

As you move up in your career, the stakes become higher. And, the competition becomes stiffer. If you're applying for senior-level positions, then you need a resume that is going to reflect your experience and accomplishments in the most favorable light possible.

A professional resume writer may be able to help you distill your leadership message and to capture the relevant achievements that illustrate your message on the resume. Delegating this part of your search to the professional that does this all the time also enables you to focus your job search time on the things that only you can do - like networking and interviewing.

You Have an Idea of What Jobs You Want to Pursue

Having some sense of what you want to apply to can make a difference in the ability of your resume writer to understand what is relevant and what keywords to use.  The resume writer can help guide you through this process and capture the core themes on your resume that will help you stand out for the types of jobs that you will generally pursue.

You don't have to know exactly what jobs you will apply to in order to engage a professional resume writer. But, when you do have some direction or know what your strengths are, then it can make a lot of sense to work with a resume writer to build the message to start the process of applying.

Resume Writers Are Definitely Worth it When:

There are also some times when it is definitely worth engaging a professional resume writer to create your message. Here are the times when you should invest in working with a resume writing expert.

You Don't Have Time to Write Your Resume

If you find that you just don't have the time to sit down and write your resume, then it can be worth it to outsource this task. Delegating the responsibility of writing your resume to someone else will free up your time so that you can focus on other aspects of your job search. This could be networking, looking at job postings, preparing for interviews, or even just keeping your current job. Whatever it is, by letting someone who writes resumes all day every day, you will likely have a better message than if you were to spend the time trying to do it yourself.

You're Not Seeing Results with Your Current Resume

If you have been job searching for a while and feel like you're not getting any traction, it might be time to consider a professional resume writer. You will know the time has come to work with someone if you have applied to several jobs that you are qualified for and haven't received any requests for an interview.

A professional resume writer will be able to look at your resume quickly and create a resume that gets the interviews. They know what keywords to use, how to structure your resume, and how to address the questions that will come up in your interviews. So, if you have been applying and you aren't getting responses, then the time has come to work with a professional resume writing service.

You Really Want the Job

There are certain times when you just really want the job. Maybe it is your dream job, or maybe it is a job that will help you get to the next level in your career. Whatever the case may be, if you really want the job, then working with a professional resume writer can give you an edge over the competition.

A professional resume writer will be able to take your experience and accomplishments and craft a message that is tailored to the job that you are applying for. They will also be able to help you target your resume so that it speaks directly to the needs of the employer. This could be the difference between getting an interview and not getting one.

You Have Been on a Break

A lot of people took career breaks as a result of COVID (intentionally or not). If you are someone that is coming back to the workforce after a break, then working with a professional resume writer can be important to message your experience the right way for the current market.

A professional resume writer will be able to take your unique circumstances and create a message that will get you interviews. For example, if you have been staying at home with your children for the past few years, a professional resume writer can help you message your experience in a way that will appeal to employers.

The Resume Writer Works With You

A resume writing service that takes the time to understand your experience is worth the price. They will know what you have done and how to position it on your resume.

The time spent collaborating with you through the drafting and editing process of building your resume is valuable. You will know how others may perceive your experience and how to proactively position yourself in the interviews. Thus, a resume writing service that works with you until you are satisfied with the resume is definitely worth the investment because it will help you get the interview and in the initial interview preparations.

They are Experts in the ATS and Recruiting

As noted above, a professional resume writer needs to know how to format your resume so that it can get through the Applicant Tracking Systems. They will also be able to help you with the keywording and other factors that will help your resume make it to the top of the pile.

In addition, a professional resume writer should also know what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for after the resume gets through the screening process. A comprehensive view of how to build a resume and how it gets used means that working with the resume writer is definitely worth it.

You Want to Make More Money

Money can be a big motivator for people to change jobs. If this is a factor in your job search, then working with a professional resume writer is worth it. The resume writing service will build you a message that conveys your achievements in a way that helps you stand out to the hiring managers so that you can get better-paying offers.

For example, clients of The Contingent Plan have received more job offers and offers with 15% higher compensation. So, if you want to have more offers on the table for higher salaries, it is definitely worth it to work with the right resume writing service.