How to Find the Best Executive Resume Writing Service for You
Find and evaluate the best executive resume writer for you
LinkedIn lists almost 400 executive resume writers. Who's top-rated? Who's the best?
While the definition of “executive” varies by resume writer, I usually think of prospective clients as people who hold senior manager, director, vice president, C-level, or Board roles. Think $150,000 to eight-figure annual incomes.
This article describes how executives, as defined above, can find and evaluate the best resume writer for them.
Note: "Best" and "top-rated" are 100% subjective concepts. Resume writers don't collect, rank, and publish comparative data on interviews generated — the most useful measure of a resume's quality.
Knowing that, let's dive in and I'll give you a process for finding the best resume writing service for you.
- First, I'll talk about how to find executive resume writers.
- Then I'll look at how you can evaluate them.
- Finally, I'll describe a couple of innocent-looking landmines to avoid.
How to Find Executive Resume Writing Services
1. How to Find Executive Resume Writer Referrals
Do you have friends or colleagues who recently changed jobs? If yes, reach out to them and ask if they can recommend a resume writer. They have a new job, so you know their resume got one good interview.
Look at your friend's resume. Do you like it? Is the resume writer's background a fit for you?
If a referral works, it will save you time.
2. How to Find Executive Resume Writers on LinkedIn
Search LinkedIn on “executive resume writer.” Enclose your search term inside quotation marks to get the most accurate results.
Narrow your results to first-level connections and looks at the writers’ LinkedIn profiles. Top resume writers know how to present themselves on LinkedIn. If they meet your standards, note the writers’ names for closer looks.
If you don’t have good candidates, repeat the search and expand your results to include second-level connections.
While looking at the profiles, check to see how you’re connected to each person. Reach out to your mutual connection to ask if they can recommend them as a resume writer.
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3. How to Find Executive Resume Writers on Google
You can google “executive resume writer” or “executive resume writing service.”
If you do, you will find the executive resume writers with the most robust websites — according to Google.
I rank on page one for both terms. However, Google has no idea if I write good resumes or not. The algorithm just knows that I have keyword optimized my site for those terms and have accumulated several thousand links to my site.
Thus, a high Google search ranking means the executive resume writer is a good content marketer. They might also be a great resume writer.
If a site grabs you in your Google search results, click through and see what you can learn. If you can identify the person who would write your resume, look at their LinkedIn profile.
How to Evaluate Your Executive Resume Writer Shortlist
By now, you should have arrived at a shortlist of executive resume writers.
1. Look at the Writers' Resume Samples
- Determine if the samples represent real people. Understanding the real or fantasy nature of a resume will tell you a lot about its writer’s skill level because it’s easier to make up a resume than it is to write a real one. Beyond that, the permission to share reflects the trust the resume writer built with their client.
- Does the resume give you a good user experience? Put yourself in the shoes of an exhausted recruiter looking at 100+ resumes, or a hiring manager looking at ten resumes. Is it easy to read? Can you understand it?
- Can you grasp the person’s context, career progression, experience/abilities, and accomplishments?
- Can a busy reader easily do both a quick scan and an immediate drill down where they want more information?
- Would you include this resume in a Board packet or would you have to “fix” it?
2. Look at the Executive Resume Writers’ LinkedIn Profiles
- Do individual profiles meet your standards?
- Look at the writers’ LinkedIn recommendations. Are they from real clients (Amazon calls this a verified purchase) or did friends and colleagues who haven’t used their services write their reviews? You can tell the difference. You want a writer who has made clients so happy that they’ve taken the time to recommend them.
3. Look at the Executive Resume Writers’ Backgrounds
- Who has the intellectual capacity and experience to understand your industry(s), companies, roles, and achievements? Who can help you identify successes you don't remember or haven't appreciated? Who has shown they have staying power?
- Who has worked in talent acquisition/recruiting? Do they have experience with a wide range of interview decision makers? Can they accurately predict how decision makers will respond to your resume?
- Consider certifications, but at the executive level, place most of your emphasis on writing samples, business acumen, and experience with interview decision makers.
4. Find Out About Process, Availability, and Your Investment
- Reach out to your even shorter list of executive resume writers. Provide them with: (1) a link to your LinkedIn profile, (2) a copy of your most recent resume, (3) a description of the services you want.
- Ask about: (1) any process questions you have, (2) pricing, (3) availability, (4) turnaround time for first and additional drafts, (5) any limits on drafts and total project timelines.
- Expect to invest upward of $1,500 to work with a top resume writer and an additional amount for your LinkedIn profile. Some people find that number shocking. Savvy executives do the math. It's one percent of a $150,000 executive's annual income.
- Think less about the out-of-pocket number and more about your ROI. If you believe an executive resume writer can help you create demand for your services and competitive advantage, then respect their expertise and fee structures.
5. Decide, or Talk with the Person Who Would Write Your Resume
- Once you have narrowed your field to fewer than five writers, get on the phone and talk with them. They should be willing to spend 15 minutes answering your questions and developing a mutual sense of compatibility.
- Go over any remaining questions you have from section 4 above.
- Ensure that the person you’re talking with is the person who would write your resume. You aren't purchasing a commodity product. Don't unwittingly be sold one.
- Ask about any research the resume writer does to improve your resume's quality.
- Ask how the writer optimizes your resume to be read on mobile devices. Many complicated formats don’t translate well to phones, yet that’s where many decision makers do most of their reading (more here).
- Ask what the writer does to ensure correct financial and other quantitative information in your resume. When I recruited, I saw quantitative errors on a large portion of the resumes I read — from the C-level down. Your writer has to get this right (more here).
- Assess your comfort with the writer's answers and the writer.
Two Caveats When Looking for the Best Resume Service for You
Caveat emptor (buyer beware) means that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of a prospective purchase. Keep this in mind and:
1. Avoid “Reviews” That List Top-Rated Resume Writing Services
- While I’m included on some of those lists, take them with a cup of salt. The reviews are often written by a lone author with an agenda to promote the person or company in the top slot.
- If you look at the authors’ backgrounds, you’ll likely find that your executive judgment is substantially better than theirs. Rely on yourself and respected colleagues and friends.
- Also, avoid review sites like Yelp. They too are often gamed.
2. Avoid Executive Resume Writers Who Over Emphasize the ATS
- Avoid executive resume writers who over emphasize optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems (ATS).
- While you certainly want to hit the right keywords, you have a 1:152 chance of getting a job through an ATS (per a 2016 Lever study). If that’s your job search strategy, hire an inexpensive writer and start spending endless hours filling out forms online.
You're Creating a Multi-Year Advisory Relationship
I have intentionally not recommended myself or any other executive resume writer in this article. I don’t know you well enough to recommend the best resume writer for you.
Instead, I have outlined a process you can use to find the best resume writer for you — much as you would select an attorney, an investment advisor, or a CPA.
Have at it. Keep it simple with a good, vetted referral or run a smart, informed process, whichever works best for you.
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Originally posted in LinkedIn
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