This question has been plaguing the resume-writing industry since its inception. Many people may not be aware that resume writing is still a relatively recent market entrant, at least on a broad scale. Coming out of the career services profession, what was once mostly exclusive to executives and displaced employees of large-scale corporations (who invested in pricey outplacement services), has now become available to job seekers everywhere.
New resume-writing firms are popping up all over the Internet, and job seekers are becoming more and more convinced each day of their need for a professionally written document.
Nevertheless, the pricing of resumes and cover letters has been erratic, at best. Right now a quick search will bring a wide range of prices, anywhere from $50-$75 on craigslist to $650-950 on big-name sites.
Of course, pricing can vary depending on the expertise and reputation of the writer as well as on the background of the job seeker. Executives out there can be sure to pay a heftier fee than entry-level candidates.
But what is the proper value of a well-written resume? Certainly in a free market, demand helps answer that question. Some would like to see more regulation of the industry (licensing of writers, standardization of fees, etc.). Others would like to see more concrete guarantees offered by resume-writing services. And still others would like to see resumes, and thereby resume writers, disappear all together, opting for some other concept to replace them.
Barring any of that, however, job seekers are still left wondering, “how much is too much?”
And, really, the answer is that resume-writing services should be approached in much the same manner as other professional services. If you make it only about price, then well, you might just get what you pay for. However, if you fail to shop around, then you might get taken.
So ask yourself:
1. What is the fair market value for a resume for a candidate with your skill set? An Internet search can certainly help with that as will shopping around. One of the great things about the market is that there are lots of places to choose from, and many of them are small, one- or two-person shops with dedicated professionals who want to help job seekers while making a living. Although some larger firms exist, the industry is still very much open to competition, which works in the job seeker’s favor.
2. What type of writer are you looking for? Is there a writer who specializes in your industry/geographic area? Is the writer certified?
3. How does the writer conduct the service? By phone? By e-mail only? Face to face? And which approach appeals to you? It might be well worth any extra money.
4. How does the writer stand behind his or her work? Thoroughly question guarantees, and put more weight on the solid work of the writer, the collaborative environment that he or she provides, and his or her commitment to producing a quality product.
Finally, consider the price of a resume as not a necessary evil, but as one part of investing in you and your career. A resume is a tool, and we all want the best-quality tools. That desire comes with a price. But at the end of the day, the tool is only as effective as the one who wields it. So when weighing the cost, make sure you have a realistic expectation of what the resume can do and what role is required of you to make it even more effective.
So who am I anyway? Why do I think my advice is so valuable?
My name is Stephen Van Vreede. My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I have been in the career consulting business since 2002 with 8 years of hiring experience prior to that.
The short story is that I have an MBA in Marketing from Villanova University and a dual B.S. degree in Finance & Logistics from the University of Maryland. I am a certified professional résumé writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). As I mentioned, I paid my dues in the corporate world eventually running a large-scale call center for a major truck rental company, and I have spent the past 6 years with No Stone Unturned, assisting job seekers in achieving their goals.
I know that my products will work for you because they are based on common-sense principles leveraged with good, solid expertise and knowledge of the job search process. After working with countless job seekers, I have become more and more convinced that most of them do not properly prepare for a job search and rely way too much on online sites and trendy articles to tell them what to do. Thus, they waste a lot of time, money, and energy.
If you still aren’t sure whether our services are right for you, feel free to give me a call toll-free at 1-866-755-9800 or better yet, sign up to receive my free Job Search Advice eGuide today.
In February 2009, I am launching a new group job hunting networking site: Noddle Place. Check it out at http://www.noddleplace.com.