If you need a resume, you have, essentially, three options. (1) You can write it yourself; (2) you can ask a friend or family member to help you write it; or (3) you can hire a professional to write it for you. If you’re on the fence about how to go about creating this all-important document and you’re not sure it’s worth the investment to work with a professional, this article is for you. In my experience, when someone falls into more than a couple of the categories below, they greatly benefit from working with an experienced and certified professional resume writer.
1. You’ve already been applying for jobs without success.
This really is the ultimate litmus test. If you’ve been shopping out your resume and haven’t gotten any (or many) interviews, something’s broken. Perhaps you’re using an overly generic resume. Maybe the keyword selection and optimization of your resume are off. It could be that your resume’s layout is problematic for applicant tracking systems (ATS). If you’ve been applying for jobs without success, a resume writer can uncover where the breakdown is happening and help you get back on track with your job search.
2. You’re overwhelmed.
Maybe you’re working 45 hours a week and don’t have any time to devote to writing your resume from scratch. Maybe your grammar and punctuation skills are shaky. Maybe English isn’t your native language. Maybe you were laid off and are still mentally and emotionally regrouping. Maybe you haven’t needed a resume in decades. Maybe you’ve read conflicting information about a resume’s length, look, and content. Whatever the reason, you feel overwhelmed and need a steady hand to guide you through the next steps. A resume writer can help.
3. Your career history is complicated or problematic.
Were you fired for cause? Do you have a string of short-stint positions? Do you struggle to explain periods of unemployment, such as caring for others, incarceration, or a serious accident or illness? Were you an entrepreneur and unsure how to showcase your experience, so it’s appealing to a corporate audience? A professional resume writer will know how to package any problem areas to explain extenuating circumstances, downplay gaps and breaks, minimize hiring managers’ hesitancies, and tell a cohesive story.
4. It’s been a while since you wrote a resume, and you feel out of touch.
If it’s been several years since you were in the job market, you could waste a lot of time just getting familiar—much less fluent—with the rapidly evolving job search space. For instance, what should a resume look like in 2022? How do applicant tracking systems work? Where should you look for job ads? How will you apply online? What about LinkedIn? A resume writer who is up to speed with trends in resume design attends annual conferences, and stays current with professional certifications can steer you well, saving you both headaches and time. (And time is money!)
5. You’re changing careers and/or the competition for your desired job is high.
My team and I have written more pivot resumes over the last two years than ever before. So many people transitioned into new careers—first because of the pandemic, then as part of the Great Resignation, and more recently, because of record-low unemployment numbers and the new opportunities afforded by remote work. More than ever before, people are leaving unfulfilling jobs and deciding to pursue their “dream” careers.
While you may be excited about your new direction, you’ve probably realized how hard it is to write a transitional resume when you’re “too close” to it and lack objectivity. A great resume writer will know what’s important to include and what should be eliminated, which skills are most transferable, and which are less relevant. The same goes for highly competitive jobs; you’ve got one shot to make your case, and, given a resume’s limited real estate, you need to make every word count. This is, again, where an experienced and certified resume writer is worth her weight in gold.
Even if you decide to hire out your resume to a pro, don’t view this process as something you can simply outsource. Your role is crucial! Your writer should ask for your input, feedback, and edits across a few rounds of revision, and your finished resume should absolutely have your thumbprint on it. Because you will have been an active participant at every step, the resulting resume will be more accurate, compelling, outcome-oriented, and (ultimately) effective in landing interviews.
Finally, one last point I’d like to make is that even though you won’t have written your resume single-handedly, it should still capture what makes you especially marketable in the workforce and when you read it, you should feel excited about and be proud of all that you have to offer to any company lucky enough to have you.
By Mir Garvy