You need to be very careful when choosing a resume writing service as anyone can put up a sign that they write resumes. In fact 1 company that surreptitiously ranks itself "# 1" really sends the resumes overseas to be produced and produces very bad, broken Englishumes. Other firms deliver nothing more than a prettier format of what you have.
So here's how the industry works and what you should look for when selecting a resume writing service.
1) Without you think you are like everyone else, avoid the factories. These are usually the ones that say they partner with Monster, Career Builder or The Wall Street Journal. All that means is that they pay a royalty to the job boards for every sale and they are doing a very large volume of business. That means they use cookie cutter templates to produce a resume, so unless you are comfortable with that, find someone who will spend the time to understand how you are unique.
2) How does the web site look? If they can not organize their web site and make it look attractive, then they can not do that for your resume. However, this is not the only criterion to use. I know a company with mediocre writers that is successful solely because they have an attractive web site.
3) The resume writing firm should have some credentials. The most common one is the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) design that indicates they have at least passed some level of competency.
That being said, look for credentials beyond the CPRW design. Do the people have impressive backgrounds? Many sites will not tell you anything beyond their CPRW design. Great writers have great accomplishments so look to see if they have been published in books and, most importantly, find out about their business background. Did they attend a good school – did they rise through the business ranks? Being in HR is good and being an executive is even better as they have been the decision makers behind the hiring process and have demonstrated the skills to excel.
4) Check out their samples. If you do not like their samples, you sure will not like their work. Look to see if they are focusing on skills and accomplishments as opposed to producing pretty resumables that just list job duties.
5) Check out their resume writing process and make sure you get to speak to someone. A good resume can not be written just from a questionnaire, and a good resume writing firm will insist on speaking to you. This way they can ask you insightful questions that highlight the skills and achievements that impress an employer. If they do not interview you, this means that their writers are not strong enough to have an intelligent conversation with you.
A really good resume writing firm will use both a questionnaire and a phone interview. The questionnaire will jog your memory and make you think a bit about things that you have not considered including before. In fact, it not only helps you produce a better resume, it helps you prepare for a job interview. High level executives would insist on a questionnaire and a phone interview and there is no reason that you should not be able to get the same VIP treatment.
6) Get a free resume evaluation. If they do not offer one, then they are probably too weak to provide a good critique, or they are highly on high volume and are one of the "factories" that use templates.
Then notice if they call you or send you an email evaluation. Email evaluations are usually standard templates with a few words changed and anyone can produce them. I know 1 firm that produces a lengthy 3-4 page evaluation that is 99% managed with 2 sentences added by stay-at-home housewives. A really good company is not afraid to talk to you to understand your needs and indicate how they could help.
7) Call the company. Do you speak to a sales person or a resume writer? If you are speaking to a sales person, then they are probably more of a factory that does big volume and uses "cookie-cutter" templates.
If you are speaking to a resume writer, ask them about their background and what they have done in their career (see # 3).
8) Do they offer a guarantee? A good service will stand behind their work and offer to revise your resume for free if it is not working. You'll want to choose a resume writing service that stands behind their product.
9) Is there some seal of approval? Look for the BBB Online Reliability seal that shows they are a safe and reliable site.
10) Ask about the price. Yes, the price is important but not as important as getting a resume that works. The difference between a mediocre resume and a great one can be as little as $ 100 (the cost of a dinner out). This is one of the most important documents in your career, so it makes sense to spend what it takes to get a resume that you know will work.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, but it has allowed anyone to offer resume writing services, regardless of their background. Use this 10-point checklist and you will be guaranteed to choose the right resume writing service for you.