What Makes a Great Resume Writer?

Is it a certification? Do they need to be in your industry? Should they have a background in HR?


With so many questions, options and opinions how do you sort through it all and find a great Resume Writer?

As an Executive Resume Writer who has worked for multiple resume firms and clients ranging from college graduates to Fortune 500 CEOs, I have seen the awesome, the appalling and the antiquated. Here are 5 attributes that I have found are consistently present among great Resume Writers (RWs). They are:


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1. Collaborative

Great RWs view your resume project as a team effort. They bring knowledge about hiring practices, a big picture perspective, interview skills that draw out key details and expertly compose each line to deliver maximum impact. You bring industry expertise, ensure accurate descriptions, separate company jargon from industry terminology and explain emerging competencies within your field. Together, you build an incredible document that captures your unique value proposition in a captivating manner. Its full of targeted keywords, demonstrates your character and beautifully balances your role descriptions with powerful graphics and accomplishment statements.


2. Strategic


The foundation of great resume writing is strategy. Quality RWs focus heavily on understanding your career aspirations, targeted companies and ideal roles. Just like a CEO must develop a clear vision for company success, RWs must develop clear objectives to achieve resume success. By possessing strong interpersonal insight, ensuring realistic goals and executing effectively, superior RWs deliver significantly more interview invitations. You can separate strategic RWs from the pack because they focus on client education, challenge changes that don't align with stated aspirations and continue the relationship beyond the project. They are passionate about changing your application success and developing a long-term connection.


3. Continuously Improving


Top RWs aren't content to rest on their laurels. It's not just about a certification, award or title for these individuals. They are dedicated to repeatedly mastering their craft. Great RWs are consistently reading articles, attending webinars, participating in conferences, learning about new technology and APPLYING everything they learn. They frequently change their interview questions, designs and marketing techniques to maintain value within continuously changing candidate sourcing and screening processes. Exemplary RWs are very pragmatic in their practices, following-up with past clients to review resume efficacy, conducting surveys to improve the client experience and networking with colleagues to learn best practices.


4. Adaptable & Progressive


Skilled RWs are typically early adopters of new industry technology, practices and resources. Rather than venting about the negative impacts of electronic screening, they focus their energy on understanding applicant tracking systems (ATS) and optimizing their clients' resumes to succeed in any environment. Expert RWs tend to embrace change and expand their services to align. As networking becomes a key route to interview selection, these RW champions offer courses and tools to improve networking success. When Facebook joins the job posting game, strong RWs develop services to transition personal profiles into sourcing bait. No matter what transformation employers throw their way, these RWs are ready to adapt and align their business model.


5. Multi-Talented


While industry-specific RWs can provide deep industry insights, I find the most effective RWs are multi-talented and perform regular field research as part of their writing process, whether or not they have previously worked in a client's profession. Industries are constantly changing and what was relevant 5 years ago, may not be today. Finding an RW who has robust skills in researching, interviewing, strategic planning and business writing will deliver a more compelling end product than working with an industry expert who lacks these skills. Again, you (the client) can be the greatest resource for critical field knowledge.



Finding a RW with all these skills may seem like a daunting task, however, these leaders typically offer a free consultation and are very willing to answer your questions prior to payment. Remember, their focus is on results over profit, so they are equally concerned with ensuring a good fit between before starting the process.

Are there any other RW competencies you feel are essential? If so, please tell me about them in the comments!