Five Tips For Choosing a Resume Writer

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Readers occasionally ask eFinancialCareers News to recommend a resume coach. While that isn't something we do, on occasion we have provided advice about how to identify a good one. This week The Wall Street Journal weighed in with five useful tips.

1. Make sure the resume expert knows the finance industry.

This is absolutely crucial, since a resume that omits the right keywords or uses a finance term incorrectly is deletion-bait for most any screener or decision maker.

One way to check: Ask the prospective resume coach for client references who are financial professionals. Also ask if she has other finance-industry affiliations or connections.

2. Extend your due diligence beyond the coach's own website.

Ask to see resume samples beyond those displayed on the website. And look past published client testimonials, by contacting the human beings who wrote or approved those glowing words.

3. Has the coach helped people at your career level?

Many career experts gear their services toward C-suite or other senior-level clients. If you're seeking a mid-level or entry level job, their experience and instincts probably won't mesh with your needs.

4. Ask about the professional's "writing process and communication style."

There is a sizable industry that churns out canned resumes that often suffer flaws like extreme over-hyping (which a seasoned recruiter can spot instantly, consigning your resume to the "delete" key) or generic language that fails to convey your unique background or skills. To avoid those bottom-feeders, make sure your prospective coach plans to devote time to you individually, through detailed phone interviews, extensive questionnaires and/or a multi-stage revision process in which you will have input. WSJ writer Alina Dizik adds:

If the writer promises an overly-speedy turnaround time, or doesn't ask for information beyond a copy of your current resume, that's often a sign that you won't get a high-quality rewrite in return.

5. What did the professional do before going into the resume writing business?

Previous experience as an executive recruiter or human resources manager is "a major asset," Dizik notes. In contrast, a long career operating a flower shop would not bode well.

Remember: The resume writer is a person you are thinking about hiring. So put on your hiring manager's hat. See what search engines bring up under the writer's name, check out their profiles on business networking sites, and verify their membership with professional associations or certifications they claim affiliation with.

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