A resume’s primary purpose is to attract the attention of prospective employers and recruiters. An expert Resume Writer is likely to help you accomplish this. He/she possesses the ability to ask thought-provoking and behaviorally-based questions, uncover relevant data, and present that data in an aesthetically pleasing format that is enticing to the human eye while ensuring that key elements are also picked up by the “electronic eye”, i.e., Applicant Tracking System.

There are perhaps a hundred or so truly talented Resume Writers out of the several thousand currently employed by Resume Writing firms throughout the country. But there are only a handful of Resume Writing experts. You may be thinking that determining what distinguishes “good” from “expert” (and “poor”/”fair”/”decent”, etc., for that  matter) is too personal, subjective, and opinion-prone to hold merit for serious discussion. And you would be correct in exercising a certain degree of skepticism. However, there are several ways to gauge a Resume Writer’s level of expertise, or lack thereof. They boil down to a Writer’s client success rate with employers and/or recruiter feedback.  Is the résumé getting attention?

I recently was tasked with helping an established Financial Services Resume  Writing firm recruit “elite Resume Writers”. This appeared simple at first — post a few ads, network a bit, and offer Writers above-market rates for their level of expertise. To my surprise, after vetting and interviewing many good Resume Writers, I narrowed my selection down to only 9 “experts”. Over many years, I’ve personally overhauled countless resumes that were written by professional Resume Writing firms where my clients had experienced little to no success in landing interviews once their “improved” resumes were delivered.

While I can methodically break down what constitutes a very good attention-grabbing, self-promotional marketing document (aka “resume”), the purpose of this article is to help you recognize an expert  Resume Writer yourself:

1. Their Process

Are they requiring you to fill out an extensive “Questionnaire” or do they present the option of conducting a comprehensive phone interview in lieu of the questionnaire? If the former, they could be good or expert, but chances are they are not. In the case of urging a phone interview, there is a greater possibility their competency may extend to the “expert” level.

2. Their Industry Knowledge

In speaking with them, are you comfortable with their knowledge of your specific industry? Inquire as to how many resumes they have written in your field, and do not be reluctant to ask relevant field-related questions.

3. Are they TRULY listening?

Your initial conversation with a prospective Writer is critical. You are of course being courted, and will likely hear all of the reasons you should move forward with this particular Writer or Resume Writing firm; they are selling themselves to you. Make sure they are “Actively Listening” and doing more listening then talking. And make sure they address all of your questions and understand any concerns you may have.

4. Number of Clients They’ve Helped and Years of Experience

While there are good Resume Writers that are relatively new to the business (i.e., fewer than 5 years of experience and/or only a few hundred resumes crafted), as with most things, experience is always a key factor to consider. From what I’ve discovered in my pursuit to find exceptional talent, the handful of expert writers have each helped well over one thousand clients.

5. Testimonials

While you are attempting to ascertain a prospective Writer’s talent level, comprehensive due-diligence must include viewing client feedback. Try to find testimonials from professionals with similar backgrounds/experience to yours.

Your resume is one of the most important documents you will need to help establish a successful career. A good Resume Writer can craft an accomplishment-driven document that stands out and increases your chances of landing an interview. An expert Resume Writer takes you a step further by creating a document that provides you with a marked competitive advantage in getting recruiters and hiring manager to take notice and reach out to you, significantly improving your perceived market value and personal brand.

Written by Christopher Zourides, CPRW – December 8, 2014 – Published on LinkedIn