Writing a resume is the first — and often biggest — hurdle in any job search. That’s part of what makes resume writing services so appealing — after all, if you could simply remove that hurdle, why wouldn’t you?
For starters, the cost of removing that hurdle might be steeper than you think — and we’re not just talking about money. But since we're here: Let's talk about money.
How much does a resume writer cost?
Standard resume writer rates are between $200-$300 for a basic entry-level resume and rising to upwards of $2000 for executive or senior-level resumes.
Found a much cheaper service? We'll explain why that's a bad idea later.
What determines the cost of a resume writer?
Why such a big range? Just as there's no "one size fits all" resume solution for every job, the cost of hiring a resume writer will depend on a host of different factors.
- What stage of your career you're at
- What kinds of jobs you're applying for
- How many jobs you're applying for
- Whether you're applying for more than one type of job
- How much experience your resume writer has
- How much personal input you want
- Whether you're hiring a writer directly or going through a resume writing service
That's a lot to consider! Suddenly, writing a resume from scratch isn't looking that bad.
The cost of different resume writing services
Still curious about hiring a professional resume writer? Here's some insight into different types of resume services, what they involve, and how much they're likely to cost.
How much does an entry-level resume cost?
The good news is, an entry-level resume is going to be fairly cheap compared to other options — think around $100-$200. The even better news is, if you're entry-level, you don't need to hire a resume writer.
It might feel tricky to put together a resume without any experience, but all you really need is a simple resume template, a few highlights from your education, activities, or volunteer work, and the right skills and keywords.
How much does a mid-career resume cost?
If you're looking for a professional resume writer for most non-executive roles, you're looking at between $300-$500. This could be more or less depending on the exact length and nature of your experience and the type of jobs you're currently applying for.
How much does an executive resume cost?
For an executive resume, you'll probably end up paying $1000+ (and possibly as much as $3000). While that might not seem like much compared to an executive salary, it's still more than you need to spend. Instead, try investing a little time into reading an executive resume guide that can help you put together a professional-quality resume for a fraction of the cost.
How much does it cost to hire a resume editor?
If you're just looking for someone to help edit and polish your resume, that's likely to be a little less expensive than writing a resume from scratch — but not by much. If you only need a little bit of work, consider looking for resume editors who offer an hourly rate (and agree on the number of hours upfront).
How much do resume screening services cost?
Resume screening services shouldn't be expensive.
- If all you need is a quick once over, you can upload your resume to an ATS resume scanner for free
- If you want extra support, choose an ongoing service that can help you throughout the whole duration of your job search — you can upgrade to Resume Worded Pro for as little as $19/month.
More than you bargained for? That's okay! You don't need to hire a resume writer to get a professional-looking result.
How to DIY your resume for free
Heard the saying, “if you want something done right, do it yourself?” Unfortunately, that’s often the best advice.
If writing your own resume seems daunting (or simply too time-consuming), here are some quick steps to get you started. If you're absolutely sure you need your resume written by someone else, create a first draft using the tools below in just an hour — doing so will make sure you have a starting point, and will help you learn about what to look for when hiring a resume writer.
- Start with an ATS-ready resume template. These templates are already optimized for resume screeners (both real and automated) and can save you time when it comes to structure and formatting.
- Write your accomplishments in bullet point format. Short on time or inspiration? Here are some resume bullet points you can copy and paste.
- Once you have a draft ready, upload it to a resume optimizer for a free resume review.
- Make any changes suggested and reupload. You’re aiming for a score of 90 or above.
- Tailor your resume to individual jobs by using a targeted resume tool, which will tell you exactly how to tailor your resume in less than five minutes.
- You’re done! Congratulations — you just saved $500 and ended up with a better resume than a resume writer could have provided for you.
Here’s an example of an optimized resume that doesn’t require the help of a professional:
Get a free resume review (before you hire a writer)
Once you’ve created your first draft, upload your resume to the tool below — it’ll scan it for any glaring mistakes, quantifiable accomplishments, transferable skills and tell you if your resume satisfies the key criteria recruiters look for.
The real cost of hiring a resume writer
Decided to hire a professional to help you with your resume? Look out for these common pitfalls (aka. "Here's how to not get scammed").
The high cost of cheap resumes
Found a resume writing service advertising significantly lower prices than those listed above? Like anything in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cheap services are often outsourced to beginners or to non-English speaking countries.
More money ≠ better quality
If cheap resumes are bad, more expensive services must be better, right? Not necessarily. There's a limit to how much bang you can expect from your buck, even from high-end services. Above a certain price range, paying more isn’t going to get you a better service, just a more expensive one.
You'll neeed more than one resume
If you think hiring a resume writer will somehow land you with a single, perfect resume you can use for the rest of your career, think again. Tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for will net you better results than having a polished but generic resume, which means you’re looking at paying extra for each resume you need. Depending on how widely you’re casting your net, this can really start to add up!
The information on your resume may not be accurate
On one hand, good resume writers will always take the time to understand your background and represent it correctly. On the other hand, others may choose to take a shortcut and insert extra information just because it sounds good. If that happens, you'll most likely be caught and immediately rejected. It doesn't matter that you didn't lie deliberately — you're responsible for the information on your resume, so always check it thoroughly before you hit "submit."
Money back guarantees aren't always what they seem
Some resume writing services will offer a 'guarantee' as a way of putting your mind at ease. Despite appearances, this isn't actually a good thing. Nobody can guarantee that you'll land a job, or even an interview. In most cases, a 'guarantee' only means that they’ll keep rewriting your resume if it doesn’t land you any interviews — but if they aren’t successful the first time, it’s unlikely they’ll magically improve the second or third.
It isn't 100% above board
Some recruiters might not care that you hired a third party to write your resume, but others may see it as cheating or plagiarism. If in doubt, it's best to make sure that all the materials you submit as part of the hiring process — including your resume — are your own original work.
The benefits of hiring a resume writer
It might sound like there's no benefit to having your resume professionally written, which isn't entirely true. It's more accurate to say that the costs of hiring a resume writer probably outweigh the benefits.
It can help you get started … but it’s not the only way
Professional resume writing services can help if you’re completely stuck, or if you’re looking for a raise or promotion and really need to optimize your resume. But even though they’re an option, they should never be your default choice. You can also:
- Follow the steps above to write your own resume — it’s easier than you think!
- Browse online resume examples for ideas
- Upload your resume to an online resume checker to get detailed suggestions for revision
- Get someone else — particularly someone who's working in the field you want to join — to look over your finished resume and provide some light editing or a final polish
Best of all? All these ideas are free!
If you’re not sure how to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to, use the tool below to search for skills and keywords related to the job and it’ll give you a list of relevant ones.
Frequently asked questions
How long does a resume writer take?
You can expect it take at least a week or two. Want a rush job? You’ll likely be paying more for it and getting something that’s significantly lower quality in return.
What do resume writers do?
Generally, hiring a resume writer will involve:
- The initial search
- 1-2 phone calls with your resume writer
- Negotiating and signing a contract
- Follow-up questions through phone or email
- Multiple revisions
- Final acceptance and payment
If you're looking at hiring a resume writer who proposes skipping any of those steps, consider it a red flag.
How do I choose a resume writer?
If you do hire a resume writer, make sure they’re legitimate. You’re looking for people with a background in hiring or recruitment, and ideally in your exact industry. Resume writing qualifications like CPRW don’t tell you anything about a writer’s industry qualifications, so do your due diligence before you commit.
Always ask for past samples or to see a portfolio so you can judge the quality for yourself. Upload their samples to a tool like Score My Resume to get a transparent, AI-backed understanding of whether they’re any good.
Is TopResume any good?
TopResume is a resume writer marketplace with hundreds of writers, which means there are a mix of good and bad writers on the site. First, use the free tools at your disposal — like Score My Resume — to evaluate whether you need to hire a resume writer in the first place (you probably don’t!), and then set up a phone call directly with your writer to see if they’re the right fit.
Can you pay someone to write your cover letter?
Absolutely not. A cover letter needs to be personalized and give the hiring manager a real sense of who you are. If you can't be bothered writing one, you're still better off jotting down a couple of quick lines — or even skipping it entirely — than outsourcing it.
What if I get caught?
That depends. It isn't illegal to hire someone to write your resume or cover letter, but there may still be consequences. Depending on the views of the company and the hiring manager, they could:
- Ignore it
- Give you a chance to resubmit
- Reject your application
If the information on your resume isn’t accurate, that’s always a big deal, and can result in you being removed from consideration or even fired if you already landed the job.
If a hiring manager thinks you’ve plagiarized, that’s ground for immediate rejection. Whether resume writing services constitute plagiarism is subjective, which means it’s probably better not to take that chance.