How Much Does a Resume Writer Cost (And Should I Use One)?

Thinking about hiring a resume writer? Here’s everything you need to know, including how much it costs and whether it’s really worth it.

4 months ago   •   7 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
Table of contents

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?

The real cost of a resume writer

For starters, the cost of removing that hurdle might be steeper than you think — and we’re not just talking about money.

Resume writer rates

Obviously, the first cost of hiring a resume writer is the price of the service itself. This isn’t cheap — think between $200-$300 for a basic entry-level resume and rising to upwards of $2000 for executive or senior-level resumes.

The low-cost option

Found a service advertising significantly lower prices? 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. Think throwing money at the problem can make it go away? The same is true of high-end services — above a certain range, paying more isn’t going to get you a better service, just a more expensive one.

Multiple resumes = more money

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!

Alternatives to resume writing services

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Write your accomplishments in bullet point format. Short on time or inspiration? Here are some resume bullet points you can copy and paste.
  3. Once you have a draft ready, upload it to a resume optimizer for a free resume review.
  4. Make any changes suggested and reupload. You’re aiming for a score of 90 or above.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

An example of an ATS-ready resume template that you can create without the help of a resume writer
An example of an ATS-ready resume template that you can create without the help of a resume writer

Get it — and 250+ more free templates — here.

Get a free resume review, without needing to pay a writer a cent

Hiring a resume writer: The pros and cons

Con: Not all resume writer are qualified

How do most resume writers get started? By deciding to write resumes. There are no official qualifications needed to become a resume writer, and the truth is that most resume writers don’t have backgrounds as recruiters or hiring managers. Even Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) certification doesn’t require any kind of industry background to qualify — it's just a couple of short online courses and a test. No one's actually a hiring manager with experience.

Resume writers are rarely current practitioners, and they’re even less likely to be familiar with your particular industry. This means that, even if you’re not confident in your writing abilities, you probably still have a better chance of writing a good resume than someone who’s never worked in the field. This is especially true if you work in a niche industry with its own hiring standards (like academia) or in a field that’s newer or constantly changing (like marketing, social media, or anything tech-driven).

Con: It’s more work than you think

Resume writers can’t simply build a resume from scratch. You’ll still need to provide them with information, including your job history, educational background, and accomplishments. Then there’s the initial vetting process, ongoing collaboration, feedback, and revisions. By the time it’s finished, it’s unlikely you’ll have saved much time at all; instead, you could have simply plugged the same information into a template and saved yourself several hundred dollars.

Con: You’ll need more than one resume

If you’re applying for more than one job, you’ll need more than one resume. That means you’ll be tailoring your own resumes anyway, or you’ll be racking up additional fees for a resume writer to do it for you.

Con: Your resume may not be accurate

Even if you supply them with detailed information, resume writers still don’t know exactly what you’ve accomplished or what skills you possess. This could mean that genuine accomplishments are left off your resume or — more likely — that others are embellished or even made up entirely. This could get you in serious trouble at the interview stage, so you’ll still need to go over the final product with a fine-tooth comb.

Con: Resume writers don’t have all the answers

Think professional resume writers must know something you don’t? Not necessarily. In fact, resume writers use Resume Worded to help their clients — we support recruiters, careers coaches, and resume writers as well as job seekers. Our suite of free tools is available to everyone, and our Pro plan offers unlimited templates, uploads, feedback, and reviews. The best part? You can access it directly as a job seeker, and for a fraction of the cost of hiring a resume writer.

Pro: 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!

Frequently asked questions

How long does a resume writer take?

You can expect the process to take at least a week or two. Also factor in 1-2 initial phone calls (yes, calls — writing a resume takes a lot of back and forth, including information that can’t easily be conveyed over email) as well as multiple revisions. Want a rush job? You’ll likely be paying more for it and getting something that’s significantly lower quality in return.

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.

Finally, make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting. A good resume writer should offer to set up a call to make sure they understand your experience and professional goals, will provide unlimited revisions, and won’t advertise rubbish like a ‘guarantee’ (which 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).

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.

Will I get caught?

That depends what you mean by caught. It isn’t illegal to hire a resume writer, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best idea. If your resume is written very differently to your other written communication, hiring managers may figure out that you didn’t write it yourself. As to whether that matters, well, it depends.

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 you’re applying for a job where communication skills are important, recruiters will be looking at your resume as evidence of your writing skills, which means it’s probably not a good idea to outsource it.

If you hired someone to write your cover letter, that’s an even bigger deal. Even more so than a resume, your cover letter needs to be a reflection of who you are and how you communicate, so never hire someone else to write it.

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.

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