Okay, let’s be real: Nobody actually enjoys putting together a resume. It’s stressful, time-consuming, and there’s no guarantee of a payoff at the end.
Which is exactly what makes resume writing services so tempting. After all, if you could pay a few bucks to skip the whole process and get a professional-caliber resume at the end of it, why not?
That’s exactly the question we’re about to answer — along with where to find a legitimate resume writer and what to expect if you do hire one.
Is a professional resume writer worth it?
Should I hire a resume writer? There’s no single “yes or no” answer. Like any service that costs money, whether it’s worthwhile to hire a professional resume writer comes down to what you want out of it — and what you’re willing to give up.
To help you make that decision, here are some of the benefits (and potential downsides) when considering if resume writers are worth it.
Hiring a resume writer: Pros vs Cons
The benefits of hiring a professional resume writer seem obvious on the surface — saving time and effort while getting a better-quality product at the end of it. But, as the saying goes, everything has a price … and we aren’t just talking about money.
Pro: It’s convenient
Con: It’ll cost you
Professional resume services can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Found a cheaper alternative? “You get what you pay for” is a cliché for a reason — and in this case, it’s very true.
Pro: It lets you skip most of resume writing process
Con: You’ll need to be more involved 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. You may also end up needing more than one resume — at least, if you’re applying for more than one job, which you probably are. 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.
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 or effort; instead, you could have simply plugged the same information into a template and saved yourself several hundred dollars.
Pro: There’s less time and effort required
Con: It isn’t an overnight process
Don’t expect a brand new resume in a matter of hours — a week or two is more realistic. 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. Some resume writing services may offer a quicker turnaround if you’re in a hurry, but don’t expect the rush option to come cheap.
Pro: You can look for a certified professional
Con: Not all resume writers 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.
You can look for resume writers who are affiliated with the National Resume Writers Association or who possess Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) certification, but even then, there’s no way to know exactly what you’re paying for. CPRW 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.
Pro: A professional resume writer may do a better job
Con: … And then again, maybe not
Nobody knows your background and accomplishments better than you. 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.
Keep in mind that 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).
Pro: Experienced resume writers can help if you’re not confident in your writing abilities
Con: Some hiring managers might see it as cheating
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. Some may not care … but others will.
As a general rule, you should avoid hiring a resume writer:
- 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.
- For your cover letter. 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.
Pro: It’s a good way to get started
Con: There are easier (and cheaper) alternatives
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.
Where to find a resume writer
If you’ve considered both sides and decided to hire a resume writer, here are some tips on where to start and how to make the process as smooth as possible.
- Decide what kind of resume writing service you actually need. Do you want someone to hold your hand through the entire job application process? Figure out how to turn your duties into accomplishments? Give your existing resume a quick once-over?
- Decide on your budget. Resume writing services aren’t cheap — but there are low-budget options available that won’t sacrifice quality.
- Be specific. If you’re serious about hiring a professional resume writer, don’t just Google “resume writing service” and call it a day. Instead, use keywords specific to the role or industry you’re applying for.
- Focus on finding a professional resume writer in your niche. Generalist resume writers are likely to know even less about what hiring managers are looking for than you do.
- Choose a resume writer who’s actually worth the money. Not sure how to tell? Look for a combination of industry background, recruitment experience, and proven results.
- Never hand over your money without knowing exactly what you’re getting in return. A good resume writer should offer to set up a call to make sure they understand your experience and professional goals — and you understand the process — before you put anything in writing.
- Check the terms and conditions. Look specifically for things like unlimited revisions, which will prevent you from paying for something you’re not 100% happy with.
- Don’t put too much stock in money-back guarantees. Most resume writing services will offer additional rewrites instead of an actual refund or insist on (often unreasonably) strict terms and conditions to qualify.
- Put together as much information as you can in advance. Professional resume writers aren’t wizards — they won’t know anything about your background, experience, or accomplishments unless you tell them.
- Consider the alternatives. There are ways of getting the same results for a fraction of the cost — or even for free!
Alternatives to hiring a resume writer
Before you go all in on hiring a resume writer, check out some of these free alternatives.
If you need help creating a resume from scratch: Download a resume template
If you’re considering splurging on a resume designer, know this: The best resume is a simple resume. Instead of paying for an expensive graphic-based resume that most hiring managers don’t want (and Applicant Tracking Systems can’t read), download a free, ready to use ATS resume template. Simply paste in your information and start applying straight away!
If you don’t know what to write: Check out industry-specific resume examples
Once you’ve chosen your template, head over to our resume examples page, with 250+ full resume examples from dozens of industries. With just a little tweaking, you can have your resume done and ready to send off in less time than it would take to hire a resume writer.
If you’re struggling to create bullet points: Use a bullet point generator
Still stuck with a resume that reads more like a job description than a list of achievements? This bullet point builder tool can help you generate custom bullet points that focus on your actual accomplishments and give you access to suggested bullet points from similar roles.
If you want expert feedback: Use a resume checker
Not all professional advice costs money. If you already have a resume that just needs a bit of an update, upload it to Score My Resume. This AI-powered resume checker will scan your resume for the same things recruiters are looking for — relevant skills and keywords, concrete accomplishments, readability, and lack of filler. It can even analyze things like length, brevity, and word choice, giving you an easy-to-understand score along with easy ways to improve.
On the topic of relevant skills and keywords, use the skills search tool below to get a list of keywords and hard skills relevant to the job you’re applying for. It is a good way to tailor your resume to the job without needing to pay a resume writer.
If you want a professional service: Go pro
Resume Worded Pro gives you access to professional-level resume writing help, including targeted, resume-ready accomplishments and metrics, personalized additions, line-by-line analysis, and recruiter insights on your existing resume. The best part? It’s still way cheaper than hiring a one-off resume writer.