Job Search Support: Choosing Professional Services

 Marketing Director   May 6, 2024  CV/Resume Advice

Professional Services for Job Seekers: Professional resume writer gives advice to their client.

The following is the second article of a two-part series on using professional services to advance your candidacy in today’s competitive job market.

In our last article on using professional services, we spoke about the competitiveness in today’s job market and the advantages of hiring a professional to help prepare your application documents, such as a targeted resume, CV, and cover letter.

When seeking to hire a professional to assist in preparing your application documents a general internet search will highlight a plethora of options.  However, knowing the best fit for your needs may require a different approach.

Here are some tips for researching and hiring a professional for your job search.

Q: What should I look for when researching professional job seeker services?

It is important to spend time upfront researching individuals providing these services to ensure you hire someone with experience and knowledge of the current market demands.  Changes that have occurred over the years have shifted what hiring officials/search committees want to see in candidate applications that have moved from an extensive career history to a condensed work experience and an accomplishment-focused resume if applying to staff jobs, and a thorough compilation of your academic work for faculty positions.

Rates for writers vary greatly depending on location and the package of services offered, with rates lower for those seeking entry-level positions versus those in C-Suite roles.  A quality writer will offer ample information on their website to help you make preliminary decisions. In addition, they will offer free 15–30-minute consultations where you can learn more about their process and ask clarifying questions.  It is important to research and compare what each writer offers, especially when it comes to their background and experience.  Someone who simply took a certification class without proper background and experience may cost less, but, in the end, may not be able to best serve your needs.

Q: What should I consider when selecting a professional? What questions should I ask them? 

The first piece of advice is to ensure they offer a complimentary consultation to allow you to learn about their process and to ask questions to make an informed decision on who you choose.  Going through an organization (such as those suggested above) provides confidence that you are speaking with someone dedicated to their profession who is engaged in ongoing education and follows a strong code of ethics. 

Before the initial consultation, review their website in full to aid in developing questions and gaining knowledge of their experience.  Their website will usually show services provided and fee structures which is helpful information to know upfront. Next, use LinkedIn to gain perspective on the professional’s background and whether they have worked in a hiring, academic, or human resources capacity, as it shows they have a deep understanding of the hiring, recruitment, and negotiation process which provides a well-rounded background that will serve your best interests while providing sound advice.  

This initial conversation will allow the writer to ask questions regarding your goals to assess how they can be of benefit and to understand your total needs for your search, which may include creating a package of services.

Once you set up that initial consultation, the following are questions to ask that will allow you to make an informed decision on who to hire as hiring a professional is an investment and you want to make sure you are working with someone who can best meet your career goals and needs.

  1. What certification and training do you hold in this field?
  2. What associations do you belong to that allow you to keep up with current expectations and trends?
  3. Do you have expertise in any particular industries or professions? 
  4. What types of resumes or CVs do you usually write, i.e. career level and/or specialty such as executive, medical, academic, veteran to civilian?
  5. How long have you been providing these services?
  6. Could you share more on the design options that you offer for formatting a resume, CV and /or cover letter?  And do you have samples that you could share?
  7. Do you specifically work with those seeking academic/faculty positions?
  8. If I am seeking academic positions do I need a LinkedIn profile and what are the benefits of using the platform?
  9. What is your initial impression of my resume, CV, cover letter, and/or LinkedIn profile and what improvements do you recommend?
  10. What is the process and timeline for receiving a final product and what formats will you provide to me?
  11. How many revisions are included in the original fee, and how do you handle updates as my career grows?
  12. Who will be performing services should I hire you and how frequently will they communicate with me?
  13. What services do you offer and what are the costs, i.e. do you offer ala carte services or packages and if you bundle services can they be made specifically to my needs?

Lastly, be careful of writers who over-promise. A professionally written document or online profile will showcase your experience and accomplishments clearly and concisely and will reflect the current trend that those in hiring positions are using; it will not guarantee that you will gain an interview, or a job offer.  In addition, the resume, CV, and cover letter are not a ‘one and done’ version. As you search for jobs you must ensure your documents are customized to each position. 

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About the Author: Sara Ermeti has worked in HR leadership for nearly 30 years in various industries such as higher education, NFP, Religious, Financial, Entertainment, and Transportation. She is also an adjunct professor teaching courses in HR and Business. Sara is a certified coach and resume writer offering individual and business consulting through Esperto HR Office.