I’ve been writing resumes professionally for 8 years now. That means for 8 years, I have derived an income from it. Prior to that, I wrote resumes free for my friends because I liked doing it, and I had a job that paid well.

When I first launched 1st Rate Resumes I went to the bookstore and bought a bunch of resume books, thinking I could learn what I needed to know from a few books. The only problem was, I didn’t know which books were better than others. And of course, I bought books I thought would be helpful, but contained a lot of outdated information. I also made the mistake of purchasing resume books from used book stores and library book sales. Talk about out of date!

If you’re getting into the resume writing business, or just seeking out the very best books, let me save you from the same mistakes I made. First and foremost, find something very recent, and from a certified resume writer. The credentials will be either a CPRW, CERW, CARW, or NCRW. The credentials are different because there are several governing resume writing associations: The Professional Association of Resume Writers, Career Directors International, or the National Resume Writers’ Association. Earning a credential means the writer has been tested for knowledge and writing competence and meets the standards set.

The book you’ll find on just about every resume writers shelf is “Resume Magic” by Susan Britton Whitcomb. It’s a comprehensive manual that contains just about any challenge for professional writers. I also like “Designing the Perfect Resume, 3rd Edition” by Pat Criscito of ProType in Colorado Springs. It contains nearly 200 resume samples, with more than 100 contributions from members of the National Resume Writers Association.

Avoid those books that consistently show resumes with the word “Objective” at the top. They are out of date, even if it was published recently. We don’t use that term on a resume anymore.

Most of all, remember that learning to write a resume takes a lot of time. I can honestly say that I didn’t really come up to speed until about Year FOUR. You really can’t be accomplished at something until you do it over and over again.

Susan Geary, CERW
1st Rate Resumes