Update Your Resume Month is now in its 10th year. I know this because I was around as a resume writer when this event got underway. Back then the resume writing profession was unheard of. Why would anyone pay someone else to do something they could do themselves? Yes, that was the attitude in 2000 when I launched a career as a professional resume writer. The economy was buzzing, and people did not need a stellar looking resume to get a job interview.Fast forward a decade and times have changed. For one thing, I’m a lot busier than I was in 2001. It’s not just about the economy. It has to do with the thousands of people I’ve met and done business with over the past 10 years. This economy has brought out a lot of new resume writers, which is good, however you might end up with the wrong writer unless you do some due diligence before you hire one of us.

1.    First, ask what they know about your occupation. Listen to how they answer the question. Do they sound like they know its challenges, awards, and industry jargon? Quiz your potential resume writer.

2.   Ask if they belong to any professional associations. Then follow up and check with the organization they say they are a member of.

3.   Find out if they have any certifications, and check on that too. I’ve actually seen some fly by night resume writers make up certification names in the resume industry. Yes, it bugs us too.

4.   Ask how long they’ve been in business. If it’s a long distance, online resume company verify by checking how long they’ve held the domain through WhoIs.org.

5.   Google search the company name along with the word scam or complaint. Also check to see if there are any complaints placed with the Better Business Bureau.

6.   Ask what the process is. How long does it take, are there worksheets to fill out, or face-to-face interviews?

7.   Clarify the payment plan. Many firms will not even talk to you unless you place an order and give a credit card number first. I think you should ask to talk to the writer before you decide.

8.   Make sure you click. Some writers just don’t click with the client. It happens. But your career is so important, you should like and trust your writer.

9.   Ask what the follow up procedure is. Many resume writers will state a time frame that you have to follow up to correct mistakes, and make small revisions at no additional charge.

10.  Ask what the fee structure is. Some writers quote by the project, some by the hour. I use a points system to determine how many jobs, level of education, career level, and potential return on income to set fees. Similar to tax preparation.

Next, check out the writer’s website, and blog, and above all look at the SAMPLE resumes that should be posted on the company website! You want to get a feel for how understandable the document is. The recent economy has attracted a lot of desktop publishers who know how to make pretty documents. But in many of these fly by night outfits, the writing is just plain bad. When looking at samples, ask yourself. Does this resume quickly relay what the candidate offers? If it’s really vague with big fluffy words, then that answer is no. UPDATE: we removed our samples because too many of them were being plagiarized.

Hire the best resume writer you can afford with a track record for getting interviews. A professional resume might seem expensive up front, but if you’re back to work sooner, that’s a far better investment than the do-it-yourself resume that keeps you unemployed for a very long time.  If you’re used to making 40K a year, and you’re out of work for 6 months, your free resume will end up costing you 20 thousand dollars.