How to Find and Assess the Best LinkedIn Profile and Executive Resume Writers, and Personal Branding and Job Search Strategists
Catch up with Parts 1 and 3 of this three-part series here:
[Please note that when I mention executive resumes and resume writing/strategy here, take that to also include LinkedIn profile writing and strategy, biographies, and really any job search and personal marketing content writing.]
Where To Find The Best Executive Resume and LinkedIn Profile Writers For You
Now that you’ve decided you need to qualify a few professional executive resume writers before reaching out to them, where do you start?
You can do a Google search on “executive resume writers” or something similar and be bombarded with millions of search results. The best writers will be interspersed among the not-so-good or downright lousy writers or scam sites. It could take you hours just to sift through the muck and pull out some legitimate, high-quality services to put on your list of potentials.
If you go this route, you’re likely to land on some fly-by-night, low-cost (like $7-10/page) writing services that you should pay little to no attention to.
But there’s something I want to alert you to. If you happen on one of these sites, either by searching for “executive resume writers” or clicking on a search result when you’re Googling actual resume writers’ names.
Legitimate, quality resume writers can show up on scam sites that they have no association with whatsoever … and without their knowledge and consent. It’s happened to me. Check out my article on scam resume writing services to find out how, and what I’ve done about it.
Instead of doing a blind Google search, you can narrow your search by starting where you’ll likely have the most success.
Go where the best executive resume writers hang out – the top professional associations.
Certifications and professional affiliations will not guarantee a great resume writer, but they’re a good place to begin.
Here are some of the top careers industry professional associations whose certifications are legitimate and carry weight:
- Career Thought Leaders (CTL/Resume Writing Academy)
- Career Directors International
- Professional Association of Resume Writers
- National Resume Writers’ Association
- The Academies
On each of their websites you’ll find membership directories listing those who are certified, with contact information. Some associations offer more than one certification, and also in job search specializations other than resume writing. You should also find descriptions of what the credentialing processes entail.
The Certified Executive Resume Master, and other Master Resume Writer credentials from any of the professional associations are given only to the very best of the best in the industry. Along with top skills, they require a number of years experience to qualify.
Again, certifications do not guarantee a great resume writer. They’re only one of many criteria to consider. But certification certainly does indicate the writer has been assessed by her/his peers to have met certain criteria – whether basic or advanced. It’s a good starting point.
When you find certified resume writers who look good to you, whether on these sites or the resume writers’ own sites, make sure they actually have the certifications they claim. Go back to the association membership directories. Here you may also be able to determine if they specialize in your niche or meet particular requirements of yours.
Now you’ve pre-qualified some executive resume writers. Before deciding which ones to contact, you need to do some research on them, the services they provide, and how they do business.
Assessing Qualifications for Your Executive Resume Writer
Review the websites of each writer on your list.
Go to their websites first for information about the issues that are important to you. If their websites don’t provide what you’re looking for, or they don’t have a website, make a note to talk with them about these issues, if you decide to contact them.
Check to be sure their website is secure and has an SSL certificate, especially if you’re going to make a transaction on the site. Look at the top of the browser for a lock with the word “Secure” next to it, plus the URL starting with “https”, instead of “http”. These should all appear in green, and be present for each page on the site.
Review their executive resume samples.
If I were looking for a resume writer, I would go no further without getting some indication of the writing quality I can expect from each writer.
Some writers don’t post examples on their websites because they know some people will plagiarize them, but they may be willing to send you one or two fictionalized examples of actual resumes they’ve written. If this is not possible, you may want to ask for a client reference or two.
When looking at sample resumes, see if they give you a feel for who the job seeker is:
- Does the resume differentiate that person from others doing the same kind of work?
- If personal branding is important to you (and it should be), do the samples give you a feel for the person’s personality?
- Is the resume formatting attractive and easy to read?
- Do you have to sift through a lot of generic information to get the meat of what the person has to offer?
- You’ve probably been part of the hiring process and had to review resumes. Do the samples make you want to meet that person?
I think it’s understood that the samples should be very well-written and grammatically sound.
Beyond their executive resume samples, how well do they write and how extensive is their knowledge base?
Their websites should demonstrate their writing ability and knowledge. If their web pages and/or blog posts are shabby, with poor grammar and lots of typos, you should be suspicious of what they’ll do with your resume.
And see how well they market themselves and their services. Since resumes are personal marketing documents, you need some indication that the resume writer is good at marketing.
Check also to see how much they really know about today’s executive job search and resume writing. Do they write about job search in a way that helps you understand it better?
What does their LinkedIn profile look like?
Check each writer’s LinkedIn profile:
- Is it a minimal profile with little information to help you assess their capabilities?
- Or, is there lots of information that is well written, markets them well and hits home with you, their target audience?
- Are they making use of lots of the various LinkedIn sections, beyond the About and Experience sections?
- Do they have a hard-hitting, keyword-rich profile headline?
- Do they stay active on LinkedIn, posting updates and commenting on other people’s updates?
Basically, make sure they know how to strategize their own LinkedIn profile. If their profile is not up to snuff, they may not have the skills to make your profile the best it can be.
Further Information To Help You Assess Resume Writers
The questions below may or may not be answered by perusing the writers’ websites. Make note of whatever you don’t find there, so you can ask whichever writers you reach out to.
Who will be writing your executive resume?
- Will you work directly with the person writing your resume?
- Or will your project be passed off to a staff writer or subcontractor?
- Will you be able to communicate directly with your writer throughout the process?
There’s no right or wrong answer to the above. It’s a matter of your own preference. But the best results will typically come with a collaborative relationship with your writer; someone who will walk with you through the process.
Is personal branding part of the process?
Does their website mention personal branding? If you don’t think personal branding is important in executive resumes and job search, check out my blog post, The Secret of Personal Branding.
Expect a deeper investment of your time and a higher fee for designated personal brand development services.
How does the resume development process work?
In person or virtual service, or both?
If meeting in person with your resume writer is important to you, you may be out of luck. So many top professional resume writers work exclusively via phone, email, and online these days, with clients from all over the country or world. But you may be able to find someone to accommodate you.
I can guarantee you that working remotely with a writer is not a negative. In fact, you could easily miss out on working with the best resume writer, if you’ll only work in person with them.
Will information be gathered through phone calls or emailed worksheets or both? Will phone consultation(s) with the actual writer, to strategize how to best position you, be part of the process?
This can vary from same day to several weeks or more. Get a clear idea of how long the entire process will take, unless this doesn’t matter to you. But keep in mind, the quality of an executive resume that takes a few days to write will probably not be as good as one that takes a week or more.
Providing your existing resume
Do they request that you send them the resume you have and/or complete an assessment form? If so, please do that and give them an indication of your career target, before contacting them. Give them the chance to review your career history and target job(s) beforehand, so they’ll be prepared for a mutually beneficial initial conversation with you.
Does this service also craft collateral career marketing documents (targeted cover letters, achievement summary, career biography, leadership initiatives profile, reference and accolades dossier, etc.) to support your requisite executive resume?
What do they offer beyond executive resume writing?
Does the writer also offer other executive job search services?
You may want to collaborate with a writer who is also an executive career strategist and can help you navigate the ins and outs of today’s internet-driven executive job search, or can refer you to specialists for services they don’t offer.
To pre-qualify those resume writers offering online job search and career management strategies, first do a Google search on each writer’s name, and see what you find.
How many search results come up for each writer? What does their online footprint look like? Do they even have a web presence?
Don’t hire someone to help you with LinkedIn, social media and online presence, if they have little to no presence online themselves.
If they say they’ll help with your social media and online presence, make sure they use social media themselves, and have a robust online presence.
Do they blog regularly on their own site? Doing so probably means the writer is up to date with the latest strategies.
Do they claim to be a LinkedIn expert? As noted earlier, assess their LinkedIn profile and activity. How robust is their profile? Are they active on LinkedIn?
Take a look at some of the top search results for each resume writer to learn more about them and their level of expertise. Are they publishing relevant articles and thought pieces online? What kind of careers industry recognition do they have?
Having a healthy web presence will not determine whether someone is a great executive resume writer.
But if you’re looking for someone who can also help you understand today’s executive job search and online strategies, they should be visible online. And, if you want someone to help you build and improve your online identity, you should be sure they know how to do it and are doing it for themselves.
After all, how can someone lead you in the right direction, marketing your promise of value online in a job search, when they’re not building and marketing their own brand and professional promise of value online?