How to Find and Assess Top LinkedIn Profile and Executive Resume Writers, and Personal Branding and Job Search Strategists
Catch up with Parts 1 and 3 of this 3-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.]
Now that you’ve decided you need to qualify a few professional executive resume writers before reaching out to them, where do you start?
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
- Career Directors International
- Reach Personal Branding (the first branding certification organization. Some certified resume writers have augmented their credentials with the Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist designation)
- Professional Association of Resume Writers
- National Resume Writers’ Association
- Resume Writing Academy
- The Academies
- Career Management Alliance (no longer operating, but practitioners who earned a CMA credential are likely to be highly qualified)
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.
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 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 by going 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?
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 and shabby, with poor grammar and lots of typos, you should be suspicious of what they’ll do with your resume.
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?
Who will be writing your executive resume?
Will you work directly with the person writing your resume? Will you be able to communicate directly with your writer throughout the process? Or will your project be passed off to an invisible staff writer or subcontractor?
Is personal branding part of the process?
Does their website mention personal branding? Has the resume writer also earned a personal branding certification from a reputable organization? 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 the Internet these days, with clients from all over the country or world. But you may be able to find someone to accommodate you.
→ Information mining
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?
→ Turnaround time
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 more than a week.
→ 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.
→ Supporting Documents
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 there 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? Do so probably means the writer is up to date with the latest strategies.
→ If they claim to be a LinkedIn expert, assess their LinkedIn profile and activity. How robust is their profile? Are they active on LinkedIn?
→ If they claim to be a social/personal branding expert, see if their LinkedIn profile generates chemistry, differentiates them, and gives you a feel for what it will be like to work with them.
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?
More About Executive Resumes and Job Search