What Is It Like Working With a Professional Resume Writer?


Aug 21, 2023 | Resume Service

You find a job posting online – it’s a perfect fit for your skills and experience. You’re ready to apply, but your resume hasn’t been updated in years.

 In this scenario: you have two options.

You can either go the DIY route and spend hours crafting a resume that you hope is good enough to get past the employer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Or, you can invest in working with a professional resume writer who knows how to create an effective, tailored resume. 

The latter seems like the more attractive option, but when you haven’t exactly hired a professional before, the thought of doing so can be intimidating. What should you expect?

On our Career Warrior Podcast, we recently hosted Katy McElroy, Managing Editor of Let’s Eat, Grandma. Having been in the business of resume writing for years, she was able to give us the insider scoop on the whole process. Here’s a run-down of that conversation.

Cover image for Career Warrior Podcast episode #302 with Katy McElroy

Click the image to listen to Career Warrior Podcast episode #302 with Katy McElroy

The process of working with a professional resume writer

While this may vary from service to service, in general, you can expect the following:

1. Fill out an intake form & schedule a consultation

When you apply to hire a professional resume writer, you’ll usually need a consultation so that your writer can get a better understanding of where you’ve been professionally and where you’d like to go.

But instead of taking up the call’s time talking about your background information, most services prefer that you fill out a form in advance. It’s a simple one that collects some data on your job history, what job descriptions you’re currently looking at, and so on.

You may also be asked to provide your old resume if you have one. This way, the writer has a better idea of what they’re starting with. But if you don’t have one, that isn’t an issue – you’re likely to be given another form that’s very similar to a resume, which you can fill out instead.

LEG Pro Tip: To get the best results from your resume writing process, it’s best to have a crystal clear idea of what kind of job you want to apply for. If you can, narrow down the job descriptions you have in mind and make a list of them before your consultation.

2. Have your consultation

After sending in your questionnaire and any materials you may have been asked for, it’s time to have your consultation call with your writer. You’ll use this opportunity to get to know one another and discuss your job goals, the kinds of companies you’re targeting, and anything else that may be relevant.

You should also expect your writer to go over some elements of your intake form and old resume on the call. The goal of the call is to really drill down on the specifics of your experience, and your accomplishments, and specifically, find out what metrics you can use to back up your achievements.

By the end of the call, your writer will give you an idea of the turnaround time for the first draft of your resume, and from there, you’ll just wait it out!

LEG Pro Tip: The writer will likely ask you detailed questions about the kind of impact you’ve made in your past work experiences, so it’s a good idea to have examples ready – particularly if you can link them to quantitative metrics. This won’t only give your resume more credibility, but it gives potential employers a better insight into the kind of value you can bring to their organization.

3. Receive your resume

After that, it’s just a matter of time! Depending on the service you choose, your writer should return the first draft of your resume shortly after the call. At Let’s Eat, Grandma, you receive your resume within 7 days.

During this period, the writer will take all of the information you’ve provided and assemble it into a powerful resume that narrates your professional story. But before it’s sent out to you, it’s reviewed by a reviewer to seal the deal. Then, you’ll find a concise, well-written resume in your inbox!

Pro Tip: During the 7-day period, your writer may reach out to you again if they have any follow-up questions or need a little bit of clarification. Keep an eye out for emails!

4. Review & make it shine

Once you have your first draft of the resume, take the time to review it – and don’t be afraid to go back to your writer with any questions or suggestions. At this stage, you’re both in a collaborative effort to make sure that what ends up on paper is completely accurate and true to you.

Typically, you’ll have a couple of rounds of revisions throughout the span of 7 days. This either happens by you responding directly on the file or via an email list with questions and comments.

Be completely vocal about how you feel about the resume. If you think something should be shifted around, you want to leave out a certain section, or add more detail to another – just tell your writer! Even if you remember something you forgot to mention during your initial consultation, this is the perfect time to bring it up.

“You’re encouraged to … really work on those documents until you get them right. … We don’t want to just send you something and be like this is it,” said Katy.

In other words, don’t phone this in – take the time to review your documents and make sure that every detail is attended to before signing off on the final version.

Then, once the document is finalized, your writer will provide you with a digital file that’s ready to be sent to potential employers – or uploaded directly on job boards.

Resume writing services FAQs

How long does the entire process take, from start to finish?

The process usually takes around 14 days from the initial consultation to when the final resume is ready. The writer will typically provide you with first drafts within 7 days of the consultation, and then allow another 7 days for revisions and feedback. However, if you need extra time, your writer will be happy to accommodate an extension.

Why is it important to have a modern resume?

Modern hiring managers now rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help them quickly parse through resumes and determine which applicants should be invited for an interview. Having a modern resume format that’s ATS-friendly can increase your chances of being seen by recruiters.

Resume writing services guarantee that your resume will be ATS-friendly and optimized for maximum visibility. Experienced writers know what keywords to use, how to emphasize your accomplishments, and how to make sure that the layout will still be attractive to the human eye.

Will my writer always be within the industry that I’m part of?

While your professional resume writer may not have direct experience in your exact job title or industry, they’ll usually have a broad knowledge base from helping other clients. Chances are, they’ll have familiarity with your sector and be able to draw on their understanding of it to create an effective resume. At the same time, experienced writers can easily adapt to different industries by researching job descriptions and industry-specific trends.

What’s the main benefit that I get from working with a professional resume writer?

That your resume won’t read like a job description and just list out tasks that you’ve done throughout the years in your past jobs. Instead, it’ll tell the story of your successes through powerful and impactful language that will draw attention to the specific accomplishments you’ve had in your career.

By honing in on your key successes, you’ll make sure your resume is a memorable, stand-out document that will increase your chances of being invited for an interview.

man at interview after working with a professional resume writer

Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash

It’s time to apply for jobs!

As Katy said, “It’s a real mindset shift for people, for job seekers, to really look at your job or look at your career … as a succession of accomplishments for different companies, rather than … what you did every day. […] More kind of celebrating what you’ve actually gotten done and what you’ve achieved – because if you’ve been working, you’ve achieved things.”

Working with a professional resume writer can help you see the full picture of your career and can create a document that really showcases what you’ve accomplished. It can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind of work, but taking a step back and looking at your skills, experiences, and accomplishments from an outside perspective can help you take ownership of your professional success.

Once you have that resume in hand, you’ll be ready to confidently apply for jobs and start the next chapter of your career. So, go ahead and make the move. And if you’re not ready yet, why not start with a free resume critique to know where your current resume stands?

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