You’re ready to hire a professional resume writer. But there are so many to choose from, at all different price points. How do you make a good decision? In this post I will explain why working with a certified resume writer is a smart move.
What does it mean to be a certified resume writer?
Resume-writing is not a regulated or licensed field, which means that anyone, regardless of experience or competence, can set up shop and call themselves a resume writer. How do you protect yourself and make sure you’re hiring a qualified resume service?
The short answer is: look for a certified resume writer. This way, you are assured that the professional resume writer you wish to hire has met a certain basic standard.
I’ll detail the different certifications available shortly. But each of them has the same basic idea: the candidate for certification has to go through training or experienced practice. Then they create a resume—and sometimes a cover letter or other documents—from a fictitious candidate profile. This work is then anonymously evaluated by a jury of senior-level professional resume writers. Submissions are graded on things like:
- does the content effectively sell the candidate to the reader and create interest?
- is the design visually appealing, and does it draw the reader’s attention to the candidate’s strong points?
- is the resume going to be compliant with the various applicant-tracking systems out there?
- does the writer use proper grammar and understand the rules of English composition?
- has the writer proofread and edited the resume carefully, and produced an error-free product?
- is the writer aware of current best style practices and industry standards for creating a resume?
It’s not a trivial thing to get certified. Not only is there an application fee to consider, but the candidate has to spend a lot of time and effort to go through training, perhaps pass a test, and create project materials. It’s a big investment of time and money, so not everyone wants to do it.
Commonly encountered resume-writing certifications
- Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) In my opinion, this is the gold standard of resume-writing certifications. When you hire an NCRW, you know that you’re getting a certified resume writer who knows their stuff. The NCRW is given by the National Résumé Writers’ Association, which is the only nonprofit professional organization for resume writers (the others are for-profit companies). The mission of the NRWA is “to increase the visibility of the industry, encourage ethical practices, promote excellence, and raise industry standards”. The NCRW is not easy to obtain (as of this writing in January 2021, there are a total of 63 NCRWs nationwide). I’m proud to say that I’ve earned the NCRW myself.
- Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE) Also given by the NRWA, this certification is sort of the “LinkedIn-profile equivalent” of the NCRW. Instead of creating a profile, candidates go though extensive training modules on the latest techniques and strategies that take the best advantage of LinkedIn’s search algorithms, which are always changing. After the training, candidates need to pass a test demonstrating mastery of the topic. I have also earned the NCOPE.
- Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) This one is awarded by the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches. I have earned this one also. In my opinion, while it is a desirable and very valid designation, it’s somewhat easier to obtain than the NCRW. As of this writing, there are 881 active CPRWs.
Other designations for certified resume writers
In my experience, the above 3 certifications are the most often encountered. However, there are some others to consider:
- Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW) and Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW) from Career Directors International.
- Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) and Academy Certified Profile Writer (ACPW) from Resume Writing Academy.
- Master Resume Writer (MRW) from Career Thought Leaders.
If a resume writer is not certified, does that mean they’re no good? No, of course that’s not necessarily true. There are undoubtedly many competent resume writers out there that, for whatever reason, have never become certified. But the reverse is much more reliably true: if a resume writing professional has earned one or more certifications, you can feel confident that not only have they demonstrated a high level of competence and knowledge, but that they take the craft of resume writing seriously and have dedicated themself to excel in it.
You’re making a big investment when you hire a professional resume writer. Not just in terms of the money paid to the writer. The stakes are high in terms of opportunity cost. Landing the right career opportunity can mean tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars in increased earnings over the years. Your career is too important to take chances with. Hire a certified professional resume writer to be sure.
Phil Hurd is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE). He specializes in creating resumes, LinkedIn profiles, biographies, and cover letters for executives and individual contributors in all functions in technology-oriented industries.
If you need knowledgeable and experienced help developing your own personal marketing documents, please book a free consultation call to discuss your project with Phil by clicking this link: https://catalystresumes.as.me/20minuteconsult