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If you have watched the news or read a newspaper within the past 5-6 years, you are well aware that the job market in the United States is considerably tougher than it has been in the past. Because of this, many job seekers are turning to professional resume writing companies for assistance. Having a wide variety of companies to choose from is nice, but how are you supposed to choose a company when they all seem to advertise the same services? Below are five key steps to take when evaluating professional resume writing companies:

1) Look for their credentials. As with any industry, there are specific certifications and designations which resume writers must possess to ensure they produce quality work. Perhaps the most well-known is the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) designation. This certification is awarded by the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC) which was founded in January of 1990. Since that time, several other organizations have introduced their own certification processes (CARW, CMRW, ACRW, etc.) as well. When searching for a professional writer, make sure that they have at least one of those credentials, otherwise you may receive a sub-par resume.

2) Evaluate their process. Most companies will have their order process displayed on their website, and this is an important factor to evaluate. Make sure that the writer will call you for a telephone consultation at some point in the process, preferably before working on the resume. An in-depth consultation can help the writer learn more about your background and give the writer an opportunity to ask you questions and gather additional information. Most job seekers leave valuable information off of their resumes, and an experienced resume writer will know what questions to ask to ensure all of your most important information is showcased.

3) Call the company. This is a rather simple suggestion, but it is quite important. Make sure to call the companies you are considering to ensure someone answers the phone. This will help you determine if the company is US-based, but also proves that they are a legitimate business. Some services are only operated part-time, therefore they may not have the time or experience required to write an impressive resume for you.

4) Look out for unrealistic guarantees. To gain a competitive advantage, many companies are now offering guarantees along with their services. Some guarantees are realistic, such as ones that offer money back if you do not land any interviews. Other guarantees, however, are a little exaggerated or require you to jump through hoops to meet their requirements. A good example would be services that that offer to refund you entirely and pay you $100 if you don’t land any interviews using the resume they prepared. Guarantees are great, and offer you peace of mind, but make sure they seem realistic. Make sure to read the fine print associated with the guarantee, otherwise you may end up regretting your decision.

5) Check out their samples. Samples posted by resume writing companies will help demonstrate their expertise, and should give you a pretty good idea how well they can write and format resumes for various industries. If there are errors in the samples, move on to the next company. Keep in mind that companies cannot post a sample for every single job out there, so if you do not see a sample for your industry, look at some other examples to at least evaluate their writing and design capabilities.

In summary, use the five tips above and you should easily be able to select a reputable company to write your new resume. Make sure the company you choose has the necessary credentials, answers the phone, consults with you before writing the resume, has a realistic guarantee, and includes impressive samples of their work. Also consider researching the company online to view previous customer reviews, whether positive or negative.

By Drew Roark