The 7 Most Important Questions to Ask an Executive Resume Writer
Seeking an executive resume writer to fast-track your job search?
If you’re starting to compare executive resume writers, you’ll find a field FLOODED with practitioners, all offering different credentials and varying price points.
So how can you ask the right questions to select the best executive resume writer for YOUR situation?
As a first step, look at executive resume writer websites to view (or request) samples of executive resumes.
You should be able to see a clear strategy, powerful writing, and the right executive positioning in each document.
Then, spend time qualifying executive resume writers, using these 7 questions:
1 – How long have you been writing executive resumes?
Your career as a C-level or rising executive requires well-honed insight in order to tune the wording, format, tone, keywords, document flow, and length appropriate to land your target position.
In fact, dozens (to HUNDREDS!) of decisions go into the executive resume writing process, and these decisions are best left to a writer who has dealt with a myriad of leadership stories.
For example, if you’ve held a recent position for only a short time, a skilled executive resume writer will be able to make the call for keeping this role on your new resume, or discarding it in favor of your other jobs.
The same is true for decades-long work histories, rare degrees, or other items that might be best trimmed or saved for a particular section of your resume.
A top-level executive resume writer will offer you at least 6-10 years (even decades) of resume writing experience to present your career in the best light.
Resume writers who are just starting out will need to get a few years of experience before diving into executive-level writing. Even those with Master’s degrees or years of recruiting can find writing at the executive level to be particularly daunting.
2 – What do you know about my field?
It’s been said that a great executive resume writer can produce a resume for any industry, but did you realize many resume experts have an area of specialty?
Just like your lawyer takes on litigation or estate planning (but not both), some resume writers may NOT be the best resource for your field – so you’ll want to ask this question BEFORE handing over the details of your career story.
This is even more important if your field is unique. Most executive resume writers have handled “common” careers such as VP of Sales.
However, if your executive background involves deep-sea research science, locomotive engineering, primitive zoology, or top-secret global innovation, you’ll need to ask questions about the resume writer’s domain experience and tie-in to your industry.
Don’t forget to tap professional resume writing associations, especially if you’re seeking a writer possessing specialized experience.
You can search for resume writers by using the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, National Resume Writers’ Association, Career Thought Leaders, or Career Directors International websites.
3 – How many people have you personally hired?
You can also ask “How many times have you been interviewed?”
What you’re looking for is REAL-WORLD experience sitting in the interviewee’s or recruiter’s chair.
Why does this matter? Anyone can write a resume, but road-testing it is CRUCIAL. If you’ve ever had to defend your resume in an interview, or look the candidate in the eye and assess both their skills and company fit, you know there’s much more behind these actions than a pretty format and the right buzzwords.
Resume writers who’ve done their time assessing candidates or found their own jobs in the past know your concerns. They realize they’re not just writing a document, but earning your trust and staking their knowledge of effective job-hunting practices on your resume.
They’re also focused on results, including the reactions of your interviewers. Hiring authorities are known for asking tough questions!
A resume writer who has sat in your place will know what you’re facing, and will take these scenarios into consideration when producing your documents.
4 – What is your process for learning about my background?
The process and information gathering phase is as important as the final product itself – because your executive career must be fully understood before a writer should tackle your project.
Executive resume writers will often provide you a questionnaire and/or an in-depth strategy interview to extract your accomplishments, career trajectory, and value proposition.
No matter how your writer gathers data, it’s important to feel your career background is being THOROUGHLY explored, because your executive resume must employ a fully developed strategy from ALL your career data in order to present your qualifications.
Be careful when selecting an executive resume writer who intends to pull in just a few extra details, mixed with data from your LinkedIn Profile and existing resume. You may find your new resume to be too similar to your existing document, with words merely rearranged on the page.
5 – How did you get started in the resume writing field?
The answer you get from this question can be VERY telling.
Many executive resume writers are past recruiters or hiring managers, and they’ll tell you they got involved writing resumes for job seekers who would have otherwise lost out on great job opportunities.
Some executive resume writers also jump into the field after developing impressive writing abilities in other areas, such as web copy, news articles, or other pieces requiring strategic thinking skills. Others began resume writing after seeing a dearth of well-written resumes in their industries.
Here’s what you DON’T want to hear: “I started writing resumes because of a recession,” or “I couldn’t get a job so I turned to resume writing.” A true executive-level resume expert got involved because it’s their calling – plain and simple.
By understanding your writer’s purpose for launching a resume business, you’ll be better positioned to make a decision on the best resume writer to handle your project.
6 – What type of training or credentials do you hold?
Even a top executive resume writer will rarely get by with minimal qualifications. In today’s job market, your resume will be closely scrutinized by recruiters, employers, and Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) systems, and likely face AI-powered screening applications – and the MORE expertise your executive resume writer offers in these areas, the stronger your results are likely to be.
To stay current on the techniques used in executive job search and top-shelf resume writing techniques, many executive resume writers seek external validation of their abilities and continual training.
The professional organizations listed under question #2 offer ongoing education, global summits, certification, and even resume writing contests, including Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) awards from Career Directors International or Recognizing Outstanding Achievement in Resumes (ROAR) awards from the National Resume Writers’ Association, putting skilled writers to the test.
Many executive resume experts also stay in close touch with recruiters and hiring managers. Ongoing training and knowledge-building are key elements of writing at the executive level.
By asking this question, you can get a feel for how current your resume writer is on cutting-edge practices and the demands of today’s job market.
7 – Will you write my resume yourself?
Some executive resume writers consult with writing teams or pass writing projects along to other members, while others will completely take on your project, start to finish. While there are pros and cons to each model, it’s best to identify the type of operation PRIOR to making a commitment.
For example, executive resume writers with solo practices are often booked in advance and may not be able to take on an accelerated project (a good idea to keep in mind if you’re contacted for a last-minute opportunity by an executive recruiter). However, you’ll be confident in knowing who is producing your resume.
Some resume writing business owners train or select executive resume writing teams, and can therefore offer you the chance to work with a member of their staff to expedite the process. These operations may also have different processes or coaching resources, in addition to resume experts.
It’s important to decide which model provides YOU the best comfort level and to be aware of what different executive resume services can offer in terms of speed, quality, and support.