Can you put a price on your career?

A strong resume is critical – but just how much should it cost you?

There are two things clients want to know when they first get in touch with me about writing their resume. First, they’re interested in my background, and specifically, my experience with people in their field or industry. Second – and perhaps even more urgently – they want to know what’s it’s going to cost.

Because there is such a wide range of price points, I think some insights on what goes into the resume writing process may clear up misconceptions, while bringing awareness to when you might be paying (a lot) more than necessary.

Let’s take a look at some common questions I get about pricing:

“What are the steps involved? Why am I paying so much for one or two pages of information, especially when I’ve provided the details?”

If all that was done was taking an old resume and doing a bit of rewriting, you’re right – you shouldn’t pay a whole lot for it. A reputable writer, however, will be doing much more than that. From a conversation about your goals and questions about your accomplishments to edits and revisions that maximize impact, a lot is going to happen from the time you contact a writer to when you get the final version. I often have phone calls with my clients and I always work with them until they are happy with the results. So the price you are paying is for the entire engagement and all the time that goes into it, not just the resume document.

Why should I pay hundreds of dollars when I see places online where I can get a resume for $50 – or less?!?

If your main objective is to get the cheapest resume available, you can find someone to do it. The trade off is in the quality of the document you get back and the service you receive. You are likely to get a boilerplate resume that can be found anywhere online. It probably won’t have essentials such as targeted keywords and you can be fairly certain that there won’t be much opportunity to speak to your writer or make many changes.

Quite frankly, if you only want to pay a very small amount of money, I think you’re better off getting a book from the library or finding tips online and writing it yourself.

Why do some resume services cost SO much?

You’re right. Just as you can pay next to nothing, you can also spend an awful lot. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Many companies charge much higher fees and focus on executive-level clients, folks used to spending quite a bit on most things they purchase. Investing more in something makes them feel (not always accurately) like they are getting “more” for those extra dollars. Sometimes in fact, they DO get more – their packages might include a mock interview or job-hunting support. Other times, it’s more of a psychological thing, as opposed to real value.
  • A bigger company often employs contract writers and possibly editors. Their pricing will reflect those costs, as well as a higher margin for themselves. In addition to my work with personal clients, I also create resumes for those companies – but while it’s the same me doing the job, the price a client pays is far more than I’d charge if they were paying me directly (and I get a relatively small portion of that). That isn’t a knock on the big guys out there – just a reality of the world. We all know that there are stores that charge more for the same product. It’s no different for a resume.
So how do I know what to pay?

A bit of research can help you determine your price point, as well as what exactly you’re getting. Look on the company’s website – do they offer everything you need? Are there limits to what you can expect? What are the opportunities you’ll have to work directly with your writer? Then consider your budget. If you’re at the early stages of your career or have a fairly straightforward career, do you need to spend $500 or more for that resume? My instincts say no, but it’s a judgment jobseekers need to make for themselves.

One thing that I’ve found as people pay more is that they often expect something “magical” from their resume, some intangible element that has never been seen before or will automatically get them through the screening process. Unfortunately, they can face disappointment when their completed resume doesn’t appear completely different from every resume that’s been created before. Having written tens of thousands of resumes, I can assure you that 99% of resumes follow a fairly similar structure and look. The difference is in the details that help you stand out.

The best way to know what you’re paying for is to take a look at (or ask for) samples. See what’s the company and its writers have created before – chances are, yours will look something like one of them. If nothing looks great, it may be a sign that you need to keep searching for the right writer.

My personal focus is on providing clients with a strong, focused resume that highlights strengths and accomplishments – and doing so at a reasonable price that takes into account the time and energy I spend on creating, editing, and polishing it, as well as the conversations that take place throughout each client engagement.

In the end, you want to feel good about the money you spend, both in terms of your budget and in what you expect from your writer—this way you can feel confident that you are getting what you pay for.

One thing is invariably true – when you’ve landed that target position, odds are that you’ll be happy you made the investment.

To getting the job of your dream – cheers!

Paula

The Resume Girl

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4 thoughts on “Can you put a price on your career?

  1. Being ICT consultant, I revise my resume to meet the job requirements as every job description is written by a different person with unique keywords. Unless I have to insert those keywords, I can even think of getting through the short listing process. Do you recommend to pay and consult a resume professional before applying for every job ?

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    1. Hi Michael –

      Great question! While you shouldn’t have to overhaul your resume completely for each opportunity (assuming they’re in the same area), you’re smart to adjust things like keywords to align with different job postings.

      As for consulting with a writer, doing that could help you nail down a strategy and ensure that you have a strong foundational document that can be customized as needed. You may find that you want assistance in updating the resume as your career progresses, but you shouldn’t have to start from scratch unless you are shifting your focus entirely.

      If you’d like to discuss, you can reach me at info@gettoeworkresumes.com

      Cheers,
      Paula

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Michael –

      I didn’t get notification of your last message, it’s been awhile – my apologies!

      If you are just changing keywords for the resume, there shouldn’t be a need to consult with someone each time. Perhaps keep a file with the different sets of keywords that you can insert as they fit a particular job. Your job descriptions themselves shouldn’t need to change.

      Cheers,
      Paula

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