How To Become a Resume Writer

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published November 23, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published November 23, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Resumes present the professional skills, background and accomplishments of an individual. These documents are essential in job-searching as most hiring managers will request each applicant to submit a resume as part of the application process.

Many people struggle with writing their own resumes, turning to experienced writers who can produce a professional summary for them. In this article, we discuss how to become a resume writer and what skills are most important to succeed in this role.

What is a resume writer?

A resume writer is responsible for producing professional summaries for their clients. In this role, you would work directly with an individual who needs a professional resume written. The client would provide you with their job qualifications, work history, skills and areas of expertise, and you would take that information and turn it into an engaging and attention-grabbing document.

Since a resume is one of the first things that a potential employer will see about an applicant, it is important that the document is visually appealing and presented in a way that makes the reader want to learn more about the individual. When a client relies on a professional resume writer, they want to receive a finished product that helps them stand out among several applicants, as well as showcase their professional skills and accomplishments in an appealing way.

Related: 10 Steps for Building a Resume

What does a professional resume writer do?

Before you decide whether you want to become a professional resume writer, it is helpful to understand exactly what this role entails and the specific responsibilities and duties you will need to handle.

When working with a client, you will likely receive a list of the individual's qualifications and skills, as well as information about their work history and previous experience. Some clients may request that you use their professional social media profiles or other information, rather than providing it themselves.

Your job is to take the information about the client and transform it into an engaging document that presents them in a positive and appealing way. While strong writing skills are important, resume writers often spend much of their time researching their clients' backgrounds and using persuasive language to appeal to and inform the person reviewing the resume.

Related: How To Write a Resume: Past or Present Tense?

How much can you earn as a professional resume writer?

Many resume writers work on a freelance basis, providing their services to individual clients. Several factors impact the earning potential for each project, including the complexity of the resume, how much research you need to perform to gain insights into the industry and your level of experience in resume writing.

You might earn between $50 and $100 for a basic resume for a newer professional or someone without an extensive work history. For an executive-level client, you might earn up to $300 per resume.

One way to increase your earning potential is to become certified through one of the main professional associations. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary in 2018 for writers, which includes resume writers, was $62,170 per year.

Related: Q&A: How Many Jobs Should I Put on My Resume?

How to become a resume writer

If you are interested in pursuing this career path, following several steps can help you increase your chances of becoming a resume writer.

1.Obtain a bachelor's degree

The first step in working as a resume writer is earning a Bachelor's Degree in English, Communications, Journalism or a similar area of study. You need strong writing and editing skills, and business knowledge can also help you learn common terms used in the corporate world.

If your college or university offers courses in human resources, consider taking some of these courses or pursuing a minor in this area of study. Human resources professionals are heavily involved in the hiring process and review resumes of applicants when they come in, so having a background in this area is helpful when you are writing resumes for individuals who want to stand out.

2. Look for internship opportunities

During or after your college experience, look for internship opportunities to gain hands-on experience. You might not be able to work as a resume writing intern, as many resume writers are self-employed individuals, but you can find opportunities to work with HR professionals or hiring managers to review resumes and identify what sets strong resumes apart.

As an intern, you can strengthen your resume writing skills by learning more about what recruiters look for in resumes and being part of the reviewing and hiring process.

3. Gain experience

The best way to get experience is to start writing resumes. Ask your friends and family members if you can craft resumes for them to improve your skills and practice turning an individual's background and work history into an engaging and appealing summary. You can also look for opportunities to volunteer, such as with organizations that assist with workforce placement and other similar agencies.

4. Attend workshops

Colleges, universities and professional organizations often host workshops that teach people how to craft professional resumes. Attending these workshops can help you gain insights into resume writing and improve your skills. A workshop might cover proper resume formatting, how to include references, the purpose of an objective and other components of a great resume.

5. Get certified

The National Resume Writers' Association (NRWA) and the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW) offer certification options for resume writers. Choosing to go through the process to obtain certification can show your commitment to your craft, as well as qualify you to charge more for each resume you write.

The certified resume writer salary average may be higher than the average for a non-certified resume writer because of their proven qualifications.

Obtaining certification usually involves submitting a portfolio of resume and cover letter samples, as well as passing written and practical tests demonstrating the applicant's knowledge of the industry and resume writing skills. If you become certified through the PARW, you can also choose to be included in the association's searchable directory, which can help clients find you and request your services.

6. Find clients

Understanding how to become a professional resume writer can help you gain the education and skills needed to apply your skills and craft resumes for job seekers. The final step is finding clients who want to use your services and stand out from other applicants when applying to open positions.

You can look for clients through professional social media and network sites, online classifieds and even your own professional network. Setting up a website that demonstrates your skills and includes details about what you offer is another way to generate business and connect with people who are looking for professional resume writing assistance.

Skills for resume writers

Consider these top skills for resume writers:

  • Research: Resume writers often have to perform research to learn about industry-specific terms, qualifications and certifications that need to be included on resumes.

  • Communication and writing: You need strong writing skills, as well as the ability to optimize your copy for the web, as many people post their resumes online.

  • Basic computer skills: Resume writers will also need good computer skills, as they often have to provide resumes in various formats for clients.

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