How to Become a Professional Resume Writer

Photo of a resume on a desk with a laptop.

When it comes to freelance writing, the sky really is the limit. From blog posts to video scripts to eBooks, there are so many different types of content that you can write that you could spend years mastering all of them. One important service you may have neglected to consider, however, is writing resumes. If you haven’t yet started offering this service to your clients, you might want to think about it.

That said, it’s easy to see why this service is often overlooked. After all, we tend to think of freelance content writing in terms of businesses and organizations, since those parties are most likely to be our clients. But aspiring job seekers are just as much in need of content—it’s just that their content happens to be very different in its purpose. What job seekers need most are well-written, professional resumes that they can submit to their potential employers. That’s where you come in!

Here is what you need to know about becoming a professional resume writer:

What are the qualifications for being a professional resume writer?

The truth is, you don’t necessarily need any prior qualifications to be a resume writer. After all, anybody can create a resume. The trouble is, most people create resumes that look more or less the same as the formulaic-looking resumes you can find free on the internet. If someone is reaching out to a professional to create their resume for them, it’s safe to say that they expect something more than that. That’s why it will be immensely helpful to you if you can cite professional qualifications that establish your credentials.

For example, you may want to become certified by the National Resume Writers Association (NRWA), which is a nonprofit trade organization that was founded to help professional resume writers. In order to be certified, you will need to pass a lengthy examination that will prove that you have the necessary skills to be considered an excellent resume writer. The group’s website offers a sample exam and a list of books that you can review to help ensure that you pass the exam.

There are also other credentials that you can obtain. For instance, you can become certified by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC), a group that also helps job seekers find professionals to create their resumes for them. Along with helping you connect with other professionals in your field, this can help you make sure that you understand how to produce professional, up-to-date work for your clients.

What skills do I need to possess to write resumes professionally?

It should go without saying that professional resume writers should have strong writing skills in English, including a strong grasp of basic spelling and grammar rules. It will help if you have mastered popular word processing programs such as the latest versions of Microsoft Word. You should be able to self-edit your writing, and you should have a good eye for details. If you let any errors go by in the resumes you create, it won’t speak well for the quality of your work.

In addition, you should be able to write cleanly, clearly, and persuasively. Keep in mind that resumes are intended to sell a professional job seeker’s talents and background, and to frame them in a way that will be most helpful to that person’s career goals. Every person’s resume, therefore, will be different. Professional resume writers don’t simply churn out one resume after another using a formula—they match their resumes to the specific needs of every client. If you can become this kind of resume writer, you’ll be much more likely to find the kind of clients you’re looking for.

How can I find clients as a professional resume writer?

Once you’ve got the qualifications you want, and once you’re confident that you can produce high-quality resumes, it’s time to start searching for your clients. But if you’re just getting started, this can seem like a formidable task. Everybody has to start somewhere, but finding that very first client can turn out to be the biggest hurdle of all.

Many resume writers simply find their clients through word of mouth. You may want to ask friends, family members, and even co-workers if they know anybody who is in need of a professionally composed and formatted resume. You may be surprised how many people will jump at the opportunity—even people who currently have jobs may be thinking about jumping back onto the job market, and they’re going to want to make sure that their resumes are as polished as possible.

Keep in mind that many of the clients you work with will already have resumes. Your job isn’t necessarily to create a brand-new one from scratch, but to treat that existing resume as raw material that you can reshape into a fantastic tool that your client can use to sell himself or herself on the job market.

What kind of online presence should a professional resume writer have?

Your first step should be to start your own website where you can provide a rundown of the services you offer and an explanation of how they can help your clients. Make sure that you’re keeping your tone simple, universal, and understandable. After all, the more approachable and engaging you seem, the more likely it is that job seekers from a wide range of different walks of life will want to work with you.

Once you have a few satisfied clients, ask them to write reviews that you can post on your website. You should also make sure that you’re promoting your services on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The more visible your services are, the larger a pool of potential clients you will have.

If you’ve been looking for the boost you need to launch yourself into the freelancing life, let Writers Work show you the way! No matter what type of writing you’re interested in pursuing, our website can help. We’ve got the sound, up-to-date resources and training tools you need to get that extra edge in the competitive world of professional freelancing. Want to learn more? Sign up today!

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