When hunting for a job, your resume can make the difference between scoring an interview or not even getting a reply.

Writing a resume is certainly something you can do for yourself, but there are some circumstances where it can be beneficial to hire help. For example, if you aren’t confident about your writing skills, if you’re considering a career change, or if you’re going back to work after a long gap, a resume writer may be able to help you find a job faster.

Better Business Bureau recommends the following tips to hire a reputable resume writer and get the most for your money.

How to hire a professional resume writer

  • Know your goals. Effective resumes combine your goals and job history to help you land your ideal position. Your work history includes a variety of skills and achievements, but what you emphasize depends on the job you want. Always define your career goals before you set out to create a resume. A resume writer can’t deliver a compelling product without knowing what type of job you want.
  • Ask for recommendations and read reviews. One of the best ways to find a reputable resume writer is to ask your friends, family, and workmates if they’ve worked with a professional resume writer they can recommend. Also, thoroughly research potential candidates. Read reviews from their website and third-party websites. In addition, you can look up companies at BBB.org to find their business rating, as well as customer complaints and reviews.
  • Find out who does the writing. Some companies have clients speak to a sales representative who takes down information and passes it on to the writer. This is less than ideal. The best resume writers will spend some time speaking to you personally to get to know your personality, determine your work history, and discuss your current and future career goals.
  • Double check each writer’s credentials. A quality resume writer is more than just a good writer. Forbes says, “Typically, a resume writer is a career counselor, former recruiter, has HR hiring experience and is college-educated.” Find out more about a writer’s background before you hire them. What exactly are their credentials? Have they worked in corporate HR? Are they familiar with your specific industry? Are they a member of the National Resume Writers’ Association? You may not need someone with all these qualifications but certainly look for someone with a solid knowledge of your field.
  • Ask for samples and references. Reputable writers should be able to give you samples of their work. Ask for references of people who used their service and got a job. Don’t feel satisfied with just a list; contact the references whenever possible to inquire about their experience with the resume writer.
  • Understand the terms. Many resume writers offer guarantees, such as full refunds and unlimited rewrites. Don’t take these terms at face value. Read the fine print to find out if there are conditions. For example, you may only be eligible for a rewrite within a specific period. In addition, each resume writer has their own turnaround time, so make sure you know when you can expect to receive your finished resume.
  • Get to know pricing before you pay. Resume writing and reviewing services can range from free to thousands of dollars. Set your budget and work within it. Remember that a truly professional service isn’t likely to come from companies offering cheap or free resume rewrites. Quality resume writers generally charge anywhere from $400 to over $1,000 for their services, depending on your experience level.
  • Watch out for red flags. “Too good to be true guarantees” (i.e., “You’re guaranteed to get a job in 7 days or less!”), extremely low pricing and unclear pricing and processes are all signs you may want to look elsewhere for a resume writer. In addition, be wary of companies who claim they can rewrite your resume without ever speaking to you and companies who provide you with a resume you can’t edit later on.
  • Expect to spend time working with the writer. Resume writers collaborate with you to create a resume. You will need to spend time speaking with them, either on the phone or via email. You may need to fill out forms or questionnaires beforehand. You can also expect to give feedback on your resume once it’s completed, and some back and forth may be necessary to refine the final version. This is the only way to get a solid resume that reflects your personality and highlights the right skills for your future job.

For more information

Find resume services near you. Read BBB’s study on job scams. To check the reliability of a company, visit BBB.org

Protect yourself from scams by reading “10 Steps to Avoid Scams.” To report a scam, visit BBB.org/ScamTracker.