Step into the world of resume writing and your words can help people land their dream jobs, but only if you're qualified to write solid resumes that pique an employer's interest. Resumes are enormously important, but there's no degree or training needed to call yourself a resume writer. Experience, writing ability, communication and a certification separate the qualified resume writers from the unqualified ones.
An ideal resume writer has past experience writing resumes. Experience is one of the best teachers in any profession. Familiarity with penning resumes gives you an understanding of what works, how to word certain phrases, how to create a resume specific to the client and ultimately how to make an employer snap his fingers and say, "I'm calling her." In addition to having written resumes, your experience can include employment history and education. A background in human resources, for example, complements your resume writing skills. As you build your portfolio, ask your past clients whose resumes have netted them a job if you can use them as references. References not only validate your experience, they show that your experience translates into results.
Strong writing ability serves as one of the most basic qualities of a successful resume writer. The Average Jane can jot down a few sentences explaining how she worked in sales, works well with others and graduated from college. You need to take that seemingly bland information and turn it into a riveting description that makes Average Jane look like Super Jane. A few ways of doing this include using active phrases and sentences, showing instead of telling and discarding cliches and overused phrases. Writing well also means you edit well. Ensuring that a client's resume is spotless and completely free of mistakes is paramount to impressing an employer. Showcase your writing skills with resume samples and through the content on your professional website. Your samples should include several resume formats, and each one should focus on a specific position, demonstrating your knack for creating custom resumes rather than mass-produced ones.
Great communication enables you to fine-tune resumes and tailor them specifically to each person's needs. One of the most important facets of communication as a resume writer is knowing which questions to ask. Suppose a client has been out of work for a few years. You could ask what she has done during that time, but it would be better to ask her what positive things she's done during that time, such as volunteering or going back to school. Finding out that information enables you to fill in the employment gaps with something meaningful so that employers don't have the impression she did nothing productive during her time away from the workplace. The ability to pry helpful information out of clients can mean the difference between a mediocre resume and one that shines.
As a resume writer, don't expect much business until an association certifies you. "The Wall Street Journal" warns against thinking all certifications are the same. Some associations have more stringent requirements than others. For example, some require writers to have a certain level of experience, a list of references, pass multiple tests and continue to earn a certain number of continuing education credits to remain certified. Other associations require writers to pass a test only. You can find these requirements by visiting each association's website. Don't take the easy way out. Prospective clients will be more impressed if you opt for an association that has a rigorous certification process.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.