How to know if resume writing certifications have value

How to know if resume writing certifications have valuePerhaps you saw logos for resume writing certifications on websites like mine. Maybe you have even wondered what certification means.

I met a new resume writer on Twitter and visited their website. The website was very nice. I went to the about page to learn more about the owners. The introduction was informative but then I read the phrase: “we don’t have any of those gimmicky resume writing certifications.”

To be honest, I was offended. Not because I think every resume writer should be certified to prove they are good writers but because of the message. In one word, they put down every certified resume writer or participated in the certification process. I know they couldn’t know what I know about resume writing certifications or the process of being certified.

What they don’t know about the resume writing community

In the beginning, I didn’t know there was a resume writing community. In 1991, a resume writing organization invited me to join but I didn’t know if I should. Finally, in 1999, I joined the Professional Organization of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC). I found a global community of people who wrote resumes just like me. They might be my competition but they were also friendly and helpful. Many of those resume writers are still my friends. People I call for advice.

resume writing certifications CPRWIn 2003, a resume writer visited me and encouraged me to seek my first certification. She told me, “Yes, go for it!” I was scared and afraid I wasn’t good enough to pass the certification testing process. To earn my Certified Professional Resume Writer designation, I submitted a resume and cover letter written based on a profile PARWCC sent me. I also answered questions about the field and wrote an essay. When I earned the first of my resume writing certifications, I was thrilled!

Why are there different resume writing certifications?

Multiple quality career organizations certify resume writers. My two newest certification are from Career Directors International. Some colleagues are certified by the National Association of Resume Writers or the Resume Writing Academy. In addition, different levels and types of certifications measure different skill sets.

resume writing certifications CMRWIn 2014, I earned my second certification, the Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW). It was the hardest to earn. I submitted 7 different resumes, two cover letters, and a text resume. In addition, I wrote a 1000 word essay on my philosophy and approach to resume writing and why I feel qualified to be awarded the CMRW.

I was so nervous. The global certification panel passed me on my first try but they did tell me I needed more white space in my resumes. I think of those instructions every time I write a resume.

My third resume writing certification is the Certified Executive Resume Master. Not every resume writer wants to write for executives. In addition to other industries, fields, and career levels, I write resumes for the executive market. I wanted to make sure my work was top-notch. Again, I submitted four resumes to a global panel of resume experts and took a timed test. All resume submissions had to be executive level resumes written for real clients. Of course, I was stressed and scared I wouldn’t pass. But I did.

What did I gain from resume writing certifications?

I’m a better resume writer because I understand the standards. This doesn’t mean all resumes should look the same or have the same words but they should be written at a high level of quality and meet certain specifications. I appreciate my colleagues who serve on the certification committees. They don’t know whose resumes are submitted, they evaluate quality.

There is continuing education offered. Some certifications require completing additional training to ensure I stay current on changing job search strategies and resume writing skills. I am required to renew my certifications too. Next year, the Certified Master Resume Writer is up for renewal. I will be just as nervous to find out if I pass as I was the first time.

Don’t I know I write quality resumes? Of course I do. My clients are hired for great jobs!

The resume writing certifications confirm my skills. I want that validation from my colleagues!

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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