Are you talking about us? Choosing a Resume Writer

A tight-knit community, the career industry community (resume writers, career coaches, and creators of career marketing tools) typically knows when someone is talking about us.

Here’s the interesting thing, though there are now huge resume firms that buy millions of dollars of advertising, the industry was started by people like me.

Choosing a resume writer

When you are choosing a resume writer, who are resume writers? Many are female, though that is not necessarily always the case. I know quite a few exceptional male resume writers and career coaches too!

Many of us work in a home-based office, balancing family priorities, along with writing or coaching. Even more important to you, each of the writers and coaches that I know, care about each other and our clients.

Competition or Colleagues

Few industries can boast as many people who are directly competing in the same market place but who would never use the word competition. In fact, I detailed more about the history of my interaction in the career industry in my post, Competition or Colleagues. We call each other colleagues.

Recently, Alina Dizik wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal digital network entitled, “Hiring A Resume Writer? As these questions first.” There are interesting points. However, the article created quite a stir with job seekers and career pros. For someone who is contemplating choosing a resume writer, it created more confusion than it solved.

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Dawn Bugni, and I all commented on the post. Jacqui already answered in her own compelling style with a post entitled “Selecting a Resume Writer: Trust your intuition.”

Not very long ago, Dawn responded to another such article with her own thought-provoking post, One Bad Apple Doesn’t Necessarily Spoil the Whole Bunch and was joined by myself and others in the comments.

One of Jacqui’s points in response to the article’s contention that you should only hire a resume writer that knows your industry is this:

The highly ‘niched’ resume writing profession (after all, how much more niched can you be than writing ONLY career-focused documents selling to a very targeted hiring audience of decision makers, recruiters, human resource leaders, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, board members, venture capitalists … and more?) is akin to a personal marketing agent that helps job seekers break down barriers to job interview entry.

Hiring a resume writer

You can read the full Wall Street Journal article and comments from us, but here is what I said in my comment:

This kind of article is always interesting to read. As someone who has been a resume writer and a member of the career industry community for more than 25 years, this isn’t new. The thing to note is that this is not advice that you shouldn’t, to some degree, follow for every person or company you hire.

As Jacqui noted, there are many people sell online these days. You can buy services or products of many different types.

Building trust is someone you should do with everyone.

  • If you are selecting a new doctor, I would certainly hope you would do your due diligence in checking credentials, getting references, and talking to others who have used his services.
  • I hope that you are also checking out the mechanic who fixes your car. Make sure he is able to do the work.

Funny thing is… this is exactly what a good resume writer does for you. They interview you, ask you questions to understand your position and what value you bring to the position.

They ask you how you feel you can solve the “pain” of the company that you are looking to work for… what solutions do you bring to the table. Can you do the work?

You talk about guarantees when choosing a resume writer

I promise my clients that I will edit, revise, and add in details they may have forgotten to tell me for 20 business days after the final resume is given them.

My clients collaborate in every step of the process. Face-to-face clients talk with me and I write the resume with them in my office. Virtual clients are interviewed via Zoom and we edit in real time to make sure that we are on the same page.

You are looking for a professional and as Jacqui said, you seek someone with excellent writing skills who can portray your talents and skills to make you marketable.

I don’t need to know your field. YOU do. You articulate your accomplishments and abilities. I write them in resume-speak to help you get interviews.

Should a resume writer guarantee you’ll get a job with the resume?

Of course not, Your writer has no clue if you used the resume, your network, your contacts, and presented yourself well at the interview. The writer has no clue if you left the resume sit on your dresser and gather dust.

My clients trust me. We build a relationship. I care about them. They refer friends and family to me and they come back, sometimes 10 years later, to get an update or a totally new targeted resume.

When you choose a resume writer, use common sense. As Jacqui said, follow your instincts.

Julie Walraven, Certified Professional Resume Writer

When you make a decision about hiring a resume writer, do your due diligence, I agree. You should do that with anyone you hire. But trust that there are many that care about you, your future, and your goals. Learn More


  1. Robin Jones on August 20, 2010 at 6:55 am

    hey lets talk soon!

    • Julie Walraven on August 20, 2010 at 7:01 am

      Sure, you know where to find me! 🙂

  2. Karen Swim on August 20, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Well said! One of the things that attracted me to resume writing was finding others who so genuinely cared about those they serve. Resume writers and those in the career industry are unlike any other group, and it shows. I cringe when I hear people either dismiss the value or allow an unsuitable fit or bad experience to taint their perception of the entire industry. Thank you for so beautifully articulating what I know to be true, this is truly a group of committed professionals who bring both heart and talent to the work they produce.

    • Julie Walraven on August 20, 2010 at 7:35 am

      Thank you, Karen for stopping by! Please come again! If I was in the least not convinced of that from my interaction first on the e-lists, then in social media, going to CTL, CMA, and soon CDI conferences sold me on the valuable, talented, and trustworthy members of the career community. Hope to meet you in person one day, sounds like with think alike!

  3. Barb Poole on August 20, 2010 at 7:31 am

    You said it all so well, Julie! A consumer should do his/her due diligence in engaging ANY service. And having been in the career industry as a coach and writer for over a quarter century now, I do believe our industry is unique in its perception of basically, the laws of abundance. There is enough for all who are good at their craft and care about their clients. I see ongoing referrals when clients need help, constant sharing of expertise and experience.

    A good resume writer is a strategist, wordsmith, listener, and information digger (there are more hats). But the job seeker has to have skin in the game. A good writer will stand by his/her work in terms of correcting errors, making tweaks. I do not guarantee interviews. The resume is one tool in a toolkit. As you said, we have no idea on how it’s being used. I’ve found that one of the biggest obstacles is when job seekers put all their eggs in the resume basket (another subject).

    Throughout my own career, I’ve seen resume writers come and go by the dozens. Earlier, I noticed them in and out of the Yellow Pages and newspaper classifieds. Later, online. Today, there are those jumping on the bandwagon who run mills, or simply are not qualified. I don’t worry about it anymore. I still work with clients who first engaged me 20 years ago. That’s a relationship built on trust. That trust is built on quality and performance. We are skilled craftspeople in a service industry. Unfortunately, the Internet and recognized names like the WSJ can spread miscommunications quickly. Our best defense is to continue doing what we love and doing it well. Those who need us will find us!

    • Julie Walraven on August 20, 2010 at 7:55 am

      You got it, Barb, and being blessed by wise and compassionate colleagues like yourself who recognize all of those multitude of issues is what makes me love the industry! Talk soon!

  4. Jeri Hird Dutcher on August 20, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Julie, when you take on the detractors, I feel like we all sit a little straighter at our keyboards and smile a little brighter into our Webcams. Well done.

    • Julie Walraven on August 20, 2010 at 9:40 am

      Jeri, I am so going to love meeting you in San Diego at Career Director International! I have tears in my eyes now from laughing and from appreciation! You go ahead and sit straighter! We have a lot to smile about!

  5. Bridget (Weide) Brooks on August 20, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Julie: I’ve added a link to your blog post to my blog post today about the WSJ article. Thanks for the great insight.

    Also, you’re spot on with your assessment of “who” the resume writing community is (right in line with the results of the last couple of Resume Writers’ Digest Industry Survey stats).


    • Julie Walraven on August 20, 2010 at 9:42 am

      Thank you Bridget for being the source for industry information. I still have old paper copies of resume writers digest! I go read yours when I get this Director of Operations resume under control to meet his deadline… I love my work!

  6. Shahrzad Arasteh on August 20, 2010 at 10:35 am


    Well said! Thank you for stating what so many of us were thinking when reading this interesting WSJ article, and for raising many good points! To your point on “guaranteeing a job,” I agree completely and always tell my clients to be cautious if anyone says they can guarantee them a job if they invest in a resume or other services with them (unless they own the company and have the ability and authority to hire them!)

    • Julie Walraven on August 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

      Exactly, Shahrzad! What I find amazing is that with the visibility of so many of us, articles like that one keep getting written as alarmist posts and not particularly helpful to anyone. When job seekers need someone they can trust, articles like the WSJ one create fear and distrust in people who might connect with the best writer for them on their own. If someone wrote a similar post about not trusting media, oh wait, I guess I just did… Media needs to be just as responsible in reporting as this writer discussed resume writing. Statistically, if you are only going to work with resume mills without checking the market or if you think bigger always means better, you could be hurt. The writers and career coaches I know don’t fit into either category. They are honest, caring, compassionate people who want the job seeker to be a job keeper.

  7. Christine Livingston on August 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Hey Julie

    What a wonderful post. Although I’m neither a resume writer or a career coach in any traditional sense of that term, you and I have connected recently around similar points of interest and concern. This is building the trust that’s allowing us to reciprocally refer and support one another. Competition has never come into it. Just a belief in being of service to the needs of the global community we serve.

    It’s great to connect with you around such shared values!

    • Julie Walraven on August 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much, Christine. It is very true that we are connected in the same way and do find ways to work together, share, and support each. Looking forward to our chat on Monday!

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Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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