How to Start a Resume Writing Service

Pros, Cons, and Steps to Helping Others Land a Job

Woman looking at laptop and resume in hand
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Resumes are often the first and last chance a job seeker has to make an impression on a potential employer. Unfortunately, too often, resumes are ignored. According to a Business2Community article:

  • The average time spent by recruiters looking at a resume: 5 to 7 seconds.
  • 76% of resumes are discarded for an unprofessional email address.
  • Only 35% of applicants are actually qualified for the jobs they apply to.

Most resumes are boring lists of skills and experience, or they try to stand out by doing something unique, that ultimately gets them rejected. What's important to understand about resumes is that they're a marketing tool. 

Many people have what it takes to do the job, but they don't have a resume that adequately shows off their skills and experience. That's when they turn to a professional resume writer.

Overview of a Resume Writing Business

Resume writers take the information provided by a job seeker and convert it into a document that will help the job seeker stand out to potential employers. 

Resume writing fees for a work at home business often range between $400 and $1,100, according to Martin Yates, author of Knock 'Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2016. This range has to do with the types of clients and their needs. For example, an entry-level resume would be on the lower end, around $400. But an executive resume, or one in a specific field such as technology, will cost more. Part of this has to do with the amount of information going on a resume. A college grad has a shorter resume than an executive looking to change jobs. Many resume writers promise quick turnaround -- some within hours -- to anxious customers willing to pay more for a quick turnaround. Resume packages often include a cover letter as well, and, on occasion, follow-up letters.

Providing a resume writing service not only requires that you know how to present candidates in the best light but also, interviewing skills and possibly career coaching advice. 

The advantage of starting a resume writing service is that it has very low start-up costs, can be run from home (or anywhere) full or part-time, and doesn't require any specific education or training, although people with a background in human resources or recruiting are at an advantage. 

Pros of a Resume Writing Service Work at Home Business

  • Low startup costs.
  • The need for well-written resumes is pretty much economy-proof; workers are seeking advancement in good times and basic employment in bad times.
  • You can run your business part-time or full-time
  • No formal training is necessary, although a background in human relations or recruiting is a definite plus.
  • Through email, messaging and VoIP or video-calls, you can run your business anywhere in the world. 

Cons of a Resume Writing Service Work at Home Business

  • In a bad economy, when people need your services, often they can't afford them.
  • It might be difficult to maintain a steady flow of clients, although you can supplement through other services such as career coaching, or offering other types of freelance writing.
  • Resume writing is not as artistically satisfying as other writing pursuits.
  • There's lots of competition.
  • While you don't need specific training or certification, a background in HR or recruiting, and/or certification can increase your marketability and allow you to charge more.

What You Need to Get Started

Starting a resume writing business requires many of the same steps as any other business, including choosing a business name, deciding on your business structure, and obtaining necessary licenses or permits.

In terms of starting a resume service specifically, you should have or know:

  • Writing skills. Lean, punchy and correct writing get resumes read. Resumes are marketing tools, so the ability to "sell" the candidate is crucial.
  • Good interviewing skills to assess your client's background, skills, experiences, and abilities
  • What types of resumes you'll write. Will you focus on a specific niche or market?
  • Develop your business and marketing plans. 
  • Create your marketing tools including business cards, website, LinkedIn profile and other items you can use to attract your target market. 
  • A computer, good printer, CD burner, resume-quality stationery, templates, which you can create yourself, and an Internet connection