The quality of a resume can make or break an applicant’s chances of getting a job — and many professionals who are both experienced and highly qualified lack the skills and confidence to craft their own resumes. Many instead decide to turn to professional resume writers, who may also craft cover letters and even offer career coaching as part of a package deal.
Should the prospect of helping others get their dream jobs excite you, we can immediately tell you that the average salary for a professional resume writer is around $43,000 a year. Your earning potential depends, however, on several factors. They include your qualifications, relevant industry experience, and whether you hold a professional credential.
Average Salary for Resume Writers
Keeping in mind that the median annual salary for all writers and authors is, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the lowest 10 percentile earning less than $35,880 and the top earners making more than $133,460 per year, the average annual salary for professional resume writers is fairly generous.
- Glassdoor reports that resume writers are able to earn an average of $55,142 per year.
- According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for resume writers is $42,745, and roughly a quarter of all writers in this niche make approximately this amount.
- PayScale cites an average annual income of $54,000 for resume writers who hold the CPRW credential.
Overall, this amounts to an hourly pay rate in the region of $21.
Salary Based on Experience and Education
The fact that data — as reported by ZipRecruiter — suggests that some resume writers, who may work on a part-time basis, make as little as $11,000 per year, while the top earners can make as much as $69,000, suggests that individual writers’ income potential depends greatly on their education and years of experience.
This is backed up, informally, by the resume writing jobs we have evaluated on Indeed. Some resume writing companies explicitly ask for entry-level writers, who may recently have completed a related degree or are still studying. Others require not only upward of three to five years of experience, but also professional experience in relevant fields such as HR, recruitment, or career coaching.
Preference is generally given to those with professional credentials, and holding a CPRW will increase your earning potential.
Top Paying States
ZipRecruiter suggests that California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are among the highest paying states for professional resume writers. Salary.com reports the following states are the best places for resume writers to explore job opportunities:
- Washington DC
- New York
You will generally find more opportunities in those areas that are currently experiencing large job booms in your field of expertise.
However, it is also important to note that resume writers have outstanding opportunities to work remotely. So long as you have relevant industry experience, resume writing is a job that you can do from anywhere in the country. Many resume writing services actively embrace remote workers.
What Exactly Does a Resume Writer Do?
Job applicants are, in today’s world, highly aware of the fact that the resume they provide offers prospective employers an all-important “window” into their potential as future employees. A resume allows employers to evaluate an applicant’s qualifications, experience, and personality at a quick glance, frequently spending only a very brief amount of time on each resume before moving on to the next. In addition, employers in the 21st century increasingly rely on software that vets resumes, independently making decisions about each applicant’s merits before a human ever has the chance to lay eyes on these essential documents.
It is no surprise that many job applicants have jitters!
Those job seekers who are not confident in their ability to pack their essence into such a short document, and to do well at “selling” their abilities in the right words in the process, increasingly turn to professional resume writers instead.
Professional resume writers are experts who:
- Follow the latest industry trends, often for each specific sector, and have a deep awareness of what employers look for in their applicants.
- Are artfully able to represent the applicants for whom they are writing professional accurately, based on their true employment experience, qualifications, and other relevant skills, but can also show them in the more favorable light possible.
A resume writer may be hired to write one single resume which a job seeker will subsequently use to make numerous different job applications, or they may be asked to tailor each resume to a specific job application. In the process, these professionals have to be intimately familiar with the qualities employers in each field look for, as well as being creative and convincing writers who can “transport” themselves into the minds of each job seeker to create a resume that does them justice.
Some resume writers work, whether full-time or part-time, for professional resume writing services. Other resume writers are more versatile professionals who, working as freelancers, may take on a variety of different writing jobs that could also include academic writing or web content writing.
Qualifications to Be a Resume Writer
The qualifications you may need to become a professional resume writer vary widely:
- To work for a professional resume writing service, a Bachelor’s degree will very often be required, and always be welcome.
- To write resumes for job applicants within a specific niche, it will help if you have relevant industry experience yourself. Engineers are better placed to create writers for engineers, for example, while job seekers in the area of human resources are bound to prefer to work with resume writers who have a background in this field themselves.
- The quality of resumes also plays an increasingly important role for potential interns and applicants in search of vocational jobs. You may be able to find work as a resume writer even if you are still a student yourself, depending on the applicants for whom you are creating resumes.
Regardless of your other qualifications, it is important to note that it is possible to obtain a professional credential. The Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches offers a Professional Resume Writer credential (CPRW) to candidates who meet their stringent requirements.
Skills Needed to Be a Resume Writer
Professional resume writers will have to draw on a spectrum of skills to help the job seekers for whom they create resumes land the job offers of their dreams. You may have the potential to become a successful resume writer if you possess the following skills:
- Resume writers will inevitably be people with rock-solid communication skills. You will have to get to know the applicants whose resumes you craft well enough to allow you to convey their personalities in the best way possible. In most cases, resume writers will be extroverts who love working with people.
- Resume writers rely on strong research skills. They need to be familiar with company culture to tailor each individual resume to the company at which the applicant is hoping to receive a job offer.
- Resume writers creating resumes for professionals will have to be proficient at using industry jargon.
- Resume writers benefit from a strong technical knowledge in the arena of automatic resume evaluation software.
If you are hoping to work for a resume-writing service as a full-time employee, your own resume will be your first test. As a freelancer, resume writers also rely on strong sales and marketing skills — they have to be able to convince prospective clients that they are the right people to craft that perfect resume, after all.
Can You Be a Professional Resume Writer Without a Degree?
Strong writers who possess excellent research skills and have relevant industry experience may be able to become professional resume writers. In this case, you will often benefit from beginning your career as a resume writer as a freelancer. Once you gain relevant experience and have a proven portfolio, opportunities may be available to you within resume writing companies.
Scouring the current openings for resume writers listed on popular job sites such as Indeed reveal that some companies view these jobs as entry-level opportunities; this means that you will receive on-the-job training and may be considered even if you do not have a degree. As in other writing-related fields, however, it has to be said that those people who have professional degrees will have more opportunities.
How to Become a Resume Writer?
People generally “fall into” careers as professional resume writers organically. This may be after organically accumulating industry experience. Former Human Resources managers, who have extensive knowledge about the ways in which resumes are evaluated, are excellent candidates. The same holds true for those who have experience working at employment agencies or who have been recruiters in the past.
Professional writers, who have degrees in fields such as journalism, English, or communications, may also find job opportunities in this field. After an entry-level job as a resume writer, they may pursue industry credentials, continue honing their skills, and rise to be in the top 10 percent of earners.
Outlook for Resume Writers Jobs
Resume writers have a unique profession, with data about the precise demand for resume writers sorely lacking. While Indeed currently lists over 1,000 job opportunities for professional resume writers across the United States, only a small portion of those are for full-time employment.