Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
A great resume can help someone get a better job, or even a promotion at their current job. Many people have trouble writing resumes and if you have or can develop a knack for it, you could make a pretty good living opening a resume writing business. This is a great business to start part-time, too. You could knock out a couple of resumes each week while building up your business but still working at your "day job". Below is a beginning list of what you need to start a resume business.
A computer with internet access and word processing capability is a must. A good printer and quality paper are also necessary. You can have a local printer print these if you don't have the equipment, but that will reduce your profits.
You will also want business cards and some sample resumes that you have written in a nice presentation folder or portfolio. (You can practice on friends and family to build your portfolio.)
First and foremost, you need great writing and proofreading skills. Resumes that have even one typo or misspelled word or use incorrect grammar are not acceptable.
You also need to be able to interview your client to help them determine their objectives and relevant skills. This can take some time and effort on your part. It's not just typing it up and making it look pretty; you have to help them define clearly what job they want and exactly how they are qualified for that job. You will also need to know about various resume formats, and when to use each one.
Online resumes: Web-based resumes are a little different than the normal paper-based ones. Most companies now accept online resumes, and some only accept online resumes. To provide online resume services, you will want to make sure they are properly formatted (some sites accept plain text only), and that you have included pertinent “keywords” in the resume. You could offer a package deal for clients who need both. (Most will need both if they plan on searching and applying online—they still need a paper resume to take to the interview.) For online resumes, you would create a document that your client could cut & paste into online resume databases.
To begin, start with friends and family. Do some “freebies” or discounted resumes so that you can both build your portfolio of samples, and so that you can begin the “buzz” that leads to referrals.
College job placement offices are another possibility for referrals. College graduates need resumes well before they graduate. Outplacement offices at some companies who are downsizing could also be a potential for business.
You might also see about putting your cards and perhaps flyers at local employment services offices, libraries and community centers.
Networking with business groups is also a great way to get clients. Many people attending these events are looking for a new job.
What to Charge:
The more experience you have, and the more success at writing resumes that get people the jobs they want, the more you can charge. At first, check with other local resume services and see what they are charging. This could range from a bargain price of $25 up to several hundred dollars per resume. You will probably want to establish a pricing chart based on both the length and complexity of the resume.
Other ways to Make Money:
Cover letters are difficult for most people, too, and most resumes need cover letters. You could offer to write these as well for your clients, for an additional fee.
You could also extend your services by doing research for open positions. With the vast numbers of jobs posted online, just searching for matches is time-consuming and tedious for job-hunters. You can do this for them, compiling a list of jobs in their area, salary range, experience and industry. You would charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee for this service.
Read sample resumes of similar positions at career sites online to get ideas about what works (and what doesn't).
You will need reference books such as The Resume.com Guide to Writing Unbeatable Resumes. A good dictionary will be helpful, and I highly recommend The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, which is a must-have tool for writers.