Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Industry Survey 2004

As I collect the results of the 2007 Industry Survey, I've been sharing results from previous years' surveys. Here's an excerpt of the article announcing the results of the 2004 Industry Survey:

Being a professional resume writer isn't getting any easier.

Thanks to the Internet, individuals seeking the services of a resume writer now have thousands of choices instead of a dozen or fewer firms found in the local Yellow Pages.

Self-employed resume writers find increased challenge -- or opportunity -- in the leveling of the marketplace. Some establish very specific niches and are able to attract a following from a highly targeted audience. Others compete on price, offering the "low overhead" of country living as an alternative to their more urban counterparts.

Many issues identified in the survey are constant from year to year -- the difficult "mechanics of formatting attention-getting resumes," isolation and the challenge of educating clients on job search strategy or resume pricing. Marketing -- getting clients -- remains a top priority, as the balance between writing and marketing shifts more towards the administrative, and away from the creative.

Is it enough to make the resume writer hang up her pen? Or will she find a way to win over those new clients?

According to the survey, the "average" writer produces four resumes per week, at an average cost of $250. That's $4,000 per month in revenue -- before accounting for marketing expenses, taxes, equipment and supplies, phone and Internet connections, or personal benefits. Even when that income is supplemented with updates and other services (career coaching, career testing, desktop publishing, etc.), the typical resume writer, after taxes, probably nets around $30,000.

They're more connected to colleagues online, but less connected to clients in person. Seventy-five percent of resume writers in our survey work from home. While a large number of them see clients in person at least some of the time (83%), the number of resume writers who report they only work with clients by phone, fax, and/or Internet has increased to 21%. (It was 14% in 2003, and 15% in 2004.)

Without the in-person appointments, virtual resume writers must work harder to connect -- with each other, with their community, and with clients (both actual and potential).

The average resume writer:
So who is the typical resume writer, and what can we learn about the resume writing industry from this survey?

She (respondents are overwhelmingly female) is in her late 40s or early 50s and is self-employed full-time. She has been writing resumes, on average, for 12 years. She works from home and sees clients in person or works with them virtually (by phone, fax, or Internet).

More likely than not, she's certified as a resume writer, but also offers job search coaching (but is not certified as a coach). She writes approximately 17 hours per week (including client consultations, research, and writing), and is a member of two or more professional organizations for resume writing.

-- Source: January/February 2005 Resume Writers' Digest newsletter

Want to compare these results to previous years? See the 2003 survey results and 2001 and 2002 survey results.

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