Monday, May 5, 2008

The Fake CPRW Controversy

A few months ago, I wrote about "fake career associations" -- specifically, a bogus outfit called the "National Association of Career Professionals" that purported to offer a "Certified Professional Resume Writer" credential.

This issue has surfaced again -- this time, in response to a post by Marilyn Maslin, of The Maslin Group, on the Denver Jobing blog. Ms. Maslin wrote a blog post titled "How to Select a Resume Writing Service: Part I" in which she writes:

What are the Writers Credentials:
What is their writing experience and business background? Many résumé writing firms promote that they are staffed by certified résumé writers. T
he most common certification is the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). This certification is purchased online and allows companies to use the CPRW logo or seal to build credibility. In truth, this seal can simply be purchased without much hassle. To understand your writers credentials inquire into their business experience. Do they have expertise in resume writing, hiring, recruiting, human resources, or your specific industry? It is important to note that a good résumé writer must also be an experienced interviewer. The résumé writing process always begins with asking the right questions.

As the author of "Are You Certifiable?," an in-depth examination of the major certifications offered by the four largest legitimate professional resume writing associations, I feel qualified to offer an opinion on this issue.

Ms. Maslin is correct that the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) credential is the most common certification -- but that's the CPRW offered by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC) -- NOT the certification she purchased online approximately 16 months ago, according to her follow-up post.

I believe her CPRW came from the "National Association of Careers Professionals" -- NOT from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches...primarily because PARW/CC does not have a record of Ms. Maslin being awarded a CPRW from their organization.
Ms. Maslin does not reference the CPRW credential on her website. Individuals who receive their CPRW from the PARW/CC receive a logo they can display on their sites. Nor does her name come up when conducting a search of Certified Professional Resume Writers on the PARW website.

I've contacted Ms. Maslin and left her a message. I hope to talk to her directly and see what organization's name appears on her "CPRW" certificate. If it looks like this (below), she got scammed:

I can't find my CPRW certificate at the moment (we've moved offices twice since I received it in 2004), or I'd scan it in and show you what a real (earned) CPRW certificate looks like. (If someone wants to scan theirs in and e-mail it to me at, I'll be happy to post it.)


  1. I personally have known Marilyn for years and she is a professional and intelligent human resources professional.

  2. If Marilyn is so professional and intelligent, I am curious why she doesn't realize you can also pay a fee and "earn" a seemingly legitimate bachelor's, master's or even PhD degrees! I don't doubt there are avenues available to 'buy' flawless, but fake credentials of every sort. However, to imply the CPRW designation is nothing more than this, is unfair to the majority of individuals who study hard and pass the CPRW exam.

  3. I would also be curious about why the quoted text has grammar errors. Hmmm...

  4. And are you certified because your name also does not appear on the link you posted.

  5. As a resume writer and career advisement professional for more than 20 years, I have never been inclined to join any of these associations. None are accredited by any city, state or federal authority. The holistic industry will never receive the FDA’s stamp of approval, yet many find merit in the medicines/practices. It's all a matter of choice, whether to hand over your hard earned green to individuals that hung up shingles and proclaimed they are experts, qualified to legitimize other industry professionals. My formal education and experience will continue to suffice, thank you kindly.

    1. Hello, I am curious about these so-called certifications for Resume writing. I have been in Recruitment for 20 + years on both sides of the hiring process and never once have I asked or wondered about the looks or feel or the format of the resume. In the days before the internet it was content that mattered and if one were to get noticed they used a different color of paper to stand out from the pile. Today its a dispassionate selection of keywords that determine who gets selected. I personally prefer a targeted cover letter and retire the requirement for resumes altogether because after viewing thousands of them in my career, they are overly overstated, overrated, embellished with fancy words like talent when most people don't understand the difference experience, skills and true talent as the difference between a job or a career.