Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Results: Resume Writers' Digest 2008 Subcontracting Survey

This is the third in a series of posts outlining the results of the Resume Writers' Digest 2008 Subcontracting Survey. You can read Part I of the survey results here and Part II of the survey results here.

While most subcontractors profess to enjoy their work, one of the biggest issues is compensation. When asked "what one thing you would change about your subcontracting relationship if you could," the subject of money surfaced again and again, as did the desire for more subcontracting work.

"I think most of the larger firms do not pay their writers adequately," says one resume writer. "If I had to subcontract to stay in business, I would quit writing resumes altogether, I think."

One writer lamented, "They were paying $75 for me to sift through up to 45 pages of information to do a cover letter and resume. It wasn't worth the time."

Several resume writers responded that they would like additional compensation for special services -- "higher pay rates for weekend work" or "additional compensation for weekend and holiday assignments."

Other responses:

  • "More appreciation for my work."
  • "More time to complete projects."
  • "No rigid template -- each resume is unique and deserves to be written from scratch."
  • "Higher quality of clientele"
  • "More complete information at the beginning of the process."
  • "More standard responses for answering typical client questions."
  • "More flexibility in formatting."
Why They Don't Subcontract Anymore
Those who no longer subcontract most often cite compensation and the desire to build their own businesses as reasons why they stopped subcontract writing.

"I have not subcontracted for many years. I have moved on in pricing and other issues that does not make it worth my while any more," writes one individual. "The other reason is that so many want you to write just like them; as if they wrote it themselves -- and that is very difficult to do after writing for so many years in my own style."

Another writes, "The only bad thing (about subcontracting) is the (lack of) money. When you get clients to your site who pay you the full price, and then you get your subcontract work and only get 35 percent, it's disappointing."

Advice From Other Subcontractors
Some respondents offered advice for their peers considering subcontracting:

"Advise people to be careful of the agreements they sign with some of the firms that offer subcontracting. There is at least one (company) out there that has a non-compete agreement which can make it difficult to have your own clients or set up your own business if the relationship does not work in the long term."

Another advises resume writers to evaluate the opportunity for work before signing on:

"Check on the level of jobs available from firms offering subcontracting. Some firms have a lot of work -- others do not. Make sure you will have enough work."

Another suggests asking other subcontractors for recommendations: "Some firms don't treat their writers well or support them in cases of difficult clients."

While some writers raved about the working relationships they have fostered, subcontracting isn't for everyone.

One wrote, "I strongly believe that subcontracting in the field of resume writing is the equivalent of sweatshop labor in third world countries."

If you find an individual or firm that is a good fit for you, one survey respondent pointed out the bottom line: "If you are very good and efficient, there is a lot of money to be made."

Another added: "If you work for an excellent firm with lots of clients, excellent contractor pay, and information sharing/training, then subcontracting is the way to go!"


Interested in learning more about subcontracting as a resume writer? Purchase the Resume Writers' Digest Special Report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor."

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