Monday, September 7, 2009

Results: 2008 Resume Writers' Digest Subcontracting Survey

For many resume writers, subcontracting is a way to smooth out the peaks and valleys of self-employment, at least according to the responses in the Resume Writers' Digest 2008 Subcontracting Survey.

Thirty-three resume writers completed the survey. Of those, 90 percent are currently subcontract writers, either for an individual or a firm. The rest used to write resumes as a contractor, but are not currently doing so.

The opportunity to earn extra income is often the driving force behind the decision to subcontract. The average pay for more than half of all writers surveyed was between $101-$200 per project. Most resume writers are paid a flat fee per completed project (82 percent of those responding), versus a percentage of the client fee. None of the writers who responded are paid by the hour, although these arrangements do exist. For those who are paid a percentage of the project fee, the usual portion for the resume writer is 21-35% of the project fee.

Almost always, these projects include a resume and cover letter, although some subcontract resume writers reported resume-only projects are most typical for them (9 percent). Other services include bios, thank you/follow-up notes, interview preparation training, KSAs, and ASCII text conversions.

Project Management
Most subcontracting projects are assigned via e-mail (75 percent), followed by assignments made through a dedicated web portal.

Turnaround time can influence a contracting writer's satisfaction with the working relationship. While rush fees may be available for extremely short turnaround deadlines, in many cases, contracting writers must produce projects in shorter timeframes than they would when working with their own clients.

Reported turnaround times include:
Less than 24 hours -- 10%
24-48 hours (1-2 days) -- 10%
48-72 hours (2-3 days) -- 24%
3-5 days -- 52%
More than 5 days -- 4%

Working style is a big factor for subcontract writers when choosing an individual or firm to affiliate with. How you work with clients is a matter of personal preference, but choosing a firm that allows you to use your preferred style can make a big difference in your satisfaction with the working relationship. Writers reported a wide range of information-gathering styles (which is often mandated by the contracting firm):
Via e-mail contact only -- 39%
Mostly via e-mail, but up to 20% of contact on the phone -- 42%
Both phone and e-mail -- 15%
Entirely through the phone -- 4%

The majority of subcontracting firms require writers to handle a large portion of the content development process, from initial draft through project finalization, working directly with the client (58 percent). Other firms have writers handle the draft through project finalization, but working with the contractor, not directly with the client (21 percent). Some firms have the writer complete a draft version only, including formatting (21 percent).

As in the previous survey, writers reports that growth in subcontracting opportunities exists for resume writers who specialize in federal resumes, as only three percent of the survey respondents reported they specialize in this area, and demand from firms seeking subcontractors who have expertise in writing federal resumes continues to grow.

You can read the rest of the survey results here.

And if you're interested in subcontracting, purchase the Resume Writers' Digest Special Report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor."

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