Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Firm Asks "Where Are All The 'Good' Subcontract Resume Writers?"

Well, actually, Matt Craven, of UK-based firm "The CV and Interview Advisors" asked on LinkedIn "Where are all the great CV / resume writers."

He wrote:
My problem is finding great CV / resume writers. Nearly everyone I speak to seems to think they are great but then proceed to produce sub-standard work with spelling errors, grammatical inconsistencies, a lack of knowledge of hot skills (therefore a CV which is ill-aligned with industry-needs), weak or clunky language and dodgy formatting. Does anyone have any advice for finding truly world-class CV / Resume Writers interested in earning industry-leading rates of pay?

Because I have some insight into the topic from my work on the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" special report -- as well as "Developing Strategic Alliances and Partnerships with Recruiters" (which talks about the pay-sharing component of contracting relationships), I gave this response yesterday:

As the editor of an ebook on resume writing subcontracting ("Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor") I may be able to offer some insight to you. In talking with other writers/firms looking for contracting writers, there are a couple common issues:

• Low rates for contracted writing. Because most contracting firms pay their writers between $100-$160 per project (which can be 15-35% of the fee charged), it's hard to find highly credentialed/talented writers who are willing to subcontract write. If you charge your clients 250 British pounds sterling = 400 US dollars, and you pay your writers 30% (a pretty standard subcontracting fee), that's $120. That might seem like a lot, but the Resume Writer's Digest Annual Industry Survey (2010) found that the  “average” resume sale was $509.36 for surveyed writers.

• Many folks who subcontract write fall into a couple of categories: They are looking to build their portfolio of work/get experience, they want to supplement their income while they grow their own resume writing business, they don't like the marketing/pricing side of the business (they just want to focus on the writing), or they want true flexibility in their schedules (with the freedom to accept/decline assignments as they wish).

• As a contracting firm, you want someone who can accept a reasonable volume of assignments, who turns in consistently good and timely work, who will put your clients first (and not flake out if this is a "moonlighting job" and they get busy with their "real job" -- or if they have their own clients) and who will work for a pay rate that still allows you to make money on the "client management" and marketing aspects of the sale. That can be a tough combination to find if you don't know where to look.

• Speaking of that, you might look at how you're getting the word out about your subcontracting opportunities -- some channels are more effective than others. As much as I love LinkedIn, putting a request for writers on here is akin to putting an ad in a newspaper ... and we all know how that goes! You need to "go where the people are" -- reaching out to folks who are already successful as subcontract writers for other firms ... and/or writers who have achieved a minimum proficiency (i.e., certification).

• Speaking of certification -- Lack of standardization of certification and training programs means it's hard to judge a contracting writer's work without wading through lots of samples from "unqualified" writers. While I don't think that all good writers are certified, most certified writers (especially certain types of certifications) are good. The most rigorous certification is the Academy Certified Resume Writer (offered by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark's Resume Writing Academy) -- but it costs over $2000 .... so you're not going to find an ACRW who will write resumes for $100. Or even $200.

• In your case in particular, there are no "local" resume writing organizations -- so to "farm" for writers, you're looking at US-based associations. Most US-based writers aren't familiar with country-specific requirements for resumes and CVs, so there has to be a training component with most writers anyway. You're more likely to find competent writers from the U.S. (just because there are so many of us -- the US resume writing industry has been going strong for more than 15 years!)... but you'll have to teach them the cultural (and spelling) nuances.

What would you think about me creating a database of "vetted" subcontract writers? I've already got a pretty robust database of writers who are interested in the topic (by virtue of them having purchased the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" special report.

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