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Whether you are testing the waters, looking to make a career 180, struggling with job security, or miserable in your current role, the first step toward finding or changing jobs is a resume and, more often than not, an updated LinkedIn profile.

As an executive career marketing documents writer specializing in resumes and LinkedIn profiles, I work with everyone from exceptional writers and communicators to those who absolutely dread the thought of putting pen to paper. Before you decide to outsource and hire a professional or determine it’s best to go it alone, ask yourself these questions.

If you’ve been job hunting, are you seeing results? If you haven’t yet started, is your field competitive? Are you aiming to make a drastic leap into a next-level role or even a new industry? Has it been ages since you’ve had to write about yourself?

If the answer to these is no, and you trust your writing talents, then investing in a professional may not make sense. However, if your responses are yes, then collaborating with a professional may be worth exploring.

If you are contemplating working with someone to craft your resume and LinkedIn profile, it’s important to do your homework. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Certification

Anyone can hang a sign on the door and say they are a professional coach or writer. However, there are also several credentialing bodies out there that can increase your piece of mind, knowing the individuals you are speaking with have been vetted.

  1. Methodology

Once you begin researching, you’re sure to discover that everyone has a different approach. The trick is to find the approach that works best for you.

For instance, must you work face-to-face or will a phone call suffice? How much up-front prep are you prepared to do before working with your writer? Would you rather work with a company that has a team of employees or an individual?

I recommend figuring out which style makes you most comfortable and proceed from there.

  1. Trust And Verification

Successfully working with another person on your career marketing materials requires a shared level of trust. You can gain this through verification, by reviewing recommendations on LinkedIn, on their professional websites, and by asking friends for names.

Anyone confident in their work will also be comfortable submitting samples — so be sure to ask.

  1. Investment

Fees for the development of career marketing materials can depend on a variety of factors, like where you live, how many years of experience you have, how many years of experience they have, and the complexity of your role and aspirations. Your research should give you a sense of the kind of budget that will be required for you to have your needs met.

Collaborating with a career marketing professional to distill your lifetime of work into documents that present you in the best light possible is a matter that requires research and careful consideration. Do your homework and determine your deal breakers before taking the plunge.

As an expert resume writer, I can attest from personal experience with hundreds of clients that the right partnership can yield huge returns on your investment.