As you plan out your professional future, whether that includes a job change, promotion, or graduation, you may be wondering: “should I hire a résumé writer?” A more specific question you may be wondering is: “should I hire a nurse résumé writer?”
There are certainly many benefits when you hire a nurse résumé writer. Some obvious ones are the time saved (resume writing is NOT a quick process) and the fact that you are delegating an important task to someone who actually does this for a living.
There can be drawbacks as well, such as cost and making sure that the résumé writer understands your professional history and future goals.
As I nurse résumé writer myself, I actually do not recommend that everyone hire a nurse résumé writer! I’m in the business of transparency, so I’m going to address some common questions and help you figure out the best option for you.
Who Should Hire a Nurse Résumé Writer (and who should not)
I personally think that being able to write your own résumé is a tremendously valuable skill!
To be honest, that is how I got into writing résumés for other people…by learning to write my own (and doing it well!).
When a dream opportunity comes your way, think about the advantages you will have by being able to confidently apply for it.
Here are who I recommend should hire a nurse résumé writer:
- Nurse leaders, administrators, or executives
- Nurses or advanced practice nurses making big career pivots or applying for highly competitive programs or positions
- New graduate nurse practitioners with limited writing skills or in highly saturated geographical areas
These people likely do not need to hire a nurse résumé writer:
- New graduate nurses and bedside nurses
- New graduate advanced practice nurses (this can go either way depending on your goals and skills)
- Nursing school applicants
Challenges of Writing Your Own Résumé
1. It’s time consuming!
Writing a high quality résumé and cover letter takes time. Even as someone who does this professionally, a résumé project can take me anywhere from 2-5 hours.
If you do things right the first time around and create a high quality master résumé, it is certainly possible and likely that you can keep it updated with only about an hour invested per year.
2. It is hard to showcase your value and leverage prior experiences
The same way it is tough to write a conclusion to a research paper, it can be difficult to tactfully show how your experience and interest makes you ideally suited for your next career move.
This type of writing takes some finesse, and many people struggle bragging about themselves.
3. Being objective isn’t easy
You can’t exactly say in a résumé or cover letter: “I really, really want this job and know I’d be great at it.”
So how do you portray this sentiment? You include objective statements about your relevant experience and achievements. This means including data that shows your track record of being a high quality employee. At the end of the day, a potential employer wants to know that you will be a low maintenance, high value worker.
4. You have to figure out how much to include, and what to leave out
This is another skill that requires a bit of finesse. Keep in mind that hiring managers take less than 10 seconds scanning your résumé, so every word should earn its place on the page (thanks to Ramit Sethi for this quote).
One of the biggest questions I get is: “How many years of job experience should I include?”
There’s really no right or wrong answer to this. In general, if you are someone who has had several career fields, you want to include the most relevant. For example, if you are a nurse practitioner, you likely don’t need to include details from when you worked as a CNA.
5. You may need or want to address career “liabilities.”
Career liabilities include gaps in employment, short periods of time in a position, terminations, etc.
I believe that honesty is the best policy, so I prefer to address these things head on. But how do you do that?
Essentially, it is best to re-frame any potential weakness as a positive. What did you learn from the experience? How will it make you a better employee as a result?
Benefits of Hiring a Résumé Writer
Here are some benefits you may experience when hiring a résumé writer:
- A résumé writer will understand your career field and ask the right questions to elicit the valuable information needed to showcase your talents
- They will focus on details while also helping to curate your personal brand narrative
- They can objectively analyze your “on paper” skills and expand/condense when necessary according to your goals
How to Choose a Résumé Writer
- Choose someone in your field or closely to it
- Look at their LinkedIn profile, Instagram page, website, Facebook page. There should be recommendations and testimonials to help with your decision.
- Beware of anyone who leads with or boasts a percentage rate of people who were hired…these numbers can be arbitrary and getting a job (especially in the medical profession) goes far beyond just your résumé.
- Note that highly discounted or very low priced services are often representative of beginners who are building their portfolio. There is nothing wrong with working with beginners! Keep in mind that résumé writing is a time consuming process and those who are in high demand likely will have more premium pricing.
- Go with your gut! I’m a big fan of trusting your instinct with most decisions, and I think this applies in this case as well!