Executive Career Services: Resume Writer vs. Career Coach

I am thrilled to have my colleague Lisa Lewis write this guest post. She specializes in helping executives with Career Clarity and in this article, she will walk you through how to determine when to hire a resume writer vs. a career coach.

Guest Post by Lisa Lewis

Do I Need a Resume Writer or a Career Coach?

Want to land a job at a fabulous company where you’re paid well and have an impressive title?

One of the keys to getting an amazing job offer is having a perfectly polished resume that shows you’re a great fit for the role.

When it’s obvious on paper that you’re a beautiful fit, it’s easy for the hiring manager to make the case to give you a generous salary.

However, creating a killer resume that earns you high-paying offers isn’t as simple as it seems. Tailoring your resume to the exact role, industry, and organization is a critically important step for your success.

Want to craft the winning resume? Here are some questions to help you decide if you need to work with a professional resume writer, or if you need to start with a career coach instead.

You’re Unsure of Your Next Ideal Role

If you have no idea what your next ideal next role could be… work with a career coach.

If you’ve been climbing up the corporate ladder but you’re bored, tired, or ready to shake things up, it may be time to speak with a career coach to help you get more clarity. If you’ve ever described yourself as “needing help figuring out what you want to be when you grow up,” or know you definitely don’t want your boss’ job but aren’t sure what you *do* want, career coaches are better positioned to help you evaluate the full employment landscape and see all the available possibilities for you to pivot into. When working with a talented resume writer, they create a completely different profile for you if you’re making a switch in your career path rather than if you’re continuing on a similar path — so making the investment into resume writing before you’ve made a decision on your direction might mean you don’t get the ROI you were looking for. If you aren’t certain where your next job could be, invest in working with a career coach to go through a holistic process to identify the best fit intersection between your strengths, interest, personality, and lifestyle needs using personality assessments, opportunity brainstorming, and visioning exercises.

(Want to learn more about these four intersecting features of your next job? Check out the eBook, The Roadmap to Career Fulfillment!)

You Need Help Visualizing Your Goals

If you know the kind of role you want next, and need help crystallizing your goals and positioning yourself to get it… work with a resume writer.

Resume writers are brilliant at pulling out the most relevant parts of your past work experiences and matching them up to the kinds of roles you want to step into next, helping to stretch you and allow you to grow. They can help you find the diamonds in the rough from your past, and feature them prominently in your candidate profile so that future employers start drooling over you and can’t wait to give you an interview. There’s a true art to looking at a job posting and being able to display your most important and similar accomplishments — and it’s an art which varies wildly depending on the type of role you’re aiming for.

You’re Unsure If You Qualify for the Position You Want

If you aren’t sure you have relevant experience to apply for the roles you want… work with a career coach.

Career coaches – particularly ones that focus on supporting people in transitions – have a gift for helping you think about ways to bridge experience gaps on your resume before you start applying for new roles. While a resume writer can make your existing experiences sparkle and shine, they need you to have the experience so they can effectively position it. Career coaches can help you brainstorm creative ways to get those relevant experiences on the side of your current role, so a future employer will be thrilled with all your growing expertise beyond your job. Employers aren’t interested in you as a candidate if you’re applying for roles in fields where you can’t prove you have knowledge or skills — you’re too risky for them to take a chance on. Career coaches help you strategize about minimizing that risk and getting more tangible experiences to help you make your next steps.

You Need Help Realizing Your Accomplishments

If you need help making your work sound like powerful accomplishments instead of standard job duties… work with a resume writer.

When we reflect on the tasks we did in any given job, it’s easy to get mired in the details and minutiae of the day-to-day. Resume writers have a gifting for taking your career goals, seeing the bigger picture opportunities for you, and helping you elevate your work experience into language that’s appropriate for more senior hires. If you’re great at speaking about your work history but can’t seem to translate it to your CV, resume writers can help you get ideas out of your head and down on paper. Resume writers also have loads of experience in how to visually differentiate mid-level and senior-level hires on paper, and know lots of formatting and styling tricks that make a huge difference (and can dramatically increase your starting offers). Most career coaches don’t have nearly the depth or capability in branding and marketing you as resume writers. So if you’ve got it, a resume writer will help you flaunt it!

Investing in getting support to make your next career move is a great idea, and these guidelines can offer specific direction on what kind of professional service to pursue in to get the best return on your investment. Good luck moving forward on identifying your next move and crafting the perfect resume!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.