How Much Should Your Executive Resume Cost? The Truth About the $199 Resume.

Is a low-cost resume writing service worth the investment?

If you type “resume writers” into your search browser, you’ll notice that the first big sites to come up are fondly referred to by reputable executive resume writers as “resume mills.” These are companies with a lot of writers who generally have pretty slick websites and offer cheap, cookie-cutter resumes. They are low-budget, high-volume businesses that deliver poor quality materials. I have often seen resumes offered on these sites for $199 and even “executive-level” resumes for $299.

I can’t tell you how many times clients have come to me and said they had their resume done by “another resume company” and it delivered lousy results. If you are tempted to go with one of these mills to save a few bucks, here are some things to think about before you take the plunge.

Generally in life, you get what you pay for. Resume writing services are no exception.

I not only like that my executive resume writing prices are a great value, but that they include a lot of extras and bonuses because I want my clients doing backflips about my services, and I want to help them holistically with their entire job search. I also offer a full money-back guarantee if someone isn’t fully satisfied with the quality of my work (which to date, I am happy to say, I have never had to use). But I can’t and don’t give my services away for next to nothing. And I generally don’t invest in services that do, because there is always a catch. I might not know where or what it is, but I know it’s there – either in lack of quality, lack of experience, lack of service or dependability, etc.

Before you do anything, CALL and talk to a live person.

Some companies are involved in fraudulent business practices. Talk to a live person. Ask some questions and trust your gut.

Look at their executive resume samples.

Once you have looked at their samples, go to Career Directors International and search for certified and/or award-winning resume writers, then look at their samples. I have so very rarely seen these samples compare, because when you are a reputable, award-winning and certified executive resume writer, your charges are in line with the market. A really good resume is a critical piece of your job search pie. It’s not the place to skimp. It’s your career. Get the best writer you can afford. You are worth it.

Be realistic. Consider your ROI.

Here is what I have seen as averages for good/great/excellent resume writers: $499 to $850 for a new grad resume; $750 to $1500 for an entry-level to mid-level management resume; and $1700 to $4500 for a VP to C-level “executive” resume package. If you are making determinations in this range, generally you are in a good spot. And the ROI will be worth it when you realize everything a qualified executive resume writer will do for you.

If the rates for a resume service or writer you’re researching seem drastically lower than the figures above, my suggestion is to check with the major career services associations, look up some member websites, and conduct your own comparative analysis. In my opinion, Career Directors International is the best place to start, because their certifications are not cheap, the testing is very difficult, and they set their quality bar very high. To keep certifications current and in good standing with CDI, writers must provide a certain number of annual continuing education credits and hours of volunteer work. THAT is the writer you want to hire, because that writer is serious about their craft and getting you the biggest return on your investment possible. Read more about how to choose the best executive resume writer here.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and 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.