Less than a minute. That is the average time a recruiter spends looking at a resume! According to a report by Zippia, an average of 250 applicants will apply for a corporate job opening, 4 – 6 candidates will get through to the interview based on their resume, and one person will get the job.1
It’s no surprise then that many job seekers employ the services of a resume writer to make that first great impression and catch a potential employer’s attention.
If you enjoy writing, careers, and working one-on-one with clients, starting a resume writing business may be a great business opportunity. With the job market more competitive than ever, there is growing demand for professional resume writers to help job seekers stand out. This guide will provide an introduction to the resume writing industry and actionable steps to get your own resume business up and running.
A resume writing business primarily involves creating, editing, and polishing clients’ resumes and cover letters to increase their marketability. They might also develop or extend online profiles on LinkedIn or other relevant networks for their clients.
A resume writer ensures the applicant’s information is presented in a clear and appealing format, with concise wording that is appropriate for the industry and highlights the competence and achievements of the applicant.
You don’t necessarily need a degree to be a resume writer, but having a background in human resources (HR) and/or understanding the requirements and practices of a specific industry will definitely be a plus. You can also add to your credentials by attaining a resume writing certification.
Owning a resume service gives you the freedom and flexibility to work for yourself and develop your brand and services. Plus, being a resume writer can be a hugely rewarding job, especially when that winning resume you prepared was successful and led to a job offer for your client.
Related Business Ideas
The resume writing industry is part of the larger career counseling and employment services industry. The demand for these services has been bolstered by a consistently competitive job market, frequent career transitions, and the increasing complexity of job applications. Moreover, with the rise of remote work and digital platforms, the potential market for resume writing services is no longer limited to your local area but extends globally.
This industry is inexpensive to start and has low barriers to entry, but that makes it a highly competitive environment. To stay competitive, being on top of the rapidly evolving trends is important. For instance, the rise of AI and ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) in recruitment has made keyword optimization a critical aspect of resume writing. Also, the growing popularity of LinkedIn has led to an increased demand for professional LinkedIn profile writing and optimization services. As a business owner, staying updated with these trends will be crucial to maintaining a competitive edge.
Steps To Start A Resume Writing Business
Step 1: Write your Business Plan
When setting up a resume writing business, many entrepreneurs might think of a business plan as just a document for securing funding. However, a business plan is much more than that. It’s a roadmap guiding you through each stage of starting and managing your business so you are starting with a solid foundation. Let’s explore a few reasons why writing a business plan should be the first step.
One of the tasks in a business plan is to research your market. The resume writing market is vast and varied, and the business plan helps you identify your specific target customer base. Are you catering to fresh graduates, mid-career professionals, or executives? Each group has distinct needs and expectations from a resume writing service.
In the business plan, you will also define the services you’ll provide and the pricing for each. This may include resume writing, editing, career coaching, and credential assessment packages. By defining these services and their cost, you establish consistent service offerings that clients can depend on. Also, outlining your services gives you the opportunity to think strategically about the value you provide, making it easier to pitch your offerings to potential clients.
Another reason the business plan is important is that it helps you break down the expected startup costs, including licensing, software, website development, and marketing expenses. Then, you will take a look at the financial projections to calculate the expected operating expenses and potential revenue. This will give insights like how many clients you need to break even and whether your resume writing service is worth your time and investment.
Related: How to write a business plan
Step 2: Register the Business
The next step in starting your resume writing service is to sort out a few of the legal formalities. Each state has its own rules, but here are some things to take care of.
Choose your business structure: There are four main types of business structures, each with its own pros and cons.
- Sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure. It’s quick and cheap to set up. It also means you, the business owner, are 100% responsible for all business liabilities.
- General partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship, except there are two or more owners. These owners share in the profits and are responsible for the business’s debts.
- Corporation is a more complex structure. It’s an independent entity owned by shareholder(s), which means the business itself, not the shareholders, is responsible for the business’s liabilities.
- Limited Liability Company, or LLC, combines elements of a corporation and sole proprietorship. It offers liability protection to the owners, as a corporation does, but is easier to set up and provides potential tax savings.
For independent resume writers, sole proprietorship might make the most sense because it’s easy to start and cost-effective.
Related: Comparison of business structures
Forming an LLC sounds complicated and expensive, but using an entity formation service guides you through the process so you know it was done right.
Some popular LLC formation services include:
IncFile - $0 plus state fees & free registered agent for 1 year!
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Business name registration: After registering the business structure, you may need to register your business name. This process will vary depending on what business structure you pick. Sole proprietors and partnerships will often be required to register a “Doing Business As” (DBA), while corporations and LLCs register with the state during the formation process.
During this time, it’s also a good idea to check if the name you want is available as a web domain, even if you’re not ready to set up a website yet.
Obtain business licenses and permits: Make sure you have all the licenses and permits you need. Every state has its own requirements, so you’ll need to do your own research. While there is no license specifically for a resume writing business, there may be general business registrations, such as a local business license and seller’s permit.
In addition to business licensing, there is certification to help build the credibility of a new resume writing service. One is the Certified Professional Resume Writer certification through the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.2
Last, if you plan to work from a home office, check the local zoning regulations, homeowner’s association, or landlord requirements. Some places have rules about running a business from a residential property, and you might need to get permission or a permit, especially if clients will be coming to your home.
Step 3: Set Up Operations
In this next step, we start setting up the operations of the business. A few of the basics to consider:
Decide on a workspace: You can choose to work from home or rent an office space or coworking space. Working from home is a more cost-effective option, while renting an office or coworking space can provide a dedicated, professional environment for client meetings. Most resume writing businesses operate online, eliminating the need for a physical office, especially when starting out.
Set up your office: Whether you’re working from home or in a rented office, ensure your workspace is conducive to productivity. You’ll need a computer, reliable internet, and a quiet space to work.
Invest in equipment and software: Your resume writing business will need a reliable computer and high-speed internet. Consider also a good printer, scanner, and software for resume design and word processing.
Create a structured workflow: Develop a system for managing clients, tracking progress, and delivering final products. This may include using project management tools, invoicing software, and document storage solutions to keep everything organized.
Step 4: Create a Marketing Strategy
When starting a new resume writing business, the real work begins when it’s time to market the business and let people know about your services. The first task in this process is getting set up online. A professional-looking website serves as the digital storefront for your business, showcasing your services, portfolio, and customer testimonials. There are plenty of free DIY website builders like WordPress and Wix that look nice, you may want to invest in a website designer to make your online presence look more polished and credible.
In addition to your website, an online presence extends to social media platforms and professional networks like LinkedIn. Regularly posting relevant content and engaging with your audience on these platforms can increase your visibility, helping you reach potential clients who might not have found you otherwise.
While a strong online presence is essential, it’s equally important not to overlook the power of face-to-face networking. Career counselors, recruiters, and HR professionals often encounter individuals needing resume writing services and can direct them to your business. Furthermore, active networking within local professional associations, chamber events, and job fairs can raise awareness of your business in your local community. Participating in these events gives you the opportunity to meet potential clients, learn about their needs, and position your business as a solution.
Step 5: Prepare to Launch!
After navigating through the core initial steps of planning, registering, and marketing your resume writing service, there are some other elements to address before launching. These will vary on your needs, but here are a few common ones to look at:
Business insurance: Insurance may be important depending on the nature of your work and location. Some of the insurance policy options to consider are professional liability insurance, general liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. Professional liability insurance can cover you if a client claims that your services caused them financial harm, while general liability insurance can protect your business from lawsuits related to property damage, bodily injury, or advertising injury. Workers’ compensation insurance can provide benefits to your employees if they get injured or sick while on the job.
Setting up bookkeeping: Proper accounting is needed for managing daily transactions, taxes, and financial statements. You might consider hiring a bookkeeper or using accounting software like Wave Accounting (FREE) or Quickbooks to stay on top of things.
Contracts: Some contracts might be client service agreements (outlining the terms of your services), confidentiality agreements (to protect sensitive client information), and independent contractor agreements (if you plan to hire other writers). These contracts help set clear expectations and safeguard your business interests. RocketLawyer and Law Depot have free and inexpensive templates that may be helpful.
Opening a business bank account: A separate business bank account helps keep your personal and business finances distinct, making it easier to manage your cash flow and taxes.
Common Questions When Starting A Resume Writing Business
How much does it cost to start a resume writing business?
Starting a resume writing business can be a cost-effective business opportunity, with total initial costs estimated to range from $1,000 to $4,000. Here, we’ll break down some of the main costs.
Office setup: If your plan is to work from home, your main cost might be some reliable office equipment. A decent computer might set you back about $1,000 if you don’t already have one. And let’s add another $200 for a printer, phone, and other minor office supplies. If you choose to rent office space, your cost will vary substantially based on location and size. Let’s say, a deposit and outfitting the space might range from $2,000 or more.
Software: You may need certain software programs to get started. Word processing software and resume templates could cost up to $200, but you can get started with Google Docs for free.
Business registration: The costs associated with legal and licensing fees when starting a resume writing service can range from $50 to $500. This includes registering your business name and obtaining necessary licenses and permits.
Insurance: Business insurance costs can vary based on the coverage you need, but a basic policy can start around $500 per year.
Marketing: Initial marketing costs can include website setup, social media advertising, and attending networking events. These costs can range from $200 to $1,000
Certifications: Optional, but joining a professional body and earning certifications can boost credibility. You might spend between $350 – $500 in this area.
How profitable is a resume writing business?
The profitability of a resume writing business can vary significantly based on factors such as the pricing of services, the volume of clients, and operational costs. To estimate potential profits, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario.
Assuming the business charges an average of $200 per resume and manages to secure 10 clients per month, the monthly revenue would be $2,000 (10 clients x $200 each). If the business expands its services to include cover letters, LinkedIn profile optimization, and career coaching, the average revenue per client could increase. Let’s assume an additional $100 per client for these services, bringing the total average revenue per client to $300. With the same volume of 10 clients per month, this would result in a monthly revenue of $3,000 (10 clients x $300 each).
In terms of expenses, a resume writing business typically incurs costs such as marketing, software subscriptions, insurance, and miscellaneous office expenses. If we assume monthly expenses are around $500 for marketing (including website maintenance, social media advertising, and other promotional activities), $100 for software subscriptions (like resume design tools and office software), $100 for insurance, and $100 for miscellaneous expenses (stationery, utilities, etc.), the total monthly expenses would be $800.
Therefore, the estimated monthly profit would be the revenue minus the expenses. With a monthly revenue of $3,000 and expenses of $800, the profit would be $2,200 per month ($3,000 – $800). Annually, this translates to a profit of $26,400 ($2,200 x 12 months).
It’s important to note that these numbers are based on assumptions and can vary widely in real-world scenarios.
What is the NAICS code for a resume writing business?
The NAICS code for a resume writing business is 561410, which is classified as Document Preparation Services. Related businesses in this NAICS code include; desktop publishing, proofreading services, transcription services, and others.
The NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System) is a federal system to classify different types of businesses for the collection and reporting of statistical data.