How to Get Resume Writing Certification: A Complete Guide

As a resume writer, having proper certifications can give your career a significant boost Certifications show prospects you have the skills and expertise to craft professional-level resumes.

But how exactly can you go about getting certified in resume writing? What are the top certifications out there? And is it worth the time and money to get credentialed?

This guide will cover everything you need to know about earning resume writing certifications. Let’s get started!

Why Get Certified as a Resume Writer?

Here are some of the biggest benefits of having certifications as a resume writer:

  • Increased credibility – Certifications give you instant authority and respect in the industry Prospects will take you more seriously knowing you passed certification requirements

  • Career advancement – Many certifications allow you to add credentials like “CPRW” (Certified Professional Resume Writer) after your name. This can help you land jobs and charge higher rates.

  • Better skills – Preparing for certifications forces you to improve and refine your writing, formatting, and client counseling abilities.

  • Client assurance – Certifications give clients confidence they’re working with a truly qualified writer, not just someone claiming to be an expert.

  • Professional development – Maintaining certifications requires ongoing education through conferences, workshops, and training programs. This helps you stay sharp.

  • Standing out – With so many resume writers out there, certifications help differentiate you and give you a competitive edge.

The bottom line is certifications lead to better opportunities, higher profile clients, and increased success as a resume pro. They’re highly valuable for career growth.

Top Resume Writing Certifications

Now let’s explore some of the major certifications available in the resume writing field.

PARWCC: Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

The Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) credential offered by PARWCC is one of the best known and most prestigious.

To earn it, you must pass a comprehensive exam on resume writing concepts and techniques. The CPRW signals you have advanced skills and are committed to professional development.

NRWA: Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)

This rigorous certification from the National Resume Writers Association involves intensive studying, submitting writing samples, taking quizzes, and passing a challenging exam.

It covers both resume writing and career coaching topics. NCRWs must also complete continuing education to maintain the credential.

RWA: Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW)

You can get ACRW certified by completing Resume Writing Academy’s three-month training program.

It includes five webinars, three resume/cover letter projects with feedback, and demonstrated expertise in a niche field. It provides in-depth resume writing education.

CDI: Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW)

CARW is an ideal starter certification for new resume writers from Career Directors International. You’ll submit a resume sample and pass exams on writing, design, and client skills.

It verifies core abilities and shows you meet industry standards. CDI also offers advanced certifications.

CTL: Master Resume Writer (MRW)

This top-level credential from Career Thought Leaders has strict requirements – at least 5 years of experience and passing an English exam.

Only a small number of expert resume writers qualify as MRWs. It demonstrates the highest resume writing capabilities.

RWA: Academy Certified Federal Resume Writer

This specialty certification involves training tailored to writing federal resumes and navigating USAJOBS applications.

It covers analyzing federal postings, gathering relevant information, and crafting compliant federal resumes and application packages.

RWA: Academy Certified Career Storyteller

By completing advanced coursework on storytelling techniques, resume writers can get certified as career storytelling experts.

This training focuses on crafting compelling narratives and tying together all career documents into a cohesive personal brand story.

Key Steps to Earn Certification

While each certification has its own unique requirements, most follow a general process:

1. Research certifications – Find ones that fit your experience level, interests, and career goals. Target any niche specialty certs that make sense.

2. Review requirements – Look at the exam, coursework, samples, fees, and other specifics needed to apply and pass. Make sure you can realistically meet them.

3. Enroll – Submit your application and pay any exam or program fees to register. You’ll get details on the next steps.

4. Study – Many certs provide prep materials or courses. Spend time thoroughly studying and brushing up on skills.

5. Submit samples/take exam – Supply any writing samples for evaluation. Pass any comprehensive exams testing your abilities. These prove your competencies.

6. Get results – If you pass and meet all requirements, you’ll get official notification awarding your certification.

7. Renew/maintain – Some certs must be renewed periodically through retesting, fees, continuing education, etc. Stay current on any criteria.

It takes dedication to earn and keep resume writing certifications. But the effort pays off in bolstering your expertise and career.

Costs of Resume Writing Certifications

So what kind of investment is required for certification? Costs vary, but here are typical ranges:

  • Enrollment fees – $100-$300 to register and access exam materials

  • Exam fees – $200-$400 for testing centers or proctoring

  • Training programs – $500-$3000 for cert-sponsored courses

  • Membership fees – $50-$200 annually for some organizations

  • Renewal fees – $50-$300 depending on cert level

Many certification sponsors offer bundled packages. For example, enrollment might include exam fees, study guides, training discounts, etc.

Higher-level certs tend to have higher costs. But the boost to your earning potential can make the investment very worthwhile.

Should You Get Certified as a Resume Writer?

Deciding if certification is right for you will depend on your career goals.

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself:

  • Will it help my business? Having certifications can significantly increase your credibility with clients and help you command higher rates. If you’re struggling to get clients, it can give your marketing a boost.

  • Do any clients require it? Some employers specifically seek out certified resume writers. So if you want to work with certain companies, certification may be necessary.

  • Does my experience qualify? Make sure you meet any experience requirements before investing time and money into certifications.

  • Can I afford it? The costs may fit easily into your budget, or they may be prohibitive. Consider the potential earnings increase versus the investment.

  • Do I have time? Properly preparing for certifications takes significant time and focus. Make sure you can devote the needed study and class hours.

The more “yes” answers you have, the more pursuing certifications is likely to benefit your resume writing career.

Key Tips for Earning Your Resume Writing Certification

If you decide to go for certification, here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • Start with an “entry level” cert – Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Build your confidence with a foundational certification before attempting advanced ones.

  • Set a study schedule – Break preparation into small, manageable tasks instead of cramming at the last minute.

  • Leverage provided study materials – Use any textbooks, sample questions, webinars or learning tools offered to prep for exams. Don’t rely solely on your own knowledge.

  • Read carefully – Understand exactly what content or writing samples you need to submit to certification sponsors. Follow all directions.

  • Focus on your weak areas – Use any practice tests to identify gaps in your knowledge and spend more time strengthening those skills.

  • Partner with colleagues – Studying with peers can help you stay motivated. Offer to quiz each other on resume topics.

  • Don’t let setbacks derail you – If you don’t pass on your first try, use it as a learning experience and try again! Persistence pays off.

With smart preparation and dedication, you can earn those coveted credentials and take your resume writing career to new heights.

FAQs About Resume Writing Certification

Here are answers to some common questions about getting certified:

Do I need an educational degree to get certified?

Most certifications do not require any specific educational degree or college major. They focus on demonstrating your practical resume writing skills.

How long does the certification process take?

It varies significantly by program – some take just weeks to complete exams while extensive training programs can take many months. Give yourself ample preparation time.

Can I use credentials like “CPRW” right away?

Typically you cannot advertise credentials until you have officially passed all requirements and been awarded the certification. Each program has specific usage guidelines.

Do I have to join an organization to get certified?

how to get resume writing certification

Will I need to renew my CARW certification?

Once attained, the CARW Certification must be renewed every two (2) years by earning 30 industry-related continuing education units (CEUs). This can be completed through a variety of activities such as: employment-related book reviews, career-related community service, completing related coursework or study, publishing resumes, winning resume awards, and/or authoring articles, blog posts, and related materials on resume writing.

The renewal fee is $50.00 for members. The renewal fee for non-members is $100.00. Download the Renewal Form.

Why is renewal necessary?

Because the craft of resume writing is dynamic and is swiftly changing with the advances in computer technology and applicant tracking / scanning as well as emerging legal issues involving resume fraud. These are just a few concerns that make it necessary for professionals to demonstrate ongoing education and knowledge of modern resume writing techniques.

Are there resources that can help me prepare or that CDI recommends?

Yes. The CDI Certification team has prepared a comprehensive manual outlining the criteria we look for when evaluating resume samples submitted for any of our certifications. This 50-page manual, which covers everything from grammar and punctuation to formatting, is included in your CARW step one fee of $50 US.

Additionally, there are numerous resume writing resources available (lessons, infographics, video tutorials, and more) in the CDI member section including successful resume submissions by TORI award winners.

How to Become a Certified Resume Writer

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