Hey, Buddy! Wanna Buy a Resume?
Or: Why I Don’t Lower My Prices or Allow My Clients to Lower Their Standards
I received an email today from a potential client asking if I could lower my prices. Her reasoning was that the investment to work with me was nearly twice as much as other writers she had contacted for a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, so I should lower my rates.
Her note makes me think of my respected colleague and good friend Robyn Feldberg who often repeats the industry adage: “A good resume is expensive, but a cheap one is even more costly.”
That said, I can relate to where my potential client is coming from. I sold my first resume for $100 and felt like I’d won the lottery. I got to help a nice man in the grocery industry get a promotion, and I was even getting paid to do it!
Eight years into my business, I have learned a lot about my craft and about the value any person brings to a situation in which they trade their time, expertise, and unique perspective for money. To be clear, there are instances when I do service for someone who needs and values my skills but is unable to pay my full rate. That is a topic for a different day. This post simply addresses the concept that one can shop for a resume the way one would shop for a gallon of high-octane gasoline or a bar of 24-karat gold.
Here is what I wrote to the potential client:
“Thank you for your response! Resume writing is not a commodity any more than a shirt or a car. You’ll get a different product shopping at Walmart, Kohl’s, and Neiman Marcus.
While I have several years of experience; a background in sales, marketing, and creative writing that paved the way for me to offer unique value to my clients; and record of winning awards (I was the most nominated of anyone in the industry last year), the result is what matters. If you review the samples I sent you and keep in mind that 80%+ of my business comes from repeat and referred clients, I believe you’ll understand the quality I bring to the table.
I am not able to contribute less and am therefore not able to charge less. The plus side for my clients is that they receive an exceptional tool in the deliverables of the resume and other documents while benefiting from the deeper work we do together: articulating why they are not a commodity to be compared with other candidates on the basis of price/salary/commission structure.
I do understand that this is a major investment, and I am honored by the clients who choose to make that investment and take the journey with me. I approach the work as a sacred trust. The arrangement is not for everyone, and that’s okay since I take no more than 3-4 clients a month.
If this feels right to you, I would be greatly honored to tell your story. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably not the right decision to work with me. Either way, I am so glad to know you, and I hope we will keep in touch.”
You can find resume writers who work for $50 and those whose packages go into five figures. When you’re choosing a writer, or deciding to write your own resume, consider the results you hope to achieve and how much those results are worth to you.