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How to Start a Resume Writing Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Resume Writing Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$1,950 - $6,700

Revenue potential

$40,000 - $100,000 p.a.

Time to build

0 – 3 months

Profit potential

$36,000 - $90,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

Excellent resumes are in great demand as countless Americans look for new jobs in the wake of 2021’s “great resignation.” So if you have some writing and formatting skills, you could start your own resume writing business and help people get back on their feet while making good money. Resume writing services like Resume Genius are growing in popularity, and you can charge up to $300 per resume, so why not jump on the resume writing train? 

First, though, you’ll need to add some business know-how to your resume to be successful. Fortunately, this step-by-step guide provides all the knowledge, wisdom and insight you’ll need to become an entrepreneur and add “resume writing business owner” to your work experience.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a resume writing business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

Pros

  • Flexibility – Work from home on your own time
  • Good Money – $200 per page is serious income
  • Valuable Service – Help people get jobs!
  • Low Startup Costs – Computer and software needed only

Cons

  • Competitive Market – Market is saturated with resume writing services
  • Repetitive Work – Writing resumes can get old fast

Resume writing industry trends

Industry size and growth

Little information is available on the resume writing industry; however, many resume writers are freelancers, so we will look at the number of US freelancers.

freelance resume writing industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in the resume writing industry include:

  • Companies are embracing automated hiring applications, which means resume writers need to be more aware of adding keywords when adding details to resumes. 
  • Results-driven resumes as opposed to skills-driven resumes are becoming more important to employers. Employers want to see actual achievements, so “spearheaded a marketing campaign that had 30% return on investment” is much better than a bullet mentioning “marketing skills”.

Challenges in the resume writing industry include:

  • More and more people are looking to entrepreneurship and freelancing for careers, decreasing the need for traditional resumes. Instead, job seekers are polishing their resumes on sites like LinkedIn and Upwork, which offers another opportunity for resume writers. 
  • The increasing number of online resume writing services that offer templates for resumes is making the field more competitive. 
resume writing Trends and Challenges

What kind of people work in resume writing?

  • Gender – 48% of freelancers are female, while 45.5% are male.((https://www.zippia.com/freelancer-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education – The average freelancer has a bachelor’s degree.
  • Average age – The average US freelancer is 38 years old.
resume writing industry demographics

How much does it cost to start a resume writing business?

Startup costs for a resume writing business range from $2,000 to nearly $7,000. The low end assumes you already have a computer and includes the cost of a website and resume writing certification. The high end includes the purchase of a computer.

You can become a certified resume writer through the National Resume Writers Association for about $500. It requires 10 hours of courses with any of the suggested online institutions. 

Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100-$300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Computer$0 - $2,000$1,000
Resume writing software$100 - $300$200
Professional resume writing certification$300 - $300$300
Total$1,950 - $6,700$4,325

How much can you earn from a resume writing business?

The cost of a professional resume runs from $100 to as high as $400, with the average around $200. Your profit margin should be about 90% after expenses. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home and write four $200 resumes per week, bringing in more than $40,000 in annual revenue. This would mean about $36,000 in profit, assuming that 90% margin. As you begin to get referrals, you could do 10 resumes per week. With annual revenue of more than $100,000, you’d make a tidy profit of around $90,000.

Resume Writing business earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a resume writing business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Certification and writing strong, appealing resumes
  • Competition from resume writing services

Related Business Ideas

If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a resume writing business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research resume writing services in your area and online to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the market is missing a resume writing service that also offers career coaching.

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as resumes for business managers.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products or services

Your resume services are fairly straightforward, but you could offer additional services such as:

  • Cover letter writing
  • Assistance with job applications
  • Job interview coaching
  • Executive headhunting 

How much should you charge for resume writing?

Professional resume writers charge from $100 to $400 per resume. For high-level executive resumes, prices can be even higher. Your expenses will be minimal, limited to marketing costs, so you should aim for a profit margin of about 90%. 

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will be job seekers who need a great resume professionally written. This is fairly broad, but your best bet for marketing will be LinkedIn. Job seekers network on LinkedIn to look for opportunities. 

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you may want to rent out an office to meet clients. Find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
resume writing business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Resume Writing Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “resumes” or “resume writing”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “CareerWorks” over “Healthcare Career Solutions”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Resume Writing Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary: Summarize your resume writing business’s objectives, the services it will offer, and how it will meet the career advancement needs of clients.
  • Business Overview: Outline the professional writing services you provide, specializing in crafting resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.
  • Product and Services: Detail the range of services, from entry-level to executive resume writing, including career coaching and interview preparation.
  • Market Analysis: Evaluate the job market and the demand for professional resume writing services among job seekers in various industries.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify competing resume writing services and explain your competitive advantages, such as personalized service or niche expertise.
  • Sales and Marketing: Describe how you will market your services to job seekers, through online advertising, workshops, or partnerships with career services.
  • Management Team: Highlight your qualifications and those of any team members in professional writing, human resources, or career counseling.
  • Operations Plan: Outline your process for client consultations, document creation, revisions, and delivery.
  • Financial Plan: Provide a breakdown of pricing, costs, and revenue projections for your resume writing services.
  • Appendix: Include additional resources such as client testimonials, sample resumes, or detailed market research to support your business plan.
what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to resume writing businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your resume writing business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

Form Your LLC

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a resume writing business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept for something like a resume help app.

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a resume writing business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your resume writing business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use project management software, such as ClickUp, asengana, or Notion, to manage your projects, tasks, and workflows.

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial. 

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

Marketing

Beyond creating a website for your resume writing business, here are key marketing strategies to make your business thrive:

  1. Offer Free Workshops: Conduct workshops on resume writing at local community centers or online platforms to showcase your expertise, build credibility, and attract potential clients.
  2. Collaborate with Career Services: Partner with colleges, universities, or career counseling centers to provide your services as an extension of their resources, establishing a trusted presence in educational institutions.
  3. Social Media Expertise Showcase: Regularly share resume tips, success stories, and industry insights on social media platforms to position yourself as an expert and engage with a broader audience.
  4. Leverage Testimonials and Case Studies: Showcase client success stories and before-and-after resume transformations on your website and marketing materials to build trust and demonstrate the tangible value of your services.
  5. Specialize in Niche Markets: Consider specializing in specific industries or job levels to tailor your services, making it easier to target and attract clients looking for expertise in their particular field.
  6. Create a Referral Program: Encourage satisfied clients to refer friends or colleagues by implementing a referral program, offering discounts or additional services as a token of appreciation for their recommendations.
  7. Attend Industry-specific Events: Attend conferences, trade shows, or networking events related to the industries you specialize in to connect with potential clients directly and stay updated on industry trends.
  8. Optimize LinkedIn Presence: Optimize your LinkedIn profile with relevant keywords, recommendations, and regular updates to attract potential clients and showcase your commitment to personal and professional development.
  9. Collaborate with Job Search Platforms: Partner with job search platforms or career-focused websites to become their recommended resume writing service, increasing your visibility among job seekers.
  10. Continuous Learning and Certification: Stay updated on industry trends and certifications related to resume writing to ensure your services align with the latest job market demands and enhance your professional credibility.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your resume writing business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your resume writing business could be:

  • Brilliant resumes for first-time job seekers
  • Professional resumes for executives
  • Find a job now! Professional resumes written fast 
unique selling proposition

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a resume writing business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been in resume writing for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in resume writing. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a resume writing business include:

  • Certified Resume Writers – assist with resume preparation
  • Receptionist – greet customers, customer service
  • General Manager – staff management, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Resume Writing Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Countless people are looking for work these days, so if you have some writing skills you could become a certified resume writer and help people land their dream jobs. Getting certified is inexpensive and quick, and with your own resume writing business, you could take advantage of a growing market. 

Now that you’ve added business know-how to your own resume, start writing your way to a successful career as a resume entrepreneur!

Resume Writing Business FAQs

How profitable can a resume writing business be?

You can make $100 to $400 per resume, and your expenses will be very low, so it can be very profitable once you get going and start to get a lot of customers.

How can I get professional resume writing certification?

You can get certification through the National Resume Writers Association for about $500. It requires 10 hours of continuing education which can be from a variety of sources.

How can I attract clients and market my resume writing services?

To attract clients and market your resume writing services, create a professional website or online portfolio showcasing your expertise and success stories. Utilize social media platforms and professional networking sites to share valuable content, such as resume tips or industry insights. 

How can I tailor resumes for specific industries or job positions?

Tailoring resumes for specific industries or job positions involves conducting thorough research on the target industry or position. Analyze job descriptions, industry trends, and desired skills to understand employers’ expectations. Customize the resume’s content, format, and keywords to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements. Showcase how the candidate’s qualifications align with the specific requirements of the industry or position. 

How can I handle revisions and edits to meet clients' expectations?

Establish a clear process for client feedback and revisions. Actively inquire about their preferences, objectives, and any specific requirements. Maintain open lines of communication and promptly address any concerns or requests. Provide clear explanations for suggested changes and work collaboratively to find the best solution.

How do I advertise my resume writing services?

Utilize online platforms such as job boards, freelance marketplaces, or professional networking sites to promote your services. Develop partnerships with career coaches, recruitment agencies, or universities who can refer clients to your services. Utilize targeted online advertising, such as pay-per-click campaigns or social media ads, to reach job seekers in your target market. 

Can I start resume writing business on the side?

Yes, starting a resume writing business on the side is possible. It allows you to gradually build your client base and refine your skills while maintaining other commitments. However, ensure that you can manage your time effectively and deliver high-quality work to clients. 

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How to Start a Resume Writing Business