You want to find a resume expert but how do you know who is a seasoned writer from a rookie? Resume writing credentials and awards can be helpful when assessing the standards or a potential resume writer.

What are resume credentials?

Resume credentials essentially mean the resume writer has submitted their work for assessment against set standards and been approved as meeting these standards by an industry body.There are a lot of different standards available and it can be confusing to understand what resume writing credentials mean. Below are a summary of the key resume credentials and what is involved for a writer to have earned these.

Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW) – This is a credential certified by Career Directors International as their first level of certification. To be awarded this credential a new writer needs to:

  • Provide a blind sample of work to be reviewed by a panel;
  • Develop resumes and cover letters for fictional candidates;
  • Answer short essay questions on resume information gathering techniques; and
  • Pass a final exam assessing their mastery of spelling and grammar, and skills around client information gathering and interpretation, and writing and design strategy.

Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW) is a Master-level qualification offered by Career Directors International (CDI). To be awarded this candidates must submitt a portfolio of resume samples that are judged by an expert panel of CMRW peers. This includes seven professional resumes, one ASCII resume conversion and two cover letter samples and a professional essay.

Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM) is a specialised credential offered by CDI for executive resume writers. To be awarded this credential a writer must submit a portfolio of 4 resume samples at executive level plus a competency review.  These resumes are assessed by a panel against set criteria.

Certified Resume Specialist (CRS+X) – this CDI credential designates a resume writer as an expert in a field. To achieve this a writer must provide four sample resumes for different positions within the industry to showcase versatility which are then assessed by an expert panel.  There are currently 19 areas of specialisation available.

Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) – this credential requires submission of a resume and cover letter sample, proof of 10 continuing education units, and a 2-part NCRW exam that includes a proofreading exam and a resume and cover letter writing exam.  This is certified through the National Resume Writers Association.

Master Resumes Writer (MRW) – this credential requires each writer to have a minimum of 5 years of paid resume writing experience. To be awarded this credential the writer must submit a portfolio of work (5 for already certified writers, 10 for non-certified writers) that demonstrates their expertise in resume strategy development, resume content writing, resume formatting and design and sit a English language and grammar test. This is certified through Career Thought Leaders Consortium.

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) – This credential requires the completion of 4 modules:

  • a multiple-choice test of industry knowledge,
  • a grammar, spelling, punctuation and proofreading test,
  • essay questions,
  • the development of a résumé and cover letter based upon background information provided on a hypothetical client.

Academy Certified Resume Writers – ACRW – to be awarded this credential a writer is required to undertake a training program incorporating progressive assignments covering resume strategy, writing, and design; English language and grammar skills; and cover letter and thank-you letter writing. Writers must then complete three independent learning programs (ILPs) incorporating a resume and cover letter writing assignment. This credential is offered by the Resume Writing Academy.

In addition to these credentials you may also like to consider if the writer is a member of a professional career body such as The Career Development Association of Australia or Career Industry Council of Australia or similar associations in your country.

More helpful information on selecting resume writers can be found in our article How to Choose a Decent Resume Writer.

A little about me (Gillian Kelly): In the interests of full disclosure here is a little about me. I am a CMRW, CARW, CERM and professional member of the CDAA and CDI. I also sit on the resume writing certification panel for CDI and as part of their annual TORI Awards judging panel.  🙂