The Associated Press

The unemployment rate is high, and the competition for jobs is fierce. To stand out from the crowd, you might be looking to hire a resume writer. Here are some tips on how to find a good fit.

1. Ask for work samples. Request a "before" and "after" so you have a sense of what to expect. If you want to take extra precaution, request references from past clients.

2. Probe their professional background. Ask how many years of resume writing experience the person has and what he or she does to keep current with the industry.

3. Check your comfort level. You'll be sharing a lot of personal information, so it's important that you have a good rapport with whomever you hire.

4. Don't base decisions on fancy sounding acronyms. A certification may suggest a certain amount of dedication, but it's no guarantee you'll be happy with the work. Keep in mind that professional organizations and schools offer numerous certificates for career service professionals, each coming with its own set of requirements.

5. If you're more comfortable working with an established business rather than an independent writer, many recruiting firms now offer career services.

6. Ask friends and family. It's a time-tested way to find a trusted professional.

7. Get the deal in writing. By spelling out when and what services will be provided, you can ensure you and the writer are on the same page.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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