Resumes for Young People: How Much Should You Charge for Your Services?

Knowing what to charge for your services can be one of the greatest challenges for a new resume writer – and it’s an issue that, quite frankly, never really goes away. I know I still find myself, after years in the business, wondering if I’ve upped my fees enough or if I should be charging more for an extra service I’m offering …

Over the next few months, I’ll revisit this topic several times.

This week, in time for you to start gearing up to serve young clients in their summer-employment push and recent graduates looking for their first jobs, I’ll focus on how to best meet their needs and what to charge these folks.

First of all, understand that this is likely to be your lowest-end market in terms of per-resume price. At the same time, remember that it is also the biggest segment of your market. There are a heck of a lot more people in the low-income brackets that need resume help than there are at the top. The point is … you should be prepared to serve both ends of the spectrum.

Now, that being said, somebody looking to land a $10-an-hour summer job or an entry-level, just-out-of-college position in a corporation is simply not going to pay you as much as an executive searching for a $100,000+ career move would.

How much are we talking here?

Well, say you’re looking at a general resume, one-page long. (And that’s likely a safe assumption. Young people don’t usually have much material to include on their resumes.)

A resume for a young high school or college student looking for a summer job might typically earn you $100-$150.

A resume for a recent college graduate, however, is worth more like $225 – or even up to $300, depending on the complexity and the type of employment being sought.

Keep in mind a couple of things …

  1. Prices for resume services vary not only according to your client’s level of experience, but also according to your client’s location. A young client in New York City might reasonably expect to pay $300 for a resume ,while a similar client in Duncan, Oklahoma or Scottsbluff, Nebraska would only pay $150-$200 for one.
  2. Also, remember that you can up your fees by bundling your services. Providing a cover letter (or, more likely, multiple cover letters) for your clients can help them better target the specific jobs they’re going after. And it can help you to earn more on a single project.

How much do you charge for add-on services like cover letters? Again, the short answer is: It depends. Typically, you can charge anywhere from $125 to $175 per cover letter.

Concentrating on the young-person’s market, it’s probably safe to figure that you could charge $50-$75 for a cover letter for a summer job seeker and then a bit more – back to that $125 to $175 range – for a recent graduate seeking a professional job.

What’s it all add up to? Well, do a bit of quick math and I think you’ll find that this market can, in fact, prove quite lucrative.

Let’s say you were to produce 12 resumes for young people in a month. And let’s assume that, in your market, you earn an average of $200 per resume. (Assuming a combination of college grads and summer job seekers.) That nets out to $2,400!

And let’s say that half of those young clients also have you write cover letters for them. You write, on the average, two cover letters per person. That’s 12 cover letters at an average of $100 per letter. (You will likely give a discount for multiple letters.) That earns you an additional $1,200. All told, that’s $3,600 in just a month. And remember, that’s at the lowest end of the market!

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Published: March 22, 2006

6 Responses to “Resumes for Young People: How Much Should You Charge for Your Services?”

  1. I'm seeing in the NY metro that resumes are going for very cheap....packages of all sorts starting at $50 and up. Cheesey to be sure...But how to separate the wheat from the chaff???

    For young clients, they will be more drawn to these I believe. I think your $250 for a resume, no matter where the locale, is not realistic in this current economic environment.

    It sounds good and sells programs but people need to be realistic....Maybe a $95 base and then up for cover letters, internet-ready, etc and up the package price. But I think one has to bundle to meet and beat the competition.


  2. We too, are seeing a severe undercut of price wars in Resume Writing particularly on Craigslist, with the competition posting resume services from as far as the West Coast thanks to internet- for insanely less than the sober prices of $150-$300. Some RW brag credentials as English Majors with editing & publishing exp. as well as one with Phd in journalism, yet they charge bargain basement prices. Appears to be anomaly trend and this niche getting clogged with overqualified but unemployed degrees


  3. Even though it seems like resume writers are offering cheap prices, that's the kind of resume their clients usually get!
    So, stick to your guns, and remember to "SELL YOURSELF"! Face your fears,be courageous, and tell them why they are better off using you rather than the "bargain basement"...because your's is the best bargain...IT WILL GET THEM THAT INTERVIEW,the rest is up to them!

    Dougcopy-part-time writer--full-time pay

  4. Just getting ready to launch my Resume Writing career, and can clearly see it requires different avenues to be recognized, and attain credibility.

    Question: How to handle a friend who wants to update their resume, and how to approach the issue of a charge for my services?


  5. kindly tell your friend about your new career in Resume Writing and offer to do the Update for Free, if your friend will also agree to Refer your services to others, thereby exposing your career, and gaining new clients.


  6. I write resumes for college students all the time. I have never charged any of them, and I do not think any of them can even afford $100 or more. They are always so appreciative to me, but they do not offer to pay.

    Kathryn Wenzel

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