What are the benefits of becoming certified? Will I get more clients?
The CARW credential is a seal of quality that builds confidence and trust with consumers who would not otherwise know you. The CARW in conjunction with effective marketing and client education, serves to build credibility and set you apart from the thousands of other résumé writers who have not completed this extensive credentialing and skills validation process.
As part of a select group of elite writers in the world, you can assure your prospective clients that you have passed the most stringent resume credentialing program in the industry globally and that you are fully prepared to help them with their unique challenges.
How long does the process of certification take from beginning to end?
The process of certification varies for each individual because only you know your current work situation and availability. The process can take as little as six to eight weeks for individuals willing to invest the time to complete all four stages of certification end-on-end.
How long do I have to complete the certification process?
Essentially you can take as long as you need within reasonable limits as long as you meet submission deadlines for each phase of certification. Submission deadlines for CARW candidates are as follows:
- Resume writing exam: You have seven (7) business days to return two resumes and two cover letters written from notes/worksheets provided.
- Essay Questions: You have three (3) business days to return responses to questions regarding your business practices and information gathering techniques
- Final exam: you have 60 minutes to complete the online exam.
After each phase you can take a break to fit in with your situation. Take the time you need to go at your own pace and schedule each phase to ensure the right balance for you.
Are there resources that can help me prepare or that CDI recommends?
Yes. The CDI Certification team has prepared a comprehensive manual outlining the criteria we look for when evaluating resume samples submitted for any of our certifications. This 50-page manual, which covers everything from grammar and punctuation to formatting, is available for $50; the cost will be deducted from your CARW registration fee of $200 once you are approved to register for the CARW.
Additionally, there are numerous resume resources available on the CDI website including successful resume submissions by TORI award winners. The Members-Only area of the CDI website holds volumes of contemporary materials and information on writing techniques and the nuances of resume writing.
Who will view my sample and my resumes? Will they know who I am?
Your samples and test resumes are viewed by a panel of CMRWs (Certified Master Resume Writers), some of whom have won or have been nominated for TORI awards. The Director of Certification handles the distribution of your documents and is the only person who knows your identity as the key contact point. This process includes giving your candidacy an unique number, renaming documents and “scrubbing” all samples and submissions of metadata—which means that all personally identifiable document properties have been removed—ensuring your anonymity to the entire panel.
Why do you have two levels of certification?
CDI is the only professional career industry granting agency in the world to offer two levels of certification; and does so to provide the most appropriate venue to showcase the talents of each writer. The Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW) credential is available to those without prior certification; however, it is recommended that the candidate have at least one year of resume writing experience prior to taking the exam.
Those opting to take the next step in their professional development by earning the Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW) credential are recognized as the best-of-the-best in the resume-writing field. The CMRW designation is for those who already hold a recognized resume certification (CARW, MRW, CPRW, NCRW, CMRS, CRS, MCRS, ACRW).
Should I apply for the CARW or the CMRW?
If you have at least one year of experience in writing resumes but have not obtained any resume-writing certification, the CARW will be your goal. It will show that your talents have been industry scrutinized, tested and found to be superior. If you are confident in your abilities and have existing certification (CARW, MRW, CPRW, NCRW, CMRS, CRS, MCRS, ACRW), then the CMRW is the next logical step in your career advancement. This certification will tell the world that your work has passed rigorous career-industry analysis to become one of an elite group of writers across the globe.
Who is the governing body? Who does CDI report to?
Career Directors International (CDI) is an global membership-based company of career industry professionals. Innovation and governance is provided through an Executive Director, Board of Directors, Committee Directors and numerous specialized committee and focus teams. CDI’s Certification Committee oversees all resume-writing credentialing. Its global membership includes CDI’s Executive Director, a Chair and several members-at-large. Certification Committee members are credentialed CMRW resume writers, Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award winners/nominees.
CDI exists to provide a benchmark of excellence in a non-regulated industry. We are proud that our credentialing processes are the most stringent in the industry.
What if my sample is denied?
If your sample is denied, it is because the panel feels that from the sample submitted you are not yet ready to meet the requirements of CDI’s credentialing process. To assist in your development, you will be provided with feedback on where your sample did not meet the key competencies along with recommendations on how you can continue to work on your skills to further develop your resume writing. These recommendations may include supplemental reading, discounted admission to a résumé-writing program, and more. You can then resubmit your sample again at a later point at no additional charge. Should additional submissions be required later, each additional sample submission is $25.
What happens if my resumes are not approved?
If your resumes are not approved you will be provided with specific feedback and recommendations on how you can improve the documents. The Committee Chair will then provide you with details on the next steps available in the accreditation process.
Why would I select the CDI certification process over competing certifications elsewhere?
The CDI Certification is one of the most respected and fastest growing in the industry and the only certifying body with two distinctive tiers (the CARW and CMRW distinguishes and celebrates advanced and expert writers). Become one of the elite group of writers globally recognized as the best of the best. Read testimonials from other CARWs on the value this respected credential.
I am in a country outside the US. Do I have to take the exam during US business hours?
The final examination is online allowing you to complete it in your own stress-free environment at a time and place convenient to you.
I live in a country outside the US. Will the exam be relevant to me?
Career Directors International’s membership boasts career professionals from across the globe. While each country has rules and approaches to résumé writing that are country-specific, CDI’s examination covers the core principles and fundamental requirements of a professional resume that are universally recognized. If you are based outside of the US, questions in the examination will be relevant to you and the clients you represent.
I don’t write resumes in or for the United States of America. What value is a certification to me?
The certifications offered by Career Directors International are relevant to professional resume writers across the globe. CDI’s extensive membership boasts career professionals worldwide—many of whom have more than one certification and are considered trailblazers in elevating the quality and reputation of resume writing in their own countries. The value of being backed by a prominent international organization is evident as clients seek resume writers that are clearly a “class above”.
What happens if I fail one of the tests?
If you fail to progress in any component of the certification process, do not be discouraged. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to elevate your professional skills to a whole new level. CDI’s leaders will provide you with constructive feedback and recommendations on the next steps to take using the wealth of resources available through CDI in the members’ section, via the certification manual, or through our exclusive résumé-writing e-course. We have a vested interest in helping you grow and succeed so our members can be known as the best in the business.
Is membership required to become certified? Do I have to maintain my membership?
The CARW is granted to CDI members in good standing. In addition to maintaining membership in CDI, you must also show evidence of continuous learning and growth to ensure you move with the times in line with the evolving job markets. Certification is a process and is your commitment to growth, not a one-time occurrence.
I’ve heard of degree mills where you can buy a degree or certification. Is the resume certification like that?
No not in the least! After more than a decade, the CARW is gaining traction as the certification for best-of-breed resume writing professionals. This rapidly growing awareness reflects the rigorous, non-compromising standards CDI employs in our testing processes and our ongoing reinforcement of the need to uphold standards. Public awareness and acknowledgement continues to grow as the demand for high quality resumes intensifies in today’s competitive job market. CDI leads the way in setting benchmarks for resume writers and career professionals.
*If you are not currently a CDI member, please select the Non-Member rate above as it includes mandatory membership. For more information on membership visit the Member Benefits page.