How difficult is the CPRW exam?

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The Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) exam is administered by the Professional Association of Resume Writers/Career Coaches (PARW/CC). When compared to other exams in the industry, some believe the CPRW exam is the least difficult to achieve.

To take the CPRW exam, you must first be a member of parw.com (cost $150). Although not a requirement during its early years, the PARW/CC now requires a continuous membership with the organization in order to maintain an active CPRW credential. The cost for taking the CPRW exam is $225.


Revealing details about the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) exam itself would be unethical, however, I can give you some broad specifics. I took and passed the CPRW exam before working on my first resume project, obtaining my business license, and writing my business plan. So, the impression that you need some extensive amount of resume writing experience before attempting to take the CPRW exam isn’t exactly true. Back in 1996, the first half of the exam encompassed identifying spelling errors and issues with grammar, recognizing and knowing certain acronyms, and answering a few select multiple choice questions. The second half of the exam involved writing a resume and providing an overview of my thoughts and methodologies for writing the resume as I did.

A couple of years back, I reviewed the updated CPRW exam … and although the test has changed since 1996, I’m not certain the new exam is any more difficult than the older version (having not taken the exam, and if new to the industry, you might disagree :)). My belief is that as long as you go through the study guide that PARW/CC provides, you have some knowledge of resumes (layouts, content, formats), and you have a good grasp of punctuation and grammar, you should pass the test with flying colors.

“Testees” are given a nice block of time to do each section, so in my opinion, you’ll have plenty of time to toil over the exam … bringing your answers to perfection without being too heavily under the gun. I recommend having a good command of writing a resume for a manager or sales rep, although I have no direct knowledge of the type of jobseeker you’ll write a resume for. I’d be surprised if you were assigned to write for an off-the-wall career field, however. I also recommend knowing what resume-writing strategies to take when handling employment gaps and job hoppers/career changers.

I suggest talking with Frank Fox, Executive Director, of the PARW/CC. He can offer further insights on exactly what’s included in the exam, and help you determine your readiness for taking the test.

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