Thursday, June 21, 2018

Q&A: I Think Subcontractors Aren't Getting Paid Enough

I sent out an email last week to promote a subcontracting opportunity for one of my listings in the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" membership program and received the following response.

I think the 20% to the writer is the wrong way around. Especially for only a couple of assignments per month.

A fairer business model would see the writer getting 80%+ and the originator getting a 10% - 20% “finder’s fee”, based on the premise that the writer is doing the majority of the work. Also, I think the client gets a better result when the writer interacts with them directly, rather than adding links into the chain of communication.

Having said that I am definitely interested in subcontract work and will check out your site and the YouTube.

Just my two cents!

– G.S.

Compensation for subcontract writing projects generates a lot of controversy.

Ask a subcontract writer, and they will tell you the pay is too low. Compensation is generally ranges from 20-35% of the project fee. Factors affecting the percentage include: the amount of client contact (and whether writing from worksheets vs. conducting the phone intake session) and whether the subcontractor or the contracting writer handles revisions. In general, the more client contact and the more of the project the subcontractor handles, the higher the percentage the subcontract writer receives.

Ask a contracting writer about compensation, and they'd remind you how much more goes into the project than the actual writing of the resume. There is marketing and client acquisition time and costs, selling the client on the project and fee (including determining project scope), getting payment and onboarding the client, conducting the information-gathering process, and managing the project through completion, including project finalization. There's also the risk of chargebacks, which is almost always fully realized by the contracting writer, with the subcontact writer paid regardless.

The author of the question above raises several excellent points. Skilled writing should be compensated well. How much better? I would argue that 30 percent should be the mininum amount, and that should be writing from worksheets with no client contact and no revisions. A project with direct client contact (including conducting the intake session) should be compensated at a higher rate than a ghostwriting opportunity.

But it's never going to be an 85/15 or 80/20 split in favor of the writer. The industry standard for compensating referrals is 15%. That's the "finder's fee" model the original email referred to. But that's very different from subcontracting.

It can be tough to find a qualified (especially a certified) writer who will work on a project for less than $200 (their percentage). At current rates, that means the contracting writer would have to charge $600 (at 35%) to $1000 (at 20%). With the industry average for resumes currently at $500-$600, that doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room.

One more point: The author mentioned "especially for only a couple of assignments per month." Many subcontractors only take on a few assignments per week or month. (The industry average for most writers, according to the Resume Writers' Digest Annual Industry Survey  is 1-2 projects per week, or 4-8 projects a month.) Many resume writers pursue subcontract opportunities while they build their own client base, to smooth out the peaks and valleys. Most subcontractors are looking for extra income, experience, and the opportunity to learn how other writers run their businesses and interact with clients. Some subcontract full-time (or as their only work), but that's not the majority of subcontract writers.

Interested in subcontract resume writing? Check out the Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor membership site. Your annual membership includes the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" special report (with information for subcontract writers about compensation, project management, and more -- and profiles of other subcontract writers), plus access to the Directory of Subcontract Opportunities, with more than 25 full listings for subcontract writing (with more being added and updated all the time).

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Are You a Workaholic?

By Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Is there a growing numberof workaholics in our country? My experience with my clients confirms that it becoming an epidemic in the workplace where employees are given increased tasks and then achieve increased performance by paying for it out of their hides, putting in more time rather than acquiring better time management skills to learn how to get more done in less time.

About 60% of high earners work more than 50 hours each week and complain that their health and sleep suffer as well as their relationships with their spouses and children. About 35% of the workforce is giving up some vacation time to work more and more a third of those surveyed felt guilty about taking time off.

The causes for this increase of workaholics include a more competitive business environment, less job security and technology that keeps people tethered to their jobs 24/7.

The article offers some warning signs to tell if you are an Extreme Worker.
  • Do you find your enjoyment of social activities less?
  • Are you thinking or worrying about work?
  • Does your family complain about your work hours? 
  • Are you the last one to leave the office?

Effective personal productivity is not working harder but getting the most important items done. You will leave undone more that you ever get done. You will only accomplish a tiny fraction of what you would like to get done. Having a goal, then, of “getting it all done” just buys stress and frustration and more hours for work and less time for you as you become ensnared in the Extreme Worker trap.

What to do? Two strategies might be helpful.

Start by setting in advance the total number of hours you wish to spend on the job. This will help you to take advantage of Parkinson’s Law which says, in part, that a project tends to expand with the time allocated for it. If you give yourself ten hours in the day to do your work it will take ten hours to complete. You will fill in that time.

On the other hand, if you chose to give yourself eight hours in the day to do your work, you will find yourself generally getting it done within that time frame. You will automatically become more effective at planning and managing your time. You will be less willing to spend time in wasteful meetings for example and will suffer fewer wasteful interruptions.

Second, take a regular, hard look at your To Do list and identify the items that can be delegated. There is a big difference between “I do it” and “It gets done.” What is more important is that it gets done. And the hardest part about delegating is simply letting go, especially for Extreme Workers.

I have had many executive coaching assignments helping clients to get free of the workaholic syndrome and as is often the case, the problem stems from an inability and unwillingness to delegate. “If you want a job done well you have to do it yourself,” leads you to the prison of an Extreme Worker.

Don Wetmore is a full-time professional speaker who specializes exclusively in the topic of Time Management. He conducts his nationally acclaimed Time Management Seminar throughout North America and Europe for people who want more out of life in less time, and with less stress. His seminars are witty, fast paced, and filled with practical, common sense ideas and tools. One of the country's leading experts on this topic, he is the author of “Beat the Clock!” Check out his website, The Productivity Institute, for more resources. To invite Don to speak at your next event, you may contact him directly at:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Ten Tips for A Modern Job Search

The job search has changed in the past 2, 3, 5 years and beyond. Heck, life has changed quite a bit in that time frame too. Self-driving cars, anyone?

Here are some tips for jobseekers on conducting a modern job search.
  • Times change. Recognize that if you haven’t looked for a new job in the last five years, you’ve got to learn some of the strategies that can help you conduct a modern job search.
  • The resume is not dead! Don’t believe anyone who tells you that social media has replaced a resume. Hiring managers and recruiters still rely on resumes in the hiring process.
  • LinkedIn is important, but not everything. A complete LinkedIn profile is important — and can help you be found — but it doesn’t replace the resume. The kind of information you collect when developing your resume can be repurposed to your LinkedIn profile, however.
  • Don’t use your old resume. Objective statements are obsolete and have been replaced with an executive summary or qualifications profile.
  • Generic resumes don’t work. Your resume must be tailored towards a specific type of position — or a specific job — to be effective. This is especially important if you are applying for a position online, as Applicant Tracking Systems require a significant match between your skills, education, and experience and the job posting.
  • Lead with your accomplishments. Now — more than ever — an employer is interested in the results you can offer. Understand the specific needs of the role you’re seeking, and communicate the value you can deliver.
  • Just because it's easy, doesn't mean it's effective. Understand that although technology makes it easy to apply to dozens or hundreds of jobs online, that remains one of the least effective ways to find a new position.
  • People still hire people. Don’t be discouraged or overwhelmed by the thought of a modern job search. Focus on how you can add value to a prospective employer and get noticed by someone with the authority to hire you.
  • Technology can be an asset in your modern job search! Technology actually makes it easier than ever to identify — and connect with — a recruiter or hiring manager. And technology also makes it easier to find out information about company culture, financial performance, and other internal data.
  • Get help with your modern job search! One of the best resources for you in a modern job search is your resume writer. When in doubt about something you’ve heard, or read about, ask! Need a resume writer? Find one here.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Are Keywords Still Important in a LinkedIn Profile?

The short answer is YES.

I received this question from a colleague who was wondering, since LinkedIn has changed its search functions with the 2017 update ("the new desktop experience"), relegating many of the higher-level search functions to paid accounts. With the vast majority of LinkedIn users still using the Free level, the question was: Are keywords still important in a LinkedIn profile?

Let's take a closer look at where keywords can be helpful.

Industry is still included as a field in the search filters -- even on Free level -- so it's helpful for SEO there (with the idea that the ultimate purpose of SEO is to be found). Although note that the "default" search categories are limited to fields similar to your own unless you type in an industry category ("+Add").

(Click on Industries):

There is also a Keywords-specific search box:

It's only been in the last two months that LinkedIn has updated their SEO algorithm for the "new desktop experience" -- you can see the latest details on this page:

Most relevant on that page is this quote:
"More keywords aren't always better. Our advice would be to avoid overfilling your profile with keywords and only include the keywords that best reflect your expertise and experience. If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your profile, it's likely that your profile will be filtered out by our spam detection algorithms, which will negatively impact your rank in search results."

Quality over quantity. "More keywords aren't always better."

That said, I think that it's premature to say that because LinkedIn has reduced the prominence of showing the Summary on both the desktop and mobile versions that SEO/keywords aren't as important. I saw an article a couple of months ago that addressed this (I don't know if I could find it again), but it said the Summary is now more like a cover letter for LinkedIn users -- instead of how we used to position it as an "executive summary" for clients. If you provide compelling content in those first few words/lines, they'll click to read through, but it's vital to put good information in the entire profile to be found by the search engines, but once you've been found, you have to compel the human reader too. (The more things change in job search -- and technology -- the more things stay the same!)

Like with the ATS, the keywords have to be in the content in order to appear in search results. But the best strategy for jobseekers remains to use LinkedIn to build their networks (and increase their visibility through LinkedIn Publishing and liking and commenting on content -- since this appears on your LinkedIn profile page) and keeping in contact with their LinkedIn connections.

So, in lengthy summary -- I wouldn't advise any change in strategy for content based on the new desktop experience.