Wednesday, March 27, 2019

How to Fictionalize Your Resume Samples

What is “fictionalizing” your resume samples — and how do you do it?

When responding to a request for a subcontract writer — or when publishing resume samples on your website, you should ficitionalize the samples first.

Fictionalizing means taking a real resume and removing any identifying information that may make it possible for a reader to determine the “real” identity of the client. 

This allows someone to see the style of your writing while protecting your client’s confidentiality.

Here are some basic steps to follow to fictionalize a resume sample:

1) At a minimum, change the client’s name and contact information, including changing the street address, phone number, and email address. I recommend changing the city and state to an entirely different area of the country (and make sure the area code you use for the phone number corresponds to the “new” city). If there is a link to LinkedIn profile, you can change it to link to your LinkedIn profile (great marketing strategy) or just to the LinkedIn home page. 

For example, you might change:
5050 Grover Street, Omaha, NE 68106
to:
1111 Main Street, York, ME 03902

Laura Slawson, CCM, CPRW of The Creative Advantage reminds writers to change the footer (the person’s name may be there too!). She suggests using 111-222-3333 for the phone number and email@email.com for the email address.

Based on Laura’s advice, I’d recommend you check the document header too AND the Document Properties field in Microsoft Word.

2) Change the name of any/all companies listed. For example, instead of “Varian Medical Manufacturing,” you might change it to “ABC Medical Manufacturing.” Other “generic” or placeholder company names are: Acme, Ace, Mom and Pop, Sample, Widget, or XYZ

3) If the job title is really unique, you may consider changing it as well. (When in doubt, do a Google search for the job title. If it comes up with hundreds of links, you’re ok.)

4) Change the name of any organizations, clubs, or activities — and/or change the dates that the client participated. For example, if the client has earned a specific credential or designation, make sure that information would not be able to be used to trace the person’s identity.

5) Review the client’s educational history. It may not be necessary to change the name of colleges or universities, but you may want to consider changing a graduation date (or omitting it entirely) to avoid identifying the client. (An online directory of graduates for a small university, combined with a graduating year and job title could potentially be used to “find” a specific person.)

6) Consider changing some of the numbers in the $$/##/%% data so that exact phrases can’t be searched for on LinkedIn or Google.

Finally, review the resume one more time as a whole — is there any information that would potentially be able to be linked to the original client? If so, change it!


FAQs:

Q: Should you ask clients for permission to use their resume?
A: Yes. Most resume writers do this in their client agreement, asking clients to allow the use of the resume for promotional purposes if it is fictionalized to remove their identifying information. You can use a phrase like this:
Unless you request otherwise, your resume may be used for promotional purposes, with the guarantee that all information will be fictionalized to protect your confidentiality.


Q: Should I let people know the samples on my website have been fictionalized?
A: Yes. When publishing samples on your website, use this phrase, or something similar: Please note: All featured samples have been “fictionalized” — the client and company names and locations have been changed to protect the privacy of the original client.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Use Facebook to Get Clients




I’m friends with a lot of resume writers on Facebook. Some of them are really good about letting the world know what they do. Others aren’t.

If you’re looking to get more clients, Facebook can be an excellent source of referrals. People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. People who know you from Facebook can be an escellent source of referrals — or even become clients directly.

When was the last time you actually talked about your business and what you do for people on Facebook? Do the followers of your personal profile have any idea what you do for a living? Or are you on Facebook keeping up with college buddies and parents from your kids’ school?

I know you know this, but it bears repeating: If you don’t toot your own horn once in a while, nobody else will do it for you. Don’t sit back and wait for people to find you. Be proactive and step out from behind your computer and tell people you’re a resume writer.

True, you don’t want every single post to be self-promotional, because that definitely gets old and could turn followers away from you. Instead, develop a social media plan so your posts are a good balance between personal, business, and fun.

Facebook allows at least three different ways to reach your audience — and if you’re on Facebook for business, you should utilize all three, because not everyone will see every single post you publish. Using three different avenues raises your odds that the people in your target market will see something of interest.

Step One: Optimize Your Personal Profile
Prospective clients will check out your profile if it’s public or semi-public. So, in order to grab their attention, post consistently and be sure you fill out ALL the space on your personal profile page as completely as possible.

  • Add a bio — describe to your followers what makes you tick, and how you’re unique 
  • Add featured photos — a nice, visual way to grab attention with photos from conferences, workshops, speaking engagements, etc. 
  • Add your workplace information – link to your website, Facebook Group, and Facebook Business Page 
  • Link other social media profiles — under the About >> Contact & Basic Info section 
Even though your personal profile is meant for personal stuff, you can certainly announce the launch of your book, post photos of your recent conference you attended. While these are business-related, you’re not purposefully promoting your business via your personal profile.

Step Two: Create a Business Page on Facebook
The standard rule of Facebook is you use a business page to promote your business while your personal profile is meant for personal communication. So, to stay in good standing with Facebook, create that business page and optimize it in the same manner as you did your personal profile.

Business pages have come under fire recently because users complain that they never see page posts in their news feeds, even though they have liked the page. While this is aggravating, don’t give up yet. If for nothing else, you can add your website link and other contact information here and, since it’s a business page, you can talk about your business and promote your products every single day, even multiple times a day, without penalty. You can also run contests from your business page as well as add an opt-in offer to one of the tabs. Consider this a quick overview of your business where your followers can decide if they want to move forward with a consultation. Put a “Send Message” button on your business page to make appointment booking even easier.

Step Three: Consider Using Facebook Groups to Woo Prospects
Facebook groups can be another great resource to chat directly with prospective clients. Public groups are a good way to handle customer service questions. Closed or Secret groups are best used for specialty discussion topics, or memberships. Keep in mind that successful groups need daily interaction from their host so they don’t forget about you but that’s easy to add to your overall Facebook marketing plan.

I don’t know of very man resume writers using public groups, but there are a few using Closed or Secret groups as a benefit of working with them.


Remember this important note: finding clients is all about building relationships, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Talk about your business, showcase your expertise, reach out to your followers, and when the time is right, they will remember your name because you talked about what you do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

There's A Right Way -- and a Wrong Way -- to Leave Your Job (Part 3 in a Series)



This is the third part of a series focusing on leaving a job. In the first blog post, I talked about how to advise clients on what to do before they start their job search. The second blog post outlined tips for how to conduct a confidential job search.

In this blog post, I'll share how I tell clients to approach their supervisor to let them know they're leaving.

This one is often tricky for jobseekers. There’s rarely an “easy” way to let your current boss know that you’re leaving the company. This is especially true if you have been with the company a significant amount of time, or if you have a strong relationship with your supervisor. 

Here's what I tell my clients:
If you’ve had discussions with your supervisor in previous performance evaluations about your desire to move up, but these opportunities don’t exist within the company, your departure may not be a surprise. If your company was recently sold or acquired — or if your department has had a lot of recent turnover — that fact that you are leaving may not be unexpected. But if you are a key player, your resignation may be surprising, and may even cause big problems for the company. 

I advise jobseekers to let their current supervisor know as soon as they can. For most jobseekers, that means as soon as you’ve secured your new position (including getting the particulars of the new position in writing, if possible). 

Write a Letter of Resignation:
I also advise jobseekers to write a letter of resignation. Is that absolutely necessary? It depends. Many jobseekers simply tell their boss verbally that they are leaving — but there are several advantages to actually writing a resignation letter.
  • It can help start the conversation about you leaving the company. You can simply give it to your boss and say, “I’ve prepared this letter of resignation to let you know I’ve accepted another job.”
  • A resignation letter can provide you with an outline to discuss the issues related to your departure from the company (timing, unused vacation or sick leave, etc.
  • It can help you leave the job on the right foot — without burning bridges, and leaving the door open for future opportunities, should they arise.

Letters of resignation should be positive in tone. This is not the time to air grievances. The resignation letter will likely become a part of your permanent file, so choose your words carefully. If at all possible, hand-deliver (don’t email) your letter of resignation.

In the future, the person verifying your employment with the company might not be someone you worked with previously. They may review your file, and what you write in your letter of resignation might be important. A strong recommendation can be important — and it’s appropriate to reiterate your contributions in the resignation letter so that information is in your file. Just don’t go overboard; this is about you leaving the company, not angling for a raise or a promotion.

In your letter, be sure to thank your employer for the opportunities you had. You can also reiterate valued personal relationships in your resignation letter — acknowledging your work with your coworkers and supervisors. 

What to include in your letter of resignation:
  • The date you are leaving (if at all possible, give at least two week’s notice).
  • Include a forwarding address for mail and correspondence. Also include an email address where you can be reached.

A sample resignation letter might sound like this: 

Dear (Supervisor Name):

This letter is to inform you that I am resigning from my position as (job title) with (company name), effective (date). I am willing to stay on for two weeks — until (date) — in order to provide a seamless transition for my replacement.

I have appreciated the opportunity to learn from you and contribute to the company in this role. Being able to be a part of the team that launched the (name of project) that sparked the division to its highest revenues ever is something that I will always remember.

One of the most difficult things about moving on is the loss of your guidance. I have greatly benefited from your leadership and mentoring, and I would welcome the opportunity to keep in contact in the future, as I sincerely value your knowledge and experience.

We will need to work out my final work schedule as well as disposition of my accrued vacation/leave time and employee benefits; I will await your guidance on how to handle these issues.

Personal correspondence can be sent to me at my home address (list address), or via email at (personal e-mail address).

I wish you — and the company — all the best.

Sincerely,


(Your Name) 

In the next blog post, I'll talk about the "etiquette" of departure — basically, some "dos" and "don'ts" surrounding a jobseeker leaving their company.



Monday, January 14, 2019

There's A Right Way -- and a Wrong Way -- to Leave Your Job (Part 2 in a Series)



In my previous blog post, I talked about some examples of people who left their jobs in dramatic fashion. While they make for exciting news headlines, it's not a great strategy for our jobseeking clients if they value their career.

I also outlined the three phases for jobseekers who are thinking about leaving a job. The first step talked about what they should do before you start their job search.

In this blog post, we'll talk about how to advise clients to conduct a job search while they are still employed.


Research shows it’s easier to find a job when you have a job, but there are special considerations jobseekers must take into account when conducting a job search while they are still employed.

Here's what I tell my clients:
The first is how they interact with a future/prospective employer. In correspondence with prospective employers or recruiters, mention that you are conducting a “confidential” job search. You can use a phrase such as “I am contacting you in confidence about this position.” However, keep in mind that prospective employers are under no obligation to respect your wishes. Also be careful when replying to blind advertisements (ones that do not provide a name for the prospective employer). More than one jobseeker has accidentally submitted a résumé to his or her current employer this way.

Don’t conduct your job search on the company’s time — or dime. Reserve your jobseeking activities to before work, on your lunch hour, or after work. If necessary, take personal leave (not sick time) to go on interviews. (You can simply say you have an appointment.) Don’t use your company computer (including accessing your personal email account) for your job search. Don’t take employment-related phone calls during your work time; allow these messages to go to your voice mail, and return the calls during breaks or before or after work. And don’t list your employer’s phone number or your business email address on your job search documents.

How you dress during your job search can also be tricky. If you work in a “casual” workplace, wearing “interview attire” to work can be a red flag that something is up. You may want to change into your more formal clothes before an interview (don’t change at work!) — or schedule job interviews on a day when you’re not working.

Providing job references is also likely to be an issue. Even if you’ve told the prospective employer that your current employer doesn’t know that you’re looking, you may still want to mention that you do not want the company to contact your current employer for a reference until they are ready to extend a job offer, so as not to jeopardize your current position. In this situation, you may need to provide several references outside of your company who can speak to your credentials and expertise.


Finally, put your LinkedIn profile up sooner rather than later. Developing a comprehensive LinkedIn profile — and building up your network of contacts — is something to do right away. If you create one before you start your job search, you can honestly say that you’re doing it to create a network of contacts to assist you in being more effective in your current position. Having a newly-minted LinkedIn profile (especially one that mentions you’re open to “new opportunities”) can tip off your supervisor (or co-workers) that you’re looking for a new position. Routinely updating an existing profile, however, is not as suspicious.

In my next blog post, I'll tell you what I advise my clients about when and how to let their supervisor know they're leaving a job (including a sample letter of resignation).