Friday, November 30, 2007

Craiglist Charging for Employment Ads

For the past month, Craigslist began charging $25 for help-wanted ads in 11 markets, including Sacramento. The effort is not one to raise revenues, rather, to improve the quality of the employment ads posted.

According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, The fees don't represent a change in philosophy for Craigslist, which is a for-profit corporation but styles itself as a quirky nonprofit "community." Rather, the San Francisco-based site said the fees will weed out the "duplicate and illegitimate ads" and make the remaining listings more effective.

According to the article, "Craigslist's free ads have helped fuel a massive migration of classified advertising to the Internet, a trend with enormous implications for the newspaper industry. Publishers such as The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, which owns The Bee, have reported significant drops in classified ad revenue in the past year or so."

We'll have to watch and see if the charges reduce demand on Craigslist and if this has any impact on online job-related advertising.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November/December 2007 Issue Ready

Well, another issue is on its way to subscribers! This one is 16 pages, and features a cover story on resume writing certifications. It's a comprehensive, 7-page article comparing all of the major certifications. If you're not yet certified -- or are thinking about pursuing certification, read this article!!

The Resume Writer's University article is a review of the book "Competency-Based Resumes," and Robert Middleton talks about "Marketing Without Marketing" in his Action Plan column.

There's also an interview with Norine Dagliano on how public speaking can build your resume business and help you generate new revenue.

If you have not yet subscribed to Resume Writers' Digest, remember it's FREE. It's supported by advertising, the sale of our special reports and books, and donations. Use the form in the upper right-hand corner of the RWD Blog to sign up!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Potential Employers for Ex-Military Clients

magazine cover imageHave clients who have left the military but still want to use their military skills?

From GovExec.com, the top 100 defense contractors for the military and the top 200 government contractors (list updated in August annually).


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Goal Setting


In my letter from the editor in the November/December issue of the Resume Writers' Digest newsletter, I wrote about goal setting ... and how a photo can be a powerful motivator in your quest to achieve a goal.

This is the photo of my house (formerly owned by my brother and sister-in-law) that was the inspiration for my desire to own my own home after I got married. As I mentioned in the column, that goal literally DID become a reality, as the house I envisioned as I worked to achieve my goals was the one I actually ended up buying! (Although I didn't necessarily have THIS house in mind when I set the goal in the early 2000s.)

So when you set a goal, attach a picture to it (either mentally -- or, better yet, physically).

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Alliance's Liz Sumner

Liz Sumner

She's worked in advertising, communication, distribution, hospitality and politics. She's lived in the Delaware Valley, the Pacific Northwest, and New England. Liz has a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Oregon, a Masters degree in Organizational Change from Antioch University in Seattle, WA. and is ICF certified as a Life Coach through the Academy for Coach Training in Bellevue, WA. Liz is the Executive Director of The Career Management Alliance.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Honesty & Resumes

In writing an article for the upcoming issue of Resume Writers' Digest on "Competency-Based Resumes" (based on a review of the book of the same title), I came across a section that got me to thinking about how we've traditionally looked at resumes as a marketing document and not a legal document.

Competency-Based Resumes: How To Bring Your Resume To The Top Of The Pile

It used to be that the resume was not considered a legal document unless it was incorporated into the job application (for example, by writing "See Resume" as a response to a question on the application form).

But in describing the need for accuracy and honesty on the Education section of the resume, the authors gave this example:

"In 2002, the athletic director for Dartmouth College resigned after his employer found out that he had not completed his master's degree. He had made the mistake of claiming that he had that degree on his resume."

While I have always been a stickler for being honest on the resume, I've never found the "sin of omission" to be especially egregious (i.e., not including all previous jobs). But I think we need to be especially careful about how we position our clients.

Instead of using a commonly-known job title, we should use the client's actual job title (and then list the equivalent in parentheses). For example:
Sales Supervisor (functional equivalent of Director of Sales)

No longer are resumes strictly a marketing document -- they can have very real, legal implications, and we should treat them as such.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

$100 A Day

For a startup, the idea of making $2,000 a month can be overwhelming -- especially for a new resume writer. So make it more manageable. Focus on making $100 a day. Break the goal into small, specific tasks you can accomplish quickly. Ask yourself, "What can I do today to reach my goal?"

Measure your success using observable criteria. If you're trying to increase referrals from career coaches and mental health professionals, you need to increase your visibility with this audience. So your tactics may include sending one letter each day to a career coach or mental health therapist (you can find them in the Yellow Pages) to introduce yourself and ask how you can work together.

Consider subcontracting. Contact other resume writers in your area and inquire about taking on their overflow work.

Find opportunities to speak. Write articles. Increase your visibility.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More on Acute Spousal Interference

Nick Corcodilos ("Ask the Headhunter") quoted me on his Infoworld blog following up to his original article on Acute Spousal Interference (without mentioning me by name)...

As a professional resume writer, I see this a couple of times a year. Usually it starts with a wife who calls to find out about having a resume prepared for her husband. When she launches into a litany of, "He's not making enough at his current job and he's under-appreciated and he needs a new job," that's when I usually stop her and gently tell her that the process works best when I can work with the client who is going to be using the new resume. I ask her to have her husband call me. Nine times out of ten, he doesn't call. Whether that means that he likes his job (even though it doesn't pay "enough" for her) or if he just doesn't have the initiative, I don't usually find out for sure.

Whoo-wee. I think we touched a nerve. I'm not sure whether I worry more about the interfering spouse, or the job candidate who lets it happen. I'm not worried about the employers at all -- not one wrote to say they hired either half of such a team.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow resume writers!

We have much to be thankful for today.

It's too early to do a full-year reflection on this year, but despite the challenges (a leaky roof, laser printers that die), I still have much to be thankful for. A "job" that allows me the freedom to choose my clients, spend time with my nieces and nephews, and follow college hockey. A home of my own. Loving friends and family. And the opportunity to help people follow their dreams and find a job that fulfills them.

Give thanks today, for we are truly blessed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Off-the-Wall Subcontracting Ideas

Response has been great to Diana LeGere's "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" Special Report, and I continue to come up with ideas for other subcontracting opportunities.

Have you considered these ideas?
  • Handling updates and resume retargets for busy resume writers. Updates and retargets generally aren't as profitable -- team up with a resume writer and offer to handle these projects for a fee (30% to 50%) and the mentoring that comes along with project oversight and document approval.
  • Provide coaching services for career professionals who only write resumes. There are plenty of resume writers out there who don't do coaching of any kind. Partner with them to offer the service under their brand, and share the revenues!
  • Provide resume services for the clients of mental health professionals who offer career assessment and coaching services. Look in the phone book for therapists who offer career testing/career assessment services (they might be listed under "Counseling" in your local directory). Create a referral relationship or a direct contract for services under their brand.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Acute Spousal Interference"

Nick Corcodilos, in a recent Ask the Headhunter weekly e-mail, wrote an interesting article the other day that most professional resume writers can relate to. He wrote about the concept of "Acute Spousal Interference" -- the tendency of spouses to become overly involved in their spouse's job search.

Most professional resume writer recognize this type of individual. She's the wife that is calling for her husband -- not because he works the overnight shift, but because "he needs to take control of his career. He's underappreciated and underpaid."

While that may be true, you're going to get sucked into a quagmire if you don't nip the spousal interference in the bud up front. Otherwise, you'll likely find yourself working with a reticent husband while the wife tries to be the "client." And unless she's going on the job interviews too, that's a recipe for disaster. Wait a minute -- if she went on the interview too, that's even worse.

So what can you do? Take charge. Tell the wife that you really need to speak with her husband. You can provide general information about how the process works and pricing, but you need to speak with him directly to fully gauge what services are appropriate. Don't be put off by her comments, such as "He's too busy to talk to you, so he asked me to call" or "I can tell you anything you need to know." Just reinforce the need to speak to him directly, at his convenience. You might also make the point that "a job search requires an investment in time to be successful." If he doesn't have time to talk to you, will he make the time to do the things required to find a new job?

We all need clients, but we don't need all clients.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Guide for New Resume Writers

I hope to eventually turn this into a full-fledged special report, but for now, here's the outline for "Bridget's Guide for New Resume Writers."

This is your to-do list:
  • Join a Professional Association (Career Directors International, Career Management Alliance, National Resume Writers' Association, Professional Association of Resume Writers, Association of Online Resume Providers)
  • Decide what services you will offer (Resume writing? Career coaching? Career testing? Recruiting? Resume distribution? Job search research?)
  • Decide who your customers are (Local? Nonlocal? Specific industry? By gender?)
  • Decide how you will work (In person? By Phone? Through Questionnaires?)
  • Consider certification (Choose a credential and get started learning the craft)
  • Save up to attend a conference.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Think Different

http://www.deskpicture.com/DPs/Technology/Apple/ThinkDifferent.jpg

In 1997, Apple introduced an advertising campaign that changed how they marketed their products. Instead of focusing on technical aspects (processor speed, hard disk size), Apple revolutionized computers by making them about their performance as a lifestyle item.

Big changes are in store for our industry in the next 5-10 years. How will the resume writing industry "Think different"??

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Converting Resumes to CVs

Myriam Rose-Kohn was recently quoted in an article by James Caverly, "Five Tips for Writing CVs for Overseas Employers." It's a great resource that you should bookmark.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Clients Are Everywhere

I was on the phone with Apple's technical support today (a logic board problem with my iBook), and was talking with a rep named Sam in Toronto, Ontario. I told him I had been to Toronto for a resume writing conference, and he asked me about resumes while we waited on hold together for a product specialist, and then a customer relations representative.

It just shows that prospective new clients are everywhere.

He asked all the typical "new client" questions (pricing, guarantees, samples, effectiveness, job search research), and I referred him to a couple of my colleagues in Ontario, Canada. So Marian, Martin, or Sandra, if you get an inquiry from Sam who works for Apple and wants to be a health inspector, you'll know where it came from.

(The bad news, it appears as if my logic board issue is unrelated to the repair extension program I referenced, and I'm going to have to take my computer in.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How Do You Process Information?

I was reading about "Learning Styles" today -- specifically, how most of us have preferred ways to perceive and process new information. When you realize that you have a preferred way to learn new information, you can be more effective in learning new things!

My interest was focused on "processing" information -- how we internalize our new experience and make it our own. Educational theorists have identified two styles of processing:
  • Some people favor processing new information by actively experimenting. They like to "jump right in" and start using the new information. They immediately look for practical ways to apply what they've learned.
  • Others favor processing new information by reflectively observing -- they prefer to watch and ponder what is going on. They understand a situation by carefully observing it.
I'm an "active experimenter" -- if I read about a new resume technique, I want to try it out right away.

What's your processing style?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Control Your Time

Who controls your time? It can feel like your clients control your time, or your friends, or your kids, or your spouse. When you find yourself saying you don't have enough time, you may really be saying that you are not spending the time you do have in the way that you want.

Don Orlando has a great take on managing your time that he shared in a recent issue of the Spotlight. He talked about charging clients extra for projects that require him to work evenings or weekends. His surcharge is something like $4,000 on top of his usual rates.

I do charge a rush fee (usually 20%), although I try not to encourage it. I found myself doing one yesterday though, and the client had delayed getting me his information until about 9 p.m. last night. Fortunately, I had started writing the draft without the information he was supplying, and it didn't take too long to plug in his new information. But as I was sending off his draft at 11:30 last night, I pondered increasing my rush fee even more.

Maybe I'll make it a flat $500 for 24-hour turnaround. You have to start somewhere, right Don?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Be A Fool

I read an article recently where the author said, "Most of us spend too much time and energy trying to hide our fool-hood." By this, he meant that we spend too much time pretending to be something that we're not.

That's an interesting concept. A lot of us try to be experts in our field ... and are afraid we'll look like a fool if we ask our client to clarify something that is probably basic to them. I've tried to be better about this -- by telling the client, "I know a little bit about a lot of different fields, but I'm going to rely on you to help me understand enough of what you do to create a resume that will get you interviews."

Right up front, I'm giving myself permission to look foolish to this client. And you know what? Not one client has objected. (I thought for sure one of the first ones I said this to would come back with something like, "Well, what am I paying you for then?" Nope, that was just foolish thinking on my part!)

Afraid of writing for a new field? Be willing to be a fool! Take risks, experiment with new skills ... grow! The rewards are expanded creativity, more joy ... and a potential new market.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Businesses Fail


In an article on the SCORE website, "12 Sure-Fire Steps to Improve Your Retail Sales," author Bob Nelson outlines five main reasons why most businesses fail. I'd like to address each of these areas and how you can position your resume writing business for success.

1. Lack of Industry Knowledge
It's not enough to just know the nuts and bolts of resume writing. You must also know how to manage clients, how to manage your time, and pricing strategies. Start by writing resumes for friends and family, and then for pay for the individuals they refer to you. Join a professional association and study what others do, and then adapt their methods and make them your own.

2. Lack of Vision
What do you want from your resume writing business? Extra income, a bridge to self-employment, or a full-time income? How are you going to get from here to there? If you want to launch a full-scale business, but don't want to invest in marketing and promoting your services, you will be sadly disappointed. I don't care if you create a full business plan, but at least think through your marketing tactics, income-and-expense projections, and pricing strategy.

3. Poor Market Strategy
Speaking of pricing strategy, what is yours? What kinds of clients will you serve? Will you be a general practitioner, or a specialist? Focus on one geographic area, or serve clients everywhere with your web presence? How will you find clients? How will you cultivate referral sources? Will the clients pay what you need to charge them?

4. Failure to Establish Goals
Where do you see your business in six months? A year? Five years? I had a five-year plan and it worked for 10 years ... but now I'm thinking I need to start all over again, and see what I need to do to prepare for the next year ... and five years from now. Set goals not just for income, but number of clients, referral sources you can cultivate, and plans for continuing education and certification.

5. Inadequate Capitalization
This is probably the thing that does most businesses in. You over-estimate your revenue, and underestimate your expenses. A crisis comes along (car breakdown, health issue) and you can't afford to be self-employed. Create a financial safety net with your savings, or by working a part-time job. Diversify your income by writing, or teaching, or subcontracting.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NRWA Website Hacked

Clients or resume writers trying to find the NRWA website on Friday, Nov. 9 were greeted by a strange message, purportedly from a group with links to Al-Queda. As late as Saturday evening, even Google was displaying the hacked version of the site in its cached files.

According to NRWA President Kathy Sweeney, the message was religious in nature, claiming that "God would hate (the U.S.)" and asked God to "curse (the United States)."

The hacking, which was not limited only to the sites hosted by the same company that hosts the NRWA's site, may have been part of a "Cyber-Jihad" plan. A military website warned of mass denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, originally believed to launch on Nov. 11.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Using Regular Writing Resources In Your Resume Writing

I don't know how well it compares to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles or the Occupational Outlook Handbook, but I came across an interesting resource the other day that might prove useful:

Careers for Your Characters by Raymond Obstfeld and Franz Neumann.

"Create well-developed characters using the descriptions of almost a hundred professions. Each entry consists of a description and details including educational requirements, salary, jargon, hazards, rewards, and more. Packed with sidebars and call-outs."

Published in 2002, the book is 336 pages and can be ordered from Amazon.com for just $13.29 plus shipping.



Thursday, November 8, 2007

Get Organized!

If you're like most resume writers, you've got a ton of paperwork to organize!

You'll find plenty of articles, tips, and advice on how to get better organized at:
http://www.getorganizednow.com

You can also sign up for a free weekly e-mail newsletter!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Push Hard to Achieve Your Goals

The year is drawing to a close. Are you on track to achieve your personal and professional goals? When the year began, if you're like most of us, you established some revenue, marketing, and professional development goals. Have you done the things needed to hit the mark in achieving these goals?

If you're on track or ahead of schedule, congratulations -- that's excellent, and 2007 will go down as a great year for you! However, if you're not on track, it's not too late to take action!

Here are some tips:
  • First, reach out for help. All of the major professional associations have feedback tools -- e-lists or message boards -- where you can solicit ideas for ways to jumpstart your sales.
  • Second, get focused. This industry changes rapidly. Keeping on top of key changes is critical. Don't try to be all things to all people. Select a niche market and then serve that market well. (It can be a geographic area, a specific industry, or even selected populations, i.e., women, or executives).
  • Third, look at your business and determine what you're most passionate about. Talk to your best clients and ask them for help by providing referrals. If you've provided value to them, they probably know someone who could benefit from the work you do in helping other people achieve their dreams.
The careers industry is about developing relationships, so don't expect a quick fix. However, the tactics you employ today might result in some additional business later this year or early in 2008.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Avoiding Bad Clients

Marketing guru Robert Middleton had a great post last week on his blog that I wanted to analyze in a bit more depth. He shared a system of identifying types of prospective clients outlined by Jerry Vieira, of The QMP Group, at the IMC (Institute of Management Consultants) Confab in Reno Nevada.

He wrote:

Everyone wants to attract the ideal clients.
But very few of us know how to identify them. And what's even more of an issue is that we don't know how to identify bad potential clients.

As a result, we waste a huge amount of time and energy in the marketing process. We spend too much time speaking to and meeting with prospects who either will never buy our services or, if they do, the experience and results will be disappointing.

So how do you quickly size-up prospective clients?

You divide them into eight types that distinguish their dominant approach to doing business. When you clearly see these types, you'll know how to proceed.

Here are a couple that might sound familiar to resume writers:

** Takers

These prospects are experts at stealing concepts and ideas. So, with little compunction, they'll lift your ideas, pass them off as their own and never give you credit.

If you're meeting with a taker, they'll tend to grill you and take very good notes. They'll ask you to send resume samples or will press you for more detail when you provide them with a resume critique. They'll take your methodologies and get their cousin, Fred, to do the project using your approach.

** BMMDI - "Boss-Made-Me-Do-It"
In the resume trade, these are individuals who are being forced to use your services -- either by a spouse or other family member, or maybe by an employer (in the case of outplacement services). They are talking with you to fulfill an obligation. If they end up buying, they won't really care if your services deliver or not. They'll never read the resume or give you useful feedback.

** Opportunists
They are just one step above the takers. They do not part with their money easily. They want the lowest price, the bare bones package, the minimum they can buy. And then they expect first-class service when they pay economy fares.

An opportunist may buy some services, but they will be high maintenance and take up big chunks of your time. If you decide to work with them, you need a very explicit written agreement with clear boundaries which you stick to unfailingly.

If you connect with these types and recognize them, you'll save huge amounts of time and effort by moving on quickly. An initial meeting by phone and a few well-chosen questions will let you know if they fit into any of the above five types.

Next, Jerry went on to identify three desirable prospect types. When you recognize them, give yourself a green light to spend more time exploring how you might work together. They can all be good clients.

** Terribly Troubled
These are prospects who really need your assistance. They have a problem, predicament or pain and are motivated to get it fixed. They are desperately seeking alternatives and will often make a quick decision.

They may be willing to spend a lot, but are often in a rush to get going; as a result they may not carefully evaluate the options. Work to slow down these prospects a bit. Assure them you can help fix the problem, but also spend some time exploring ideal outcomes that will take more time and care to implement.

** Frustrated Drivers
These prospects are very interested in optimal results and will study alternatives intensively. They will commit quickly and spend what it takes, but will expect visible results sooner rather than later. This is the typical CEO/Executive client.

When speaking with these prospects, communicate about tangible results and clear courses of action. Offer well-documented case studies and proof that your approaches work. When they engage you, set well-defined benchmarks and measure progress regularly.

** Sincerely Growth-Oriented
You might consider this your ideal kind of client. They are already doing things quite well but want to do things better. They have issues and challenges that are not seen as debilitating, but as areas to improve. They are motivated by excellence and growth.

These clients will engage in long-term work, look carefully at the best alternatives, and commit to achieving ultimate goals. Bring your absolute best to working with these clients, as they will reward you financially, emotionally and intellectually.

If you focus on identifying these final three types of prospects, you will start to find more of them.

Thanks to Jerry Vieira for sharing his model. Jerry can be found on the web at http://www.qmpassociates.com

*

The More Clients Bottom Line: Much wheel-spinning can be avoided in the marketing and prospecting process if you are aware of the warning signs of prospects who will squander your time and energy. Put your attention and focus on better prospects who are motivated to take real advantage of your expertise.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Brand You World Global Telesummit



To mark the 10th Anniversary of personal branding, on Thursday, Nov. 8, a team of professionals in the personal branding community is providing 24 free teleseminars with experts in the field of personal branding. Anyone in the world with a telephone will be able to participate in this live event.

In 1997, Tom Peters wrote his now iconic article "The Brand Called You" in Fast Company. Now ten years later, the personal branding movement is firmly established as a revolutionary and evolutionary strategy for career management and professional and personal success.

Whether you are a professional in an organization, an entrepreneur leading your own business or an individual in career transition, personal branding has become synonymous with how we build our personal reputation and differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

"A Brand You World - Global TeleSummit" consists of three content streams for:

Career Management Success

The content of this stream will be relevant for career professionals who want to apply personal branding strategies to support their career success. This content stream will also be relevant for professionals in the field of career coaching, resume writing and career counseling. There will be nine sessions with expert speakers and three discussion panels.

Talent Management

The content of this stream will be relevant for HR professionals and business leaders who want to discover how to attract, develop and retain talent through the application of personal branding strategies. There will be five sessions with expert speakers and one discussion panel.

Entrepreneurship

This content stream will be applicable for business owners and solopreneurs who want to apply personal branding strategies to grow their business. There will be five sessions with expert speakers and one discussion panel.

If you are looking to grow your business, you can't afford to miss these sessions - take a look at the program schedule for the details.

The program will feature several familiar faces, including Kirsten Dixson, Susan Guarneri, Jason Alba, Deb Dib, Van Lier, and Myriam Rose-Kohn.

Kirsten_dixson_smlSusan_guarneri_smlJason_alba_sml_2Deb_dib_sml_2Vivian_vanlier_smlMyriamrose_kohn_sml

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tips for Home-Based Resume Writers

Home-based resume writers face special challenges, including establishing credibility with prospective clients, managing their time, balancing work and personal responsibilities, and overcoming isolation issues.

Tips for home-based resume writers include:
  • Being a professional and looking like a professional begins with one simple factor -- how we think. What you convey to your client will be perceived.
  • Create an effective working environment. Acquire a comfortable desk and chair and make sure your room decor and background music are what you need to feel at peace during the day.
  • Use technology to bolster your image. Services like ICS (Incoming Call Solutions) offered by UReach.com, TelCan, and Big Planet offer phone solutions such as "follow me" call forwarding, accepting faxes by email, etc.
  • Create a social network. In addition to resume writing and career development affiliations, consider SCORE, Chamber of Commerce membership, and entrepreneur.com.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Marketing to Women

Eighty percent of all consumer purchasing decisions are made by women. Understand and implement the "EVEolutionary Truths" set forth by Faith Popcorn and co-author Lys Marigold in their book, "EVEolution" and tap into this powerful market.

Here are some ideas:
  • Connecting female consumers to each other connects them to your brand. How can you connect one female client to another? Hold a free workshop at your local library and encourage the women who attend to introduce themselves to each other.
  • If you're marketing to one of her lives, you're missing all the others. Women wear many hats, so you might design your worksheets to be completed in shorter segments so women can work on them while waiting for their child at one of their many activities.
  • Market to her peripheral vision and she will see you in a while new light. Pick a child-friendly bookstore and offer to co-sponsor a brief talk on the careers industry at the same time they offer storytime to kids. Do the same thing at your local library.
  • Walk, run, go to her, secure her loyalty forever. Make it convenient for her to work with you. Set up your website to handle requests for services.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cultivating Referrals

Once you've been in business for more than a year, you should have a solid network of referrers. These can be clients, people in your network, other careers professionals, other business owners, etc.

If you don't have a network, get one! Think of some strategic partnerships you can develop. Be creative -- how about a referral relationship with your dentist? Or hairstylist? Or a divorce attorney? Or a mental health therapist who does career testing? Or a recruiter? An employment lawyer? The possibilities are endless.

Incorporate your request for referrals into your business. Tell clients that you get most of your new clients by referral -- and you'd appreciate, if they're satisfied with your services -- that they tell other individuals about you. Help them understand what kind of clients you're looking for ("Sam, as a senior executive yourself, you may comes across another executive who has been downsized and isn't having much success with traditional outplacement. If you are telking with someone like that, give me a call -- perhaps I can help him/her."

Develop (or enhance) your Reward for Referrals program. At a minimum, you should always send the referrer a handwritten thank you note.

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