Sunday, November 30, 2008

What Do You Want in a Conference?

A few months ago, I conducted a survey of my readers about their conference "wishes."

Now, Career Directors International is using a similar survey process to plan its 2009 conference. Visit the organization's website and participate in the "Conference 2009 Weekly Survey Question." This information will be used to help develop the CDI conference next year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

5 Habits of Highly Effective Postcards

I love postcards. You've probably received one from me in the past year touting my special report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor." Postcards have a number of advantages over other types of direct mail -- and they get attention!

The United States Postal Services' "Simple Formulas" series offers an excellent analysis of the advantages of postcards. Here's an excerpt:

1. They're simple.
A postcard has to get someone's attention while they're going through the mail. And a disorganized mass of information just isn't going to do it. Simple headlines work best. Don't write a book. Make believe that every word is costing you $1,000.

2. They're timely.
When asked what was the most effective mailer he ever created, a highly regarded copywriter pulled out a postcard. On that postcard, in big bold type it said, "Your warranty expires October 26." Do you have a timely message for your customers? Use it.

3. They're printed on both sides.
What are you supposed to do now that your warranty is expiring on October 26? The answer to that question is on the other side of the postcard.

Your postcard has two sides. Use them. But that doesn't mean fill every inch. You may want to use one side like a poster and the other for a few details. Or put an ad on one side and a personal message on the other. Just remember to keep it simple.

4. They're attractive.
In some ways, the design of a postcard has to work harder than the design of any other media. There are no envelopes to open or gimmicks to play with. Your postcard doesn't necessarily have to be a work of art, but it helps to make it attractive.

5. They're measurable.
A postcard can also be a coupon, a gift certificate, or a ticket to an event. Ask people to present the coupon to take advantage of an offer or promotion. Counting coupons helps you measure the effectiveness of your promotions. That way you can better understand what worked and what didn't.

Get more business-building tips at http://www.usps.com/directmail

You can order inexpensive, effective postcards using a service like VistaPrint:

50% Off All Postcards

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Great Time to Be a Resume Writer

Open the newspaper or turn on the news, and you'll see that the sky is falling. Companies are laying off workers left and right; government bailouts are everywhere, and unemployment is projected to reach 8 percent by June 2009.

It's a great time to be a resume writer.

Resume writing is truly one of the recession-proof careers out there. In bad economic times, people need resumes to set themselves apart when competing for scarce jobs; in good economic times, clients use their resumes to earn raises and find even better opportunities.

Interested in getting started in the business? I recommend "Starting a Home- or Office-Based Resume Business" by Teena Rose. It provides practical advice and guidance for starting your resume writing service.

And, of course, be sure to read our great archives on this blog for more advice about marketing, public relations, client management, and more!

Currently, I have approximately 4,000 resume writers in my database -- working to serve more than 80 million American job seekers. There are plenty of clients out there ... what are you waiting for?Link

Friday, November 21, 2008

Using GoToMeeting in Your Resume Writing Business

The advertisement is tempting: "Don't waste time, money and energy traveling to a meeting. With GoToMeeting you can have unlimited online meetings, presentations, and demonstrations with anyone, anywhere -- right from your computer."

It costs $49/month (or $468 a year) for unlimited meetings with up to 15 attendees. It also offers integrated conference calling.

I'm wondering how you could use this service in your resume writing business -- working with clients virtually ... and whether it's even needed. Do you really need to show clients your presentation materials in real-time, or could you send them the PowerPoint presentation via e-mail and then talk them through it?

I could definitely see the use for this in managing outplacement services ...

I could also see it used by resume writers that want to offer a "service demo" once a week for prospects -- you could walk them through a resume critique and show the different job search documents that you create ...

It would also be good for "Get Hired Now!" participants -- you could walk them through the workshop interactively, instead of just by phone. They could actually SEE their action plans and how they develop.

Other applications? Suggestions?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Services

I found an old article I had clipped from Business 2.0 magazine fron October 2006 that has some interesting applications for resume writers. I'm not sure how to apply it yet, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway.

The article is "Business Models: Why It Pays to Give Away the Store."

"Once upon a time, in the bad old days of business, giving away a product without charge was unheard of. Sure, Estee Lauder gave samples to celebrities and Gillette sold its razors cheap and made money on the blades But free didn't become a serious option until the Internet gave us low-cost online distribution.

The strategy has become so common that venture capitalists have coined a term for it: freemium. The lucrative flipping of the companies behind Blogger, Flickr, MySpace, and Skype -- all of them free services that offer a premium component -- has led to hundreds of imitators."

How can resume writers take advantage of this? By offering a free resume review and tips. There are even websites offering free resume samples that are funded by advertising revenue.

Career coaches can offer a 15-minute free consultation, or free podcasts.

What are your ideas?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Age Discrimination in the Job Search

An AARP study found that 79 percent of baby boomers expect to work at least part-time when they "retire" and the federal government predicts that the number of people over 55 who are working will rise 49 percent between 2002 and 2012.

Age discrimination is a complicated legal concept -- and discrimination may be difficult to prove. For example, a candidate may be deemed "overqualified" as a way to justify not hiring them because they are too old.

Employees and job applicants who are 40 years old or older are protected from age discrimination by both federal and state laws. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against employees and job applicants who are 40 or older and work for an employer with at least 20 employees, including state and local governments. It also prohibits employment agencies, the federal government, and labor organizations (such as unions) with at least 25 members, from discriminating against individuals based on age.

Employers who meet these requirements may not discriminate against workers ages 40 and older in hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, terms, conditions, or any other aspect of employment, because of their age.

They may not retaliate against an individual who complains about age discrimination or helps the government investigate an age discrimination charge.

The ADEA allows an employee or job applicant who believes they have been discriminated against based on their age to file a charge against an employer, employment agency, union, or government agency. Charges are filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal government agency that is responsible for investigating the charge.

There are a few exceptions to the ADEA -- for example, there are jobs where an employer must be able to provide that an age limit is necessary for adequate job performance. There are also companies that mandate that their executives and high-level policymaking employees retire at a certain age.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cutting Out the Middle Man

A few days ago, I wrote about a website called "Blue Chip Expert," which purports to be like a "MySpace for Job Seekers."

In doing a little more Googling, I found that this isn't a unique concept ... either in the U.S. or abroad. For example, I found two United Kingdom-based sites, Zubka and Jobtonic, that fulfill similar functions. They engage job seekers, referrers (like resume writers, recruiters, or other job seekers), and hiring managers or recruiters and provide a pay-for-performance model that rewards referrers for connecting job seekers with hiring managers and recruiters.

It reminds me of another site that dates back several years, Who Do You Know for Dough. I never did earn any commissions from that site ... but I never did have any clients that fit their openings particularly well either. (I see that the site is currently serving job seekers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

Have you had experience with one of these sites? I'd love your feedback.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Website Basics

Last week, I gave a presentation to about 30 small business owners on marketing their services. One of the hot topics was websites. I think websites are an important took for small businesses, but they are certainly not the "be-all, end-all" of marketing.

So it was with great interest today that I came across this website, ResumeAnswers.com, and it reminded me of some of the basics that resume writers should remember when developing their website.

These are:
  • Make it easy for prospective customers to contact you. Maybe it's my browser, but I can't find a phone number or e-mail to contact the site owner/business owner -- despite several statements about "contact me for 'x'".
  • Establish your credentials. I get the feeling that this individual works in a recruitment agency, or maybe in hiring in general. But I don't know who he or she is, or any of their credentials, because they're not spelled out anywhere on the site.
There are certainly more, but looking at this site, these were two very obvious "basics" you should remember. Make sure your phone number (at a minimum) is on every page of the site.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MySpace for Job Seekers?

Going through some old articles I'd clipped out, I came across an article from Business 2.0 magazine (no longer in existence, unfortunately), about a website that was touted as "A MySpace for Job Seekers." I looked up the company ("Blue Chip Expert") and it's still in business.

Here's how the concept was explained in the article:

"While interviewing with the CEO of a top Silicon Valley e-commerce firm, Scott Langmack got the idea for a company of his own. Langmack, a PepsiCo and Microsoft veteran, was a shoo-in for the position of chief marketing officer. But then the CEO complained that his headhunters had scoured thousands of resumes and that he'd spent three months interviewing shortlist candidates. A lightbulb went on in Langmack's brain, and he turned down the job.

Instead, he spent his own money creating Blue Chip Expert, a San Mateo, Calif., startup. Blue Chip is designed to make the kind of match Langmack's interviewer was seeking -- but in hours, not months. Think of it as a MySpace for top-level job seekers, except Langmark is offering thousands of dollars to any user who makes a successful referral. As he says, 'viral networks don't have to happen by accident.'"

Resume writers should consider signing up as a "Networker" and seeing what it's all about.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Employment Stats - November 2008

Here are some useful/interesting job search-related statistics, courtesy of Office Solutions magazine (January 2008):

71% of executives say the use of temporary workers has a place in their overall human resources budgets.
- OfficeTeam

2,356 people go into business for themselves every day in the United States. 20.4 million Americans are currently self-employed.
- U.S. Census Bureau

26 percent of Americans spend six or more hours each day on the Internet. 54 prcent spend 1-4 hours online.
- IBM

82 percent of HR professionals say that the way employees dress at work directly affects their prospects for promotion.
- Yahoo! HotJobs

43 percent of workers say a job interview is the most anxiety-inducing situation.
20 percent say the first day on a new job is the most anxiety-inducing situation.
- Monster.com

88 percent of executives say that sending a thank-you note following an interview can boost a job seeker's chances of landing the job. But 49 percent of applicants don't send thank-you notes. 52 percent of executives prefer to receive a handwritten thank-you note.
- Accountemps

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Value of a Newsletter

My husband, Jon, was cleaning out a desk drawer earlier this week, and came across an old issue of the "image building newsletter." Although it wasn't dated, the return address on it was from our very first issue, which means it was produced sometime between 1996 and 1999.

Ahhh.. some things never change. In an article about business promotions, I wrote:

Ever wonder how you can get more clients? Sometimes it seems new clients are dropping out of the woodwork ... while other times you wonder where they all went! There are ways you can help increase the likelihood that prospects will choose you ... and you can increase sales from your repeat customers when business slows down.

Most service business owners don't have the time it takes to devote to marketing their services -- they are too busy providing services to existing customers. But you need to continue marketing even when you're busy, because business can slow down at any time.

Marketing your services requires a commitment to ongoing promotions, advertising, and marketing.

Funny, I'd write the same thing today.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Marketing to Asian-Americans

An article in the September 2008 issue of Deliver magazine (a publication produced by the United States Postal Service to encourage direct mail marketing) highlighted the relevance of the Asian-American market as a demographic segment.

Author Vicki Powers writes:

Although Asians only represent 5 percent of the U.S. population, they are among the most educated and affluent U.S. consumers. But the Asian-American market, with its multiple sub-groups and diverse languages, remains a challenge to most marketers.

Asian Americans are one of the youngest slices of the U.S. market. Census figures show that the median age among Asian Americans is 34.8 years. Meanwhile, the rest of the U.S. population has a median age of 36.2 years.

Though they are largely concentrated in three states -- California, Texas, and New York -- Aisan American consumers nonetheless wield significant spending power. According to a University of Georgia study, Asian Americans spent $459 billion on products and services in 2007.

Asian Americans tend to be among the most educated individuals in the U.S. About 48 percent of Asian Americans have earned a bachelor's degree.

They are also among the most affluent Americans, with a median husehold income of $63,900.

If you work with clients virtually, Asian Americans are an excellent target market, because they are extremely technologically savvy as a group. Nearly 52 percent of Asian American adults who use the Internet bank online.

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