Friday, July 27, 2012

Using Content Marketing In Your Resume Writing Business

One of the best tools resume writers and career coaches have to market their careers industry businesses is content marketing. Sharing information and ideas with jobseekers can help them become prospective clients for your resume writing business.

Content marketing is getting more and more important every day. People today are finding more and more content through social networks and less and less through search engines. That means that creating content people want to share is becoming ever more important.

Here's how to use content marketing to your advantage.

Build Your Personal Brand
At the end of the day, the only thing that you have is your reputation. But a lot of people -- including resume writers -- fail to consciously build their personal brands. Yet this is truly one of the most valuable assets you have -- and it's one of the best ways to grow your resume writing business.

By creating high quality, unique content for a certain market, you establish yourself as an expert. If you want to target a special niche of clients -- for example, sales executives, or equine professionals -- you can tailor general job search information to the specific needs of this audience, and increase your "know, like, and trust" factor with these folks.

Build Trust with Prospective Customers
Jobseekers looking for help with their job search are more likely to trust someone who provides a lot of quality content rather than a website that just says "buy, buy, buy."

There's something about consistency that really builds trust. Anyone can put up a website to start selling resume writing services, but if you're producing high quality content for six months, people will instinctively trust you a lot more. They'll think you'll still be around to help them six months down the line.

Build Your Platform Before You're Thirsty
One of my favorite books is Harvey Mackey's "Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty."



The same is true for resume writers -- build a list of prospective clients before you need them! Your platform is your list of clients and prospective clients who are interested in what you have to say. Let's say you want to launch a LinkedIn profile rewriting service. If you haven't been publishing content and building your mailing list, how will you find people who want this service? It would be very hard. But if you've already been publishing content for months, you'll already have a reader base you can use to launch your new service!

The "Secret" to Good Content Marketing
Great content marketing is really as simple as focusing on providing good content, consistently.

Good content should be compelling content. One of the best ways to create content is to use examples from your work with clients. People can relate to the struggles of your clients -- and learn from the lessons you teach them of how you helped those clients with their specific challenges.

Don't be disappointed if it takes some time to build up your reader base. That's how it works: reputations take time to become established. Fortunately, once your reputation is established, it also builds momentum and can grow very quickly. It's not an overnight technique; so the sooner you get started, the sooner you'll start reaping the benefits.

If you're interested in content marketing, check out "Using Content to Capture New Career Clients" (teleseminar recording and transcript) and the "Resume Writer's Guide to Article Marketing" (which is the July special report for Bronze members on BeAResumeWriter.com).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Savings on Training from The Academies


The Academies is offering $200 savings off of three of their upcoming training programs.
But you must register by Tuesday, July 31 to take advantage of the special pricing.


Social Networking Career Strategist program (focuses on Facebook) 

Starts Wednesday, August 15; from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. ET

What you can expect to learn:
  • How to reverse client perception that Facebook is “just for kids” or only valuable for personal networking.
  • Tips for creating better profiles, fan pages, and company pages.
  • How to build engagement and dialog and create community.
  • How to leverage the social nuances of Facebook to build your clients’ online presence.
  • Strategies for keeping client information safe on Facebook.
  • Recommendations for managing time and messaging on Facebook.
  • How to add a new revenue stream to your business by offering Facebook profile development, maintenance, and consulting services.
Register before July 31 & save $200!  Use coupon code SUMMER2012

Certified Tough Transitions Career Coach program (two 6-week classes) —

Life-to-Work class starts Tuesday, August 21, 2012; from 5:30-7:30 p.m. ET
Work-to-Work class starts Monday, October 15; from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  ET
The Certified Tough Transitions Career Coach Program will give you a proven process and targeted techniques to help clients from unemployment, under-employment, or un-happy employment. You will be equipped and inspired to help even those making tough transitions to choose and market themselves wisely as they transition their careers or get back to work. Your new confidence and expertise will allow you to respond to clients at all levels, and build your business by coaching the growing number of people making tough career transitions!
* Register for Life-to-Work or Work-to-Work before July 31 & save $200 or register for both to save even more! Use coupon code SUMMER2012

Certified Career Management Coach program (longest running Academies program!) —

Starts Tuesday, September 18; from 10 a.m to 12 p.m.  ET
OR Wednesday, September 19; from 3-5pm ET
The CCMC course will give you the know-how to qualify for the certification of Certified Career Management Coach and be able to use…
  • powerful coaching techniques to jumpstart and motivate clients,
  • insider secrets for career management in this changing economy, and
  • for entrepreneurs, proven practice-building strategies to attract your “choice” client … for career center professionals, techniques to help your clients understand the value of the services you offer so that they will “buy-in” with greater commitment and involvement.
* Register for the Tuesday or Wednesday class before July 31 & save $400 Use coupon code SUMMER2012 … PLUS – if you pay in FULL, receive enrollment in the Social Networking Career Strategist program for FREE! (No coupon necessary … when your full payment order comes through, a staff member will contact you regarding your free class!)

Find out more information -- or register -- here:
Summer Savings 2012


Want to find more training opportunities for professional resume writers? 
Visit the BeAResumeWriter.com Events page.

Heat Up Your Summer Marketing

I live in Omaha, Nebraska, in the middle of the U.S. However, for the past few weeks, I feel like we've been living in an oven. Temperatures routinely are in the upper 90s, and got up to 106 last Sunday! (The photo is a screenshot from my iPhone on Sunday morning -- it was already 91 degrees at 11 a.m.!) We finally got our first rainfall last night in about a month. Nebraska is officially classified in a "drought." (I can attest to this -- my yard is yellow and brown.) Yikes!

When the temperature is like this, it can feel like there is no end in sight -- but the fact is, cooler weather will eventually be coming our way. It may be the same with your resume writing business. You may have lots of clients at the moment, with no end in sight ... but if you don't continue to market your business, eventually, you'll face a "drought" in your resume writing business too.

If you're currently in a "drought" in your resume writing business -- or if you want to prevent one down the road -- there are some things you can do to attract new clients. In a resume writing business, it takes a constant infusion of new clients to keep your business growing.

Ways to Find New Clients

Here are some tips to help you begin to make a change right now, today, that will benefit your resume writing business.

  • Take a fresh look at your marketing plan. At least once a year, you should revisit your marketing plan. What are you doing now? How can you revamp those marketing tools and employ some new ones? (For example, for 2012, I cut out all paid Yellow Pages advertising, but have budgeted to spend on Facebook and LinkedIn ads.)
  • Become a social networker. Twitter and Facebook are valuable tools for resume writers who want to take their business to the next level. If you don't have an account with either or both, now is the perfect time to get started. If business is slow for you at the moment, social media doesn't require much money -- instead, you can invest your time in building your online profile.
  • Advertise your business on your personal Facebook page. Do your friends know what you do for a living? Post links to new content on your website and other promotional links that friends and family can view and share. Just yesterday, I got a call from a new client who was referred to me by one of my best friends. This happens to me at least once a month, because I post careers-oriented content on my personal Facebook page. Also, create a fan page for your resume writing business. Encourage current clients to sign up and tune in for special information or offers that they won't find anywhere else. I use a tool called "Hootlet" from Hootsuite to share articles on social media. It allows me to schedule Facebook updates or tweets automatically so that I can find 3-4 articles to share while I'm surfing, but Hootlet will spread them out so they don't get shared all at once.
  • Market yourself offline too. Even if your resume writing business is 100% virtual (operating online), that doesn't mean that your local market won't also benefit. Some offline tools include posting flyers, public speaking, appearing in local media (TV, radio, newspaper) and using promotional items (like free pens).
  • Video marketing. People love to watch informative videos online. You can take what you know and turn it into a visual presentation that immediately gives new clients a picture of who you are and what you do.
  • Create a press release. I mentioned getting local media coverage. The easiest way to do this is through a press release. (Bronze members of BeAResumeWriter.com can find sample news releases and pitch ideas on the "Public Relations Resources" page in the Paid Member Resources section.) You should also check out the "Feed the Media: How to Get Publicity for Your Resume Writing Business" teleseminar recording and transcript for more information and ideas.

Remember -- your marketing efforts are cumulative. Sometimes a single drop can turn into a torrential rainstorm. Whether you're "hot" now and anticipating a cool-down later  -- or if you're in a drought now and need it to "rain" clients, try these ideas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NRWA Announces Results of 2012 Elections

The National Resume Writers' Association (NRWA) has announced the result of its election of officers for 2012-13. The new officers for the NRWA Board of Directors are:

First Vice President (Two-year term):
(@ResumeExpert)

Treasurer (Two-year term): 

Region 1 (One-year term): 
Suzette Jolly

Region 2 (One-year term): 
Jaushina Johnson

Region 3 (One-year term): 
Troy Johnson

Region 4 (One-year term): 
(@AllianceWriter)

Region 5 (One-year term): 

Region 6 (One-year term): 

Monday, July 16, 2012

How Jobseekers Can Use SWOT in Their Job Search (And How Resume Writers Can Use It In Their Business Too)

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I love "SWOT." It's a great tool for resume writers, and a great tool for our clients as well.

SWOT, or "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats" is a classical yet still effective tool for analyzing competition. By doing a SWOT analysis, you can analyze your marketplace in a very systematic way -- and your clients can use SWOT as part of their pre-interview research. (I included a SWOT analysis in the "Jobseeker's Guide to Preparing for the Job Interview" -- which is this month's Pass-Along Materials content on the BeAResumeWriter.com site.)

Here are the basics of how to do a SWOT analysis. The analysis for the resume writer is in RED; the analysis for a jobseeker is in GREEN.

Strengths

In what arena is your resume writing service particularly strong? (Do you have any particular areas of specialty? Unique certifications? Work experience that has prepared you to work with a certain type of client? How does that play out in the marketplace?)

How does the prospective employer's business compare to its competitors? Does its current employees provide a competitive advantage -- perhaps through years of experience or training? What does it do particularly well compared to others in its field? Is there a strength that can't be replicated by its competitors (or that can't be "stolen")?

Weakness

On the other hand, it's equally important to know what your weaknesses are. If you don't have an eye on your weaknesses, it's easy to get blindsided.

For example, say your weakness in your resume writing business is answering your phone calls live. You can't justify hiring someone part-time or full-time to take calls, but if you're busy interviewing clients to capture their information, or writing resumes, you can't be on the phone talking to prospective clients all the time. (But, as many resume writers will tell you, live callers are often the best prospects to convert into clients.)

If you're aware of this weakness, you can implement systems like a live answering service, live chat, virtual assistant or other such tools to help handle calls in real-time.

For a jobseeker, identifying a prospective employer's weaknesses is vital. Companies hire employees to solve problems for them. Whether the job you're seeking is in response to an already-identified weakness (perhaps they are adding a CFO position because they realize they need to do a better job of handling cashflow and recordkeeping and reporting) or you uncover a weakness you're not sure they're aware of in the course of your research (like an untapped potential market, if you're interviewing for a sales position) -- understanding the company's weaknesses can help you understand the company itself better.

Opportunities

Successful resume writing businesses focus on opportunities. What are the emerging areas where you can help prospective clients -- many resume writers have added service offerings to take advantage of these opportunities. Examples include LinkedIn profile writing/development, writing corporate bios for executives, helping clients practice for interviews, or negotiate salaries.

For jobseekers, sometimes it's easier for an outsider to spot an opportunity than the business itself, because the company may be focusing on urgent problems, instead of "bigger picture" issues. In business, there's always going to be urgent problems that need immediate attention. It's the companies that can manage to stay focused on their opportunities that win out in the end. Look for opportunities with your prospective employer and identify ways you can take advantage of them.

Threats

Resume writers: Keep an eye on your threats. There are constantly articles circulating that proclaim the death of the resume. While these are erroneous -- and, at the least, premature -- you also can't be complacent that technology is affecting the career services industry. Ignoring new technology like LinkedIn or even Facebook's rumored job board is to your detriment.

For jobseekers, being aware of competitive threats is even more important. It may be unwise to hitch your star to a fast-growth company that doesn't have a solid foothold in a high-growth industry. I just read an article yesterday about how companies that created custom Facebook tabs/pages have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because Facebook changed to the Timeline format and the emphasis on Facebook landing pages went away almost overnight. Understanding the competitive threats posted by new competitors, existing competitors, third-party technology, or even internal issues (like joining a family business where there is no succession plan in place) can be a threat to your career.

What Areas SWOT Encompasses

For both resume writers and jobseekers, when you're looking for strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, these are the areas you should assess:

  • Management, personnel and talent
  • Marketing and outreach
  • Finance, cashflow and cash on hand
  • Product positioning and price
  • Brand and brand perception
  • Intellectual property and patents
  • Supply chain and supply costs


If possible, do a SWOT analysis for each category. This will give you a very in-depth analysis of all the most important aspects of your business.

For resume writers, a SWOT analysis should be performed at least every six months. For jobseekers, you should do a SWOT analysis before each job interview -- and even before each application. (Again, it will give you better insight into how you can be an asset to a prospective employer.) Upon completing a SWOT analysis, ask yourself: What's the #1 highest leverage arena I could compete in today?

Craft an action plan around that answer. It could be based on leveraging a strength, fixing a weakness, exploiting an opportunity or mitigating a threat. Find the highest leverage activity and approach it head on.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

For resume writers, this is probably a blog post I should have written in January ... or May ... or even a few months from now, in September. Summer tends to be a bit slower time for resume writers. But while you have some time right now, you can implement some of the tools I mention below ... that way, when the normal "hectic" time comes around again, you'll be ready.

Sometimes the signs that you're doing too much are subtle. Other times there is absolutely no doubt in your mind that you have too much on your plate. Here are a few signs that you're spreading yourself too thin:

  • Insomnia — you go to bed and can't get tomorrow's to-do list off of your mind
  • Fear and doubt — fears and doubts start sneaking in. You doubt your skills, direction, and purpose.
  • Moody — you feel tired, irritable, and frustrated. You may find yourself snapping at your children or family members and then of course feeling guilty about it. 
  • Exhausted — everyone gets exhausted from time to time. However, the exhaustion that comes from being overwhelmed doesn't "go away."
  • Family members — when your family members start acting out or complaining that they don't see enough of you, then you know you've tipped the scales of balance in the wrong direction. 
  • Negative thoughts — when you start thinking, "I'm doing too much," "I can't do this anymore," "I'll never get this done," or "I'm not going to make it," then you're likely spreading yourself too thin.

What Can You Do about It?
Spreading yourself too thin isn't all doom and gloom. It is a very useful sign that things need to change for you. And sitting down and assessing what isn't working is a great way to improve and grow — both professionally and personally. Truth be told, spreading yourself a bit thin can also be invigorating and fun — it's certainly better than being bored.

However, to be productive and to get where you want your resume writing business to be, it's important to regularly assess if your energy is being put into the most productive tasks. For example, if you spend an hour filing and shredding every day, that isn't productive. You ideally want to spend your time on high priority tasks — tasks that make you money — like writing and client consultations.

Tools to Overcome Overwhelm
When you feel overwhelmed or that you're spreading yourself too thin, there are some very effective solutions.

  1. Create a schedule. Schedule your day. Put your high priority tasks first. Schedule time with your family and friends. And schedule downtime for yourself. If you cannot take care of yourself, then you can't take care of everyone else.
  2. Create a business plan. If you don't have a business plan for your resume writing business, create one. If you do have one, then use it. Set aside time each week, or month, and review where you are and where you want to be. Use your plan to help you stay on track. 
  3. Outsource. You don't have to do it all yourself, and — to be honest — you probably shouldn't. Outsource those tasks that you dislike, that take you tons of valuable time or that don't make it to your top priority list. These tasks can include personal tasks like house cleaning or business tasks like social networking. You decide what gets taken off of your "to do" list. (There are an increasing number of resume writers who are using the services of a virtual assistant — like Christine Edick, who calls herself a "Careers Industry Support Specialist".)

Finally, be confident in your decisions and use the word "No" whenever you need to. Don't be afraid to turn down opportunities, requests, and other things that take up time (time that you don't want to spend). This is your life. You're the boss of it and your business — take back your time and regain control!

And if you're looking for ways to improve your efficiency in the actual resume writing process, check out "Write Great Resumes Faster."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Importance of Prioritizing Projects

When you own your own resume writing business, there will always be a million and one things you can do with your time. Many of these things could seem important today, but -- in retrospect -- won't seem that important after all. Learning to prioritize projects -- and only spending time on things that will have an impact on either your resume clients or your bottom line -- is a crucial skills.

The Key Question
The key question you should ask yourself is this: "How will this project impact my resume writing busines in six months?"

There are many projects that could seem important today, but really won't have much of an impact on your business in the long run. For example, trying to chase down one particular sale probably isn't going to make a long term impact.

On the other hand, there are projects that won't seem to make much impact now, but could have a profound impact on your resume writing business in the future.

For example, setting up an autoresponder system and a rock solid followup system probably won't pay off in the beginning. It takes a ton of effort and the sales conversions won't justify the time spent right now.

However, you know that in order to get your business to where it needs to be eventually, you need a followup system. In this case, it absolutely makes sense to build this system today.

There are always going to be projects that seem urgent. There are always going to be problems that need to be solved "right now."

The challenge for a great prioritizer is knowing when to put these fires on the back burner and instead focus on opportunity. If you can't do this, it'll be very tough to grow.

Prioritize Leverage Projects
Projects that help you achieve other projects better should be prioritized. These include projects that improve internal systems so you can get more done, educational systems so you can help jobseekers be more effective in their job search, and purchasing new equipment.

These rules of thumb will help you prioritize projects so do what'll really help take your resume writing business to the next level.

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