Thursday, November 7, 2019

Resume Writers: How to Get Better Results from Social Media Marketing

I see a lot of my resume writing colleagues doing social media marketing very well.

Like Julie Walraven, of Design Resumes, who reminds friends and followers on her personal page about the work that she does.



She’s also very transparent about challenges in her work — especially technical issues. Julie is also is quick to recognize partners, which amplifies her reach when she tags them, but also helps them feel good about working with her!


Or Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, who shares helpful hints on her personal Facebook page while also talking about the in-depth branding work she does with clients. She does an excellent job highlighting her work on her personal page without being sales-y. (And uses hashtags very effectively.) Jacqui also is quick to praise and share, tagging colleagues and other pages.


Some of her posts are just fun, and give her friends and followers an opportunity to interact. (In this case, there were several “I feel ya” and “Truth!” comments.) We’ve all been there!


Jacqui is a prolific writer and blogger too, and showcases links to her recently published work on her business page, CareerTrend. It’s a great resource for her target audience of executives.


Nickquolette Barrett, of iRock Resumes, also does social media marketing effectively. She particularly does Facebook Live and video well. Here’s a post where she shared some interviewing tips with her audience after participating in a hiring event. (Make sure you ensure the privacy settings for these posts are PUBLIC so they can be shared by your audience!)



Nickquolette also does a great job of branding the tips that she shares on her business page for iRock Resumes. (And incorporates in relevant hashtags!)



Brenda Cunningham, of Push Career Management, uses Facebook Live in her weekly “Open Phones” offering. Her branded graphic on her business page is attention-getting.


These resume writers are gaining visibility and engagement — building their “know, like, and trust” with people who already know them — people who are either in a position to use their services themselves, or refer people they know.

But social media marketing is something that can be intimidating to resume writers.

If you want to do more on social media, I have two recommendations:

  • Currently, Bronze members of BeAResumeWriter.com get access to 30 Ready-To-Use Social Media Graphics each month. These are seasonally specific images that are pre-sized for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each graphic includes an accompanying quote, or you can swap them out for different quotes. (You also get more than 300 inspirational quotes as part of your Bronze membership — they’re called “Positive Encouragement for Jobseekers” and can be found on the download page for the Ready-To-Use Social Media Graphics in the Paid Members section of the site.) I recommend branding them with your logo in Canva or PicMonkey before posting online.

Here’s an example:

(Original file, Facebook format)

After three minutes of work in Canva:


Easy. Then upload the graphic to either your personal Facebook page, or your Business page. (I uploaded it to my BeAResumeWriter.com Facebook page).




Engaging in social media marketing takes just minutes a day, yet it can help you be the first person people think about when they need career services themselves, or know someone who needs help. Take inspiration from our colleagues who are doing it well, and give it a try!


Please note this post contains affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase. This is, of course, at no cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more information.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Resume Writers: 7 Reasons to Feed the Media



I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The media is hungry for career-related content to share with their readers, viewers, and listeners. Feed them!

The benefits of public relations can be immense. My bachelor’s degree is in public relations, and I know how powerful PR can be for you individually and for the careers industry as a whole.

Here’s seven reasons why you should feed the media:

1. Credibility

Getting a favorable mention of your business in the media holds far more value than a paid advertisement, because it has more credibility with the public.

Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising poll showed that “earned” media sources — including word of mouth, customer testimonials or editorial content such as newspaper editorials and articles, are more trusted than “branded/owned” vehicles such as ads.

Press releases, media appearances, and other publicity-generating PR events help fuel editorial coverage and shape public opinion.

2. Control

Providing your story to the media means you have more control over the message. Ideally, a media outlet will run your press release verbatim, but even if you can’t control a reporter’s final version of the story, you have more influence when their starting point is your press release. Choosing the right outlet for your message is important — choose media outlets that reach your target client. There are so many possible venues: newspapers, radio programs, podcasts, magazines, newsletters, blogs, etc. — pick the ones that your ideal client is paying attention to.

3. Crisis Management

A good PR plan isn’t just about generating positive news coverage involving your company. It’s also about avoiding and being prepared to handle bad publicity.

Being ready with a plan before disaster strikes can save valuable time and face in the event of a crisis.

Whether it’s a credit card breach leaking customers’ sensitive information or a scandal affecting the careers industry (bad actors in the recruiting world, resume writing firms falsely claiming “Top 10” status to the detriment of the rest of us, etc.), your public relations strategy can help position a small business for the best possible outcome in a bad situation. While rare, preparation is the best defense.

4. Exposure

People have many sources competing for their attention these days. Public relations offer another way to reach them — another channel to build awareness and create a positive image. It can be leveraged and also supplement your other marketing efforts. Again, media mentions can significantly improve your “know, like, and trust” ratio with prospects, making your website and other marketing efforts much more effective.

5. Staying Power

In the digital age, news stories no longer have a shelf life. Their visibility on search engines doesn’t decline as time passes; instead, articles continue to gain exposure over time as they are linked by other sources, whether in a newer article, a blog post, a Yelp review, or elsewhere.

There’s an article out there from the early 2000s that I’m quoted in that I still see surface occasionally. It’s almost 15 years old and it’s still getting traction!


And here’s a magazine profile of me from 2017 (see page 27) that’s still generating client prospects!

6. SEO Benefits

Making sure positive stories are told (both in earned and owned media, and across social media networks) and that your messaging is consistent, and your content timely and relevant, will keep your organization higher up in search engine rankings, bringing more customers to you and driving more growth for your resume writing business.

7. Value

Because small businesses might not have access to the financial resources and large advertising budgets that big companies do, PR offers more bang for your buck. Establishing the right public image and communicating it via the news media is a cost-effective route to raising awareness and improving the perception of your business.

Editorial coverage in particular can come at no cost to you, and it can greatly enhance and supplement the marketing you’re doing elsewhere.

Bill Gates famously said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” Gates understood the value of a good PR strategy, which is that it offers a cost-effective means to increase your long-term profit.

Want to learn more about HOW to feed the media?


or check out our 4-part training on the topic: Feed the Media: Webinar Series for Resume Writers and Career Coaches









Wednesday, October 2, 2019

One Resume Writer’s Journey: Retiring One Day at a Time (Guest Post)




This guest post was submitted by an anonymous career industry colleague who is retiring on her own terms. It is part of a new occasional series about how resume writers can successfully transition out of their businesses. 

I started retiring three years ago when I turned 62. I decided to retire “a little at a time” because I watched the difficult transition experienced by several friends and family members who retired suddenly. However, I know others who set a retirement date and followed through happily. One friend said he knew the day he would retire on his first day of work. He despised his job for 30 years, retired early, and never looked back.

I have had jobs I felt that way about, but writing resumes and coaching clients isn’t one of them. I still love what I do. I still help my clients succeed, so I am not in a big hurry to leave. In fact, loving my work is one piece prompting this slow-motion retirement. I need time to let go.

The second piece is energy. I realize I have less than I used to. Before this year, I have rarely needed to plan activities around energy reserves. That is starting now, and that means I need to pay closer attention to priorities. My husband and I want to travel more, and I’ve worked on the road enough to know it’s not that much fun.

Another is focus. Although I have always relied on a calendar to organize my time, I find myself leaning more heavily on it to remember important information. My notes are becoming more detailed because I need more help remembering them. I don't want that change to ever affect a client’s project.

Finally, there is motivation. I am getting ready to be done with work. I feel less like taking on big projects. I feel less like doing sales calls. I still enjoy writing, but I feel like doing it less often. These are marked changes, and I need to attend to them.

I took Social Security at 62, mainly because my husband is 10 years older than I am, and we anticipate that I will receive his larger benefit upon his death, which, for the sake of planning, we assume will be earlier than mine.

Receiving Social Security allowed me to make less each month, which ironically didn’t happen until this year. I had two of my best years and then a really sparse one. It did give me was more time right away. I quit all marketing efforts except reposting articles by colleagues on LinkedIn. My rationale was that if I stopped marketing, business would gradually decline, and that was my goal.

As a result, I gained about a day a week. Instead of sliding client work into that space, I added other things to my life. I got a puppy who needs daily walking, training, and playtime. My husband and I are traveling to visit our children, grandchildren, and friends more often.

This year, I will receive Medicare, which will take much of the health insurance expenditure out of the picture. When this happens, I plan to work even less. I am not sure yet what that looks like. It may mean I no longer coach clients, so that my projects are shorter in duration. It may mean that I keep coaching but take on fewer clients. It may mean that I work the same amount of time I do now during “regular” weeks and take longer stretches of time off for travel. In any of those scenarios, it will likely mean that I refer out more prospects who aren’t an ideal fit.

In this stage, I am letting the process guide me. I am paying more attention to what I want to do or what I want to avoid. I no longer have to power through to pay the bills. But that is a new experience for me, and I don't know how I will feel about it. So, instead of following my usual path of planning the heck out of anything I need to do, I am letting it be, watching the volume and schedule of work, trying one thing and then another and seeing what happens.

I think the best approach will become clear, and if it doesn’t, I can always set that retirement date.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Resume Writers: Five Ways to Avoid Burnout


Burnout is a very real thing. I’ve talked to several resume writers over the past few weeks who are struggling with being overwhelmed. 

It can happen slowly.

You procrastinate about starting projects. You suffer from writer’s block when it’s time to write the resume or LinkedIn profile. You don’t look forward to following up with prospects who have inquired about your services.

There are easy-to-miss signs that start slowly and snowball until you question if you still want to continue to be a resume writer.

No one is immune to this dilemma, but there are ways you can prevent it from happening.
Interview prospects carefully. The interview process is crucial for weeding out high-maintenance clients and to eliminate those who don’t want to do the work. I like to call them vampire clients: they suck the energy right out of you with their constant complaints, excuses, and questions. One particular type of client who can burn you out is one who won’t follow through. Or they can’t provide you with any tangible information to use to actually write the resume. 

Trying to get a handle on this type of client in an interview process allows you to reject their business up front or to express your boundaries and expectations right away, allowing them to decide if working with you is the right decision for them. One source for helping you ask the right questions whien interviewing prospects is “First Call Questions: Questions for Resume Writers to Ask Prospective Clients."

Another source of burnout is trying to wear too many hats.

Automate, delegate, or eliminate time-consuming tasks. Running your own business alone is time consuming and stressful. Not only are you writing resumes, but you’re in charge of your billing, your social media marketing, your real life networking events, and (hopefully) creating information products that can provide you with passive income. This isn’t even a full list of all the background tasks you probably do! 

Taking some of these tasks off your daily to do list will free up time and eliminate some stress. For example, allow your clients to schedule their calls online with an online scheduling program. If you have the budget to do so, hire a virtual assistant and/or a bookkeeper. A virtual assistant can also help you streamline your processes so you might be able to combine or eliminate some tasks that are unnecessary.  

Another area to automate is your interactions with prospects and clients. Check out “Three Systems for Six-Figure Success in Your Resume Writing Business" for ideas on this.

Plan your days. Use time blocking or the Pomodoro method to focus on your projects during each day. At the end of each day, create a list for the following day. Write in a journal about any negative events that happened and how you can handle these situations better in the future. Knowing exactly what you have to do the following day allows you to leave work in the office (even if it’s just closing the door of your home office) and enjoy the evening with your family and friends.

One of the biggest sources of burnout is feeling like you’re not being appropriately compensated for your work. Calculate your prices carefully. When you pull random numbers out of thin air because they “sound good to you,” chances are you’re underpricing your time and devaluing your services. And if you happen to let one of those energy vampires slip through onto your client calendar, you’ll quickly start to resent them because they underpaid and you’ll feel like you’re losing money every time you talk to them.  Check out the Pricing Bundle for resources to make sure you’re charging the right prices for your business.

Take care of yourself. Self-care is very important when running a business because if you’re out sick, there’s no one else to take over. A simple thing like going to bed an hour earlier can help you wake up feeling refreshed. Unplug from electronics two hours before bed to allow your brain to slow down. Daily exercise and water intake is also important to flush out any germs and to keep your body healthy and flexible.

Burnout doesn’t have to be inevitable. Get proactive by following these steps and learn how to relax and enjoy the special moments in life.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Get Clients Bootcamp: Where Are You Now?



Next week, I’m offering a Get Clients Bootcamp for Bronze members of BeAResumeWriter.com. One of the exercises I’m giving as homework is to figure out “Where Are You Now?”

One of the best ways to get more clients is to figure out what’s working and do more of that. You have to figure out where you are on the map before you can plot a route to where you want to go.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? The problem is that you first have to know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. The best way to do that is track! From there you look at your data and make a plan for what you should and shouldn’t be doing going forward.

Your first step will be to decide what you want to track. A good place to start is to look at how you currently are attracting clients, your income and expenses, what services (and products, if you have them) that are contributing revenue, and of course where you spend most of your time. 

Exercise One:
How do you get your clients currently? Go back and review your records from the last month. (You should be asking clients how they found you. If you’re not doing that, start now!) Make a list or chart of how those clients found you. If you have the time, go back and look at the last 6-12 months of clients and collect that data.

Exercise Two:
How much money are you making currently? Look at your current year financial data. Here’s the metrics we want to know:
• How much do you make per client (on average)
• How much revenue are you bringing in each month (on average, and a total for each month)
• How much income have you brought in so far this year?

Exercise Three:
Which of your services or products are selling? Are you primarily selling resumes and cover letters? Resumes and LinkedIn profiles? Interview coaching? Salary negotiation coaching? How about products — do you sell ebooks? Online training? Do you receive affiliate commission payments?

Exercise Four:
Next you want to look at expenses. What “fixed” expenses do you have per month or per year (for example, website hosting or email list software)? Do you pay for your own health insurance? 

What “variable” expenses do you have? For example, your estimated quarterly taxes vary with the income you earn. You may work with a resume proofreader/editor who charges you based on the number of projects you send her way. 

Exercise Five:
Last but not least, look at the amount of time you’re spending to generate your income. If you’re not already tracking your time, you should be. In particular, you want to track the amount of time you‘re spending on each client project, in order to make sure you’re pricing your services appropriately.

With this information, it will be easier to decide what you should be doing more off, what you should be doing less off, and what you should stop doing. Focus most of your time and energy on the most profitable products and income sources. 

We want to do more of what’s working, and less of what isn’t!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Time Management Strategies for Subcontractors

Today, I hosted a webinar for members of my “Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor” membership site. The topic was “Time Management Strategies for Subcontractors.”

As a subcontract resume writer especially, time is money.

One of the biggest complaints of subcontractors is the pay. It’s true — subcontracting often pays less than you could charge your own clients directly. But it also offers you the opportunity to smooth out the peaks and valleys of your own business, get exposure to new systems and processes (learning how other resume writers run their businesses is interesting!), and potentially earn a pretty good per-hour rate.

It’s that per-hour rate that is important.

What you’re paid for a subcontracting project is usually a fixed amount.

The formula looks like this:


The only input you can change in the formula is to lower the amount of time you’re spending on a project in order to increase your profitability.

Therefore, you need to control the time you spend on the project and take charge of that variable.

The first tip is to track the amount of time you spend on each project. Only then can you know how profitable the project really is for you.

That means tracking both the administrative work (your interactions with the contracting writer and the client) and the time you spend writing.

Also track your assignments so you stay on top of project deadlines — this is #1 with contracting writers: You must meet your deadlines.

The second tip is to make your writing more efficient. Members of the “Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor” membership site can watch the “Writing Strategies for Subcontractors” webinar recording. You’ll also find tips in the “Write Great Resumes Faster” book (watch the webinar at the bottom of the page.)

Remember, time is money.

If you’re looking to get started in subcontract writing (or move up), check out Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor (MMRS). You’ll get access to the “Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor” special report, the Directory of Subcontract Opportunities, and access to the recordings of the previous MMRS webinars, including “Project Management for Subcontractors,” “Writing Strategies for Subcontractors,” several Q&As, and all the tips in the “Time Management Strategies for Subcontractors” webinar.








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).

Friday, January 11, 2019

There's A Right Way -- and a Wrong Way -- to Leave Your Job (Part 1 in a Series)


With the new year comes the flood of jobseekers looking to have their resumes written, their LinkedIn profiles updated, and their interview skills burnished. As resume writers, we have a responsibility to do more than just prepare these career documents — we also need to prepare our clients.

One of the most important things we can prepare our clients to do is to leave a job gracefully.

Every few months, there's a viral example in the news media of someone who left their job in dramatic fashion. Examples include the JetBlue flight attendant who famously deployed the emergency chute on the runway, or the Goldman Sachs executive who wrote a “Why I Am Leaving” article in the New York Times.

These stories catch our attention because they showcase an over-the-top way to exit a company — but they are also cautionary tales for jobseekers. When at all possible, we need to remind clients not to burn bridges at your their employer. I tell my clients, "You never know when you’ll run across your co-workers — or current supervisors — in the future." It's an adjunct to my most-common saying — which is, "Omaha is a big small town." (Omaha, where I live, is a metropolitan area of 1 million+ people, but you'd be amazed at how "small" it can be when it comes to who you know.) The same is true in almost any industry — they are smaller than you think!

When someone is thinking of leaving their job, there are things to consider in three phases of the separation — things to think about before you even begin to apply for a new job, considerations to keep in mind as you look for a new job while you’re still employed, and how to leave your current job gracefully.

In today's blog post, we'll look at the first part: The Preparation

Here's what I tell my clients:

Before You Start Your Job Search
When you decide to start looking for another position, take the time to review your old files and make a list of your accomplishments in the position. If you haven’t been collecting accomplishments all along, now is the time to start. This information will be useful in developing your résumé as well as in interviews. Make copies of documents that support your accomplishments (unless company policy prohibits it). You may not have access to this information once you submit your resignation. (I've had clients who told their boss they were quitting and were immediately escorted off the premises.)

The first thing to consider when you’re ready to resign is whether your company has a policy or guideline about how much notice you should provide. You should also check your employee handbook and any employment agreement you have with the company. If you’ve worked at the company for any length of time, you should have some idea of how resignations are handled. Does your boss ask the resigning employee to leave immediately, or do they generally ask him or her to stay on until a replacement is found? How much time is it customary to offer to stay? You should always offer to stay two weeks, but have a contingency plan in place if you’re asked to leave immediately.

Before you notify your supervisor of your resignation, make sure you are prepared to leave. You don’t want to tip anyone off that you’re leaving — things like taking your photos off your desk or boxing up personal items on your bookshelf are noticeable — but you can quietly clean out your desk and files. 

This includes cleaning off your work computer. If you have personal documents on your computer, save them to a jump drive or CD, and then delete the originals from your computer. You can forward any personal email messages you want to save to your non-work email address, and then delete the originals. (Be sure to delete messages in your “sent mail” folder from your work account too.) If you have online accounts that use your business email address for the log-in, change the accounts over to your personal email. If you downloaded software to your computer that isn’t related to your job, be sure to uninstall it. And, finally, learn how to delete your computer’s browsing history, cookies, and saved passwords from your Internet browser.

When cleaning out your desk and files, shred or trash old files that won’t be needed by your successor. 

If you bring home a few personal items at a time, it won’t be as noticeable. The goal is to be able to easily bring home all of your personal belongings in one or two boxes — and, to be able to leave your job without leaving behind any personal information.

In the next blog post, I'll share my advice for jobseekers on the second phase of jobseeking while employed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Feed Your Need for Blog Post Content

If you have a blog, you know that you constantly have to feed it. I've had this blog since 2007 and one of the constant challenges is creating a continuous stream of engaging, interesting blog content.

For those of you who are new to blogging — or even those long-time bloggers like me — here are some ideas to help keep the content flowing!
  • Repurpose What You Have. Look at your most popular content according to your analytics and engagement. Turn this content into different forms, and expand the content by adding case studies and additional data. Turn a 10-point blog post into 10 more in-depth blog posts about each point. Create video content and embed that on your blog. 
  • Read Group Discussions. Check out jobseeker-targeted groups on LinkedIn and see what your target audience is talking about. Read the active discussions. The ones where people ask questions and people offer a lot of different answers are the best places to get ideas. Every question can be a blog post and the discussions can help you come up with more ideas.
  • Take Notes. Keep a notepad near you or use your smartphone to take notes about conversations, questions, and other information as you see it and hear it. You'll often get ideas while driving your car, taking a jog, or listening to other people talk. Keeping notes and writing it all down will help. I keep my idea lists in Evernote.
  • Create a Calendar. Create a content calendar that is designed to inform, educate, engage, and activate your audience. You can use a source like the National Day Calendar to look for ideas for content.
  • Create Trending Content. Outside your calendar, you'll want to keep your blog exciting by adding in trending, newsworthy content that's all about what's happening right now. Can you tie in something from current events into your blog — like when this JetBlue flight attendant quit his job in spectacular fashion?
  • Use Pass-Along Materials Content. A great way to get content that you can use for your blog is to use Pass-Along Materials content. This done-for-you content can help you come up with ideas, act as research, and be used "as is" or with few changes.

When you understand who your audience is and what your goal is with the content you're publishing, it will be a lot easier to come up with ideas that are fantastic, thought-provoking, fresh, and effective in meeting the needs of your audience.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Resume Writers: Engage Your Audience



One of the best ways of attracting and retaining resume clients is through content.

True audience engagement is essential. Engagement includes getting responses to your social media posts, with real conversations happening. That leads to a relationship with the audience that gets them to do what you want them to, and remain committed afterwards. But that doesn't happen by itself — it happens by design.

Here are some things you should consider:

1. Grow Brand Awareness
The reason you want to grow your brand's awareness is that it will help more people know about you and your offerings. The more people who know, the more chances you have to make them part of your audience. The more audience members you have, the more opportunities you have for audience engagement. 

To grow brand awareness, youíll want to create content such as white papers, webinars, blog posts and other content that is designed with the goal of brand awareness in mind.

2. Build an Active Community 
The best way to grow and improve engagement is to have more people to engage with in a community environment. When you build an active and vibrant community, engagement will happen more easily because they feel special and part of a group or tribe. 

A great way to build an active community today is through Facebook Groups. You'll need content for your community too, such as memes, challenges, infographics, and more. (Bronze members of BeAResumeWriter, check out the 100 More Social Media Conversation Starters on the download page.)

3. Drive Traffic to Your Website
You'll want to work on driving traffic to your website because the point of engagement is to get traffic to your website, and then get your visitors and hungry buyers to sign up for your email list so that you can engage with them in new ways. You can use your community and the content that you use to build brand awareness to help you drive traffic to your site. 

4. Generate Leads and Sales
As you grow brand awareness, build an active community, and drive traffic to your site, part of the point of engagement is to generate leads and sales. You can then have engagement with your prospects and customers. 

When you set these four goals, remember that they're only goals. You will also need to develop a strategy that allows you to approach these goals, with measurable objectives and tactics that increase your chances of succeeding. 


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Goal-Setting (Part III): How Do You Get There?



In yesterday's blog post, I talked about how to decide where you're going — setting the goal or goals you want to achieve.

Once you know where you want to go, you can chart the course for how to get there.

So the next step after setting a goal is to create a series of steps you need to take to accomplish the goal. 

There’s that saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. When I get stuck on how to approach a goal, I make a list of all the tasks I need to take to get it done. Then I work on one. If I’m really stuck, I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes, and I commit to working on a task until the timer goes off. Sometimes that’s enough to get me out of inaction.

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog post, it is a really important part of the process to actually write things down. It requires a lot of effort and energy to try to remember what you need to do. You also have to spend time thinking about what you need to do next. When you write things down, it makes it easier to figure out where to spend your time. Also prioritize the list. Designate what to do first, and next, and next. That will help you move from task to task quickly, because you know what’s next on your list.

The other important piece is the “T” in “SMART” — putting a deadline on your goal. To turn a goal into reality, you need to know what you have to do on a monthly, weekly — or even daily — basis to make it happen. And you can’t do that unless you have a time frame for when you want to accomplish your goal. You start at the end, and figure out what it will take to get there.

One of the goals I gave as an example yesterday was "I will pay off $6,000 in credit card debt by Dec. 31, 2019."

That means you need to pay off $500 a month in principal to wipe out your entire credit card debt over the course of a year. Making a $500 payment each month sounds more manageable than tackling an entire sum.

But you can break it down even further. Five hundred dollars a month is $115 a week, or $16.50 a day. Once you have a goal and a timeline, you can take the appropriate action to make it happen. 

You could pick up a little extra work each month to make your $500 a month goal. Or cut your expenses by $16.50 a day and allocate the savings to debt reduction. 

But having a goal and action steps in place makes it much more likely that you will reach your goal than hoping that there is extra money at the end of each month to throw towards your credit card. And, if you have a plan for your money, you’re more likely to reach your goal of paying off your credit card because you know exactly what you want to do with that extra money you earned, or saved, or both.

So take a few minutes right now and write down the series of action steps you need to take for each of the goals you defined from yesterday's "homework" assignment.