Thursday, May 28, 2020

10 Questions With Lori Jazvac


Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Lori Jazvac of Creative Horizons Communications – Resumes in Burlington, Ontario Canada.


Lori is an award-winning Master Resume Writer (MRW), Master Certified Resume Strategist (MCRS), Certified Hidden Job Market Coach, and Certified Transition Coach. She is a multi-credentialed NLP Practitioner and NLP Coach. She specializes in supporting jobseekers of all fields and levels globally to navigate complex career transitions within a competitive labour market via a holistic, intuitive, and results-driven approach.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I decided to become a professional resume writer in 2013 because I wanted to leverage my passion for creative writing and help jobseekers to navigate challenging career transitions.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What  did you do before?
I got into the career industry after undergoing my own career transition to working remotely as an entrepreneur. At that time, I identified a gap in the labour market as well as critical need by jobseekers (especially entry- and mid-level) for high-quality brand marketing collateral, job search planning, and strategic career services. I realized that jobseekers needed strategic and high-level career support as well as goal-focused and results-driven coaching.

Previously, I worked in the administrative field in various roles and industries, where I honed skills in business administration, accounting, customer service, and sales/marketing.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
When I am working, I wear professional, but casual and comfortable clothing. I like to wear clothing that reflects the colour I need for that day to bring me energy or calm and inspiration.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
My best habit is maintaining a to-do checklist while ensuring the highest-quality standards are met with all my clients.

My worst habit is sometimes staying up too late — I am a “night owl” so I get my best creative work with resume writing done at night.

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
My favourite object in my office is a beautiful picture that hangs on my wall reflecting a bridge and horizon.

The way the warm colours are portrayed, along with the bright lights and scenic background inspire me to drive my vision and mission to continue helping diverse jobseekers “cross their own bridge” and courageously embrace new opportunities and embark on a new transition. I am also reminded of my own transition that I made seven years ago.

It reflects my motto: “Think creatively and visualize a new career horizon.”

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
My “go to” technique when I get stuck when writing a resume is taking a short pause, then doing a brand map or brainstorming the attributes or key elements that make the client stand out. I get unstuck by reviewing and capturing the client’s most relevant information, including focus/target, audience, special value, and milestones while “connecting the dots” for the employer or recruiter. I also like to utilize the strategies offered by Bridget Brooks on writing resumes more efficiently. 

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
The best career advice I ever received from another professional when I was unsure of how to take that next entrepreneurial step was: “So just start!” And that is when my passion for wanting to help people grow and succeed led me to starting my career development journey through CPC (Career Professionals of Canada).

Also, the old saying by Robert H. Schuller: “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do” has always inspired me.

These sayings have reminded me to be spontaneous, take action, and believe in my own strengths to navigate among trying times.

These days, our careers are anything but linear. We each have our own unique vision and mission/purpose to fulfill, and we need to leverage that vision and mission to make a true difference. We each have our own career journey with lessons to be learned, gains to be made, and challenges to be overcome, that embodies an enriching experience.

While we may never know where our career path will take us, we need to go with the flow, believe in and channel our unique value, embrace change, and keep on learning. These are the fundamental pillars of success.

8. How do you unplug?
I unplug with exercise, yoga, dance, meditation, or taking long walks in nature. I also love listening to upbeat music.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
What I would change about the career industry would be to raise greater awareness to jobseekers about the immense value of investing in a high-quality resume package or career service. This is absolutely an essential service that cannot be delayed. Everyone needs to have a customized resume package and updated LinkedIn profile at all times as opportunities can arise anytime and one needs to be prepared.

Many jobseekers fail to realize that career services represent a high-value investment for their personal and professional growth. Working with a professional resume writer/career coach greatly benefits jobseekers to help them understand their value, set meaningful goals, and gain clarity with their journey. The value is priceless!

10. What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
@CareerProCanada (Twitter)
@WorkItDaily (Twitter)
Laura DeCarlo (LinkedIn)
Edwin Correa (LinkedIn)
Career Impressions (LinkedIn)
Deepti Pathak (LinkedIn)

You can find Lori on Facebook, on Twitter (@Lori_Jazvac), and on LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/LoriJazvac

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Gayle Howard? You can read it here!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Resume Customers Will Pay More If You Show Them the Value

I’m working on a new Resume Writer’s University course on pricing and wanted to share some thoughts on a topic that you may have struggled with — or are currently struggling with.

Many resume writers — especially new ones — make the mistake of thinking that every prospective client is money-conscious and looking for rock-bottom prices. This could not be further from the truth. Think of the difference between a Toyota and a Lexus and you will see there are a range of factors that influence a purchasing decision beyond just price.

Show Them the Value
Resume clients will pay more if you show them the value of the service you offer — that is, the reason why your resume services are priced higher those of other resume writers, but also how your services offer real value.

Price and value are not the same thing. They can be related to each other, but they are not the same. A Toyota is not perceived as having the same value as a Lexus, even though they are made by the same company.

Why would this be the case? Marketing helps create this perception. You can do it with your services as compared with other resume writers.

For example, imagine you and another colleague who provide resume services to the same audience — for example, IT professionals. However, how you collect information from prospects differs. You use detailed questionnaires to collect the information, allowing the client to gather the details of their experience on their own time. Your colleague conducts an information-gathering consultation call.

Your marketing might appeal to introverted IT professionals who don’t want to “dig through” their responsibilities and accomplishments verbally. Your colleague’s marketing might appeal to IT professionals who are more comfortable “talking through” their responsibilities and accomplishments than writing them out.

Your Unique Selling Point
In other cases, the difference will not be so clear-cut, but the whole point of your marketing will be to distinguish your brand and products from others. This is commonly referred to as your unique selling point, or USP. Your USP answers the question: Why should people do business with YOU?

Reasons might include awards, industry status, your educational background, experience, and so on.

For example, if you are a resume writer with an extensive background as a recruiter who can provide insider secrets on how to connect with recruiters in the IT industry, your services will be in more demand than someone without the same authority and “street cred.”

Add Value without Spending a Lot
You can also add value to your services without spending a lot of money or time. In this way you can create the impression they are getting an even better deal for the price, even if your price is higher.

For example, you can create a range of educational items to supplement your resume services. These can include checklists, FAQs, worksheets, a quick start guide and other valuable information which will help people make the most out of the product. (Bronze members of BeAResumeWriter.com, you have access to these tools as part of your membership.)

You might also create some training videos to help clients with specific aspects of the job search. You can use a platform like Teachable to do this. With online education booming, and video marketing as well, making quick how-to videos can be a great way to increase the perceived value of your offerings.

A free Facebook group, members only email lists with special offers, extra content, and so on, and a special customer support portal with FAQs can take a little time to set up, but add up to big bucks.

By branding yourself as a company that offers real value for money, it will be easier to make more sales and retain customer loyalty. Resume clients will pay more as long as you are clear about the value of what you were offering, so they will feel as if they are getting the best deal possible.

Stay tuned for more information on my new course!


Thursday, May 14, 2020

10 Questions with Gayle Howard


Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Gayle Howard!


Gayle, “Executive Resume Writer, Word Nerd, Mac Geek, and Storyteller Extraordinaire” is the owner of Top Margin. She has been a resume writer for 30 years, “helping people find their voices and tell their stories to stand out in a crowd.”

Gayle is a “strong believer in the notion that people gravitate to what they love — even when it involves compromise.” She says that her career aspirations were crushed (in “earlier, unenlightened times”) by a high school careers teacher who insisted that “journalism was for men.” That “pretty lousy advice” took her in different directions professionally, but ultimately, Gayle returned to her passion for writing when she launched Top Margin in March 1990.

“30 years later, and here I am! Master Resume Writer, author, career storyteller, coach, trainer, and 51-time nominee and 27-time winner of resume-writing awards — extolling the talents of my clients as they demonstrate determination, tenacity, and success. I tell people’s stories of insurmountable obstacles overcome, and of ways they disrupt the old, to bring in the new. My resumes succeed because I provide the context that makes people eager to know more.”

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
At the time, my son was only three years old, and I was keen to work from home. As I had experience writing resumes and recruiting, I thought it would be a good opportunity to run a home-based business.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What  did you do before?
I commenced my career in customer service and later was an executive assistant to an executive in the financial planning sector. As an executive assistant, I hired staff and went through their resumes to select candidates for interview. I loved doing that, and it seemed like a natural fit that could match personal and professional interests.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
Jeans, top, runners.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
My worst habit is procrastination combined with a short attention span. I can spend 3 minutes writing and a “ding” sound goes off on my computer and I’ll be looking at Facebook. Or checking Twitter, or reading the news headlines. I’ve not lost my focus, I can focus for hours on things I love doing … but after 30 years writing resumes, my focus and interest has just about disappeared. My best habit is my willingness to embrace new ideas, create new ways of doing things, and learn new technologies. It has served me well over the years!

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
I have a little Amazon clock sitting beside my desk. I like that it shows me the temperature, I like its pink clock face, and I love that I can control the lights with it, and ask it about things quicker than if I search Google. I love its shape too. Super cute.


6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
If a client has gone on for paragraphs and I have trouble wading through all the jargon and detail, I look right to the bottom of the piece, because mostly they’ll put the result of all this stuff there. I then type that first: “Saved the world by…” and then I sift through the content looking for the “I did this” statement and add that. “Saved the world by calling upon my long-term relationship with Superman.”

Then, finally, I go to where they complain about all the things they hated and add that in between two phrases. So it becomes “Saved the world stagnating through lack of engagement by calling upon my long-term relationship with Superman.” I find this technique gets me strong, achievement-filled bullet points without having to plow through all the minute and unnecessary detail. Sort of a “sift and scan” technique.

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
I’d be happier to tell you the worst advice I ever received, which I usually write in my bio! But the best career advice I’ve taken on board, is in customer relationship management. Email is a terrible thing sometimes, and often we just answer quickly and it makes us sound harsh and rude. I make sure I write every email and then edit it. So I say what I want to say — complaint or question, and then write the nice stuff around it. “Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out. I really appreciate it.” Or, “I can imagine how upsetting that must have been for you at work and how up in the air this has made you feel.” I guess the quick answer is: always remember that behind every email is a person with feelings. Don’t trample on them.

8. How do you unplug?
I love my Netflix, I love reading, and I love going out on drives with my husband.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
For my business, I would have turned over the reins to freelance writers much earlier. I spent way too much time making myself indispensable in my own business and ended up writing until everything I did for the business became me sitting in front of the computer. I know lack of exercise has affected my health and eyesight, and I regret that very much.

As far as what I’d change about the careers industry, it would be that I think there should be one key body with influence to represent all resume writers and that has professional clout — like accountants and lawyers. I think multiple associations has created numerous toothless tigers and wide variations in what the average person can expect when hiring a resume writer with association backing.

10. What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
@SamHeughan (Twitter)
@MikeCarlton01 (Twitter)
@passengershaming (Instagram)
@theoatmeal (Instagram)
@natashas_skinspa_southbank (Instagram)

You can find Gayle on Facebook at Top Margin, on Twitter (@GayleHoward), and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/gaylehoward.

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Dawn Rasmussen? You can read it here!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

10 Questions With Dawn Rasmussen


Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Dawn Rasmussen!


Dawn is a certified resume writer and the president of Portland, Oregon-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. She is the author of “Forget Job Security: Build Your Marketability,” which she says is “the first-ever book that provides a complete roadmap on how to manage your career.”

One thing that Dawn says makes her “tick,” is “a relentless and tireless desire to help everyone understand the importance of actively managing their career every minute of every day.” When she isn’t busy working with resume clients, speaking to conference groups nationally and internationally, writing articles and blog posts, or teaching, Dawn can be found hiking Oregon’s spectacular outdoors, kayaking, or plotting her next adventure.

1. How long have you been a professional resume writer?
Since 2007.

2. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I love writing and realized that the instincts were already there. The best part, however, is that this craft also means I get to help people. When they are not confident, I can reassure them and hold up the mirror that I have polished so they can see their value and worth. Over the nearly 13 years I've been doing this, I've heard back from so many clients that this project together had a positive impact on their lives, and to me, that is the best reward and reinforces that I am doing what I was meant to do.

3. How did you get into the career industry? What  did you do before?
It was an accident that was rooted in serendipity. The organization where I worked had a major org shift and I was without a job. My work had involved running a statewide school-to-career program for 49 high schools around Oregon. I was already going into the classrooms as a guest speaker, talking about resumes and job searches. After my job transition, a friend with whom I had lunch with said, "I know what you should do … become a resume writer!" Her daughter had dabbled in it and offered to set up a chat. After the conversation, I dove in feet first by joining the relevant professional organizations, attending the annual conferences, learning how to hone my craft, and ultimately, getting certified.

4. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
I wear dressy casual (clothes). No jammies for me. When I am in “jammy mode,” I don't feel focused, nor polished. I prefer being comfortable but in the professional zone.

5. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
Best habit is self-discipline … that was one warning I was given when I first started working as a professional resume writer — that I would need to be focused on creating a structure. That’s been an easy thing for me … the worst part was finally giving myself permission to take a day off. With a hustle mindset, I had been mentally berating myself for wanting to take a day off because I felt guilty for “not working” — without realizing that, for all the days that I worked 10-14 hour days, it was ok to have a rest day too.

6. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
My Buddha. I am not Buddhist, but this Buddha in a meditative pose reminds me to stay centered, calm, and realize that I cannot change the whole world…just the parts that I can change. This figurine was purchased two years ago when I was with a dear friend of mine when we visited Cambodia and Thailand with her two sons. This was a trip of a lifetime, and it always brings a smile to my face.


7. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
I walk away from my desk. I need to clear my head and give my brain a rest. That way, when I come back, I know what I need to do, but I am refreshed and can open my mind to new approaches.

8. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
Dress for one career level higher than where you are … that helped me especially when I was working in the mailroom, and wanted to move up the ladder. No one understood why I was wearing skirts and dresses, but it helped with my professional image.

9. How do you unplug?
Anything outside in nature which includes hiking, backpacking, birdwatching, gardening, and kayaking.

10. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
I wish the careers industry would have a more unified voice. Right now, there are so many different organizations and people with certifications — the general public can’t make heads nor tails of it all. Additionally, there should be a coordinated response when negative media stories come out about scammy fake resume writers who burn consumers…we need to educate the public that professional resume writers exist, and how to find them.

You can find Dawn on Facebook at Pathfinder Writing and Careers, on Twitter (@DawnRasmussen), and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/dawnrasmussen.