Thursday, April 6, 2023

10 Questions With Kara Varner

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

Today’s profile is Kara Varner, MAOM, CARW, CPRW, CRS-MTC, CEIC, of A Platinum Resume LLC. Kara has been a resume writer for 10 years and is based in Colorado. She has a 20-year career background in federal government, civilian, and corporate positions. 

Kara has a diversified background that assists her clients with navigating the application processes for civilian, corporate, contract, and federal government employment. 

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
At first, I became a professional resume writer to focus on helping transitioning military service members, federal employees, and military spouses. 

2. How did you get into the career industry? What did you do before?
I became interested in the profession when a neighbor asked me to review his resume. Prior to becoming a resume writer, I was an Employee Assistance Program Manager in the Federal Government. 

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working? 

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst? 
Best Habit: Replying to emails, writing out my to-do list every night. 
Worst Habit: Procrastination. 

5. What is your favorite object in your office? Why? 
Artwork by my daughters, gifts from friends, and two signs that say: You Got This and Do What Makes You Happy. 

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you are writing a resume? How do you get unstuck? 
I write out any thoughts I have and step away. I try to focus on something else (project, TV show, kids) and my brain thinks it through in my subconscious. Then I am able to come back “fresh.”

7. What is the best career advice you ever got? 
Be yourself. Be authentic. 

8. How do you unplug? 
I enjoy family time or time with my daughters doing something girlie. I watch “Real Housewives,” “Jack Ryan,” “Reign,” “The Home Edit,” and “The Young and the Restless.” 

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry if you could? 
The Career Industry: Educate and improve the perception of the industry and the true value of the services. I continually work to help clients and friends understand the value of a professional resume and the amount of work that goes into crafting resumes. 

10. What are your favorite social medial accounts to follow? 

Connect with Kara on LinkedIn: 

Find her company on Facebook: 

Follow Kara on Twitter: 

Visit the website for A Platinum Resume:

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The Riches are in the Niches: Finding the Perfect Niche Using Keywords

While many resume writers are generalists, some of the most successful career industry professionals specialize in working with a specific niche of jobseekers: Women returning to the workplace, for example. Executives. IT professionals. New college graduates. Mid-level sales managers.

Not sure what you want to specialize in?

One way to find the right business niche is to conduct keyword research. Keywords are terms people enter into search engines to find information they need — which helps them solve their problems. Search engines like Google track this information and make it public. You can use this data to refund your niche ideas and discover which niches people are actively searching for.

Start With Your Passions and Interests
Start by brainstorming. What kinds of jobseekers do you like working with? What areas do you have experience in? (Some resume writers specialize in the field they came from — for example, Wendi Weiner works with attorneys.)

Once you have some ideas, you can use keyword research to narrow down and refine your niche.

Keep in mind — even if you specialize in a niche, you can still work with jobseekers from all backgrounds and levels of experience. (But having a niche will make it easier for you to be found by prospective clients.)

How to Find Keywords
There are many premium SEO software programs available, but most people find that Google’s free Keyword Planner tool is enough. The purpose of this tool is to help you assess keywords for Google ads, but we can use it for basic keyword research. There are also free alternatives available, like SEO Book and WordStream.

Enter into the tool some keywords related to what you do. You could use a simple phrase like “resumes for executives” or “IT resumes” and you’ll get a list of similar keywords that are related. Skim this list and look for other areas that might be interesting. For example, under “IT resumes,” you might niche even further to “IT project manager resumes.”

How to Assess Keywords
Look for a high volume of monthly searches. A good guideline is over 1,000 searches. This tells you that people are actively looking for this information.

The next step is to check out the competition. You’re looking for keywords that have high search volume and low competition. To assess competition, go off the tool and perform a simple Google search. Put the keyword in quotation marks so you can get the exact phrases. You’ll then see how many sites are targeting the same keyword.

Since you’re not doing actual SEO planning, you don’t need an exact assessment of these keywords. Lookout the sites that come up on the first few pages of the search results, and you can see whether other businesses are covering these niches.

Your niche doesn’t need to be completely uncharted territory – there are only about 4,000-5,000 professional resume writers worldwide, so if there are 15 resume writers who specialize in teacher resumes, there is PLENTY of work for everyone! But by looking at the competition, you may get ideas on how to set yourself apart.

When choosing the right niche for your career services business, you should consider objective data as much as possible to assess whether your niche is popular and profitable. Keyword research is one effective way to do this.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

10 Questions with Andrea Adamski

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

Today’s profile is Andrea Adamski, CPRW. Andrea has been writing resumes for more than a decade. She owns her own business, Write For You Resumes, based in Kansas City, Missouri, and also does contract work as Director of Writing Services, training writers and serving as quality control for Your Next Jump, a career services company based out of Washington, D.C.

Andrea is a member of the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA), Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, and She is currently pursuing the Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) credential.

Her work has been selected for publication in Expert Resumes & LinkedIn Profiles for Managers and Executives (fourth edition), Modernize Your Job Search Letters: Get Noticed…Get Hired, Resume & LinkedIn Strategies for New College Graduates: What Works to Launch a Gen-Z Career, and she is a contributor to the NRWA “Ask the Experts” series.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I worked in marketing copywriting in the corporate world for nearly a decade. My coworkers familiar with my writing abilities would ask me to help them with their resumes on the side. They would then refer me to their friends and it snowballed.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What did you do before?
I worked in marketing copywriting, mostly in the healthcare and financial industry.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working? 
Jeans or leggings and one of my Dolly Parton or Prince t-shirts, unless I am meeting a client — then I dress accordingly (no Dolly t-shirt). 

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst? 
My best and worst habit is probably one and the same — I am detail-oriented. I pay attention to the details. However, you can get too mired in that and border on OCD, so I have to watch myself.

5. What is your favorite object in your office? Why? 
A picture of my kids. 

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you are writing a resume? How do you get unstuck? 
I take a break if possible, cook dinner, help my kids with something. My kids and I play a lot of Uno.

7. What is the best career advice you ever got? 
I don’t know if this is specific just to careers, but if you are going to complain about something, first have a solution in mind. I try to think through possible solutions before I voice complaints.

8. How do you unplug? 
I spend time with my family and kids, I love crafts, especially crochet. Sometimes I sew to unwind. I also love to read and watch true crime. If I wasn’t a resume writer, I think I might have liked to be a detective.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry if you could? 
The ageism and bias in resumes and the interview process. I am very cognizant of trying to help my clients with this as there aren’t many protections at the resume stage like there are once you walk in for an interview.

10. What are your favorite social medial accounts to follow? 

DollyParton on Facebook (Dolly Parton)

KansasCityChiefs on Facebook (Kansas City Chiefs)

Connect with Andrea on LinkedIn:

Find her company on Facebook: 

Follow Andrea on Twitter:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Naming Your Career School (including School Name Idea Generator)

I am a HUGE proponent of career industry professionals creating courses for jobseekers (and/or career industry colleagues)! Courses are a lead generator for 1:1 services, a path to creating passive income and recurring revenue, and a way for jobseekers to access your career knowledge and expertise. Teaching a course can help you become an expert authority for prospective clients — to help prospective clients to get to know/like/trust you. 

One obstacle to getting started for some career colleagues is coming up with a name for their school. 

Just like with a brick-and-mortar school, your courses “live” inside your online school. That includes mini courses, free and paid courses, your standard courses, and any premium or signature courses you offer. All of them live inside your school.

So you want to create a school for your career courses, and you only want to put career-oriented courses in your school. (If you want to do courses on non-related topics, put them in their own school.)

One of the biggest mistakes I see when coming up with a school name is that the school owner doesn't think through what the bigger picture of what they want this online course environment to look like. This may seem obvious, but sometimes first-time course creators get tunnel vision about the first course, and they don't take time to dream about the bigger picture. 

I want you to create more than one course — I want you to create a school that allows you to meet your goals. So think big! Brainstorm a list of courses you want to create. 

Then you can come up with an appropriate school name.

Most school names:
  • Relate to your business name somehow (or your brand)
  • Relate to your own name
  • Relate to a specific benefit to your audience or relate to the topic you’re going to be offering.

You can use the Career Professional School Name Idea Generator to brainstorm school names.

You can mix-and-match job synonyms, nouns, and verbs (image 1) with adjectives (image 2) and synonyms for the word “school” (image 3) to come up with a list of school name possibilities.

Note: If your dreams for your school are for it to be bigger than you — especially if you want to use other instructors — don’t name your school the “(Your Name) Career Academy” because then the instruction is limited to you. You want to establish your school branding up front so you don’t have to change it later, if you don’t have to.

Best Practices for Naming Your Career School
Here are some best practices for coming up with your school name:
  • Make it memorable. How can you help your school stand out from others?
  • Incorporate keywords. Are there certain words that people will search for on Google when looking for you, or when looking for courses like the ones you’re going to offer? If you can, use SEO tactics in your school name to help your school be found on Google when someone is looking for help in your area of expertise.
  • Keep it short. Less than five words, ideally. And say the school name out loud. Make sure it sounds good when you say it, and when you see it.

Validate Your School Name
Finally, once you’ve come up with some viable school name possibilities — or that one special school name you want — here’s how to validate it.

The first thing is to Google it and make sure that same name is not already being used. If there is already a training program or another career professional’s service that has the same name, I suggest you choose something else or find a different way to express it.

Second, see if you can register the domain name for that school name so that it’s easy for you to register the domain name and point it to your school. (That’s whether or not you like to your school directly from your website). That way, it’s easy to send prospective students directly to your school.

Finally, the last way to validate your school name is to make sure the name is available in your course platform. For example, on Teachable (which I use), you want to make sure the school name is available as a subdomain.

In Teachable, log into your account and click on SITE on the dashboard and to go DOMAINS on the menu. Click on that and it will take you to your DOMAIN NAME. Put the name you were thinking of using and see if it’s available. You’ll type it as:
(Without the parentheses, of course!)

If the name is already being used by another course creator, it will say “This URL is already in use. Please update.”

After you’ve claimed your subdomain, you can update your school name in Teachable. Click on “SETTINGS” in your dashboard. That will take you to a GLOBAL SETTINGS page, where you’ll want to make sure you’re on the WEBSITE settings page.

You’ll see SCHOOL NAME — it will have a default name. Click EDIT and type in the name of your school.

While you can change your school name, coming up with a school name early in the course creation process can also be helpful when it comes time to name your career course!

Good luck with naming your school!