Friday, August 31, 2007

Role: Resume Writer? Cheerleader? Validator? Coach? Interviewer?

The answer is: "All of the above."

To be a good resume writer, you "must":

1. Be a good researcher / interviewer / listener

2. Have knowledge of journalism / writing principles.

3. Have "advertising" knowledge -- what makes people (employers) buy? What do I need to know to "sell" my clients to prospective employers?

4. Demonstrate Sales Skills / Customer Service Abilities. If you can't sell, you won't have anyone to write for. If you can't keep them happy, you won't have referrals or repeat business.

5. Utilize Time Management Skills. In order to make enough money to succeed, you need to write relatively fast and write relatively well. Being able to prioritize your time to manage your business (billing, invoicing, paying the bills), generate clients (advertising, marketing, referral relationship building), and write resumes is critical.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where Are the Resume Writers Going?

I know the resume writing industry has a lot of turnover, but c'mon!

I recently sent out a mailing (snail mail -- a postcard, in fact) to 50 resume writers. Within the last week, four of the postcards have been returned as "Not Deliverable as Addressed." The problem isn't the mailing list; it's that these businesses no longer exist. That's 10% of them!

I sent out an e-mail to 300 new contacts (added in the last year), and had more than 30 returned e-mails (granted, some of them were changes in e-mail address), but a couple were practitioners who "no longer practiced."

Is it the nature of the industry, that it's easy to get into, and just as easy to leave? I've talked to colleagues (some who had been in the business a long time, mind you) who got out to take full-time jobs, or to focus on a different kind of writing (technical writing, or magazine article writing). I know it can be difficult to make money, especially in the beginning.

A colleague of mine and I have been trying for the past couple of years to get more new resume writers involved in the business locally. There are more clients than we can handle, and it would be nice to be able to refer them to someone good. We found someone who fit that description in Lincoln (hi, Angie!), but no luck so far in Omaha. Interested in moving to the biggest city in Nebraska?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If Everyone is a Prospective Client...

... Should you just start calling names in the phone book?

Of course not. You need to target your clientele a little more specifically.

Who do you PREFER to work with?
• Unemployed?
• Currently employed seeking better jobs?
• First job (i.e., students?)
• Returning to workforce?
• "Underemployed"

Young? Old? Specific professions?

Once you've identified your target audience, you can figure out how to reach them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dispelling the Myths of Resume Writing

These are some myths I've encountered in more than 14 years of writing resumes professionally. Sound familiar?

1. You must know everything. No one can know everything. You must know what you need to know to write an effective resume to get your client a job. I've met resume writers who could know absolutely nothing about a field and write an incredible resume. For me, I need at least a passing familiarity with the industry -- and I do a lot of research to get myself up to speed. But I also tell my clients they need to help assure I incorporate in the correct terminology and keywords.

2. We are in the "resume writing" business. Nope -- we're in the "helping our clients get a job" business. The resume is simply the tool. Sell your clients a solution, not a product.

3. You can't give stuff away and still charge for it. This is one of the biggest myths around. Think of the giveaways as "free samples." These can include things like written critiques; samples on your web site; free seminars (even on "resume writing.")

Monday, August 27, 2007

Giving a Career Workshop? Check Out These Free Resources

This site, Results Through Training, offers free resources for trainers -- you might find some of their free information helpful when you're putting together your next career workshop. The Icebreakers ideas are especially interesting.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Unusual Ideas for Marketing Your Resume Writing Services

Just some random thoughts off the top of my head … (based on creativity exercises in a book I'm reading)... If you're doing any of these things, I might profile you in an upcoming issue of Resume Writers' Digest. Drop me an e-mail at

  • SIMPLE SOLUTION: See more clients and charge more = more $$
  • CONTRADICT HISTORY: Get someone else to pay (not the client). (i.e., outsourcing = employer pays; contract with a church for services for their unemployed members = church pays, etc.)
  • OUTRAGEOUS: "Free resumes": Don't pay upfront -- client just pays "two days pay" for a new job you get
  • SEND FEAR: become more visible; offer a solid guarantee (charge enough to make it worth your while)
  • LEVERAGE CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS: Case studies of résumés that win jobs.
  • LEVERAGE CATEGORY / CONSUMER TRENDS: 33% of job searchers change jobs each year. How to capitalize on this?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"People Won't Pay the Prices I Need to Charge"

In any economy (good or bad), people have money to spend on having their resume developed. The trick is convincing them they need them.

The message in a down economy is: "You need a professionally-written resume in order to stand out in the pile of resumes that flood in for every available position."

The message in a good economy is: "If you're looking for a better job, you need a resume that can show why you're worth 10, 15 or even 25% more money than you're currently making."

The key is finding the prospects who can pay. One surefire way is to find people who have money!! For example: target executives and senior managers, not blue-collar workers and college students. I know, I know, it seems harsh … but you're in business to make money, right?

Another idea is to go outside your geographic area. While most of my business is local, I've done resumes for clients throughout the US -- many who were relocating to new cities. You don't have to be a local expert to write an effective resume I have found that you can capture those clients who think that local expertise is the "only" thing by saying, "Yes, there are times when you will want to choose someone locally, but not every community has a resume expert who knows all the local resources. It can be just as important to find a professional resume writer who can help you tap into proven resources to market yourself to prospective employers regardless of where you live."

Most resume writers think they can fill their appointment books by advertising in the Yellow Pages, having a site on the Internet, and giving talks. However, those are just SOME of the tools you're going to need to use in order to drive the kind of business that sustains you as a primary income source. Many resume writers also find that subcontracting can steady out the peaks and valleys of being a self-employed resume writer

There are thousands of clients who are out there who are willing to pay your prices ($100 up to $1000+) for a resume if it gets them what they want … the job they want/need.

Friday, August 24, 2007

How to Write Great Resumes Faster

* Create a "writing routine." Most professional writers overcome "writer's block" by creating rituals and using props to help them get into the writing "state of mind." Some common writing "crutches" include a favorite beverage, a special pen, familiar music, or writing at a certain place or time.
If you can't start at the beginning, start in the middle. It's said that Ernest Hemingway always finished his day in mid-sentence so he could just pick up where he had left off without much thought.
Create an outline and fill in the easy stuff first. Start by setting up the relevant headings (education, affiliations, associations, licenses, etc.) and then fill in the information under each heading. Start with the easiest sections (i.e., "Education") first.
Write first, organize later. One of the most difficult parts of resume writing is often getting started. So just start typing whatever information you have; whatever comes into your head as you go through your client notes. Then go back through and organize it.

These tips are excerpted "Write Great Resumes Faster," available from Image Building Communications - Order here.

WANT MORE TIPS? Buy the book! You'll get more than three dozen actionable ideas, including how to develop a "write faster mentality," using technology to write faster and better, and more than a dozen strategies to help you overcome a blank page. Plus, dozens of alternate section headers (looking for a different phrase than "Work Experience?" We've got 15 alternatives); hundreds of accomplishment-stimulating verbs (alphabetized), dozens of personality traits and profile descriptors, hundreds of keywords -- and much, much more!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

So Is it Spelled "Blogue" in Canada?

Developing a career document for a non-English-speaking client? Identify what text needs to be changed (i.e., "catalog" vs. "catalogue") by following these simple instructions:

In Microsoft Word, select all of the text (Control-A). Choose "Language" from the "Tools" menu, and select the appropriate language.

The spell check will then make sure all the language-related differences are identified for you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Write and Speak About What You Do

Speaking is a great way to build your business. Possible career angles for speeches, workshops and articles include:
  • The best time to look for a job is when you have one;
  • Careerjournaling (tracking responsibilities and accomplishments);
  • How often to update a resume;
  • New technology and the job search;
  • Choosing a resume writer;
  • What you should include in a resume -- and what you shouldn't;
  • Tapping into the "hidden" job market;
  • How to transition into a new career;
  • The post-military job search;
  • Networking your way to a new job;
  • First jobs for college graduates;
  • Job search strategies for executives;
  • The role of the portfolio in the job search;
  • Alternative work styles and careers;
  • Retaining employees: What your employees tell their resume writer as they prepare to leave your company; and
  • Job-hunting online.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Samples On Your Web Site - Yes or No?

Resume Samples On Your Web Site --
Should You or Shouldn't You?

A subscriber asked me for feedback on her web site recently. One of my comments to her was that she should think about including samples on her site so prospective clients could see examples of her work.

In her e-mail reply to me, she expressed concern about putting her samples up on the web where they could be "stolen" by individuals wanting to create their own resume.

Here is my response:

Basically, you have to think about it two ways:
1. Is a prospect REALLY a prospect if they would think they could get a resume that will work for them effectively if they just copied what you had on a sample?

I don't worry about sharing samples because anyone who thinks a resume that isn't customized for them will still WORK for them is delusional. The resume writers in this industry who write books will tell you that it is the single largest LEAD BUILDER you can find, because more likely, people will look at the resume and say, "Wow! I could never write that myself. But because 'JANE RESUMEWRITER' can write like that, I want her to do it for me too!"

Sure, we've all heard of people who "modified" resumes they see to fit their situation (they've even taken the resumes of our CLIENTS and modified them -- how DARE they!!). But if you put your samples on the web, or fax them -- they're just out there with all the MILLIONS of other examples out there. Worried about them taking your keywords? Wendy Enelow's got a book full of them they can "steal" ("1500+ Keywords for $100,000 Jobs" ). They can go to the bookstore and get 100s of samples (FABULOUS ones, written by our colleagues) in dozens of books ("Sales and Marketing Resumes for $100,000 Careers" by Louise Kursmark, "Expert Resumes for Teachers and Educators" by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark … and others).

Remember, these are the people who use Microsoft's "Resume Wizard" when it comes time to write their résumé.

(The reason why I buy these kind of books is to use them as "idea starters" for particular careers. It's not like looking at a sample is going to help my next client's resume "write itself" for me. I still have to find the relevant keywords, accomplishments, and work experience descriptions to match the client's exact needs.)

The kind of people who would look at your samples and steal them are not your clients anyway. Chances are, if someone is coming to your site or asks for samples, he or she is not looking to steal your work, but to judge the quality of your services. In the 5% of cases where this is not the case, think of it is a blessing that he or she chose to steal your work instead of retaining your services. They probably would have been a pain-in-the-butt client anyway!!

2. If I were a consumer, would I buy the services of a professional without being able to judge the quality of the work? Would I buy a car without taking a test drive?

Do you ever go to the bookstore and read a section of the book before you buy it? Does it make you any less likely to buy the book? (In my case, it usually makes me more likely to buy the book, because I'm convinced it's perfect for me if I'm hooked into reading more than a couple pages.) Look at the popularity of's "Look inside" feature!

People who click on your samples or -- better yet -- ask to see samples are interested consumers!! They are in a buying mentality. They want to see if you've done resumes for people like them -- and if so, what that might look like. After all, you're asking them to commit to a service that they don't know what the end result will look like. Reassure them -- help them see that they will be receiving custom products.

If it helps you, do two things:

1. Put a copyright notice at the bottom of all samples and a line to the effect of "DO NOT REPRODUCE."

Note that these are samples, created specifically for individual clients based on a marketing strategy designed to help this specific individual get interviews. All (your company name) documents are customized for the individual customer and this sample is for illustrative purposes only.

Basically -- I look it like this. If 10 people visit my web site and click on my samples, I figure 5 of those people want to buy and want to see my work to make sure they're making the right decision (or having an existing resume that isn't working and are wondering what is in a professional resume that isn't in their existing resume). The other 5 are "trolling for ideas" for what to put in the resume they plan to do themselves (and aren't planning to pay anyone -- not just you -- to do). Yours will be just one of the places where they plan to "steal" ideas from (they're visiting all of our sites, looking for a "fit" for what they do). I don't worry about them -- I worry about how to sell the 50% who are really in the market for my services.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Telework/Work-at-Home Opportunities

Following up on my previous post on Homeshoring, telework and work-at-home (legitimate ones!) are a growing area of interest for many clients.

Read this article from HotJobs for more information.

Also, blogger Rosalind Mays chronicles telecommuting opportunities on her blog, Telecommuting Millionaire?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Upcoming Careers Industry Conference

Back in the day of the Resume Writers' Digest print publication, we often provided gavel-to-gavel conference coverage. We're a big proponent of attending conferences -- they provide much more than information ... there's networking, subcontracting opportunities, referral relationship-building, and of course, a vacation!

I want to personally encourage you to attend the Career Directors International conference. I won't be able to attend it due to a prior conflict, but the lineup of speakers is incredible!

Oct. 18-20, 2007
Career Directors International
5th Annual Conference
San Antonio, Texas

Have a training opportunity to promote? E-mail me at

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Author + Resume Writer = Careers Expert

As a resume writer myself (and editor of several publications), I can tell you that editors are dying for quality content for their publications. Money, health, marriage and CAREERS are the top four areas of interest for readers.

So how can you tap into this expertise? It's easier than you think. (Thanks to Robert Middleton,, for ideas on this).

Your objective in an article is to share useful information that can help people solve a problem. As Middleton says, "You're not trying to prove how smart you are, you're trying to help someone."

1. Start by making a list of topics that fit your business.
– How to _______ (How to Get Your Resume In the Hands of the Hiring Manager)
– ___ Ways to ________ (10 Steps to a New Job in the Next Month)
– ___ Ways NOT to ______ (3 Ways NOT to Make a Good Impression in an Interview)
– ___ Top _____ (10 Top Mistakes Made by Job Searchers)

2. Prioritize your list.
– Can you think of some examples for the articles above? Use the ones you think you can flesh out into an article.

3. Figure out where you'll send your article when you're finished with it. (Newspaper? Association Newsletter? Radio? TV?)

When writing the article, consider this format:
1. Problem
2. Solution
3. Examples
4. Wrap-Up

For example:
1. Your resume isn't generating interviews. Common reasons why this might be so.
2. You need a better resume. Good resumes have the following things in common.
3. Examples of taking an "obituary" resume and turning it into a "results" resume.
4. Resume writers can get you the results you want. Here's how to get a free critique of your resume.

I'll share more ideas on becoming a career expert in the future. In the meantime, if you'd like some possible article ideas (and to see a news release sample), download this pdf:

Friday, August 17, 2007

More on Naming Your Business

Like looking at your newborn for the first time, you want to make sure that the name you select for your business is a good one.

There are some key considerations, of course -- like NOT choosing a name someone else already has (see my previous post on this), and not choosing a name too close to another business name (because the website you want will likely NOT be available.

In fact, I hate to say it, but website name availability should probably be
the most important part of your decision. Why? Well, it is possible to overcome a good website name, but you'll spend more time and money making that happen than if you plan ahead and pick a really good business name with a really good domain name to match.

What you're ideally looking for is either a) a good "benefit" oriented name ("Interview-Winning Resume Services," or "Get-The-Job Resume Services" or b) A completely unrelated word that you will then "associate" with "Resume Service" ("Apple Career Service" or "Dayspring Resume Service") or c) a geographically-oriented name -- presuming you never want to move -- ("Nebraska Career Services" or "Tri-City Resume Service" or "River City Resume & Career Coaching Service.")

Or, there's the "bandwagon" name -- in my case, that would be "Husker Career Services" because in Nebraska, there are literally *hundreds* of businesses with "Husker" in them (because of the University of Nebraska football team, the "Cornhuskers"). But I'm pretty sure most, if not all, of them are supposed to be paying royalties.

My best recommendation is [A], a descriptive name. A check of the thesaurus, and a couple of handy books I have called "Words That Sell" (and its companion "MORE Words That Sell" reveals some ideas:
Complete, Comprehensive, Ultimate, Acclaimed, Qualified, Ace, Professional, Awesome, Aspire, Acquire, Abundance (plenty), Abundant (plentiful), Acclaim (praise), Accord (mutual understanding), Actuate (put into motion), Acuity (sharpness), Acute (perceptive), Adduce (prove, show), Adroit (skilled), Advance... the list goes on and on.

Normally, you'd also want to pick a name at the beginning of the alphabet, because that will show up early in online, alphabetized search results (say, in an online directory), or at the top of a category in a printed Yellow Pages book.

You decide. Just be sure to make sure the domain is available, and most important, PRACTICE saying your business name -- like you're answering the phone, or introducing yourself to a prospect in line at the grocery store.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Job Search Portfolio

Editor's Note: Thanks to careers expect Carmen Croonquist, MSW for this information.

Have your clients asked you about portfolios? I have been working with portfolios for the past eight years, and am convinced that it is an excellent tool to use during the interview process, as well as for performance reviews. They provide "proof" to a potential employer that the individual has the skills and personal attributes to do the job. Job seekers who use portfolios tend to generate more job offers at higher starting salaries! Here are some guildines about portfolio development, pricing, and most importantly, how to use the portfolio effectively.

The visual appeal a portfolio offers is highly important. Rather than a notebook, I would suggest finding a professional-looking, zippered 3-ring binder. Office Max and Office Depot tend to have a good selection of varying styles; both vinyl and leather options. Try to find
one with a D-ring type of 3-ring binder, as it keeps the materials upright when presenting the portfolio contents. Other supplies: non-glare sheet protectors, tabbed dividers, professional looking paper (for section pages), and cardstock (for mounting photos or creating captions).

Basic Portfolio Guidelines:
Like an effective resume, a portfolio needs to be tailored to the field or industry that is being targeted. You will want to collect a variety of work samples from this executive that can help him demonstrate the skills and experience he has listed on his resume. Because employers are interested in learning about an individual's personal attributes and work style, examples that illustrate this can also be a good addition. Portfolio samples do not need to be restricted to paid employment, as we acquire skills and accomplishments from volunteer and community activities.

Encourage your client to look at his calendar. How is his day spent? What types of activities is he engaged in daily, and at different times of the year? What are some challenges he has faced, or problems he has solved? Ask him to begin locating and collecting work samples that reflect the skills and activities he enjoys.

Typical Contents:

  • Cover page
  • Table of Contents
  • Section Dividers, based on the Table of Contents
  • Resume
  • Letters of reference
  • Positive performance evaluations
  • Certificates of degrees completed and continuing education
  • College transcript (optional)
  • Anything that reflects involvement in professional organizations
  • Mission statement
  • Management or leadership philosophy
  • Goal statements
  • Anything that depicts leadership, communication, organization, strategic planning, financial management, marketing, teamwork, positive interpersonal traits, technology skills, etc. -- the contents will vary depending on the person's experience and the industry being targeted.
  • Testimonials/thank-you's (from clients, colleagues, supervisors, etc.)
  • Pictures that demonstrate skills or involvement
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Samples of projects or reports
  • Awards/honors
  • Reflective statements/captions

Selecting & Sorting:
Items selected for the portfolio should be based on how effectively your client can demonstrate the personal traits, knowledge, accomplishments, transferrable skills, and experience needed for his particular field.

Recommendations on the length of a portfolio vary. I believe you can have an effective portfolio that is only 15-20 pages long. I would recommend keeping it under 50 pages, if possible (using both sides of the sheet protectors, and not including the section dividers). If the portfolio is too large, it can become unweildy, making it difficult for the job seeker to locate the item he or she would like to present (especially when under the duress of a stressful interview).

Organize the sections according to areas of skill, knowledge and experience -- reflecting the key areas of the targeted position/industry. Create tabs for each section that match the table of contents; you can also prepare summary pages at the beginning of each section.

I would suggest developing captions or reflective statements for work samples that are not "stand alone" items --i.e., the ones that wouldn't make sense without explanation to someone unfamiliar with the job seeker or his/her experience.

Using the Portfolio:
The portfolio is intended to be used to facilitate a dialogue during the interview process. Don't expect the employer to look through the entire portfolio, nor wait to be asked about it. Respond first to the interview questions being posed, providing concrete examples (I like the "STARR" technique). If there is a portfolio item that can back up the example being used, the job seeker should say: "I have an example of this in my portfolio." Don't ask whether or not they would like to see it -- pull the item out of the portfolio and hand it to the interviewer (s).

This can be a GREAT way to engage everyone involved in a panel-style interview. Don't overuse the portfolio; only show selective examples. You may want to do a practice interview with your client to make sure he is comfortable with it and has had some experience using the portfolio.

This is a tricky area for me to offer you assistance, as I presently do not have my own portfolio business -- I primarily do presentations and workshops on the subject. Think about how much time it will take to pull it together and how much your time is worth. The amount you charge for resume preparation can be a good guideline. Determine what parts of the portfolio
you will do, and what the client is responsible for. Will you be writing some of the documents for your client? Will you only be assembling it and doing the "finishing touches"? This can impact the price. You could also offer some type of "package deal," including a resume, portfolio and mock interview.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Optimize Your Website

No ... this thread is not about how to improve your web site's performance in a search engine. (You can learn about that in an earlier "idea".) Instead, I want to talk about optimizing your web site in the minds of the viewers who come to check it out.

This is informal research conducted by visiting and typing in "resume writer." After visiting nearly 100 sites, I have come up with a couple of pointers for making your web site user-friendly.

1. Put your e-mail contact on every page of your site. Make sure it is particularly prominent on the home page and on the "contact us" page. Also, if you have a "packages" page -- or whatever page your "buy" page is -- make sure it's prominent there too.

2. For those who may not want to contact you by e-mail, make sure your telephone number is also prominent on the pages listed in item number 1.

3. Content and form is more important than style. There are some very pretty web sites out there that are NOT user-friendly. Just when you're convinced and ready to buy, you can't figure out where to go.

4. Organize your information effectively. I love content-rich web sites, but if the viewer doesn't know where to go to buy, you've lost the chance to make a sale. Clearly indicate buttons or links on how to buy your service.

5. Please, please -- don't disparage the majority of your colleagues while you try to make a sale. I can't tell you the number of web sites that had a "how NOT to choose a resume writer" section. In it, these writers put down some very reputable resume writing practices, including those who do business solely online. We need to be careful that the image we are projecting to the resume-buying public is one of credibility. Cutting down your peers through generic "labels" of shoulds/shouldn'ts isn't the way to go.

6. Check often to make sure all your links work. There's nothing worse than clicking and receiving a message that there's been an "error" and that page no longer exists.

Kudos to web sites that responsibly and accurately use credentials, links to the professional associations and certifications and more. I didn't even mind seeing stats and figures from Resume Writers' Digest included on subscriber web sites. That's what we're here for -- to help establish your credibility as an expert resume writer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Top 200 Government Contractors

Have clients who have left the military but who still want to use their military skills? From, the top 200 defense contractors for the military. (List is updated in August annually.)

Waiting on 2007's list to be released.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Is a Resume a Legal Document?

A ready asked me recently if a resume is a legal document.

The answer:
Yes and no.

The resume IS a legal document if the candidate states on the application:

"Please See Attached Resume" and then signs the application... that makes the attached resume part of the legal application.

But otherwise, technically speaking, the resume is a marketing document, not a legal document.

However, intent to defraud can tie into the resume if your client lies on the resume. So make sure that your client does not make up credentials, degrees, etc. (That's a good idea anyway!)

However, omitting short-duration jobs or otherwise using your writing abilities to minimize a client's "problem areas" is generally acceptable.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Finding Recruiters For Your Clients

The Riley Guide has compiled a list of links to free online directories of search firms and recruiters, including:
Also, try Top Echelon's "Recommended Recruiter" search.

Directories of recruiters are also available for purchase. Kennedy Information has contact information for thousands of recruiters, both in book form and online! Select by function area (sales, for example) and industry (manufacturing) and it returns the number of results. Purchase online -- and resell the information to your client.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pregnant Client? Make Sure They Know Their Rights

United States federal law protects individuals from pregnancy discrimination. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which was passed in 1978, prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. However, there is evidence that a pregnant employee must produce to win a pregnancy discrimination case. In 1996, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Chicago gave employers some protection in dealing with pregnant employees. In this case, a woman was fired for tardiness after morning sickness kept her from reporting to work on time. She brought charges of pregnancy discrimination against her employer. She was not able to show that she was being treated differently than other employees in similar circumstances and lost the case. ("How Employers Must Treat Pregnant Workers,"
Since 1993, The Family and Medical Leave Act (U.S.), has given pregnant women who are employed in workplaces with 50 or more people the right to take a combination of paid and unpaid leave equaling twelve weeks to care for a newborn. The act also gives employees the right to take time off for medical problems (including those that are pregnancy related) and to care for an ill family member.
For an excellent article on this topic, visit:

Friday, August 10, 2007

Top Internet Reference Tools

Technical Term Dictionary

This site gives the most complete definition of technical terms, allowing you to pull together keywords that are similar to your technical term.

Company Research (Hoovers)
Best for competitive research. Enter the organization name and the “capsule” gives you a snapshot of the organization.

PR News Wire
Get the latest news and create a customized news filter.

WEDDLE'S Association Directory
Associations are great places to find links of relevant career web sites for specific industries.
And, try the Internet Public Library
- Also, here is a link to executive recruiters serving the association management industry.

Recruiting Resources
Have a question about a recruiting topic? The archives of articles and forums are an invaluable resource.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Guest Author: Beyond Billable Hours

By C.J. Hayden
Get Clients Now

In any professional services business, you typically begin by serving clients one-to-one. As you improve your skills at marketing yourself and begin filling your practice, eventually you discover there are only so many hours in the day. You want to keep growing your business, but you have no more time available for additional clients.

What can you do?
You can raise your rates, although there is an upper limit to what you can realistically charge. You can offer your services to multiple people at once through workshops and group programs. But these ideas are still based on the billable hours model. You must keep providing service in order for the money to keep coming.

An entirely different
direction to look is toward generating passive revenue. Including elements of passive revenue in your business does more for you than just increase your income. It also allows you to make more of an impact on your profession and community. When you are locked into a cycle of constantly acquiring and serving clients, it's difficult to find the time to think creatively, experiment, and build a bigger vision. But when you are earning money you don't have to work for directly, you have more capacity to expand -- on all levels.

Passive revenue models give you the ability to impact more
people with your ideas, world view, and way of doing things, because they expand your influence beyond what you could ever do by yourself. A product or service you create that doesn't require your constant presence to deliver it extends your reach in the world. This extended reach has a substantial effect on your visibility and credibility as a professional.

When your
product or service becomes widely available, people begin to hear of you before they ever interact with you personally. Your products not only earn you income, they also market you. By the time a prospective client speaks with you, they may have already decided to hire you based on their experience with your product, or simply your reputation. Sounds pretty appealing, doesn't it?

Here are 13 ideas
for how to start generating passive revenue today.

1. Affiliate programs and referral fees.

This is one of the
easiest revenue streams to create, because you don't need to create anything of your own. If there are products and services offered by others that you would recommend anyway, why not earn a commission on your referrals by signing up for the company's affiliate program? If they don't have one, ask. Many companies with no formal affiliate programs will make a referral fee arrangement if you ask them.

2. Sell other people's products.
If you speak, give
workshops, or have a web site, you have opportunities to sell products in the course of what you are already doing. Offer your clients and web visitors books, audios, or software that enhance your work. Selling products will compensate you for free speaking engagements and can double your income at paid workshops. If you sell products on the web and don't want the bother of shipping, offer only e-products or arrange for drop-shipping directly from the publisher.

3. Sell other people's services.

If the service you offer is
in high demand, consider hiring other professionals to work for you as subcontractors. You bring in the business; they do the work; you earn a percentage of their fee. Or, if there is a service complimentary to your own that your clients often buy from someone else, consider offering that service as part of your own package, then subcontract the work.

4. E-books.

Offering an e-book for sale on your web site is
an excellent way to earn income from visitors who may never become clients. You may find it easier than you think to write down some of what you know in a way that will be helpful to your target market. But even if you're not a writer, you can still put together a valuable product this way. Consider compiling a resource guide, collection of quotes, or digest of material contributed by other experts in your field.

5. Audio downloads.

Creating recordings to make available on
the web is quick and easy. You can hold a teleclass or workshop on a topic you know well and make a recording at the same time. Convert your recording to Real Audio, upload it to your website, and charge a fee for people to listen to it.

6. E-mail and web-based courses.

Any material you might
include in a workshop, e-book, or audio can become an e-course or web course by breaking it into multiple lessons. For an e- course, write a series of lessons as e-mails, and use an autoresponder to send them out automatically. For a web course, combine written material and audio into a syllabus posted on the web or sent as an e-book. You may not have to create any new material to do this, just package what you already have in a different way.

7. Audiotapes and CD's.

You don't have to use a script,
sound studio, and editing to produce an audio for sale. You can do all that for a highly-professional product, but it's also possible to record a teleclass, live presentation, or even an interview with someone else, and package it unedited as a tape or CD.

8. Booklets and workbooks.

If you speak in public or work
with clients in person, the same information you might put in an e-book can be used for a printed booklet or workbook. Checklists, templates, or worksheets you are already using with clients are excellent candidates for workbook material. You can produce a simple spiral-bound workbook at any quick printer for around $5 and sell it for $10-15 or more, depending on the content.

9. Membership network or web site.

If you find yourself
naturally connecting people and helping them find resources, you can turn this into a paying proposition. You can start a membership organization that meets in person, or a virtual group that communicates by telemeetings and on the web. A project like this can take quite a bit of time and effort to launch, but can also result in a substantial ongoing income stream.

10. Full-length book.

Writing a book may seem like a
daunting project, but a book can evolve by writing articles or creating any of the products above, and eventually putting all that material together.

11. Software.

Is there a process you use with clients that
they could perform themselves if it were automated? Your process could become a unique piece of software. Like a membership site or book, creating it will take time and money, but could lead to significant profits.

12. Licensing programs.

If you have a book, workshop, or
unique system, you may be able to create a program to license others in the use of your material. Depending on the complexity of your process, licensing can be as simple as writing a manual and conducting a brief training class, or could become an entire enterprise in its own right, involving training, supervision, and ongoing support. Your licensees can also become your subcontractors as described above.

13. Mentoring programs.

Potential mentees may be the same
people that would be your clients, or they may be colleagues who would like to learn from your experience. Mentoring can take place in live groups by telephone or in person, by email, and also by incorporating any of the products mentioned above into a full-service package that includes personal contact with you.

By having products to offer, you
can increase the price you charge for your program beyond what your mentees would pay for just your time.

Pick just one of these ideas and get started today, even if
you don't yet have a full practice. The sooner you begin generating passive revenue, the sooner you will have more time available to spend however you want -- on your business or not.
Copyright C.J. Hayden.
To subscribe to the "Get Clients Now!" e-newsletter

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Five Ways to Find a Job

This is a handout I developed for my clients. You are free to republish it, provided you give a credit line: "Courtesy of Resume Writers' Digest."

There are five basic ways for people to find a job. These are: newspapers, the Internet, recruiters/employment services, networking and what I call “direct contact.”

Here’s a review of each:

Most people look for their next job in the newspaper and, while it’s true that some people do find their dream job listed in the Employment Classifieds, the reality is that only about 20 percent of job seekers are successful using this method.

The newspaper can be a useful tool, however, in identifying job “leads” — companies that hire people to do the kinds of jobs you want. In addition to looking for companies that are in “growth mode” in the classifieds, job seekers should also read the Business section, where promotions and new company announcements are listed.

In addition, business journals can be a great way to find less well-known companies.

The Internet
In addition to a geographic-specific web sites (for a particular city or state, for example), job seekers should also consider the “Big Boards” as well as niche sites.

The so-called “Big Boards” — career web sites like Monster and Hot Jobs aren’t as effective as they used to be.

If you identify an opportunity on a big board, go directly to the employer’s web site and see if the position is listed there as well. By applying through the company’s web site, you’ll not only get a chance to research the company, you might be able to identify a decision maker directly and avoid the 1-2 week delay that Internet applications seem to have built in.

Posting your resume on career web sites usually triggers employment-related spam (get-rich-quick or multi-level marketing offers), so I no longer recommend my clients do this — or, if they do, I have them set up a free e-mail address (through Yahoo or Hotmail) so that they can at least contain the flood of spam and distribution offers.

There are also niche sites, which can help job seekers find more targeted opportunities. In each industry, there are two kinds of web sites that offer employment opportunities. One is sites that are specifically designed to match up employers and employees in an industry. For example, does this for the information technology field.

The other kind is trade association or industry newspaper/magazine/newsletter web sites. In addition to providing industry information (articles, research, surveys), these sites sometimes offer online employment classifieds.

One of the best things to use the Internet for is research — use Google to find the company’s web site.

Recruiters/Employment Agencies
For certain kinds of jobs, companies pay third parties (recruiters or employment agencies) to screen and recommend potential employees.

These jobs usually fall into three areas:
• Positions paying under $25,000 per year (usually administrative jobs)
• Specialized positions where a clearly-defined skill set is desired (for example, information technology jobs) or
• Managers and executives making in excess of $70,000. (These jobs are not usually advertised publicly.)

In exchange for finding candidates, screening them and recommending the “best fits,” an employer will pay a fee that is usually equal to one-third of the employee’s base salary for the first year to the recruiter or employment agency, upon a successful hire.

Because the job seeker doesn’t pay for the service, sending a resume to one of these companies is a good idea, but it won’t always result in success — or even a return phone call.

You can find recruiters in the phone book (under “Employment Agencies”) or online. Use Google to search: Recruiter and [city name] and accountant. Or look in the newspaper classifieds for firms advertising for candidates in your skill area. You can also make contact with some recruiters or employment agencies at job fairs.

The people you know can be the best way for you to find your next job. Think about who is in your network. This can include: friends, relatives, parents of children’s friends, parents of your friends, relatives of your friends, club members, cousins, neighbors, your doctor, financial advisor or attorney, current and previous co-workers and managers, suppliers, professional association contacts, clients, and your community contacts (civic leaders, clergy, etc.)

Job seekers should assemble the contact information for these individuals (a holiday card list can be a good starting point) and get their resume to everyone on the list. Ask for help in one of the following ways: Leads, Information, Advice and/or Referrals.

You can also tap into your network for specific help. For example, if you want to work at a specific company, ask people in your network if they know anyone who currently works for — or used to work for — ‘Company X.’ Then contact that person and ask about the company, culture and hiring practices.

The more people who know you’re looking for a job, the more eyes and ears that will be available to help.

The single biggest mistake most job searchers make is not asking for help from their network. People want to help you — so let them!

Direct Contact
Tap into the so-called “hidden job market” by using direct contact. Remember: Companies hire people to solve their problems. If the job seeker can do one — or more — of these things, you shouldn’t wait for a “help wanted ad” — go directly to the company.

How do you do this? Use the other four methods for ideas:
• Newspaper. Identify companies that are likely candidates through their ads, profiles about them or job listings that indicate a need for your expertise. (For example, a company that is hiring a lot of production workers will likely need additional managers.)

• Internet. Research trends and companies online. Identify key problems from executive speeches, reports or profiles or read their news releases on their web site. A good source of information is

• Recruiters/Employment Services. This is the ultimate direct contact. (“Hey, I don’t know if you currently need someone with my skills, but here is what I have to offer one of your client companies.”)

• Networking. It happens all the time. Someone in your network says, “You know what? You should talk to John Jones at the XYZ Company. They could use someone with your skills.”

How do you make direct contact? Call, use your network for an introduction, send an e-mail or write a targeted cover letter and send it with your resume. But the real key to success is following up. When using direct contact, persistence is the key!

In reality, there are six ways to find a job: the last is the “miscellaneous” category. This includes going through the phone book, using your alma mater’s alumni career services program, tapping into the membership directory of a relevant association to schedule informational interviews, etc.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Photos on Resumes?

A reader submitted the following question:

It used to be (50 years or some such ago) that whenever you sent a resume out, a picture of the applicant was part of that resume. i don't know when that practice was stopped but recently, when I've had a client that I thought a picture would help, I've scanned and pasted in a head and shoulders. It seems the clients like it, and it has helped. what is your opinion??

--H.K., Texas

The easy answer why photos aren't used anymore is that federal employment laws regarding discrimination have changed (in the past 50 years!) and companies can now be sued if they use any information provided by the applicant that might be used discriminately (either for or against an applicant). This can include marital status, age, even beauty. You can see where the "looks" and "age" thing would be given away by a photo.

The only exceptions that I know of are modeling and acting, where it is okay to discriminate based on looks. (After all, you're casting for a certain look.)

Even though your clients may love it -- and it might look fabulous! -- know that most employers (especially larger ones -- say, with more than 20 years) will know that they can be sued for having used the photo, even if they actually didn't.

Therefore -- and this is the bad part -- many of them will throw the resume away if the picture is actually on the resume. If it's attached to the resume, almost all will throw the picture away -- and some will throw away the resume too -- again, because they don't want to be sued for even having seen the picture of the applicant with the resume.

Extreme? Of course. Unfair? Maybe. But I'd hate for your client not to get the chance to interview for his or her dream job because of it.

But to be on the safe side, unless your client is pursuing a modeling or acting job, don't include a photo. If you want to get across that she's drop-dead gorgeous, her "Activities" section can include relevant "honors" -- such as, "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, 1999-Present" (if that's true).

Monday, August 6, 2007

Niche Marketing

Recently, I've been corresponding with a résumé writer who is interested in targeting specific niches for clients. While I believe niche marketing can be very profitable, it can also be tricky, particularly if you are targeting more than one niche.

When examining whether a particular niche will be profitable, you have to consider a few things:
1. How will people in this niche be able to find me? (do they congregate in certain places -- web sites, chat rooms, read similar periodicals, etc.)
2. How can I find (and reach) people who are in this niche? (are there existing web sites I can link to? Trade journals to advertise in?)
3. Are there enough people in this niche that I can attract the 2-3% that I need to make it profitable for me to seek out this niche? (If you are trying to market to left-handed, one-armed dentists who were born in September, for example, that's a pretty small market.)
4. Who are my competitors? Are there any? (If there aren't, you might ask yourself 'why' -- is it just an unexplored niche, or has someone tried to target this niche and found it unprofitable?)
5. What do I have to offer this group? (Special expertise, credentials, you're already well-known in this group, etc.)

You have to develop a pretty full-fledged mini-business plan in order to answer these questions. As you answer them, you'll also get an idea of how you will market and promote to your niche.

It is certainly possible to target completely different niches at the same time. You can position yourself as an expert résumé writer for multiple, completely non-related niches simultaneously. For example, a former nurse-turned-résumé-writer might specialize in nursing resumes and also pharmaceutical sales resumes (okay, those are somewhat related). She might also specialize in résumés for head athletic coaches because her husband is a head coach. These are completely separate niches that she would not want to necessarily promote on a single web site. That's the advantage of web sites -- they can be completely customized to focus in on a particular specialty.

When developing a niche web site, however, keep your audience in mind. Every single thing on that web site needs to be focused on that single niche. You can always ALSO have a web site devoted to you ( or your business ( which explains more about you and links to your niche-specific sites. But if you're promoting to a specific niche (such as pharmaceutical sales), the audience that will be visiting that web site doesn't care if you also do resumes for left-handed, one-armed dentists born in September. They just want to know how you can help them get a pharmaceutical sales job (and Remember, they want the benefit -- the job, not the "tool" -- the résumé or the process -- landing the interview for the job.)

Every single thing on your niche web site needs to speak to the audience. If it doesn't speak to the audience, it doesn't belong on the site. What does belong on the site? Articles you've written specifically about that niche, research information, links, a few sample resumes and cover letters (no, don't worry about people "stealing" the information -- they need to see your work for you to be credible), and, of course, information about how they can get the benefit of your services. Your graphics and layout should also be exclusively directed towards the audience. A pharmaceutical sales web site would use neutral, muted colors, a classy yet simple font, and photos or graphics that are health-care oriented.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Every Client Wants to be in Pharmaceutical Sales

The lure of the pharmaceutical sales position is great -- incredible salaries, perks including a company car, and more. But how many of your clients really understand what it takes to be a pharmaceutical sales rep -- or even get in the door for an interview?

Jane Williams' fabulous book, "Insider's Guide to the World of Pharmaceutical Sales" (8th edition) is a MUST-READ for any resume writer who works with individuals wanting to get into pharmaceutical sales -- and it's a book you can recommend to your clients as well.

You can order the book and find some great resources at:

Pharmaceutical Sales Links (courtesy of

- - a chat board for the medical and pharmaceutical sales industry. Here you will find great resource links as well.

- - Pharmaceutical sales chat board, company directory, and more...

- - This site is another great tool to help you network within the industry.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Finding Clients Between the Stacks

Call your local bookstore and offer to host a Career Night. The format is up to you, but it could include:
• 20-minute workshop on resumes
• Free resume critiques
• Top '10' Book List
• How to Use Career Books to Reach Your Dream Job (i.e., using career research books like the annual "Kennedy Directory of Executive Recruiters")

For added value:
• Send a news release to local newspaper, radio and TV stations to promote the free event;
• Make sure you're on the bookstore's monthly calendar of events;
• Make up posters for display at the store;
• Insert your business card into the front of books in the career section;
• Have a door prize giveaway (collect names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mails on a door prize form). Possible prizes can be a career book, a bookstore gift certificate or a gift certificate for your services.

This technique can also be used at your local library.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Why Clients Choose a Professional Resume Writer

Why do people seek out a résumé writer? A couple of calls from prospective clients this week got me thinking about this.

Most of the calls I receive fall into two categories -- calls from the Yellow Pages and calls from people referred by someone. Because I always ask, "How did you hear about us?" I can usually determine what information I need to share with the caller. Those who have been referred are often "pre-sold" on my services and don't require as much education as the Yellow Pages caller.

Callers from the Yellow Pages are often intriguing. At some basic level, they recognize the need for help with their resume, because they've sought out a "resume service" in the phone book.

Yet they often don't know what they need -- or even what a professional resume writer will do for them. Some are looking for someone to "type" their resume. Others know that they can get "help" with the writing part, but don't know how that works.

Remember when working with prospective clients who are calling from the Yellow Pages that you have three goals:

1. Educate them about your services (what you do, how you can help them, how much it will cost)

2. Find out if they are ready to work with you (do they have a focused job target? What is their timeframe? Do they have realistic expectations about what the résumé can do for them? Are they willing to pay your fee?)

3. Demonstrate that you are the solution. This is most often accomplished by asking questions designed to elicit information -- and position yourself as a credible expert to solve their unspoken problem ("How do I get interviews?")

While their reasons for choosing a professional résumé writer may differ from caller to caller, your job is the same: Determine whether there is a match between what they need and what you provide -- and if there is, make the sale.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Homeshoring Offers Opportunities for Job Seekers

Resume clients looking for work-at-home opportunities might be interested in a new opportunity, called "homeshoring." (Click to access a Business Week article on the topic.)

Homeshoring, defined, is "the transfer of service industry employment from offices to home-based employees with appropriate telephone and Internet facilities."

Companies employ stay-at-home workers to respond to inbound inquiries. Key players include:
These "cyber agents" held 112,000 jobs in 2005, and are expected to number 330,000 by 2010.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Naming Your Resume Writing Business

What's in a name?

When you're naming your resume writing business, the answer can be: Quite a bit.

Your business name is the beginning of establishing your brand. It will influence your logo, your pricing, your website name, the kind of service you provide, and much, much more. So name your business carefully.

You must also consider whether your name can be protected. There are far too many 'Resume Pro' and related names to be able to protect it.