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 Amazon.com'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.

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