Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Resources for Older Workers

Thanks to Bill Murdoch for this list of sites offering resources for older workers.

Compiled by US News & World Report, this aggregation of sites will be useful for your clients who are 50+.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Selling Your Resume Writing Business

I was reading an American Express publication today ("Open Book: A Practical Guide for Business Growth") and came across a short piece about selling your business.

Raymond Joabar, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of Lending and Network Development writes, "The sale price of your business will probably be the largest single factor affecting your wealth and retirement."

Yet most resume writers I know don't "cash out" this investment that they've spent years building -- they simply close their businesses. This is a topic that's interested me for a couple of years, ever since I heard a speaker from the Nebraska Business Development Center talk about business valuations. It's a topic I'd like to explore in a future issue of Resume Writers' Digest too. Have a thought on the subject? Drop me an email to

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tiger Woods' Resume

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One of my favorite authors on, Dr. John Sullivan, has an excellent article for recruiters and hiring managers about how they're not set up to hire a "superstar" like Tiger Woods. ("How NOT to Hire Tiger Woods!")

One of the points he makes is how the resume vetting process is not set up to favor clients with unusual backgrounds -- even though they may be top performers in their field:

Having a poorly designed resume screening process. Even if he did submit a resume, most resume screening systems would reject the real Tiger Woods because he was a college dropout (even if it was from Stanford). Despite being the world's top golfer, his resume might be rejected because of his grades, because he misspelled a word, because of his non-rigorous academic major, or even because for a long period he had no steady "continuous" record of employment. He might even be rejected by some in your firm because he would be clearly judged as "overqualified" for this "average" position.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Directory of Professional Resume Writers

On Thursday, Nov. 1, Louise Kursmark will release her latest book, "Directory of Professional Resume Writers: How to Find and Work With a Pro to Accelerate Your Job Search."

From Amazon:
Directory of Professional Resume Writers helps individuals choose the best resume writer for their needs to ensure their money is well spent This helpful directory identifies hundreds of the top professional resume writers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia and indexes them according to their specialty, geographic location, and alphabetical order. The resource also provides extensive tips on how to choose the best resume writer and how to effectively work with them to create outstanding job search documents. Job seekers, career changers, and new graduates will learn how to evaluate and choose the best resume writers for their needs; what to expect from the resume development process; how to put their new, professionally written resume to work; and more.

If you're one of the resume writers featured in the book, let me know if you're getting referrals as a result of being included in the book! (You do ask new clients how they heard about you, don't you?)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Number Consistency

As a journalism major in college, I was already familiar with AP style when I started writing resumes. Using AP style, numbers are expressed as follows:

• Numbers from 1 through 9 are spelled out:
Supervised four employees.

• Use figures for numbers 10 and above:
Hired 14-20 seasonal staff each summer.

But I had a little more trouble being consistent with the following rule:
• Use the same style to express related numbers above and below 10. If any of the numbers are above 10, use figures for all numbers.
Example: Recruited, hired, and trained 6 line managers, 11 assistant managers, and 87 part-time and full-time employees.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Backup Systems and Disaster Recovery

With the California wildfires in the news, it's an appropriate time to remind resume writers about the importance of disaster planning.

Whether you're faced with wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or flooding, any of these can create the potential for significant disruption of your business. I'd advise creating a basic disaster plan ... but in the meantime, you need to create a backup plan. Literally.

Answer this next question honestly: Do you have a copy of your critical electronic information? If so, how old is it?

Think about it -- if your hard drive failed today, or there was a fire, or someone stole your laptop -- how would you be able to replace your critical data -- your financial files, accounting records, client resumes, mailing lists and client databases, and the forms, scripts, and paperwork you've spent years fine-tuning?

Prevention is the key. There are many ways to store your data:
  • Flash/Jump/USB drives.
  • Zip and Jaz drives
  • Tape back-up systems
  • CDs
  • Online web space
Create a back-up schedule. At a minimum, you should back-up your files monthly. Establish a routine -- for example, backing everything up on the first day of the month, or the last Friday of the month.

Then Get It Off Site! It's not going to do you any good if your back-up CD is in the computer bag when your laptop is stolen, or in your desk drawer when your office is flooded. Make it a practice to store back-ups off site.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Long Life of a News Release

I was reminded today, while doing some research on Google, about the value of issuing news releases. I wrote a news release in July 2003 about how looking for a job is a lot like looking for love, tying the two themes together using the example of a CBS reality show, "Cupid."

That was more than four years ago, and it still comes up in search results. Since I have a degree in public relations, that should not surprise me. But it does. Are you using the media to its full potential? Careers articles are one of the most popular topics out there.

You can get your ideas from lots of different sources. Last month, I wrote about getting ideas for news releases from television shows.

In the coming weeks, I'm going to be updating my special report on getting publicity for your careers business. If you have a news release or press kit you'd like to share, e-mail me at

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Career Directors International Announces 2008 Conference: Seattle

I just received an e-mail from Laura DeCarlo this morning announcing that the 2008 Career Directors International conference will be in Seattle from Oct. 15-18, 2008!

CDI puts on an amazing conference, but I've never been able to make one, due to prior conflicts with my favorite local passion, college hockey. I haven't seen the 2008-09 UNO Hockey schedule yet (and probably won't know until Spring), but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to make the Seattle conference, as the hotel looks amazing.

You can check out photos from the 2007 conference in San Antonio here. The conference featured presentations by Don Straits, Louise Kursmark, Deb James, Marty Weitzman, Joelle Silva, Cory Edwards, Grant Cooper, Sharon Pierce-Williams, Heather Wieshlow, Nona Pratz, Judy Ware, Susan Guarneri, and more!

If you are interested in being considered as a speaker for the "Reach for the Stars...Capture Success" 2008 conference, contact Laura!

Joelle Silva, Grant Cooper, Sharon Williams, Barbara Adams, and Lisa Becker take a break at the reception. (Photo by Laura DeCarlo)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Create Passive Income by Selling Special Reports

For years, I heard about resume writers who wrote informational guides and sold them to their clients and prospects, generating passive income. But it all seemed so complicated -- requiring shopping carts, and autoresponders, and HTML coding. Bleh!

So when I wanted to sell our first special report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor," as an electronic download, I started doing some research. And I found a service that integrates easily with PayPal and that even I could figure out. Best of all, you can sell $100 in products using a basic account before you have to pay anything.

What kind of informational products could you offer? Although Kim Isaacs offers hers as lead generators for her resume services, she could easily sell her special reports-- 4 Quick Fixes For Your Resume and Top Resume FAQs -- for a couple of dollars each.

You could create a directory of local employment resources -- including recruiters and their specializations, top employers, and training sources -- and sell it for $5 or$10 dollars as an electronic download. Write a good "generic" topic that's not too self-promotional, and you can even set up Payloadz to track affiliate sales -- tell me about it and we'll get your colleagues to sell your products on their websites too!

It's easy. Write your special report. Create a PDF. Sign up with Payloadz. Put your product online. Promote it in e-mails and on your website.

Looking for ideas for your special report? Order Special Report #20 from The Publicity Hound: How to Write and Market Profitable Special Reports.


Monday, October 22, 2007

"Scannable Resumes Becoming Obsolete"

With the increase in companies accepting resumes electronically, scannable resumes will soon be a thing of the past, says Pat Criscito, author of E-Resumes.

I talked to Pat today via phone as a follow-up to my article on "Knowing Just the Right Thing to Say: Using Keywords Correctly in Resumes" in the September/October 2007 issue of Resume Writers' Digest.

Companies are getting more of their resumes over the Internet, says Criscito, so they're not investing as much in systems to scan resumes manually. She notes that this can be a benefit for resume writers, as the formatting limitations of resumes designed to be scanned often hindered resume writers.

Criscito is revamping her recommendations on electronic resumes for the second edition of "How to Write Better Resumes and Cover Letters," to be released early in 2008.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Speed Resume Writing

For some resume writers, speed and turnaround time can be a competitive advantage. However, for every resume writer, meeting client deadlines is critical. Because each resume is different (and each client is unique), it sometimes can feel like you're starting from scratch each time you sit down to start a project.

In addition to the tips published in my book, "Write Great Resumes Faster" (2nd edition), here are some ideas:
  • Create an inspiration notebook. Some resume writers maintain a hard copy "library" of past projects, categorized alphabetically by job title. Others create a Word document into which they copy-and-paste Qualifications Profiles, lists of keywords, and cover letter closings.
  • Develop a list of electronic resources you can count on. Creating a Word document with links to key online research sites can save you time searching Google for the right link. Or use the "Favorites" tool in your web browser to collect web links.
  • Create a visual cue for your writing. Creating cluster "word maps" can be a useful way to organize your thoughts for a resume. Write the client's job title in the middle of a piece of paper and then draw "spokes" to key concepts you want to cover in the document.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Explaining Resume Tense to Clients

Ever get an e-mail like this from a client?

“I love the resume, but please change the profile statement to: ‘I am a dedicated professional with extensive experience in corporate accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting. You will find me to be consistently successful in providing accurate information for management decision-making. I can develop and implement accounting training programs to increase staff efficiency and productivity. I am also an effective communicator with the ability to work with individuals at all levels of employment.’”

Aughhh! Where to begin? How do you explain the unique nuances of "resume tense” (and the lack of pronouns) to your clients?

I’ve developed a short response which explains resume tense to clients:

Hi (Client Name):

Thanks for your e-mail! I forgot to mention to you that resumes use a unique style of
writing to emphasize brevity in order to maximize the reader’s time. Many individuals find this style of writing a bit confusing, so I wanted to clarify for you how resumes are written.
• Resumes use a version of first-person style, but omit the subject (“I” / “me” / “my”).
• We use present tense for activities you currently perform, and past tense for past activities
and achievements (particularly for older positions on your resume, but also to describe responsibilities you once performed in your current job, but no longer do).
• To emphasize brevity, we remove most articles (“a” / “an” / “the” / “my”), except when doing so would hurt the readability of the sentence.
• We write in a strong, active style, emphasizing action verbs (“direct” / “manage” / “conduct” / “develop”) instead of passive descriptions of activity.
• Most often, numbers one through nine are spelled out; numbers 10 and above are expressed as numbers.

If you have any specific questions about the language used in your resume, let me know! Otherwise, please be assured that I have written your resume to conform to the generally-accepted principles of resume writing.

There. I feel less "tense" already!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Next Special Report: For New Resume Writers

With the recent publication of our first special report, on "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor," by Diana LeGere, it's time to start working on a second report.

Next we're tackling the challenges faced by new resume writers. I've often talked about the turnover in the resume writing industry. Part of the challenge is that there are low barriers to entry, but it's difficult make $30,000 or more in your first year. I want to help increase the chances of success for these new practitioners -- to give them a game plan for their first year.

Do you have an idea, strategy, or suggestion for these newbies? E-mail me at We'll look to release the next special report in December. (Be sure to e-mail me with any ideas you have for special reports you'd like to see.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Q-and-A With ResumeSpider's Steve Shellist

Add Value to Your Clients — and Profit to Your Pocket —
With ResumeSpider Affiliate Services

An interview with Steve Shellist of ResumeSpider, conducted by Bridget (Weide) Brooks, CPRW. A full article on ResumeSpider will appear in the November/December issue of Resume Writers' Digest.

I had the chance to sit down with Steve and ask him about how resume writers can use ResumeSpider to benefit their clients and generate additional revenue for their career services business.

Bridget: What is ResumeSpider?
Steve: Our philosophy is that ResumeSpider is “targeted list building and lead generation for networking.” We provide your clients with access to 124,000 prescreened recruiters, employers, and hiring managers. There are millions of companies out there, and no way for your clients to reach them all.

Bridget: How is ResumeSpider different than other services?
Steve: We see ourselves as similar to or eHarmony. We specialize in matchmaking, not in mass broadcast e-mails to unqualified recipients. Our product is only as good as the list we have, so we work hard to develop targeted lists for jobseekers. We can’t guarantee jobs, but we do guarantee delivery. Our biggest priority is making the match stronger and the list cleaner.

Bridget: How does the ResumeSpider process work?
Steve: Clients use our SpiderMatch process. They can select up to two job functions, 12 industries, and nine geographic preferences. They can preview the results and then decide whether or not to proceed. Through their online account, they can track the resumes sent and when they were opened. After sending the campaign, they can use our real-time messaging system, SpiderTalk, to follow-up with the contacts that received their résumé.

Bridget: How can resume writers use ResumeSpider with their clients?
Steve: Resume writers can earn a 30% commission on the services they sell to their clients, using their unique affiliate tracking code. Our services range from $39.95 to $99.95, and resume writers can earn $12 to $30 per sale. They can either provide their affiliate code to clients, or they can set up a demo account for their client (we provide an instruction booklet to help resume writers easily do this) and provide the client with the login information to access the dashboard.

Bridget: Are there marketing materials available to help resume writers spread the word to their clients?
Steve: Yes. When a resume writer signs up for their affiliate account (go to, they will be able to access banners, text links, and e-mail signatures. They will have their own back office to access this information as well as statistics about the commission they are earning.

Bridget: What is the potential commission resume writers can earn from ResumeSpider in an average month?
Steve: If you write 5-7 resumes per week, and convert 5-6 of them each month to ResumeSpider clients, you will earn $100 to $120 per month (based on a $65 average sale price, resulting in a $20 commission per order). But remember, they don’t have to be one of your clients to be one of our clients — meaning, every visitor to your website is a potential sale. You can easily double your affiliate profits if you have a web site that gets decent traffic and you promote ResumeSpider visibly to visitors.

Bridget: In addition to the commission, how else can resume writers make money from clients using ResumeSpider?
Steve: If you don’t already provide your clients with an ASCII text file as part of your services, that is an additional revenue opportunity as well. We recommend providing the resume in two formats, as a Word document and an ASCII text file.

Bridget: Thanks for the information, Steve.
Steve: No problem. Resume writers who want more information on becoming an affiliate can also contact our Affiliate Support department by calling 888-737-8635 x 103, or e-mail

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Commercial: "Marketplace" Now Available

Blatant Advertisement:

I know some of you have said you've had a hard time getting the links to work on the blog, so I've updated the Resume Writers' Digest website with a new "Marketplace" page that includes Paypal links to the "Write Great Resumes Faster" book ($18) and our new special report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" ($20), delivered as a PDF.

We appreciate your purchase of our products, as they help to support the publication of the online Resume Writers' Digest newsletter and this blog.

What Motivates Workers

When clients come to us seeking a job change, it's always interesting to hear their reasons for seeking a new job. Usually, it's not about pay (or, more accurately, not JUST about pay).

Author and researcher Frederick Herzberg has outlined his findings in two books:
"The Motivation to Work" and "Work and the Nature of Man."

Herzberg proposed the Motivation-Hygiene Theory, also known as the Two factor theory1959) of job satisfaction. According to his theory, people are influenced by two factors:

  • Satisfaction, which is primarily the result of the motivator factors. These factors help increase satisfaction but have little effect on dissatisfaction.
  • Dissatisfaction is primarily the result of hygiene factors. These factors, if absent or inadequate, cause dissatisfaction, but their presence has little effect on long-term satisfaction.

Motivator Factors

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Work Itself
  • Responsibility
  • Promotion
  • Growth

Hygiene Factors

  • Pay and Benefits
  • Company Policy and Administration
  • Relationships with co-workers
  • Physical Environment
  • Supervision
  • Status
  • Job Security

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Online Conversion Tool


Need to convert meters into miles, bytes into megabytes, teaspoons into cups -- or make some interesting calculations -- like the number of days until you can retire? (Click on "fun stuff")

Check out this site --

Monday, October 15, 2007

Put it In Writing

I've always been a big proponent of staying in touch with clients. Not only does it allow you to see the results of your actions -- how many times have clients not gotten back to you to report how their job search is going? -- but it also fosters repeat business and referrals.

E-mail is an easy inexpensive way to keep in touch (I recommend using an e-mail newsletter for consistency), but at least once a year, you should also mail something to your entire client base. It can be a special offer (perhaps a postcard each September to coincide with Update Your Resume Month), or a holiday card, or even a print newsletter.

In the next week, I'm mailing out more than 500 postcards to promote the release of our first Special Report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor." While 500 names is only a fraction of my mailing list, I know there will be several dozen people who will have received e-mails from me but didn't open them (or their spam filter caught them) who will be surprised that the Resume Writers' Digest newsletter is back.

By the way, if you want to order the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" 30-page special report (available for PDF download), you can do so here:

Mailings have an advantage over e-mail -- they're hard to ignore. And postcards are even better, because you don't have to open them up. So plan a mailing and take advantage of the power of print -- to reconnect with your clients, to spark new business, and to generate referrals.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why We Do What We Do

I ran into a client today out "in public" -- he had just taken his first look at his draft and he chased me down to tell me this: "I read the draft and I'd love to meet the guy you wrote about." It was a compliment. He went on to tell me how great he thought the resume was -- how I captured exactly what it is he does (which was hard for me, because he's in IT, and I do *not* enjoy doing IT resumes) and what he has to offer his next employer.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? It's why we do what we do (besides the money, of course) -- it's the amazed look on the client's faces ... the excited phone calls when they get the job (especially, as one client recently told me, "Making more money than I've ever made before") ... and the relief when they figure out that you can help them. It's what makes up for the 2 a.m. I've-got-to-finish-this-draft-before-I-go-to-bed sessions, the PIA clients, the hassle of being our own boss.

Don't have a "kudos" folder yet? I recommend you start one. Look through it when you are working with a particularly difficult client, to remind yourself why we do what we do.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Intellectual Property Law

The website (The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse) provides advice on trademarks, copyrights, web contents etc. Includes information on "whistleblowers," stealers of trade secrets and so on.

The site notes, "Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Why First Impressions Are So Important

I've been helping my aunt get her house ready for sale, and it's given me some insight into the resume writing process, believe it or not. Like their homes, people have an emotional attachment to their work history. That's usually the case with a PITA (Pain-in-the-you-know-what) clients. They could be insecure about some aspect of their work history, defensive about their age, reluctant to speak too highly about their former contributions so their next employer won't "expect too much." Or, they might just be nervous about the job search process, and any excuse to postpone finalizing their resume (even if they initiated contact in the first place) means they actually have to confronth fs and start looking.

I was originally going to write in this blog post about why first impressions on the resume are so important -- but I almost think it's more important for you to pay attention to first impressions with your clients.

Is it a wife calling for a husband? Does the person mention feeling unsure about their prospects for work after being employed with the same company for a number of years? Do they seem unfocused, or unsure of their job target? All of these are first impressions -- and how you handle them will be critical to your success with the client.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Identifying Client Skills

I've always struggled with this a bit. What is a skill, exactly? I found some clarity in The Quick Resume & Cover Letter Book.

Author J. Michael Farr identifies several types of skills, including job-related skills, basic skills, and "key transferable skills." For both types of skills, it's important to list them, but then provide justification to "back up" your assertion that your client has these skills.

Job-related skills are the ones the client needs to perform his/her job effectively.
For example--
Auto mechanic: tune engines, repair brakes
Accountant: create a general ledger

Basic skills include:
  • Basic academic qualifications
  • Accepting supervision
  • Following instructions
  • Getting along well with coworkers
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Punctuality
  • Good work ethic
  • Productivity
  • Honesty
Key transferable skills include:
  • Instructing others
  • Public speaking
  • Managing people
  • Managing money/budgets
  • Meeting the public
  • Working effectively as part of a team
  • Negotiating
  • Organizing/managing projects
  • Communicating orally and in writing
  • Organizational effectiveness and leadership
  • Self-motivation and goal setting
  • Creative thinking and problem solving
You can also find relevant skills from job postings for the types of position the client is seeking. For example:

"Business management position requiring skills in problem solving, planning, organizing, and cost management."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spot Runner: A New Tool for Getting Business?

I first heard about Spot Runner a few years back, when I read an article about them in a business magazine. The premise was simple: They created television spots for multiple industries that could be "tagged" -- that is, you could customize them to easily fit your company.

They're an Internet-based advertising agency that makes it easy for local businesses to advertise on television.

They were designed for smaller businesses, like dentists, Realtors®, or boutique travel agencies ... and now they've even got two ads available for resume writers specifically. (I'd embed the videos directly in here, but I can't figure out how!)

Running a television campaign isn't cheap -- Spot Runner recommends running them for a minimum of four weeks to achieve your result of either brand awareness or direct response. You could run a pretty comprehensive campaign for as little as $500 a week (plus the one-time cost of customizing the ad). But you'll pay as little as $4 per ad, and get on high-profile channels in *your* area.

I ran a sample campaign in Omaha and $4,000 could get me 854 spots over a four week period on cable channels like E!, HGTV, and more. It averaged out to less than $5.00 per commercial, and that included the ad production AND airtime to run the ads.

I can see this being a great lead generator for local or regional resume writing groups, like the Arizona Resume Writer's Council. It might be too much exposure for a small, single writer (imagine if you ran 200 spots per week, and you got 40-50 calls per week! Better have your subcontractors lined up ahead of time!) But if you converted even 10% of the callers, that would be 4-5 new projects per week.

Click the ad below and search the TV ad inventory for "resume writing" to find the two spots -- "Get The Edge" and "Steve's World." Then imagine *your* resume writing business is the one being promoted. It could just revolutionize your business. (Especially if you target a local clientele and charge at least $250 per resume package on average.)

Put your business on TV with Spot Runner

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Is The Current Style of Qualifications Profile Dead?

I've been thinking about this for a week now, because a couple of resume writers talked to me about it in Savannah. And with yesterday's post, about the recruiter not seeing the value in the profile, I got to wondering, "Are profiles going out of style?"

I think the answer is yes -- and no.

The flowery, puffy, superlative-filled qualifications profile is dead. Or should be. I've written them myself:
"Seasoned sales professional with demonstrated organizational, planning, interpersonal, and team building capabilities. Skilled in identifying, prioritizing, and capturing new business opportunities. Proven ability to deliver bottom-line results under pressure. Excellent relationship-building skills with the capacity to work effectively with individuals at all levels and from diverse backgrounds."

Blah, blah, Blah, BLAH, BLAH!

Sharon Williams, of JobRockit, was the one who first clued me into the demise of the traditional qualifications profile, telling me that resume critiquers at a recent session were simply crossing off the profiles. And the repeated use of "personal brand" when discussing the resume development process only drove a few more nails into the traditional qualifications profile's coffin.

The "so what" factor comes into play here, as does this question: "Does the qualifications profile you just wrote truly reflect this client, or could it be written of a dozen other candidates with his same job objective?"

My Photo
I'll have more on this topic, including how to write new-style qualifications profiles -- and a future interview with the queen of personal branding, Kirsten Dixson, co-author (with William Arruda) of "Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand."

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Technical Recruiter's Perspective on Resumes

I corresponded recently with a temporary technical recruiter in Seattle, Washington who does contract placements. She shared her insights into the resume screening process -- very instructive for resume writers working with these candidates. She wanted me to note, however, that executive placements are handled quite differently. Temporary placement firms are sourcing for 10-30 jobs per day. She works specifically with IT candidates.

If your client works with a temporary placement firm, due to the high volume of job openings, the job she calls you about today might be gone tomorrow. That's not only due to the larger number of candidates out there, but also because contract recruiters (unlike contingency recruiters) are competing against other contract recruiters. ("I know if I don't fill the job with my candidate, someone like Kelly, Volt, or the like will get the position filled before me," she says.)

Here are her comments about resumes:
  • Candidates need to put their phone number on all documents and in e-mails. If you don't provide immediate contact information (and that means phone, not e-mail), you might miss your chance. And tell your clients to return all phone calls promptly. Candidates who call back a week later miss the boat. With 10 jobs to fill a day, the job isn't going to be there in a week, or even a few days.
  • Soft skills are important, but hard skills win interviews. What kind of projects have they worked on? What are their technical skills? Areas of expertise? It's not enough to say "good with people." What industry? What tools? What did you create? She wants "the whole alphabet soup." Linus or MS? Database or Web/front end? .net or Java? She'd prefer to have it in a grid to match against the job description. List the skill and the number of years used.
  • Don't use a two-column table if you know it's going to be imported into a database. You'll lose the formatting and then it just looks jumbled. ("If you're submitting it to a recruiter, please realize the hiring manager won't see your formatting," she notes.)
  • "I only give the resume 10 seconds. I read from the bottom up, looking for career history and how the candidate evolved. The hiring manager may be interested in the qualifications profile, but it's less important for me." (As a former resume writer and career coach, she said that's hard for her to admit.)
  • Length is less important than depth. ("Six page tech resumes can be fine, surprisingly," she says.) Follow the old adage: "Make the resume as long as it needs to be to make the candidate look credible and worth the money they are asking.")

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Guest Article: Helping Your Clients Connect the Dots

Editor's Note: We can help our clients by helping connect them with decision-makers. In this guest article, Frank Traditi (co-author of Get Hired Now!) offers tips to help clients use their network to connect with decision-makers.

Connect the Dots - Tracing the Steps to Job Opportunities

By Frank Traditi
As you've probably heard many times before, it's your network of people that will eventually help you land the job you really want. You can create and nurture this network through the familiar channels like networking functions, seminars, volunteering opportunities, and social gatherings. Another tactic you can use to build your network is called connecting the dots. Here's how it works. In order for companies to survive in today's competitive marketplace, they must rely on the services and expertise of other companies.

Many businesses maintain close relationships with their customers, service providers, affiliates, partners, bankers, and many others. All are part of what could be called the intelligence network. Members of this intelligence network interact with this business at different levels, but all are privy to information potentially beneficial to you.

Following is an example that illustrates the power of connecting the dots. Let's say you are targeting a job opportunity with a specific software development company. Here are the possible connections in their intelligence network:

1. Reseller Partners.
The company that has contracted to sell their software will know the inside scoop on how the product works Maybe they also know about an opening in the software development department.

2. Web Design Firm
Find out who designed their website. They are usually connected with the companies' marketing, information technology, and sales department. Perhaps they know some challenges the company is dealing with. Maybe the VP of Marketing is looking for a good Internet Marketing strategist?

3. Investment Bankers or Venture Capitalists
Your target company might be in the early stages of growth. Bankers and Venture Capitalists know just about everything there is to know about the company and what their challenges are. Do you think these folks might know when a management shake-up may take place and when they are looking for good people and new talent?

4. Executive Recruiters They may have hired an executive recruiter to bring in new management talent for specific departments. That new manager may need to bring in new talent to the department. The recruiter might also have some intelligence about other areas of the company. Could they refer you to the leader of that other department?

5. Clients
Some companies display a client list on their website or in their brochures. If you can identify and talk with a few players at these client companies, they may reveal clues to job opportunities. You may also recognize a company or two and know who works there. Leverage these relationships to get the inside track on your target company.

6. Sales training company
Perhaps they've contracted with a sales training company that's working with their sales force and management team to increase their productivity. Maybe the training company personnel know about open sales positions? A good place to start is to write down all the services a company needs to run their day to day operations. Pick a company that you are interested in working for and try to identify the intelligence network that serves or is connected to this company. Make it your goal to find at least six connections. Then start connecting the dots. I'll bet you'll like the picture.

Copyright © 2005, Frank Traditi.
Frank Traditi is the co-author of Get Hired NOW!: A 28-Day Program for Landing the Job You Want. He is an author, speaker, career strategist, and executive coach with more than 20 years of experience in management, sales, and marketing for Fortune 500 companies. Frank works with talented professionals to design a game plan for an extraordinary career. For a copy of his free guide "How to Find a Job in 28 Days or Less," visit

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Using SCORE to Build Your Business

Did you know there is a free resource to help you create and refine your business plan and give you guidance with your resume business? It's called "SCORE" (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and you'll find tons of free advice, from marketing to business-startup, and more.

Here are some of my favorite resources:
You can also ask SCORE counselors questions online (FREE) or sign up for an in-person consultation at your local office.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Helping Clients Research Prospective Employers

As careers professionals, we often advise clients to research prospective employers, to help identify how their skills and experience can be an asset. That can be (relatively) easy if the client's target is a public company or nonprofit -- but what if they want to work for a private company or a start-up?

Here is an excellent article on how to help your clients find out more information about a private company. Author Laurence J. Stybel tells how to use "scuttlebutt" to get the information your client needs.

Also, Forbes compiles a ranking of the top 500 private companies each year. If it's a manufacturing company, try the Thomas Register. Check out the Secretary of State (in the company's home state) for their filing.

Bondra Information Service (a fee-based research company) offers the following guidelines to direct the client'ss company analysis:
  • Determine which of the two types of companies your target company is:
    • Publicly traded-trade on stock exchanges.
    • Privately held-more difficult to find information. Not required to file documentation because there are no shareholders. Much information is limited to directories and local publications and some trade magazines, etc. Sales figures are usually guesstimates
  • Determine the level(s) of Information that you are seeking
    • Need or end-user usually determines sophistication of information.
    • Determine what you need to know.
  • Basic facts
  • Current and future state of the company
    • News-what is the most current news? Older than 6 months is more for historical research/background.
    • Trends and forecasts
      • (Where is the company now?)
      • Where might it be in 3-6 months vs 1-3 years?
      • Is the company in a growth or retreat mode? Why? What factors? Economic? Lawsuits, etc.
    • Financial Information
      • How is the company's balance sheet, income statement, earnings, eeps, dividend(s)?
      • How is the stock price doing? Current price vs historical price? Charts & graphs.
      • How is the stock doing against its competitors? Against the market as a whole?
      • What is the consensus on the stock by Wall Street Analysts?
    • Strategy-What is the company's short term and long term strategies?
    • Domestic vs International Markets
      • Is the company strong or weak domestically vs overseas? Where does the company make most of its profit?
      • What do each of the regions and products/divisions contribute to the whole?
    • Technology issues-is the company technologically driven?, How is it affected by the Internet?
    • Legal and regulatory issues
      • What are the current or future regulatory and legal issues which might effect the company?
      • What are the major state, federal or international bodies which might have influence?
      • Are there any possible pending bills or regulations which might have a significant impact?
    • Market Share. Is the company a dominant players? Why? What size of the market do they own or influence in the industry or industries that they are in or products/services that they sell?
    • Innovations/New Products/Patents-Does the company have any new products/services/patents?
    • Information Dissemination-What vehicles are used to disseminate information?
      • Web Page
      • Major PR and media for the industry including wire services, trade publications.
      • Industry Associations
      • Trade Shows/Conventions
      • Government Information

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"Please Enjoy This Hold Music"

Twice today, while returning phone calls from prospective resume clients, instead of the phone ringing, I got this message: "Please enjoy this music while we connect your call."

It looks like we've got another items to talk to our clients about. In addition to cutesy answering machine messages and too-sexy e-mail addresses, now we should instruct them not to use internal ringtones -- called ringbacks -- (or at least not the ones I heard today, which blared loud rock music for the 15 seconds while the call connected.). I'm not sure either client is aware of the potentially negative first impression these ringtones make ... but I plan on addressing it with them if they become a client.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Will Your Clients Find Employment at .Jobs?

Have you heard of a .jobs domain? Some large companies are registering their company with a .jobs domain address in an effort to boost their recruiting efforts.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently conducted its "2007 Advances in E-Recruiting: Leveraging the .jobs Domain" survey, asking HR professionals to assess the the differences between organizations that utilize a “.jobs” domain compared to companies without such domains. The Internet is used many organizations as their primary method for recruiting.

The three most commonly reported techniques or strategies used by respondents from all organizations to engage passive job candidates were: (1) viewing membership directories for associations and trade groups; (2) scanning social networking sites; and (3) mining industry-specific blogs, discussion forums, newsgroups or list-servs.

“The Internet has opened up a whole new set of opportunities through which HR recruiters can and are creatively sifting,” said SHRM President and CEO Susan R. Meisinger.

She added, “Who would have thought, for example, that social networking sites like MySpace – often used as social hubs by so many young people – would become a rich source of background information for job recruiters?”

The study also showed that HR respondents from all organizations (.jobs and organizations) said their most reliable sources for quality job candidates were: a) employee referrals; b) national online job boards (e.g.,,, etc.); and c) internal job postings.

Other summary results from the survey are:

• Organizations with a “.jobs” domain reported they had better outcomes in recruiting due to advantages such as direct navigation and ease of use. In addition, they were more likely to use tracking software that allows the electronic management of an organization’s recruitment efforts.

• HR professionals from “” organizations cited the following as their top five greatest challenges: a) difficulty in attracting high quality candidates (67 percent); b) limited staff resources (39 percent); c) difficulty in attracting diverse candidates (30 percent); and d) difficulty attracting enough candidates (30 percent); e) difficulty in managing volumes of resumes (27 percent).

SHRM commissioned the 2007 survey to gain insight into HR professionals’ experiences with Internet recruiting at their organizations. Surveys were emailed to 3,000 randomly selected SHRM members and yielded 450 responses. In addition, surveys were sent to 1,050 organizations that use a “.jobs” domain and yielded 152 responses. The survey results examine differences among .jobs and organizations by organization staff size and employment sector.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Making Friends With College Career Services Staff

Last week, I met some amazing people. They're the career services staff for a college or university. They are the "careers expert" for between 1,000 and 6,000 people each. That's daunting. But then you have to remember that they're also the career resource for tens of thousands of alumni. (Not that they provide the same services that they do to currently-enrolled students, but they're a resource all the same). And they're not only in charge of resume and cover letter guidance, but arranging job fairs, advising professors on current job search strategy, and many of them also provide career planning, which encompasses helping students choose majors and select classes to fit their career goals.

For those of us in the "traditional" career services field (that is, private practice careers professionals), it's hard to imagine. You don't get to choose your clients (you must work with all students), and there's no room for specialization -- with dozens of majors, you've got to help them all, from the English major (what do you do with them???) to the computer science grads.

How to helop these folks? Those of us who have approached our local career services professionals and been rebuffed (for whatever reason) might be tempted to let them go it alone. But don't give up on them. They're overwhelmed, and think they can do it all. Offer to be on their Career Services Board (if they have one). Volunteer to help them organize the on-campus job fair, or teach mock interviews. If they don't want to work with you, go to the professors, or the student organizations and work that angle.

For college career office personnel: Use resume writers to your advantage. Bring them in to teach workshops. Interview them for your podcasts. Use them to connect to employers and recruiters. After all, the students you work with today, will be the clients of these careers professionals tomorrow. And those alumni you're getting calls from? Refer them out. After all, you've got 4,000 other people depending on you. You don't have to do it alone.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Microsoft Word for Resume Writers

I was talking with an Omaha-based colleague today and we got on the topic of Microsoft Word, because (in addition to resumes), she's been working on a number of dissertations (formatting and editing) and she mentioned how she's used the WordTips forum that Don Orlando recommends to get answers on how to do things like footnotes in Word.

I told her that I had learned a bunch of new ideas from Rhonda Douglas-Charles' presentation on Microsoft Word last week, and I was looking forward to trying some of them out. Rhonda had offered to e-mail tips sheets for the specific version of Word you use, and I just finished taking an inventory of the number of Microsoft Word licenses I have around the office ... at least five that I know of. Yikes! (And since we're 100% Mac-based, they'll all Word versions for the Mac: Microsoft Word SE, Word 98, Word for OSX, and more....)

And then I just opened up Google News and saw that Microsoft is going to be offering a version of Word for the Web that will allow you to store and retrieve (but not edit) Word documents online. Google's getting into that business too. Wonder what that will mean for us resume writers. I'll let you know when I know!