Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Issue of Resume Writers' Digest Available (Fall 2008)

The new issue of Resume Writers' Digest is now available. The cover story, by Wendy Terwelp, is about how to use social networking websites to grow your business -- and help your clients.

Wendy is also offering a special offer to readers if they purchase her "Rock Your Network® Online" social networking course. If you are one of the first 10 people who respond by Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, you will receive a free 15-minute laser coaching session with Wendy to crank up your online network.

The issue also features an article on how to "Turn a Good Customer Into a Loyal Customer in Just Six Steps," Robert Middleton's Action Plan Marketing article on "Nine Key Marketing Lessons," a Resume Writer's University article on using DISC profiles ("Resume Writing is DISC Easy," and an article on how to get publicity using New Year's Resolutions as a hook in your news release.

You can receive the newsletter for free if you are a subscriber (use the form at the top right-hand column of this blog). Or you can purchase this issue for just $3.Link

Friday, December 12, 2008

Now Seeking Responses for 2008 Industry Survey

I have sent out the request for responses for Resume Writers' Digest's 2008 Industry Survey to more than 1500 resume writers -- and have received more than 100 responses so far.

If you did NOT receive an invitation, e-mail me at RWDigest@aol.com and I'll send you the link. If you did get my e-mail, please do not procrastinate! The survey will only take a few minutes to complete, and the results are invaluable for careers industry practitioners in comparing their production, pricing, and challenges with their colleagues.

You can find some of the results of the 2007 Industry Survey here and here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Here's A Great Idea for a Holiday Promotion

If you have a product you sell to job seekers, here's a GREAT example of how to draw attention to it this holiday season -- tie it into a gift-giving theme!

Alison Doyle has assembled a list of gifts to benefit the job seeker. You'll find many products offered by our colleagues here!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Six Changes Employees Should Prepare for In a Recession

Courtesy of the professionals at Robert Half International -- share these strategies with your clients.

New Priorities:
Companies may be re-evaluating their programs and focusing on initiatives that will generate immediate revenue. Be flexible when you're asked to take on new projects, and work with your manager to identify initiatives that are most important to the company's bottom line.

Internal Moves:
Many companies may be filling open roles internally instead of hiring, so this could be a good time to put feelers out if you're interested in a different sort of position within your company.

Added Responsibility:
Employees may be asked to take on additional tasks as companies become leaner. Be willing to learn new skills; your firm may offer to subsidize training. Also, identify tasks that can be delegated or put on hold as your duties expand.

More Reporting:
Managers performing cost/benefit analyses of specific programs may request more detailed reports on the time and expense associated with your projects. Carefully track expenditures and monitor how your time is allocated so you don't have to scramble to provide this information. Also, proactively provide recommendations that can trim costs or improve a program's impact.

Pared Down Perks:
Firms looking for ways to reduce budgets may cut down on pricey "extras" -- for example, this year's holiday party may be a potluck, versus a lavish spread. Accept that sacrifices are being made. Try to maintain a positive disposition.

It's not a prospect anyone likes to think about, but it's wise to be prepared, especially if your employer is struggling. Increase your networking activities and update your resume so you can launch an immediate job search if necessary.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Unemployment Rate Increase Heralds New Clients

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced today that the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent. That's a lot of unemployed people -- and a lot of people who probably need a professionally-written resume.

Now is a GREAT time for you to be contacting the media to share your job search insights, advice, and strategies. Their readers are HUNGRY for exactly this type of information.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What Do You Want in a Conference?

A few months ago, I conducted a survey of my readers about their conference "wishes."

Now, Career Directors International is using a similar survey process to plan its 2009 conference. Visit the organization's website and participate in the "Conference 2009 Weekly Survey Question." This information will be used to help develop the CDI conference next year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

5 Habits of Highly Effective Postcards

I love postcards. You've probably received one from me in the past year touting my special report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor." Postcards have a number of advantages over other types of direct mail -- and they get attention!

The United States Postal Services' "Simple Formulas" series offers an excellent analysis of the advantages of postcards. Here's an excerpt:

1. They're simple.
A postcard has to get someone's attention while they're going through the mail. And a disorganized mass of information just isn't going to do it. Simple headlines work best. Don't write a book. Make believe that every word is costing you $1,000.

2. They're timely.
When asked what was the most effective mailer he ever created, a highly regarded copywriter pulled out a postcard. On that postcard, in big bold type it said, "Your warranty expires October 26." Do you have a timely message for your customers? Use it.

3. They're printed on both sides.
What are you supposed to do now that your warranty is expiring on October 26? The answer to that question is on the other side of the postcard.

Your postcard has two sides. Use them. But that doesn't mean fill every inch. You may want to use one side like a poster and the other for a few details. Or put an ad on one side and a personal message on the other. Just remember to keep it simple.

4. They're attractive.
In some ways, the design of a postcard has to work harder than the design of any other media. There are no envelopes to open or gimmicks to play with. Your postcard doesn't necessarily have to be a work of art, but it helps to make it attractive.

5. They're measurable.
A postcard can also be a coupon, a gift certificate, or a ticket to an event. Ask people to present the coupon to take advantage of an offer or promotion. Counting coupons helps you measure the effectiveness of your promotions. That way you can better understand what worked and what didn't.

Get more business-building tips at http://www.usps.com/directmail

You can order inexpensive, effective postcards using a service like VistaPrint:

50% Off All Postcards

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Great Time to Be a Resume Writer

Open the newspaper or turn on the news, and you'll see that the sky is falling. Companies are laying off workers left and right; government bailouts are everywhere, and unemployment is projected to reach 8 percent by June 2009.

It's a great time to be a resume writer.

Resume writing is truly one of the recession-proof careers out there. In bad economic times, people need resumes to set themselves apart when competing for scarce jobs; in good economic times, clients use their resumes to earn raises and find even better opportunities.

Interested in getting started in the business? I recommend "Starting a Home- or Office-Based Resume Business" by Teena Rose. It provides practical advice and guidance for starting your resume writing service.

And, of course, be sure to read our great archives on this blog for more advice about marketing, public relations, client management, and more!

Currently, I have approximately 4,000 resume writers in my database -- working to serve more than 80 million American job seekers. There are plenty of clients out there ... what are you waiting for?Link

Friday, November 21, 2008

Using GoToMeeting in Your Resume Writing Business

The advertisement is tempting: "Don't waste time, money and energy traveling to a meeting. With GoToMeeting you can have unlimited online meetings, presentations, and demonstrations with anyone, anywhere -- right from your computer."

It costs $49/month (or $468 a year) for unlimited meetings with up to 15 attendees. It also offers integrated conference calling.

I'm wondering how you could use this service in your resume writing business -- working with clients virtually ... and whether it's even needed. Do you really need to show clients your presentation materials in real-time, or could you send them the PowerPoint presentation via e-mail and then talk them through it?

I could definitely see the use for this in managing outplacement services ...

I could also see it used by resume writers that want to offer a "service demo" once a week for prospects -- you could walk them through a resume critique and show the different job search documents that you create ...

It would also be good for "Get Hired Now!" participants -- you could walk them through the workshop interactively, instead of just by phone. They could actually SEE their action plans and how they develop.

Other applications? Suggestions?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Services

I found an old article I had clipped from Business 2.0 magazine fron October 2006 that has some interesting applications for resume writers. I'm not sure how to apply it yet, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway.

The article is "Business Models: Why It Pays to Give Away the Store."

"Once upon a time, in the bad old days of business, giving away a product without charge was unheard of. Sure, Estee Lauder gave samples to celebrities and Gillette sold its razors cheap and made money on the blades But free didn't become a serious option until the Internet gave us low-cost online distribution.

The strategy has become so common that venture capitalists have coined a term for it: freemium. The lucrative flipping of the companies behind Blogger, Flickr, MySpace, and Skype -- all of them free services that offer a premium component -- has led to hundreds of imitators."

How can resume writers take advantage of this? By offering a free resume review and tips. There are even websites offering free resume samples that are funded by advertising revenue.

Career coaches can offer a 15-minute free consultation, or free podcasts.

What are your ideas?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Age Discrimination in the Job Search

An AARP study found that 79 percent of baby boomers expect to work at least part-time when they "retire" and the federal government predicts that the number of people over 55 who are working will rise 49 percent between 2002 and 2012.

Age discrimination is a complicated legal concept -- and discrimination may be difficult to prove. For example, a candidate may be deemed "overqualified" as a way to justify not hiring them because they are too old.

Employees and job applicants who are 40 years old or older are protected from age discrimination by both federal and state laws. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against employees and job applicants who are 40 or older and work for an employer with at least 20 employees, including state and local governments. It also prohibits employment agencies, the federal government, and labor organizations (such as unions) with at least 25 members, from discriminating against individuals based on age.

Employers who meet these requirements may not discriminate against workers ages 40 and older in hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, terms, conditions, or any other aspect of employment, because of their age.

They may not retaliate against an individual who complains about age discrimination or helps the government investigate an age discrimination charge.

The ADEA allows an employee or job applicant who believes they have been discriminated against based on their age to file a charge against an employer, employment agency, union, or government agency. Charges are filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal government agency that is responsible for investigating the charge.

There are a few exceptions to the ADEA -- for example, there are jobs where an employer must be able to provide that an age limit is necessary for adequate job performance. There are also companies that mandate that their executives and high-level policymaking employees retire at a certain age.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cutting Out the Middle Man

A few days ago, I wrote about a website called "Blue Chip Expert," which purports to be like a "MySpace for Job Seekers."

In doing a little more Googling, I found that this isn't a unique concept ... either in the U.S. or abroad. For example, I found two United Kingdom-based sites, Zubka and Jobtonic, that fulfill similar functions. They engage job seekers, referrers (like resume writers, recruiters, or other job seekers), and hiring managers or recruiters and provide a pay-for-performance model that rewards referrers for connecting job seekers with hiring managers and recruiters.

It reminds me of another site that dates back several years, Who Do You Know for Dough. I never did earn any commissions from that site ... but I never did have any clients that fit their openings particularly well either. (I see that the site is currently serving job seekers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

Have you had experience with one of these sites? I'd love your feedback.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Website Basics

Last week, I gave a presentation to about 30 small business owners on marketing their services. One of the hot topics was websites. I think websites are an important took for small businesses, but they are certainly not the "be-all, end-all" of marketing.

So it was with great interest today that I came across this website, ResumeAnswers.com, and it reminded me of some of the basics that resume writers should remember when developing their website.

These are:
  • Make it easy for prospective customers to contact you. Maybe it's my browser, but I can't find a phone number or e-mail to contact the site owner/business owner -- despite several statements about "contact me for 'x'".
  • Establish your credentials. I get the feeling that this individual works in a recruitment agency, or maybe in hiring in general. But I don't know who he or she is, or any of their credentials, because they're not spelled out anywhere on the site.
There are certainly more, but looking at this site, these were two very obvious "basics" you should remember. Make sure your phone number (at a minimum) is on every page of the site.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MySpace for Job Seekers?

Going through some old articles I'd clipped out, I came across an article from Business 2.0 magazine (no longer in existence, unfortunately), about a website that was touted as "A MySpace for Job Seekers." I looked up the company ("Blue Chip Expert") and it's still in business.

Here's how the concept was explained in the article:

"While interviewing with the CEO of a top Silicon Valley e-commerce firm, Scott Langmack got the idea for a company of his own. Langmack, a PepsiCo and Microsoft veteran, was a shoo-in for the position of chief marketing officer. But then the CEO complained that his headhunters had scoured thousands of resumes and that he'd spent three months interviewing shortlist candidates. A lightbulb went on in Langmack's brain, and he turned down the job.

Instead, he spent his own money creating Blue Chip Expert, a San Mateo, Calif., startup. Blue Chip is designed to make the kind of match Langmack's interviewer was seeking -- but in hours, not months. Think of it as a MySpace for top-level job seekers, except Langmark is offering thousands of dollars to any user who makes a successful referral. As he says, 'viral networks don't have to happen by accident.'"

Resume writers should consider signing up as a "Networker" and seeing what it's all about.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Employment Stats - November 2008

Here are some useful/interesting job search-related statistics, courtesy of Office Solutions magazine (January 2008):

71% of executives say the use of temporary workers has a place in their overall human resources budgets.
- OfficeTeam

2,356 people go into business for themselves every day in the United States. 20.4 million Americans are currently self-employed.
- U.S. Census Bureau

26 percent of Americans spend six or more hours each day on the Internet. 54 prcent spend 1-4 hours online.

82 percent of HR professionals say that the way employees dress at work directly affects their prospects for promotion.
- Yahoo! HotJobs

43 percent of workers say a job interview is the most anxiety-inducing situation.
20 percent say the first day on a new job is the most anxiety-inducing situation.
- Monster.com

88 percent of executives say that sending a thank-you note following an interview can boost a job seeker's chances of landing the job. But 49 percent of applicants don't send thank-you notes. 52 percent of executives prefer to receive a handwritten thank-you note.
- Accountemps

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Value of a Newsletter

My husband, Jon, was cleaning out a desk drawer earlier this week, and came across an old issue of the "image building newsletter." Although it wasn't dated, the return address on it was from our very first issue, which means it was produced sometime between 1996 and 1999.

Ahhh.. some things never change. In an article about business promotions, I wrote:

Ever wonder how you can get more clients? Sometimes it seems new clients are dropping out of the woodwork ... while other times you wonder where they all went! There are ways you can help increase the likelihood that prospects will choose you ... and you can increase sales from your repeat customers when business slows down.

Most service business owners don't have the time it takes to devote to marketing their services -- they are too busy providing services to existing customers. But you need to continue marketing even when you're busy, because business can slow down at any time.

Marketing your services requires a commitment to ongoing promotions, advertising, and marketing.

Funny, I'd write the same thing today.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Marketing to Asian-Americans

An article in the September 2008 issue of Deliver magazine (a publication produced by the United States Postal Service to encourage direct mail marketing) highlighted the relevance of the Asian-American market as a demographic segment.

Author Vicki Powers writes:

Although Asians only represent 5 percent of the U.S. population, they are among the most educated and affluent U.S. consumers. But the Asian-American market, with its multiple sub-groups and diverse languages, remains a challenge to most marketers.

Asian Americans are one of the youngest slices of the U.S. market. Census figures show that the median age among Asian Americans is 34.8 years. Meanwhile, the rest of the U.S. population has a median age of 36.2 years.

Though they are largely concentrated in three states -- California, Texas, and New York -- Aisan American consumers nonetheless wield significant spending power. According to a University of Georgia study, Asian Americans spent $459 billion on products and services in 2007.

Asian Americans tend to be among the most educated individuals in the U.S. About 48 percent of Asian Americans have earned a bachelor's degree.

They are also among the most affluent Americans, with a median husehold income of $63,900.

If you work with clients virtually, Asian Americans are an excellent target market, because they are extremely technologically savvy as a group. Nearly 52 percent of Asian American adults who use the Internet bank online.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I came across this cryptic acronym on a resume recently, and wondered if I was missing out on a new trend. I'm still not sure, but thought I'd put this out there and see if someone else knows if this is "new" protocol.

Generally, if someone is enrolled in college but hasn't graduated yet, I'll choose one of these options:
  • Pursuing bachelor's degree in business (YEAR-YEAR) or
  • Bachelor's degree in business (anticipated YEAR).
But I recently saw an educational credential listed as:
Bachelor's degree in business (ADG YEAR).

That confused me. What is "ADG"? I finally figured it out: "Anticipated Date of Graduation."

I just don't see this one catching on. I mean, couldn't it also be "ADC" -- for "Anticipated Date of Completion"? And if I have this much trouble figuring out what "ADG" stands for, won't hiring managers?

What do you think? Will "ADG" catch on? Or should I still be using "anticipated YEAR"?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Online Reptutation Management

I was inspired by a post on Kirsten Dixson's Facebook profile, where she talked about "smart" businesspeople airing their political views. Having a bachelor's degree in journalism, my professors frequently reminded us of the need to keep our personal views private. But in today's online age, I find that many people aren't paying attention to that.

As I blogged about a few weeks ago, I've joined Facebook. It's addictive... that's for sure ... and part of the appeal is getting to know even more about the family, friends, and colleagues who post about their lives online.

But there is a definite negative to having an online persona. Just recently, one of my former clients lost her job because of things she had posted on her Facebook profile. A former newswoman in Omaha lost her job last year because of a photo on her Facebook page showing her with her arm around a local politician.

Caution your clients to be careful about what they post about themselves online. Spotlighting their political affiliations too publicly might get them into trouble. Posting about their weekend exploits (or, worse yet, PHOTOS! of those adventures) can get them into trouble. Remind them that information that they think is private isn't always ... especially online.

And if they're going to continue to showcase themselves online, at least make sure you tell them to keep their resume updated.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Recruiting 2008 Conference anhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifd Expo

Kennedy Information is sponsoring its Recruiting 2008 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Nov. 16-19. The program, with the theme of "The New Recruiting Mandate: Defining True Talent" will feature more than 30 sessions covering seven specific tracks. The conference will be held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm on Facebook. Are You? Are Your Clients?

Well, I bit the bullet this week and joined Facebook. Once upon a time, I created a MySpace page (but never used it), and twice I've joined LinkedIn (resulting in two inactive profiles that only highlight my ongoing "identity crisis" caused by having a 15-year professional career in my maiden name, and my attempt for the past four years to "marry" my maiden name with my established personal brand developed with my often-mispronounced "old" name).

But I'm REALLY liking Facebook so far. Unfortunately, it's quite addictive too.

I was inspired to write this post by an e-mail from Jobsearch.about.com talking about online reputation management. The article noted, "There has been a significant increase in Facebook users over 25, with ComScore reporting an 181% increase in users in the 25-34 year old demographic and a 98% increase from those 35 years and older."

I'm not sure which demographic I appear in now, since I joined Facebook last week (just before I turned 35 on Sunday). In any case, I'm trying to persuade my husband to set up a profile (I've got several of my immediate family members in my network already, and almost all of his!). [By the way, he created my avatar, which I'm using as my current profile picture, above.]

I'll write in the future about online reputation management ideas (Wendy Terwelp has a great new program, Rock Your Network Online! that I'm excited to share more about soon), but I just wanted to show off my new profile picture.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Live Training Opportunity in San Diego

A Crash Course in Adding New Services and Greater Value to Your Clients

... and Bigger Deposits to Your Bank Account

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Preconference Seminar ~ 8:00-4:30pm
Town & Country Resort
San Diego, California

in association with the National Resume Writers Association
Registration: $225 (NRWA member) or $275 (nonmembers)

Looking for new profit centers for your careers business? What would your life look like if you were to increase your sales 10%, 20%, or even 50% in the next few months?

As part of a pre-conference program for the National Resume Writers' Association, Susan Britton Whitcomb will be teaching a live, one-day seminar on how to deliver add-on services that are critical to the success of your client's job search ... and help grow your skills, services, and success!

She'll cover:

* How to apply a blended coaching/consulting strategy to any phase of the job search ... without having to become an expert in each area!

* Secrets for presenting these services to prospective clients so that you can close each sale with confidence and professionalism.

* Templates for various career services that you can implement the day you leave the seminar!

* How to implement the "40 Ideas to Expand Your Brand and Build Your Bank Account"

Details here.

Registration here.

So You Want to Be a Subcontract Resume Writer

Although Diana LeGere and I first published the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" report in October of last year, I've been working constantly to update it with new listings (it now features more than 25 separate individuals or firms that hire subcontract resume writers).

Earlier this week, I added a new listing from a resume writer who had an immediate need for writers, so I told her I'd help spread the word. I sent out an e-mail to the previous buyers of the MMRS report plus culled a list of about 200 CPRWs from my database of more than 3800 resume writers and career coaches. I also sent the information in my e-mail yesterday with a reminder about the availability of the July/August issue of Resume Writers' Digest.

Although I mentioned in my e-mail to non-purchasers that this was for a colleague, I was amazed that some of the responses I received were directed towards me as the "hiring manager." Another contacted the resume writer, asking for general information, although I had included all of this information in the e-mail I sent to [him/her].

Such little things can make the difference for individuals looking to hire subcontractors -- as they can for our clients, who don't pay attention to the details. If the job posting says "No phone calls" and the client calls anyway ... they're not seen as "persistent" -- they're seen as "non-compliant." And they're out of the running.

In the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" report, I've gone to great lengths to outline exactly what the hiring resume writers or firms are looking for from prospective contractors. Follow their instructions exactly -- although you should feel free to also include your own resume and cover letter/letter of introduction (samples of which are provided in the MMRS report).

On the other hand, I did see some excellent "statement of qualifications" e-mails from the individuals who approached me (thinking I was the one looking for subcontractors). I hope they take the time to follow-up with the colleague who actually is looking to hire.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Halfway Through International Update Your Resume Month

September is International Update Your Resume Month, as designated by Career Directors International. The postcard above is an example of some of the marketing materials designed by CDI to help resume writers spread the word about the importance of keeping your resume up-to-date. You can order the postcards on the CDI website (click on "Marketplace/Join").

Whether you're a member of CDI or not, now is the time to remind your clients that NOW is a great time to update their resume. Send a postcard, drop them an e-mail, write a news release .... spread the word!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Business Interruptions: Natural Disasters

When you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters -- think Florida, Louisiana, Texas for hurricanes, or California for wildfires and earthquakes -- it's important to diversify your business, just in case disaster strikes.

I've written before about disaster planning ... but a key component of that is being able to get back to doing business -- either while you're evacuated, or after the power comes back on.

Hurricane Ike -- and the devastation it has brought to the Texas coast -- is a perfect example of this. If you're a resume writer in this area, it would be wise to consider partnering with another resume writer who doesn't live in an affected area, or shifting at least part of your business to subcontract writing for other firms. That way, when disaster strikes, your total income is not dependent on local clients, who may also be suffering from the tragedy.

Look at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. A huge proportion of the state's population simply left the state after the storm, in September 2005. If you were reliant on local clients, they simply disappeared. Many of them never came back. If you're a resume writer in Galveston today, your clients (hopefully) left in anticipation of Hurricane Ike. Who knows when they'll come back. My database of resume writers shows 20 professionals in Houston alone. What are they doing today? Many of them don't have power. Some of them have damage to their home and/or office. Business interruption insurance is nice ... but it will take time to get back up to speed.

If you have a relationship with a subcontracting firm, you can adjust your workload while you evacuate ... and then quickly start accepting new projects once you're settled somewhere (if you evacuated), or once the power comes back on. With firms like CareerPerfect, you can write from anywhere you can get access to a computer and Internet connection. Everything is stored on their digital servers, so even if you had to leave without your paper files, it's all on there.

If you're interested in learning more about subcontracting, be sure to order my special report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" (it includes more than 30 individuals or firms looking for subcontractors; available for immediate download as a PDF.)

The report also includes a sample cover letter you can use when approaching subcontracting firms, plus "red flags" you should watch for when selecting a firm for a contracting relationship.

Note: If you are looking for IMMEDIATE subcontracting opportunities, I received an e-mail from a resume writer who is actively seeking out 2-3 new subcontractors to assist her with projects. Pay ranges from $100 to $175 per project, and no client contact is required. She's looking for creative, dependable CPRWs with at least five years' of experience. Purchase the MMRS report and look for the "NEW!" designation in the listing of Subcontracting Firms for her contact information.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Get More Prospects Into Your Pipeline

I'm taking the "Get Clients Now"™ program with Joan Friedlander and am really enjoying getting back to the basics of marketing by following the steps of the program. I first learned about C.J. Hayden's program in 2003 at the Career Masters Institute conference in Kansas City (now the Career Management Alliance) and always had an interest in applying the program to my business. I'm enrolled in it as part of my training to become a facilitator for C.J.'s "Get Hired Now!™" program.

One of the keys to the Get Clients Now program is filling your pipeline with prospects. I came across a neat little free 5-minute video, "List Building" with Stu McLaren, hosted by David Frey as part of his Small Business Marketing Best Practices video newsletter.

As David notes, "The money is in the list" -- whether an e-mail or snail mail list, having a defined way to contact prospective clients is vital to building your business. This should be an opt-in list, and the individuals should have given you specific permission to communicate with them. David even uses terminology familiar to those of you who know the Get Clients Now! system -- mentioned that these are people who already "like and trust" you ("CJ's system mentions the value of creating relationships for people to "know, like, and trust" you).

David and Stu share the three keys to building your list, and three ideas to help you generate traffic. I haven't tried them (YET!) but thought you'd enjoy hearing about them too.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Aging Workforce

"The Aging Workforce" was one trend cited in the January/February 2006 issue of "Office Solutions" magazine as a trend of the future.

The article notes:

According to an article on the website HireStrategy.com, about 15 percent of the U.S. workforce is age 55 or oder, with this figure expected to increase to 17 percent by 2010. By 2012, one in five American workers will be age 55 or oder.

Similarly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that more than 25 percent of the working population will have reached retirement age by 2010, leaving a potential worker shortage of close to 10 million.

How will this affect your clients? As the pool of prospective employees shrinks, employers will need to attract and retain mature, experienced employees. This will be reflected in their recruitment and training strategies -- and the workplace will have to adapt to become more flexible and stimulating to this audience.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Shoemaker's Kid

You know the story about the shoemaker's kid -- the one who doesn't have any shoes. That's because his mom, the shoemaker, is too busy with her clients to focus on her kid's feet. (I wrote about the shoemaker's kid a few weeks ago in regards to resume samples, too.)

Well, as a professional resume writer who wears a lot of hats, I obviously feel like the shoemaker a lot of the time. I'm out here telling you about stuff you should be doing ... and should probably follow my own advice more than I do. What reminded me of this was seeing Jessica Simpson on The View this morning. She was asked if she had bought lots of gifts for her sister, who is expecting a child in November. She said, "I've been telling everyone yes -- so I'd better get shopping!"

I kind of feel that way with my newsletter. For example, in the May/June issue, the sidebar on the front cover had to do with sending an e-mail to past clients about updating their resume. It's a fabulous idea -- and, depending on how extensive your list of past clients is -- it's guaranteed to drum up some repeat business.

The bad news is, you have to have a client database to properly implement the idea. I've got a client database ... but it's a Rolodex. I faithfully fill out a Rolodex card for each resume project when I finalize it. Since I've been writing resumes for 12 years now in my business, you'd think I would have taken the time somewhere along the way to put it on the computer. But no, while I'm constantly updating other databases (including my list of subscribers to Resume Writers' Digest), I hadn't gotten around to creating the database.

So, in the "better late than never" category of things, I started the database on Monday, and I'm up to 12 contacts. Well, only a couple hundred more to go now. But I went ahead and sent out the e-mail to the first 10 (the other 2 were new projects I finalized on Tuesday), and I'm going to set a goal of adding 10 new contacts every couple of days (I'd say every day, but that's just not gonna happen, and I might as well be realistic). I figure by next May I'll be good to go. *smile*

So take it from me, and don't be a shoemaker. Take five minutes and start a task that you should be doing to improve your resume writing business -- whether that's starting a database (like I just did), putting together that list of frequently-asked questions you've always been meaning to write out, or starting a blog.

There's no time like the present!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Session of Resume Writing Academy Starting Sept. 9

If you're new to the resume writing field, or have been writing for a while but want to position yourself as one of the top resume writers in the nation, consider the Resume Writing Academy, billed as "The Nation's Premier Resume Training Organization."

Founders and trainers Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark will be starting a new group class with live instruction on Sept. 9, 2008. (They also offer an individual, self-paced class with audio instruction that is available "on demand.")

The program features 8 weekly teleseminars and homework assignments, with "detailed feedback to build your skills step-by-step." There are three independent learning programs to develop your capabilities in specific practice areas. The course also qualifies as portfolio preparation for the Master Resume Writer (MRW) credential offered by The Career Management Alliance.

Says Enelow, "The Resume Writing Academy was launched to train and develop top-flight resume-writing professionals who will achieve eminent status in the careers industry based on their unique ability to write and design resumes that get candidates noticed, interviewed, and hired. The first comprehensive, strategically focused resume training program, RWA is guaranteed to improve your resume strategy, writing, and design skills, whether you are a beginner or an experienced writer who wants to strengthen the breadth and depth of your expertise."

For more information, visit the RWA website, or call Louise Kursmark at 781-944-2471 for more information. (Note: Louise will be out of the office until Thursday, Sept. 4, so leave her a message.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Penelope Trunk Tells Resume Writers To Blog

To go along with my new gig as a guest blog author, I was researching some other blogs. When you type in "blogs for resume writers" in Google, basically you get a listing of resume writers who blog.

One post was by Penelope Trunk, who has established a fairly unique voice in the career blog community. The post was about how to edit your resume with the eye of a professional resume writer -- so naturally, that caught my attention. I scrolled down through the comments (thinking of posting one myself), but was stopped dead in my tracks by this comment by Margaret W on March 18, 2008:

Huh. I hired a professional to rewrite my resume a few years ago; it was a total disaster. It read like a template from CorporateSpeak 101, and was not appropriate for my skillset or for my industry. One can say that this was a cruddy resume writer because he didn't fully understand my goals. Or maybe I didn't communicate them well.

I finally landed a new position after I ditched the plastic resume and handled writing it myself. It also didn't hurt that I got the job through connections. I also got my subsequent (and current) job through connections, where the resume is something they're obliged to hand over to the HR drone for her files.

* * * * * *

Penelope responded:

This is a good time to say that the resume writing industry is sort of like the social worker industry — it's a real crap shoot who you get unless the person comes recommended from someone you trust.

Sidenote to resume professionals: You should blog. It's a way to establish credibility with an audience that is inherently weary of the industry.

So I thought I'd assemble a short list of career professional blogs I've compiled -- as a way of inspiring you to start your own blog.
Are you a professional resume writer who blogs? E-mail me and I'll include your blog too.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Some Jobs Still Hard to Fill, Survey Finds

There are still jobs that are hard to fill, even in a difficult economy. That's the findings of The 2008 Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations (EDGE) Report produced by Robert Half International and CareerBuilder.com.

Other findings:
  • More than half of employers said it is challenging to find skilled professionals; Gen Y workers are the most difficult to recruit.
  • Sixty-three percent of workers are more likely to try to negotiate a better compensation package today than last year (up from 58% last year).
  • Nearly two-thirds of hiring managers said their companies are willing to negotiate higher pay for qualified job applicants.
  • About 8 out of 10 employees are satisfied with their current work situation. Yet, more than 3 out of 10 said they will likely leave their jobs in the next 2 years.
  • More than half of workers surveyed said it is challenging to find a job today.
  • A lack of qualified workers and the higher cost of gas/commuting were among the top factors impacting companies' ability to recruit skilled labor.
  • Many employers are likely to offer reduced work schedules, "bridge" jobs, and consulting arrangements as an alternative to retirement.
  • The time to fill open positions ranges from 4 to 14 weeks, with senor-level roles demanding the most time.
The shortage of qualified workers has grown more acute, according to the survey, with 59% of hiring managers citing it as their primary recruiting challenge. When they do find qualified professionals, firms appear anxious to win them over. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of hiring managers said they are willing to negotiate compensation for top candidates.

The Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations (EDGE) Report is an annual survey on employment and compensation trends by Robert Half International and CareerBuilder.com. The survey includes responses from more than 500 hiring managers and 500 workers, and was conducted from May 7 to June 1, 2008 by International Communications Research in Media, Penn. It was designed to compare the perspectives of hiring managers and workers on the state of the current employment market.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DISC-Focused Teleclass Announcement

Profiling Pro is sponsoring a teleclass on Thursday, Sept. 4 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. EST featuring Edie Rische, CPBA, NCRW, ACCC, CPBS. The workshop, "Strengthening Your Business Relationships -- Assessment Tools for Better Connecting With Clients" will focus on how to use DISC and PIAV to strengthen your credibility with clients through better customer relations; what customers anticipate and should expect from you (the product/service provider); how to build trust and rapport with a style different than yours; how to accurately observe and identify behavior before administering an assessment; and how to anticipate and prevent client issues before they happen.

Edie Rische is a Certified Professional Behavior Analyst who has been widely published for her resume samples and interview questions. She has presented DISC and resume writing presentations to manufacturing employees, delivered a 10-week telecourse to professional business women, and moderated an online chat for resume writers. She retired as the owner of Write Away Resume in June 2008 before becoming a workshop facilitator for DISC behavior styles.

If you are unable to participate live in the teleclass, you may pre-register and receive the recording afterwards (all registrants will receive the recorded session). The cost is $35 for Profiling Pro Administrators, $26.25 for CPBAs, and $45 for non-associated professionals. Click here to register.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm A Guest Author!

As you know, from time to time, I feature guest authors on this blog. Now I've been asked to be a guest author on another blog, Teena Rose's "Start, Operate, Profit!" blog for resume writers. I invite you to read my first post, where I select my "TOP 5" favorite posts from Teena's archive.

Teena's blog focuses primarily on start-up issues for new resume writers -- a natural, considering that she's the author of a book on the subject, "Starting a Home- or Office-Based Resume Business."

Teena also has a much stronger grasp of the ins-and-outs of online technology, and I'll be drawing on her expertise in the next few months to help my readers understand more about this, and how they can incorporate in search engine optimization and other techniques to help them generate new customers.

If you're a member of my E-List for new resume writers, you can expect that I will be asking for your help in the next few days to identify topics for future posts on Teena's blog.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Beautiful" But Mostly Ineffective Resume Designs

I found this blog post on the Internet and was intrigued by the concept -- "beautiful" resume designs. Although I should note that the post was titled "Beautiful Resume Ideas That Work."

Not to be catty, but I seriously doubt that these resumes "worked." For one thing, only a handful of them will work with today's resume management systems, which don't handle unconventional graphics well.

Some examples:
Okay, this guy is applying for a graphic marketing position ... so he gets a little more leeway than most candidates. But really ... writing on your resume with a red crayon? That just screams "I have kids!" (even if you don't). And what's with all the CAPITAL LETTERS? Shouting won't get you an interview. And most important, other than a listing of his "program experience" and educational history, I (the reader) have no concept about his ability to excel in either design (certainly not judged by the design of his resume) or marketing skills. No mention of relevant work experience, internships, projects, or volunteer involvement in any of these areas. Ugh.

Next. In the "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up category" is Jessica, who decided that her resume (for a design position? I think?) should be in two columns. She probably could have fit all of the relevant information in just one column. She has experience volunteering in a pharmacy ... and putting out a publication. You don't have to give us all the nitty-gritty details about your volunteer work, dear Jessica. And putting address "on request"? Please. Are you in the Witness Protection Program? Either just leave it off, or put it on there already!
Jessica Edwards resume
While these resumes may represent some cutting-edge designs, as resume writers, we need to remember our audience, first and foremost. Many of them will be receiving the documents via e-mail. They prefer Word over Adobe Acrobat PDF (or even .JPG files, which some of these were).

NO ERRORS! I don't care how great it looks. If you don't spell things correctly, the resume will go in the round file.

Most of these were for entry-level positions, so one page isn't unusual. But you don't have to include ALL of your previous work experience in order to fill the page. Instead, elaborate on the client's relevant information. When working with entry-level clients, a common mistake is to include too much of this irrelevant information.

Design for the photocopier (or the scanner). While many of the resumes were pretty, if they were to be scanned into a resume management system, they'd be a mess. Multiple columns, ornate design elements, lightly colored fonts ... all of these are the enemy of the bureaucracy. If you can be assured that your client is going to hand his/her resume directly to the hiring manager in person, that may work. But in today's diversified world of job searching, you need to design resumes that work WITH technology.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"We Do Not Negotiate With Terrorists"

The customer is always right. Or are they?

There's been some discussion recently among resume writers about how to handle true "PITA" (pain-in-the-ass) clients. I'm not talking about your average client, who may be extremely needy in the short term in making changes or "pushes back" when pressed to provide initial information to develop the resume.

I'm talking about the client that orders the service, receives the resume (maybe even starts using it) and then demands their money back, saying it wasn't what they expected ... or that it's not getting results (when asked what they've done to further their job search, they say they posted the resume on Monster, or blasted their resume to 1,000 companies).

I haven't had a client like that in a long time ... although I've certainly had some of the "annoying" brand of client ... but I've had a couple of clients that have made me cry over the last 12 years of writing resumes through my business.

The PITA client isn't just annoying .... they are a menace. They threaten to report you to the Better Business Bureau ... or worse, they just contact their credit card company and request a chargeback. Even if you win the battle through meticulous recordkeeping and documentation, you're out your time ... and it causes a lot of stress and aggravation. They may even cause you to re-think writing resumes -- and believe me, this industry can't afford to lose any more good writers.

So how can you avoid working with PITA clients? I've come up with a couple of guidelines. If you have other "warning signs," feel free to post a comment ... or e-mail me.
  • They try to barter with you on price. You are always welcome to negotiate your prices with prospects, but at your discretion. PITA clients, in my experience, usually complain about the price, even as they agree to the service.
  • If you ask them about their current or past resumes, and they mention a bad experience with a resume writer, probe deeply. That's not too unusual in my town, as there are two non-certified resume writers who I often hear about (not in a positive way, either). But listen carefully if they describe their experience and have a lot of negative comments about the resume writer that are based on their dissatisfaction with the document itself. It warrants probing deeper before taking them on as a client. Was the problem with the resume writer, the resume itself ... or the client's expectations? Clarify before proceeding.
  • You're not actually working with the client -- you're working through an intermediary. (Or its corollary ... you're being paid by someone other than your client.) When you're not working with the client directly (for example, a wife that calls for her husband) or when the client isn't paying the bill (a parent is paying for a college student, for example), be careful. You must clearly define the relationship for both parties involved. ("Jane, I really need to talk to Bill directly to gather this information.")
  • The client has been unemployed for a significant amount of time (more than 6-9 months). Working with these clients can be a challenge because many of them have lost their self-confidence. You're not only working on the resume; you may have to work on their self-esteem. And they may have been employing poor job search habits over the last 9+ months, meaning the results they will achieve with the resume you write may be the same as the resume they wrote themselves -- if they're using the same tactics. When they "blast" their resume out to a couple hundred contacts and don't get any results, they'll get mad at YOU, not at themselves. So beware.
Remember -- when working with PITA clients, "don't negotiate with the terrorist" -- remain firm and calm. Offer to work with them to obtain reasonable mutual satisfaction, but remind them of your contract guidelines. If continuing to work with them isn't an option, offer a partial refund, if you feel that will get them out of your hair permanently.

Your best protection is to clearly state the services you provide (in writing), what is expected from the client (and from you), and to ensure that you keep a record of all communication with the client throughout the process (preferably via e-mail).

We can't weed out every PITA client, but we can try to minimize the damage they cause on our businesses (and self-esteem) as much as possible.

Friday, August 22, 2008

You're Only as Good as Your Samples

I'm reminded of a comment Louise Kursmark once made at a resume writing conference -- it was something about the shoemaker's kids not having shoes — meaning, resume writers are often the worst when it comes to updating their own resumes ... and, in my case, their samples.

I was thinking about this today as I sent off a quote for a prospective new client and pasted in my usual list of sample resume links from the template quote response e-mail I use (samples of which can be found in my Write Great Resumes Faster book). The client loved them, and committed to the project, but my inner voice reminded me that it's been a while since I updated the samples. Another item for the to-do list.

I've written before about resume samples -- including whether you should or should not include them on your web site ... but the fact of the matter is, you'd better have samples of your work because SOMETIME a client is going to ask for them. You may do all of your work from referrals (hey, those are your samples talking too — only they're not fictionalized!), but not everyone is going to believe that you can transform their dull, ordinary resume into something extraordinary.

That's another of my goals — to create a set of before-and-after resumes. I've got plenty of the “befores” (I request the client’s existing resume as part of the quoting process), but I haven’t taken the time to match them up with the “afters” and update my sample portfolio. Yet another item for the to-do list.

Take a look at the samples you're using. Are they from two years ago? Are they out of date? Now may be the time to work on that. That may have to be the subject of a future post for new resume writers — how to fictionalize samples.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Comparing Resume Distribution Services

I've written and spoken extensively on the subject of resume distribution services in the past ... and I just keep finding out about more and more of them.

Today, I received a phone call from Martin at ResumeTarget, pitching me on a pre-paid partnership program designed for resume writers and career coaches. I'll write more about the specifics of the program at a later date (I want to call a colleague who is using the program to find out more about her experience with it), but I gave it a test run myself to see what it's all about.

The program is similar to ResumeSpider, an affiliate service I already recommend to my clients. Both firms use an "opt-in" method to recruit hiring managers, recruiters, and employers to receive unsolicited resumes. Instead of just blasting your client's resume to 25,000 contacts (who may or may not be interested in receiving it), these services have your clients narrow down their search, usually by industry and/or geography.

The problem with this, as I found in doing my search, is that you can come up with an impossibly small number of contacts. In the case of a search in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas for a marketing, public relations, or publishing job, the number of available contacts was ZERO.

The good news is, you can preview the number of contacts (and even the list of contact names/firms) before purchasing. So my client wouldn't be disappointed that her resume did not match up with any of the opt-in recipients.

These services, then, are only as good as the lists they are able to compile.

More on ResumeTarget in a future post...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Easy Computer Backups

It's been a weird weather year around the U.S. -- in addition to the normal hurricanes and tornadoes, there have been huge wildfires, an earthquake in California, and extensive flooding throughout the Midwest. Even if you've personally been unaffected by any of these natural disasters, you may be thinking about what you would do if it happened to you.

Even something as simple as a power outage can be enough to zap your work. So how do you protect yourself? You can use an online service or backup your work using a CD or a flash drive -- but if you're pressed for time (and want a free alternative), e-mail your work to yourself.

Yahoo, Hotmail, and Google all offer free Internet-based e-mail accounts. Sign up for one that you use only for backups. When you're working on a resume, e-mail a copy to your "storage" e-mail account. Then, even if disaster strikes, you can borrow a friend's computer (or go to the library) and access your work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Affluent Are Networking Online

According to the latest Wealth Survey from the Luxury Institute, 60% of wealthy Americans participate in online social networks, compared to 27% a year ago. These individuals have an average income of $287,000 a year and an average net worth of $2.1 million.

According to the survey, these individuals belong to average of 2.8 social networks, with roughly 110 connections. The most popular of these are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and ExecuNet.

Source: ExecuNet, April 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Google AdWords

Are you using Google AdWords to promote your business online?

I've been experimenting with them for the past few weeks (since launching a new section on my website focused on my resume writing services) and I'm amazed at the results. (No, not the click-throughs. Those have been a bit slow coming ... about one a day on average.)

No, I'm amazed when I log in to the AdWords site and it tells me that more and more of my search words are inactive because the price has gone up. I'm paying the same ($1.00 per click) for "Omaha Resume Writer" as I am for generic terms like "resume critique."

Now I know there are ways to reduce my costs by increasing the quality of my site, and that's something I'm working on ... and I'm still not to the point where the cost of the lead is prohibitive. After all, I pay about $40 a month for my Yellow Pages ads, and average 3-4 calls a week (and 1-2 clients on average) from that ... so paying $1.00 for a click isn't too bad ... but I'm still working on refining things.

Have some tips for me? Let me know. This is definitely a subject I want to do an article for Resume Writers Digest on.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Describing Language Competency

I had a client ask me today about how to describe her language competency -- how well she speaks a foreign language. She'd had four semesters of Spanish in high school. After doing some research, I came up with the following competency scale. Be sure to put it back in your client's hands to describe where they fit on the scale.

Novice/Familiar (beginner)
Proficient/Competent (read/write)
Conversant (speak)
Native Speaker

Do you find this scale helpful? Do you have any suggestions or comments? Post a comment below.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Are You SEO Ready?

Are you one of the resume writers who considers advertising in the Yellow Pages so "last century"? Do you get most of your new resume clients online? Is your website ready to be a primary source of new business for you? Is it optimized to meet the needs of the search engines that drive the majority of visits to websites like yours?

If you're like me, you wonder how you can get your website to show up on search engines so you can keep attracting new clients. And how you can get more traffic using paid listing services -- but ensure that you're spending your money wisely. Nowadays, you're not just competing with other resume writers in your area, you're competing with writers around the world for clients. Are you ready?

This is one of those topics where we, as resume writers, are going to need to learn some new tricks if we're going to still be selling our resume writing services into the next decade ... so we might as well invest 90 minutes to learn the strategies that will keep our phones ringing (and e-mail boxes full!) for the future.

Kathy Sweeney, NCRW, CPRW, CEIC, CCM, is presenting a webinar tomorrow (Thursday, July 31) at 3 p.m. EDT that you should attend if you want to learn how to maximize the Internet as a source of new clients. If your website is producing the kind of traffic that has your phone ringing off the hook, by all means spend tomorrow serving those clients. But if your appointment book is less-than-full, invest the $39 and attend Kathy's webinar. (Even if you can't make the live session, you can receive the webinar recording and materials after the session -- but if you're a Mac user like me, you'll want to attend live -- see the technical note below).

In the webinar, you'll learn how search engines find your website, effective keyword selection, the importance of meta page titles and meta tag descriptions, the difference between "natural listings" and "paid listings" (and the different types of paid listings), how to submit your website to directories (many of them for free!), how to negotiate relevant reciprocal links, and much more.

Register for the seminar HERE.

The 90-minute webinar is just $39. If you're not able to attend the "live" webinar, Kathy will be recording the audio and the actual "on-screen" presentation of the webinar. So even if you can't make it on Thursday, you will still receive the recording, video, and materials at the conclusion of the source. (See the special note below for MAC users.)

About webinars:
Attending a webinar is not much different than attending a teleseminar. But instead of just using your phone, you use your computer to follow along. You must be at your computer and on your phone at the same time. You will need to be able to "view" the webinar
on your computer.

System requirements:
* PC-based attendees: You'll need Windows 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server or Vista. To view the recorded video from the webinar, you must have Windows Media Player, Version 9 or higher.
* MAC folks (like me!) you'll need MAC OS X 10.3.9 Panther (or newer) to see the webinar. Although Kathy will be recording the video and audio, if you're a Mac-based resume writer, Kathy suggests you attend
the live webinar, as you will not be able to view the webinar video afterwards unless you have access to a PC (or run your Mac dual platform, my husband tells me. *smile*)

If the link doesn't work, visit the Resume Writers Resource website and click on "Teleseminars and Webinars."

Note: When you sign up for the webinar, you will be sent an "invitation" to register for the webinar. You must use the link Kathy will send you and "register" for the webinar or you will not be able to participate.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NRWA Conference to Feature 'Big Give'

From Oprah to the NRWA ...

The National Resume Writers' Association's 11th Annual Conference in San Diego (Sept. 24-27) will feature keynote speaker Cameron Johnson, winner of Oprah Winfrey's first "Big Give" competition.

Inspired by Cameron Johnson’s stellar performance on Oprah’s Big Give -- which aired in March/April, 2008 -- NRWA will host a charity event on Wednesday, Sept. 24, from 6:00-10:00 p.m. at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego, CA. By a vote of the membership, proceeds will benefit the Wounded Marine Career Foundation.

The NRWA "Big Give" event will feature an auction of donated items. NRWA members are encouraged to solicit items and donations for the auction.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Core Competency Sections on Resumes

Recently, I received a question from a colleague:

In talking to several resume writers and after reading in different publications about Core Competency sections on resumes, there are differing schools of thought about their inclusion in a resume, particularly when it comes to resume scanning software. What are your thoughts on the subject?
-- Alice

My response:
As with any resume strategy, there are usually differing opinions. The use of core competency sections, as you suspected, has a lot to do with building keywords into the resume to assist with resume scanning software.

Competency sections and keywords have reaaly become more of a focus over the last five years as companies (especially large companies) integrate applicant tracking and screening systems into their human resources departments. Creating a truly competency-based resume (instead of just including a listing of keywords in the Qualifications Profile at the top of the resume) is an approach that does usually yield better results for clients.

I wrote about "Competency-Based Resumes" in the November/December 2007 issue of Resume Writers' Digest. (Back issues are available for purchase for $3 each.)

As the article notes, the key with integrating competencies into the resume effectively isn't just built on sprnkling as many of them into the resume as possible, but really building the resume around the competencies that the employer is looking for.

There is a difference between keywords and core competencies. Keywords are nouns, phrases, and acronyms, including degrees, job responsibilities, computer applications, job titles, training, licensure, education, professional organizations, company names, awards, key industry terms, and geographic locations. Competencies are specific skills relevant to the job -- defined as "a written description of measurable work habits and personal skills used to achieve a work objective."

I wrote about keywords in resumes in the September/October 2007 issue of Resume Writers' Digest. You'll find some helpful tips for where to find keywords, choosing keywords, and integrating keywords into the resume in that article.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Subcontracting Opportunity: WebFolios

Many resume writers supplement their own resume writing clients with subcontract opportunities. I recently was contacted by a firm that is seeking subcontract writers for their WebFolio product.

The company is looking for individuals with experience writing for senior-level professionals. The ability to read rough client notes and develop those into power statements is critical. No client contact is required, and writers must be able to meet reasonable deadlines.

Interested? Send an e-mail to jknight@stewartcoopercoon.com (cc: msettle@stewartcoopercoon.com), subject line: WebFolio Writer. Include two examples of resumes you've written for executive (senior level) clients.

If you're interested in subcontracting, be sure to order my special report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" (just $20 for the 40-page report, which includes more than 25 individuals or firms looking for subcontractors; available for immediate download as a PDF.)

The report also includes a sample cover letter you can use when approaching subcontracting firms, plus "red flags" you should watch for when selecting a firm for a contracting relationship.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tips for Veteran Resume Writers

I often hear from veteran resume writers who say they are feeling "stale" or even burned out. With them in mind, I came up with five tips to help re-energize you.
  • Take a teleclass on a resume writing topic. In each issue of Resume Writers' Digest, we list the teleclasses and webinars being offered by the major professional associations as well as other sources. For $25-$60, you can learn new techniques that will help get your mind going again!
  • Read resume-releated books. Go to the library and/or bookstore and see what's new out there. You might even come home with a new reference book or two.
  • Start a blog. While you're looking for resources and information to post about, you're educating yourself.
  • Get certified -- or get another certification. While I've heard some controversy lately about certifications, the fact is: You'll be challenging yourself. And that's a good thing.
  • Update your website. Write 2-3 articles for the site and to publish on other websites.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Latest Survey: What You Want

Yesterday, I sent out a survey to my readers asking them what kind of topics they're interested in learning more about in Resume Writers' Digest special reports, blog topics, and newsletter articles. I've already received more than 30 responses, and appreciate all of you taking the time to respond to the survey!

The sale of our special reports, books, and other products -- as well as paid advertisements in the newsletter -- supports this blog as well as the free bimonthly newsletter (published as an Adobe Acrobat PDF), so if I know what kind of information you're interested in purchasing, I can give you what you want!

If you are currently subscribed to Resume Writers Digest, please be sure to check your e-mail for my e-mail and take the survey! If you are not currently a subscriber, you can use the form in the top right-hand corner of this blog to subscribe for free. E-mail me if you have any questions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Best Career Blog Nominee: Marty Nemko

I received a self-nomination a while back from a career counselor named Marty Nemko. He had seen my blog post about looking for the best career blogs. Marty's blog is certainly thought-provoking... but/and it touches on more than career issues.

I think maybe I need to come up with some criteria for what "makes" the "best career blog."

Monday, July 7, 2008

My First ResumeSpider Commission Check

I've written before about ResumeSpider, a service job seekers can use to connect to prospective employers. It's also a source of revenue for resume writers. Although I'm nowhere as prolific as some of my colleagues in the number of resumes I write each week, I've been doing better about telling clients about ResumeSpider, and providing my affiliate code in e-mails when I send their final documents.

Well, it finally paid off! I received my first affiliate commission check in the mail today -- $18.89 (from 1 client). Resume writers can earn a 30% commission on ResumeSpider services, which range from $39.95 to $99.95 ($12-$30 per sale).

Now I'm inspired! I'm going to see if I can double that in the next 30 days. I'll let you know how I do. In the meantime, if you're interested in signing up as a ResumeSpider affiliate, use this link;

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Changes in FMLA Leave for Military Families

On January 28, President Bush signed a new law that provides two types of leave related to military service under amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993.

Under the new law, an eligible employee can take up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for a spouse, child, parent, or next-of-kin who is a service member with a "serious illness or injury" (the specifications for this are defined in the new law) incurred while on active duty.

It also permits eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period for "any qualifying exigency" that arises from a spouse's, child's, or parent's active duty in the Armed Forces. The Department of Labor will be issuing guidelines as to what a "qualifying exigency" encompasses.

The changes to the FMLA law are in addition to the existing reasons why an eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of leave each year. These include:
  • The birth of a child (and to care for such child)
  • The placement of a child for adoption or foster care
  • Caring for a spouse or immediate family member with a "serious health condition"
  • Where an employee has a serious health condition such that they are unable to work
The amendments complement many state family military leave laws that provide for shorter durations of leave or only cover spouses of service members. For example, Nebraska law requires that any employer that employs between 15-50 people must provide up to 15 days of unpaid family military leave for spouses and parents of service members, and up to 30 days for employers with more than 50 employees.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Women-Owned Businesses

These statistics on women-owned businesses fascinated me. The information was reprinted from the January/February 2006 issue of Office Solutions magazine and was originally compiled by the Center for Women's Business Research.

  • Rate at which employment at women-owned businesses is increasing: 24%
  • Expansion rate of employment at all businesses: 12%
  • Percentage faster revenues are growing in women-owned businesses than all businesses: 17%
With so many resume writing businesses being owned by women (the vast majority of them are sole proprietorships), resume writers should take heed of these figures!

Monday, June 30, 2008

QuickBooks Plug-in

Is your resume writing service one of 2.6 million small businesses using QuickBooks to maintain your financial records? I heard about a new product from my credit card merchant account provider that may interest you.

The SmartPayments™ products introduced by Hypercom intergrate electronic payments into QuickBooks Accounting software that may save you time and resources.

SmartPayments products are Microsoft Windows plug-in applications designed to capture transaction data from many popular Point-of-Sale (POS) applications. These products allow your business to process payment card transactions, automatically transmit the data to First National Merchant Solutions (my merchant account provider) and simultaneously update your QuickBooks Accounting software.

The integrated solutions support multiple users, include robust reporting features, and are set to auto-close your daily credit card transactions.

If you're interested in more information, call Hypercom at 888-679-0240. (It's possible the product works with your credit card merchant account provider too.)

I use Mac products exclusively, so I haven't tried this, but I thought it might be of interest to resume writers who process a large number of credit card transactions each day (for example, resume writers who subcontract their writing out to other resume writers.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

When Mother Nature Attacks...

Just yesterday, I talked with my insurance agent after receiving my business insurance renewal policy. I wanted to make sure that my coverage was still adequate, since it had been a couple of years since I'd looked at it.

Good thing. A huge, fast-moving storm moved through today, packing 80- to 100-mile-per hour winds. We lost two of our mature trees in our yard (see photos), although it could have been much worse. Neither tree hit the house -- although the way the wind was blowing in (straight from the west), the one in the back yard should have crashed into the house. Instead, it fell to the south, taking out the fence, but sparing the house.

Although we didn't have damage that would require filing an insurance claim, I'm glad that I have business insurance (in addition to our regular homeowner's insurance). If the tree had come into the house, we'd have business interruption coverage that would help replace the lost income from not being able to work while the home was being repaired.

As I told my husband MANY times today ... it could have been a lot worse.

Let our loss be your gain -- take the time to double-check your insurance coverage. Make sure your limits are adequate for your equipment, and consider business interruption coverage.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ideas for "Prospering Despite a Downturn Market"

As I mentioned last week in my post on Free Continuing Education, Career Directors International offers free monthly "Best Practices" teleclasses to help resume writers and career coaches brainstorm best practices.

Yesterday, I cleared my schedule for an hour to listen to the most recent one, "Best Practices in Prospering Despite a Downturn Market." There were some great ideas. I was particularly interested in some of the strategies shared by career coach Laura Drew, of Carolina Career Coach, Inc.

One of Laura Drew's best practices is quite attention-getting. She ordered double-sided business cards from VistaPrint. On the back side is a list of teleclasses she offers. She also ordered a baseball cap that has "JOB HUNTING?" in all capital letters. On the business cards, she wrote the word "Hat" in the corner. When she wears her hat out in public (while she's running her errands, she notes), people ask her about the hat, and she gives them her "elevator pitch" and business card.

In one recent outing, she took 50 business cards with her; by the time she got home, she had distributed 47 of them. Those 47 cards turned into 13 paying clients.

That's just one of the ideas from the teleclass. There were more. Members of Career Directors International can access the MP3 audio files from all previous calls, including:
  • Background Investigations Mega Trends
  • Best Practices in Career Services Pricing
  • Best Practices in Coaching Clients Using SWOT Analysis
  • Best Practices in Creating Resume USPs
  • Best Practices in Millennial Resume Writing
  • Media Strategies Tips Seminar
  • New Trends in Interviewing
  • Paperless Resumes Mega Trends Report
  • Resume Fraud Mega Trends Report
  • Selling Career Research Services to Clients
  • Social Networking Mega Trends Report
  • Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Q&A
  • 2008 CDI Conference (Seattle, WA) Q&A
  • World's Best Resume Writer Competition Q&A
And here are the upcoming free teleclasses from Career Directors International:
  • July 22: Best Practices in Advertising Your Career Service Business
  • Aug. 12: Best Practices in While Life/Office Organization
  • Aug. 20: International Resume and Career Services Q&A
  • Sept. 16: Best Practices in Resume Data Mining (Client Information Gathering)
Laura DeCarlo is offering a special CDI membership offer for Resume Writers' Digest readers: Join CDI by July 31 and save $25 off the regular membership. Use this link: JOIN CDI and type in "Resume Writers Digest" in the comments box. The cart will show $150, but your credit card will only be charged $125 (you save $25).

Here's another quote from a CDI member who also listened to the best practices audio:

"I just finished listening to the recording of the 'Prospering Despite a Downturn Market' teleseminar. WOW!!! An hour of my time well spent. Thanks, Laura, for giving us such an extensive list of great, mostly free, ways to market and build business. I'm glad I was keyboarding everything you said, so I didn't miss much. You offered a number of specific things to do and places to go to get them done -- things I can get moving on right away. Some are things already on my to-do list, some are new ideas to me. A terrific push to be proactive and work thorugh slow times. I'm all fired up and anxious to get started."
-- Meg Guiseppi, Executive Resume Branding

Free Business Cards Plus 14 Day Free Shipping $50+

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Cinderella Story

Wow, what a story of persistence. As I wrote in yesterday's post, the Georgia Bulldogs took on the Fresno State Bulldogs in game three of the College World Series, college baseball's national championship. Down 5-0 in last night's game, the Fresno State team battled back to win 19-10, evening the series to 1 win apiece.

So it all came down to tonight's game. Fresno State took a 6-0 lead and never looked back, winning the national championship 6-1. This was a true team effort -- pitching by committee, no first round MLB draft picks (although Georgia had 2 on their side, including ace closer Josh Fields), two of their best players battered and bruised (two playing with serious hand injuries) -- and their star pitcher had been injured earlier in the year and didn't even make the trip to Omaha.

Called one of the "greatest sports stories in recent years," the unseeded Fresno State team was an unlikely national champion. But they gutted it out.

"Fresno State was forecast to be a Top 25 team coming into the season, but the Bulldogs lost 12 of their first 20 games. They needed to win the Western Athletic Conference tournament just to make the NCAA field of 64, fought off elimination in regionals and super regionals, and became the first No. 4 regional seed to reach the CWS since the tournament expanded in 1999."

I tell you this story because it's an inspirational tale. Sure, your client may not have the qualifications on paper, but if they can just get the chance to do the job, they can "hit one out of the ballpark." In the end, the one that wins is not the one with all the credentials, but with the guts.

Congratulations to the Fresno State Bulldogs...

(The 2008 College World Series theme song -- with some great shots of Omaha -- oh, and cornfields...)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Omaha, USA

ImageKeep your eyes on Omaha this week -- my hometown is a hotbed of sports activity this week as college baseball's national champion will be decided tomorrow in the College World Series as Georgia takes on Fresno State -- go Fresno State!

Then, from June 29 to July 6, Omaha's Qwest Center is the home to the Olympic Swim Trials. Michael Phelps will be here!

Omaha's a great place to live ... I can't help but brag. Maybe we'll get one of the professional associations to hold their conference here someday ...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Starting Up, Starting Over

For many years, in my daily planner (I love my Franklin Covey planner), I had a page I called, "If I Had to Do It Over." On it were the steps I would take if I were starting my resume writing business all over again. I get a lot of inquiries from new resume writing businesses, wondering about success secrets from those who are making it work.

Here are a couple of ideas for those who are getting started -- or thinking about reinventing themselves.
  • If I were starting this business today, from scratch, what would I do differently?
  • If I ran a competing firm, how would I beat us? How would I distinguish myself? What weaknesses would I attack? (Price, service, customization, turnaround times?)
  • What are you known for?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Option Paralysis

I'm re-reading a great book, "What Clients Love: A Field Guide To Growing Your Business," by Harry Beckwith (who is probably best known for his first book, "Selling the Invisible.")

On page 47, he talks about "Option Overload":

"Knowing they cannot know and understand all their options, they increasingly choose the most trustworthy and seemingly competent person -- or choose no one at all."

He adds, "Today's clients cannot chose among services and products -- they cannot gather all the information. So they choose among people."

Researchers at Stanford University found that we suffer from "option paralysis" with even simple products. Faced with a few varieties of jams and jellies to choose from, most people will buy at least one jar. When given more options, however, they usually leave empty-handed."

How does this apply to your resume writing service? One popular pricing method throughout the years has been to offer clients "levels" of service -- usually bronze, silver, and gold packages. But offering clients too many choices may keep them from deciding at all.

You might consider offering:
  • Resume Only (digital files)
  • Resume and Cover Letter (digital files)
  • Resume Only (with laserprints and CD)
  • Resume and Cover Letter (with laserprints and CD)
But go too much beyond those four options, and you're likely to induce "option paralysis." Just something to consider...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Become a Get Hired Now Facilitator

get clients now facilitator's kit

In the September/October 07 issue of Resume Writers' Digest, I wrote an article about the "Get Hired Now!" program and how resume writers and career coaches can become licensed facilitators as an additional revenue stream and service for their clients.

The Get Hired Now! licensee program is designed to provide group coaching and training for job seekers. The program consists of a three-hour seminar designed to be delivered to groups of 2-20 people and follow-up group coaching sessions conducted in person or by phone (teleseminar).

There are two licensing options -- the basic kit for $495 and the Masterful Facilitator Training option for $695, which includes four hours of additional training covering tips for conducting successful groups as well as marketing and selling the Get Hired Now! program.

If you're interested in learning more about becoming a Get Hired Now! facilitator, sign up for the free Q&A session about becoming a facilitator on July 30 at 2 p.m. EST.

The next Get Hired Now! Masterful Facilitator Training Program will be offered Aug. 6-27, 208 (four Wednesdays) from 4-5 p.m. EDT.