Saturday, May 31, 2008

Encourage Referrals by "Sticking Around"

Encourage referrals and repeat business by making your business card a permanent fixture. You can purchase magnetic backs for business cards as well as Rolodex® tabs that adhere to the bottom of your business card. Look for both products at your local office superstore (Office Max, Staples, Office Depot).

Mail clients a magnetic-backed business card with your thank-you note after their final appointment -- or send it with their documents.

VistaPrint offers excellent, inexpensive business card printing -- including custom magnetic business cards (in quantities in as little as 10 pieces!). Use the link provided, or click on the VistaPrint ad on this blog. (VistaPrint is one of our affiliate partners, and we receive a commission on orders received through our link. Your purchases help support this blog and our bimonthly newsletter! Thanks!)

Clearance Sale at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%.

Friday, May 30, 2008

New Affiliate Program: Webinars

If you're a resume writer who doesn't offer job search coaching, you may be interested in the webinar series offered by Stewart, Cooper & Coon, Inc., through their website.

Fred Coon, LEA, JCTC, CRW, says that the company is offering a 20% referral fee to any resume writer who sends clients to who purchases one of the three Webinar Series programs. Call Fred at 602-385-3000 x 200 for details.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Teleseminar with "Best Branding Expert on the Planet"

Branding is a huge topic -- not just for resume writers who are looking for more business, but for our clients, who are trying to differentiate themselves from their competition and land the interview.

Kathy Sweeney, of Resume Writers Resource, has lined up a world-renowned branding expert, Rob Frankel, to present a teleseminar at 3 p.m. EST today, "The 10 Worst Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand."
  • Identify the 10 most common mistakes you're committing right now, which result in killing your brand on a daily basis.
  • Discover 10 solutions to correct the situation, which will allow you to fix the problem immediately.
  • Answer your questions on specific branding problems with your own company.

Frankel is author of the book, "The Revenge of Brand X: How to Build a Big Time Brand -- On the Web or Anywhere Else," and CEO of Frankel & Anderson. He has been featured on NBC Nightly News, ABC-TV, CNBC, FOX News, and National Public Radio. He has also been featured in numerous print publications, including Newsweek, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and New York Times.

The 90-minute teleseminar is just $25. To sign up for this teleseminar and/or check out the Resume Writers Resource course offerings, click here. Even if you're not able to attend the live session, you can still pre-register and receive the audio recording and materials after the session concludes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Writing Resume Updates

Another resume writer and I got to talking about resume updates yesterday. She mentioned that there was a thread on the NRWA E-List about some resume writers not wanting to do updates for clients, preferring instead to focus on developing resumes from scratch. Since I'm very behind on my e-mails, I don't know if the thread she's referring to is a recent one or not, but I've seen this discussion online before.

There are certain resume writers out there that just don't do updates for the resumes they write. I can certainly understand. Updates can be a pain in the butt. They don't pay as well as new projects, and a lot of times -- especially for older projects -- you can spend more time revising what you did the first time around than simply adding in a new position or two (perhaps that's the perfectionist in me).

But providing resume updates as a service can pay off -- even if it's not from the money you make on the update itself. I find that I get the most referrals from clients who come back from updates. I've had two examples of that just this week.

Most service providers consider the "lifetime value" of a customer when deciding how much to spend on marketing their services. If you only work with a client one time over his/her lifetime, you're missing out. I have a few clients that I've worked with for over 10 years ... some of whom have referred more than a dozen other clients. I'm going to be doing an update/retarget for one of them later this week in fact.

I've had several posts in the past about "retention marketing" -- that is, keep-in-touch marketing designed to spur repeat business from existing clients. If things are slow for you right now with new clients, now would be a great time to reach out to your client base and see if there's interest in updating their resume. I'm putting an e-mail script into the May/June 2008 issue of the Resume Writers' Digest newsletter that will help you do just that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guest Author: Turning Your Services Into a Product

By C.J. Hayden
Author, Get Clients Now

One of the biggest challenges in selling professional services is that what you are offering is intangible. Your product can't be seen, touched, or tasted. Until your prospective clients experience what you do, they have no way of knowing if it will turn out, whether they will like it, and how well it will work in their situation. To make a buying decision, the client must first trust that your work will produce the result that they need.

The most common way to package professional services is by the hour or day. The client pays for your time, and they keep paying until the project is declared complete. But clients are often resistant to this. You will hear them say, "I don't want to leave it open-ended," "That seems high for an hourly rate," "I'm not sure my budget will allow for this," or even "I'm not quite clear what it is I'd be getting."

You can overcome these barriers to making a sale by "productizing" your services. This awkward term simply means that you make your service look more like a product, so that it becomes easier for your clients to buy. You give it a defined scope, fit it into a limited time period, assign it a definite price tag, and attach a distinctive name.

Let's say you are an image consultant, and you've been selling your time for $75 per hour. Instead, you offer a "One-Day Makeover" at a price of $495, and include a wardrobe assessment, color consultation, and shopping trip. You're giving your clients a defined result with a clear timeframe and set price, making it easy for them to buy. Plus, you are able to let clients experience a range of the services you offer and suggest additional ways they can work with you.

A market research consultant working with corporate clients at $150 per hour could instead provide a "Market Position Blueprint" for a flat fee of $2500. The package would include a comparison matrix of three key competitors, qualitative data from interviews with six loyal customers, and recommendations for improving the client's market position, all to be delivered with 30 days. Clients know in advance exactly what they are paying and what they will get for it.

When buying your services in a package, the client runs less risk. They don't have to worry about cost overruns or getting an unexpected result. They know how soon the result they are paying for will be delivered. There's also an emotional comfort factor in buying a package. Purchasing something with a name attached makes it feel much more tangible than simply buying hours.

For you, offering a package helps you get your foot in the door. Once you show a client what you are capable of, more business will often result. Even if you price your package at slightly less than what you would earn for working the same amount of time at an hourly rate, you will probably profit more because more of your time will ultimately be sold.

Many consultants find that fixed-price contracts are much more profitable than working by the hour. In a survey quoted by the late Howard Shenson in "The Contract & Fee-Setting Guide for Consultants & Professionals," consultants working exclusively on a fixed-price basis had 87% higher profits than those working on a daily or hourly basis.

To determine which of your services would be best to turn into a product, consider what your target market most often wants from you. Is there a specific set of steps you usually follow when first working with a new client? Activities that you perform repetitively with many people give you an opportunity to create templates, worksheets, and other tools that you develop only once and use over and over. This effectively allows you to charge for the same work more than once.

Be sure to spend some time on coining a unique name for your product. You want a memorable results-oriented name that will help you to stand out from the competition, and perhaps even allow you to trademark it.

To launch your first product, you may not need to do much more than develop a standard format for what you are already doing, set a price, and name your new invention. Taking this critical step toward making your services more tangible can result in easier sales, more repeat business, and more profitable engagements.

Copyright C.J. Hayden.
To subscribe to the "Get Clients Now!" e-newsletter
visit http://www.getclientsnow

Monday, May 26, 2008

Top 10 Marketing Tools for Small Business

Marketing coach Veronika Noize has created a list of what she considers the Top 10 Marketing Tools for Small Businesses. Among them are some obvious items (web site, business card) … but do you use your e-mail signature line effectively? How about a script for when clients call?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Find a Resume Writer By Auction?

Combing through some old notes this Memorial Day weekend, I came across some musings I had about an "Auction System for Resumes."

Using an eBay-like interface, the client would input information and standards (timeline, job target, products he/she is interested in -- like a resume, cover letter, bio, etc.) and resume writers would bid for the project (the lowest bid would win).

I tried looking online for something like this, but didn't find it. I did find a site -- -- that offers client resumes for auction, using an unusual strategy of paying clients when their resume is used to win them a job. (It's a strange concept, and even stranger when you read about it.)

Have you heard of such a service? Let me know if it exists...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Low-Cost Resume Revisions

There may be times when you offer an "entry-level" resume development product to clients -- for example, a low-cost revision of the client's existing resume. This service might be priced from $59-$149 (of course, your fees will vary with how seasoned of a resume professional you are!!) and include revamping the client's document with a minimum amount of new content.

This service might be appropriate for the client whose resume needs some help, but not a complete overhaul. It might also be appropriate for the client who cannot afford your typical service offerings (including full resume revision and accompanying cover letter). Or it might be a service that you offer specifically to job seekers participating in a job fair in an effort to develop immediate business and generate a return on the time and money invested in participating in the career fair. (For example, you might advertise this Resume Revamp service for the 2 weeks leading up to a major career fair in your area, at a special $99 price, plus a handout on 'Getting the Most Out of Job Fairs.')

So what should the client expect to get for this low-cost investment? Managing his or her expectations is a critical part of the service delivery process. A client who is expecting the "full treatment" while paying bargain-basement rates will be disappointed, no matter how great the finished product is. So outlining the scope of services you will provide will be critical.

This can include defining such things as:
  • Up to 'x' amount of time (for example: one hour) on resume research, draft development, and design. Package does not include questionnaire or client consultation beyond initial conversation. Resume revision will be based upon content provided in client's original resume.
  • Package includes one revision to incorporate client's changes/modifications (up to 'x' amount of time). Additional drafts or consultation time beyond that will be charged at 'x' rate.
  • Resume provided in electronic format (Microsoft Word), with additional formats or hard-copy laserprints and/or CD provided at an additional cost (specify the cost in the quote). Cover letter development or revision provided at an additional cost.
You will also want to clarify that this service is not appropriate for career changes, adding in any new positions, or significantly changing the content of the existing resume. Client must have an existing resume (updated through current position) in order to order this service.

A question I'm often asked by resume writers is how different the resume revision should be from the original. Here are a few guidelines:
  • At a minimum, you should use a different font and layout than the original resume. Sometimes this is an easy fix -- particularly if the original resume was developed in a Microsoft Word template.
  • Completely rewrite the top 1/3 of the resume. The Qualifications Profile is the area where most clients struggle. Spending 75% of your efforts on creating an outstanding opening to the resume will make a huge difference in results for most clients.
  • Use a different layout for the company descriptions than what the client originally provided. If the client's resume uses a series of bullets, change to a more paragraph-oriented style. Incorporate in design elements, white space, and expert formatting techniques to make the resume more "professional" in appearance.
  • Make sure you change 20-25% of the client's wording -- with special emphasis on punching up the Accomplishments. If you don't want to take the time to ask the client the questions needed to quantify more accomplishments, include the question in the resume itself for the client to answer.
For example, the client's original resume might have this statement:
"Negotiated with vendor to decrease annual costs of packaging materials by 40%."

You might rewrite this to be:
"Saved company [$$] by negotiating with key vendor to reduce annual packaging material costs by 40 percent."

Finally, the key to successful client expectations management is outlining the changes in the e-mail to the client with the draft delivery. Here you want to manage the client's expectations that they're getting your *best* work for the price they paid -- but leaving the door open to upgrading them to a higher level of service later.

For example, you might write:

Dear (Client):

Thanks for the opportunity to work with you to revise your resume within the scope of our
entry-level Resume Revamp package. As promised, I have incorporated in a couple of key modifications which should result in an immediate improvement in how your resume is received by prospective hiring managers. These include:
  • (Developing / Modifying / Improving) the Qualifications Profile on your resume to create a dynamic first impression for the reader. The top 1/3 of the resume is key to attracting the attention of the hiring manager, and the rest of the resume is used to provide information to support the qualifications we spotlight in this key section.
  • Highlighting the value you offer to a prospective employer by quantifying key accomplishments in your work history, including how you've saved your previous employers money, made them money, or improved the workplace by your contributions. I've outlined a couple of key areas where you can provide additional information to better quantify your impact on the organization.
  • Using effective design strategies to create a resume that can easily be scanned to find key information. This format is effective for both traditional (printed) use of the resume as well as sending your resume as an attachment in Microsoft Word format. (Please keep in mind, however, that we recommend an ASCII text format if you are going to be using your new resume in postings on the major Internet job boards. You can order this format as an additional service.)
The resume package you purchased is not a complete overhaul of your resume, so you will find that I have kept the majority of your original content. I am confident that your revised resume will increase the response you receive -- but keep in mind that we do offer more comprehensive writing services to further enhance your qualifications and incorporate in more targeted keywords and accomplishments. We can also re-target your resume to position you to pursue different career fields, and provide template and customized cover letters to support your job search. If you are interested in more information about any of these additional services, please let me know.

Of course, a key part of the resume development process is collaborating to finalize your new document. Please make sure that everything on the resume is accurate (including the spelling of your name, your address, phone number, e-mail address, dates of employment, etc.). Also, please make sure that I'm describing you accurately, as we want to position you as a great candidate, but I don't want to overstate or overemphasize any areas you're not comfortable with. You may show your drafts to others, if you wish, but be sure you have spoken to everyone before you contact me with your changes or approval since your contract provides for one revision.

I look forward to hearing back from you in the next 24-48 hours to finalize your documents. If I don't hear from you in that timeframe, I will assume that you are happy with your new resume and will close out the project.

Thank you!

(Your Name)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wendy Enelow Selected as "Top Conference Draw"

Wendy EnelowIn compiling the results of the Industry Conference survey conducted by Resume Writers' Digest, Wendy Enelow was selected as the top vote-getter when survey respondents were asked, "Are there any speakers in particular that would draw you to a conference?"

Not surprisingly, resume writing/writing topics was the top reason respondents choose to attend a conference.

If you like Wendy -- and want to improve your resume writing expertise -- be sure to subscribe to receive the Resume Writers' Digest newsletter (see the top right-hand corner of this blog for the sign-up form). Wendy contributed a fabulous article for the May/June 2008 issue on how to "dig deep" to capture client accomplishments.

That issue will be released the first week of June; be sure you're subscribed (and have completed the double opt-in process -- you must click on the e-mail you receive from Vertical Response) in order to receive the newsletter.

That issue will contain the results of the industry survey. If you've ever attended a resume writing industry professional conference, you know how valuable the information is! Get timeless ideas and information from past careers industry conferences by ordering our "Best of the Conferences: 2000 to 2002" special report. It's 60 pages of ideas, information, and resources from the 2000 PARW Conference
in Toronto; the 2001 NRWA Conference in San Antonio; the 2001 PARW Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida; the 2002 CMI Conference in San Diego, and two career-related sessions from the 2002 AJST conference in Orlando.

The tips and techniques are as relevant today as they were back then -- and all the articles have been formatted for easy reading. It includes dozens of photos and handouts.

If you'd like to see a preview of what's in the special report, download this 12-page issue of the newsletter that I call the "Best Of" Conference Preview, sponsored by the National Resume Writers' Association and Career Directors International.

Articles include:
-- "Making a Silk Purse From a Sow's Ear: Tips, Tricks, Ideas and Inspiration for Improved Resume Design" (Louise Kursmark presentation, NRWA 2001)
-- "R.O.I. Resumes -- Write Resumes That Deliver a Healthy Return on Investment" (Susan Britton Whitcomb presentation, CMI 2002)
-- "Bill Murdock: The 'Who, What, Where, When, Why and How' Con Man" (Bill Murdock presentation, PARW 2002)
-- "How to Add $100,000 To Your Career Transition Business Now" (John O'Connor presentation, PRWRA 2004)
-- "Adding the Wow! Factor" (Louise Kursmark presentation, PRWRA 2005)

Order the special report now and you'll have access to the PDF immediately! The cost is just $20 and you can purchase using Paypal (you do NOT need a PayPal account -- you can use PayPal to securely use your Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express credit card, or electronic debit from your checking account.)

Or use this link:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The 10 Hardest-to-Fill Jobs

According to a 2007 Manpower survey, the 10 hardest-to-fill jobs are:
  • Sales Representative
  • Teacher
  • Mechanic
  • Technician
  • Manager/Executive
  • Truck Driver
  • Driver/Delivery Person
  • Accountant
  • Laborer
  • Machine Operator

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Will Your Client's Outfit Impact Their Chances of a Promotion?

Ninety-three percent of executives surveyed by OfficeTeam say that a person's style of dress at work influences his or her chances of earning a promotion. However, in another report, OfficeTeam found that only 4% of Generation Y workers (those just entering the workforce), indicated that they would like to wear business attire in the office. (The vast majority of those surveyed said they'd prefer to dress either business casual or in jeans and sneakers in the office.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Free Teleseminar with Dr. Lynn Joseph

The Reach Branding Club is offering a free May teleseminar from the author of "The Job-Loss Recovery Guide: A Proven Program for Getting Back to Work -- Fast!" Dr. Lynn Joseph's strategy is designed to help individuals get jobs faster. The program, "Self Leadership: Achieve Career Transitions and Goals More Quickly and Powerfully with Advanced Visualization Techniques" will be Thursday, May 22 from Noon to 1 p.m. EST. There are only 200 spaces available on the call, so register with the Reach Branding Club. If you can't make the live call, the teleseminar will be recorded, and the recording will be sent to all who register.

Also, the next Reach Personal Branding Certification Program is starting soon. The registration cut-off date is Friday, May 23. Learn more here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Patron Saints

As a Catholic, patron saints have been an important part of my life. Lose something? Ask St. Anthony to find it. Selling a house? Bury a St. Joseph statue in the yard.

So when I came across an old article (November 2004) in Writer's Digest magazine about patron saints and the inspiration they can have on you as a resume writer -- and your clients -- I had to share it!

  • Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes (the client without a four-year degree who wants a great job in pharmaceutical sales).
  • Saint Joseph is also the patron saint of workers.
  • Looking for that perfect word? Pray to Saint Bernadine of Siena, patron saint of advertisers, advertising, and public relations.
  • Saint Cajetan is the patron saint of the unemployed (also known as the "starving artist" saint).
  • Saint Agricola of Avignon is the patron saint to pray to when you wish to prevent misfortune.
  • Work from home? Pray to Saint Rita of Cascia, the patron saint against loneliness.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

General Qualifications Traits

Here are some ideas for general qualifications traits for your resumes:
  • Able to adapt to fast-paced environment.
  • Dependable.
  • Excellent phone skills.
  • 10-key experience.
  • Able to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Computer experience.
  • Organizational skills.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills.
  • Conscientious, detail-oriented individual.
  • Excellent communication skills.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Build Your Brand

How can you increase your profile and attract attention from prospective clients? Here are some ideas:
  • Write articles
  • Volunteer time for your networking group
  • Go the extra mile in everything you do
  • Provide valuable information sheets to your clients (top websites, salary research)
  • Offer a free report or other valuable information to prospects.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Hedgehog Principle

In looking through an old notebook, I came across this notation:

"Hedgehogs Need One Big Thing"
  • What can we be the best in the world at? (What can we NOT be the best at?)
  • What is the economic denominator that best drives our economic engine (profit or cash flow per 'x')
  • What are our core people deeply passionate about?

I have no idea where it came from, but those are some good questions.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Resume Writing is Recession-Proof

In times of economic turmoil, many businesses suffer. But there's an old adage in the resume writing industry: There's no bad time to be a resume writer. When times are good, people want a resume to get a better job. When times are tough, they need a great resume to compete for jobs.

In fact, my phone has been ringing off the hook the past few weeks. I've heard from a couple of clients that I haven't heard from in years (one dating back to 2003!!) and there has been a steady stream of new clients as well. Another Nebraska colleague reports similar results. How's business for you?

If you're not as busy as you'd like, there are a couple of options. Ramp up your marketing and public relations efforts and bring in more business yourself ... or consider subcontracting for other writers. If you're interested in subcontracting, be sure to order my special report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" (just $20 for the 39-page report, which includes more than 25 individuals or firms looking for subcontractors; available for immediate download as a PDF.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Don't Strike Out With Prospective Clients

Marketing guru Robert Middleton has developed a marketing system for independent service professionals (including resume writers and career coaches) that is designed to help you attract more clients!

(Read more about it at

He says it's important to analyze our sales process and identify WHERE you are losing clients.

For most resume writers, it's when the client asks, "How much does this cost?" Save the sale by trying different approaches:
• Ask lots of questions to understand their real challenges (most clients aren't as concerned about the cost as much as they are on the RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT. Will it be worth what they spend?)
• Direct them to your web site for articles, samples, etc. if they say they want to "think about it."

Monday, May 12, 2008

TORI Awards Nominations Extended


The deadline for entering the "Toast of the Resume Industry" (TORI) awards has been extended by Career Directors International to Sunday, May 18.

2008 List of TORI categories include:

Best International Resume - encompasses resumes written for a non-US market.

Best Technical Resume - encompasses scientists, engineers, technicians, mechanics, etc.

Best Creative Resume - encompasses creative-style resumes in full-color, unusual layouts, artistic writing styles, etc. Very open to interpretation.

Best Executive Resume - encompasses any executive-level position in any industry.

Best Cover Letter - encompasses any discipline, industry, or career level.

Best Retiree/Second Career Resume - encompasses any discipline, industry, or career level as long as the focus is on a career change for a mature adult.

Best Sales & Marketing Resume - encompasses any level of sales and marketing professional who focuses on business development.

Best New Graduate Resume - encompasses any discipline, industry, or career level as long as the focus is on leveraging a recent degree as the career target.

Best Military Resume - encompasses any discipline or career level as long as the focus is on a military job seeker transitioning to the civilian sector.

Don't wait! The deadline to enter the TORIs is May 18, 2008!
The first entry in each category is free and each additional category is only $15 each.
Entry is extremely easy, requiring that you fictionalize your entries, gain approval from clients for their use, name resumes as directed in CDI instructions, and upload using our online PDF converter. As Gayle Howard says in the testimonial on the left, "It is little work for great rewards."
When you enter, the TORI Award Committee Director will ensure all submissions appear anonymous to the committee so that fair and equitable judging can take place.
The distinguished awards committee will select up to five (5) TORI nominations in each category. The CDI Leadership Team will then select the best of the best from the nominations in each category for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
Nominees are typically announced in late August and winners are recognized and awarded at our Annual Conference Banquet and Award Ceremony, which will take place in Downtown Seattle, Washington on Saturday, October 18, 2008. Attendance is not necessary to win.
Nominees will receive a special logo for print / web marketing as well as a certificate of recognition. Winners will receive a logo, certificate of recognition, and award medal (gold, silver, or bronze for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place).
Entry is open to CDI members only.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Microsoft Word Webinar on Thursday

Would you like to learn tips and tricks geared specifically to resume writers to make your client resumes stand out from the pack? Would you like to learn how to make professional-looking forms for you and your clients? Would you like to finally learn how to unlock the mystery of "track changes?"

Resume Writers' Resource is offering a
webinar, "Microsoft Magic I - Resume Writer Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Microsoft Word," conducted by Patricia Duckers. Patricia is an expert in MS Word and I promise you will be thrilled with the presentation she conducts for us!

The course includes not only the examples of these techniques in the webinar, but also a
36-page manual with screen shots and examples.

A complete description of the areas to be covered is below. The webinar will be held
this Thursday, May 15, 2008, at 3 p.m. ET.

The cost for the webinar is $39 per person. Check the system requirements for your computer on the Resume Writers Resource website. (If you are a Mac user, like I am, you'll want to attend the webinar "live," as you must have Windows Media Player 9 to view the recorded webinar.) If you're a PC user and can't make the webinar, you can access the video and handouts afterwards.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ethics: Trashing Other Resume Writers

Since when has it become popular to trash the work of other "professional" resume writers in order to advance your own business?

It seems like I'm coming across more and more examples of this -- particularly on the websites of resume writers. In particular, I'm noticing that many of them are trashing the Professional Association of Resume Writers.

In addition to Marilyn Maslin's assertion that you can "buy" the Certified Professional Resume Writer credential, here's another example:

Another fairly recent development has been the rise of resume writing certification from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and other groups. I believe this was something started by a guy in Florida with a keen entrepreneurial mind, and I imagine he's earned some good money with his idea. I'm sure many PARW members are excellent resume writers, but I've seen no evidence to suggest that as a group they are particularly skilled or any better than non-members.

While he makes some good points in the subsequent copy, he also makes some idiotic observations. To wit:
  • Don't expect a top-notch resume from a service that works from a form or questionnaire. That's fine for an initial outline, but the resume writing process needs to be much more interactive -- either through a face-to-face meeting or a telephone discussion. Typists work from forms, not resume writers.
  • You probably underestimate the time it will take to complete your resume. Even if you have the most straightforward work experience and have an old resume to work from, you should still expect it to take at least an hour to write your resume. Two or three hours is average -- and sometimes even longer for senior managers or people whose work is fairly complex.
  • But then again ... I'm very skeptical of services that say they take at least three hours for ANY resume. They're either spending a lot of time on low-value activities, or they're not very experienced. Some say that up to six hours is average for them -- I really question what they're doing with their time ... and your money.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Will isn't selling resume writing services. He's selling a book. I've noticed a trend about authors-who-aren't-resume-writers trying to convince people to spend the $10-$20 on their book instead of $100-$400+ on a professional. It's a bit like trying to read a book to do your own taxes. Fine for some; probably not a great idea for most.

But I don't understand the need to trash professional resume writers as a whole. Mr. Will ... your rebuttal is welcome...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Working Virtually

Ever since the summer of 2004, I've worked virtually with my clients. With the exception of a few friends that I've written resumes for, no resume client has met with me in person since 2004. But every once in a while, I wonder about my decision.

The "pros" are obvious -- I work in my cow slippers most of the time, I occasionally have my pajamas on at noon (although that usually means I came down to my home office around 8 a.m. and just haven't made it back upstairs again), and if I need to finish writing a resume at midnight, I don't have to worry about making that long, scary walk to the car that I used to do when we had a "real" office.

The downside: In working with some older clients -- particularly a recent executive -- they prefer to work "face to face." It's old school. It's comforting to some to see the face that they're sharing all their personal data with. Seeing clients in person can also be a selling tool. A recent client asked me what the difference was between me and a national firm. If I saw clients in person anymore, I could say, "You can see your writer!"

In fact, I recently wrote a resume for a new grad seeking an entry-level position in the mental health field after getting her master's degree. Coincidentally, she joined a mental health association that I've managed since 1996, and we had a networking event last week ... where I met her in person for the first time...several weeks after finishing her resume. I don't think I would have ahcnaged a thing on the resume if I had met her before writing it.

Which is a good thing. I think I've done pretty well at overcoming the obstacles of not seeing clients -- trying to pick up on "body language" cues over the phone. Developing rapport with someone I probably won't ever meet. And, most difficult for me -- getting the project wrapped up without a second face-to-face appointment scheduled. That used to be the big thing for me -- I would schedule the "pickup" appointment after meeting with the client for the first time and gathering information. Knowing the client was going to show up in my office that day put the pressure on me to have the draft ready. That pressure isn't necessarily the same nowadays.

But I wouldn't change the virtual experience for the real world again. Especially since the rent I used to pay on my small office pays the mortgage now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More on the Fake CPRW Controversy

I still haven't received a return phone call back from Marilyn Maslin, nor has she corrected her post on Jobing's Denver blog page...but there is some new information.

Apparently, Ms. Maslin may have been under the impression that by paying her $150 dues to join the Professional Association of Resume Writers that she was "earning" her Certified Professional Resume Writer credential. If that's true, Frank Fox (owner of PARW) better work on his marketing materials that clarify the difference between membership and certification.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More Fake Career Associations?

Association of Professional Resume Writers CWR

I can't say for sure that this organization and certification credential are "fake," but I can tell you that I can't find any information about their organization, apart from these logos, posted on the website for ""

Has anyone heard of this organization or certification?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Attracting Corporate Clients

All economic downturns are temporary. Companies that need to cut costs today will be hiring again -- maybe not tomorrow, but soon. When companies are forced to lay off employees, they want to keep the employees' goodwill ... and offering outplacement services is one way companies help their employees, even when they're showing them the door. Research shows that clients who use outplacement services find new positions much faster, making the expense of outplacement an investment for employers.

Penetrating the corporate outplacement market can be a good target market. While some outplacement services include comprehensive career management (assessment testing, resume writing, coaching or counseling, resume distribution services), it is possible for the sole proprietor resume writer to land an outplacement contract. In fact, there is an underserved market for targeting small-to-midsize companies that may only lay off 1-20 employees at a time. (Large auto manufacturers like GM, for example, may layoff hundreds at a time).

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Fake CPRW Controversy

A few months ago, I wrote about "fake career associations" -- specifically, a bogus outfit called the "National Association of Career Professionals" that purported to offer a "Certified Professional Resume Writer" credential.

This issue has surfaced again -- this time, in response to a post by Marilyn Maslin, of The Maslin Group, on the Denver Jobing blog. Ms. Maslin wrote a blog post titled "How to Select a Resume Writing Service: Part I" in which she writes:

What are the Writers Credentials:
What is their writing experience and business background? Many résumé writing firms promote that they are staffed by certified résumé writers. T
he most common certification is the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). This certification is purchased online and allows companies to use the CPRW logo or seal to build credibility. In truth, this seal can simply be purchased without much hassle. To understand your writers credentials inquire into their business experience. Do they have expertise in resume writing, hiring, recruiting, human resources, or your specific industry? It is important to note that a good résumé writer must also be an experienced interviewer. The résumé writing process always begins with asking the right questions.

As the author of "Are You Certifiable?," an in-depth examination of the major certifications offered by the four largest legitimate professional resume writing associations, I feel qualified to offer an opinion on this issue.

Ms. Maslin is correct that the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) credential is the most common certification -- but that's the CPRW offered by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC) -- NOT the certification she purchased online approximately 16 months ago, according to her follow-up post.

I believe her CPRW came from the "National Association of Careers Professionals" -- NOT from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches...primarily because PARW/CC does not have a record of Ms. Maslin being awarded a CPRW from their organization.
Ms. Maslin does not reference the CPRW credential on her website. Individuals who receive their CPRW from the PARW/CC receive a logo they can display on their sites. Nor does her name come up when conducting a search of Certified Professional Resume Writers on the PARW website.

I've contacted Ms. Maslin and left her a message. I hope to talk to her directly and see what organization's name appears on her "CPRW" certificate. If it looks like this (below), she got scammed:

I can't find my CPRW certificate at the moment (we've moved offices twice since I received it in 2004), or I'd scan it in and show you what a real (earned) CPRW certificate looks like. (If someone wants to scan theirs in and e-mail it to me at, I'll be happy to post it.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Guest Author: Five Myths of Internet Marketing

By C.J. Hayden
Author, Get Clients Now

There's more marketing hype published on the Internet in one day than P.T. Barnum generated in his lifetime. Like a worm swallowing its tail, the Internet marketing beast feeds mostly on itself. The vast majority of what appears on the Internet about marketing is designed to help you market products and services sold and delivered exclusively on the Internet.

So what does that mean for the independent professional whose web presence is primarily aimed at selling his or her own personal services? You know, services delivered the old-fashioned way, by humans interacting face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice. At best, the average professional is likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Internet marketing advice available. At worst, he or she is being seriously misled by it.

The problem is that marketing your own professional services is simply not the same as marketing a retail product or an anonymous business service. You can't sell corporate consulting like you do web hosting; nor can you sell life coaching the same way you do an e-book. If you try to market yourself by following advice designed for marketing Internet products and services, you're likely to make some serious mistakes.

Here are five Internet marketing myths that may be hazardous to the health of your business.

Myth #1 – It all starts with a great web site.

Actually, the place where it starts is with a well-defined service. If you don't have a crystal clear picture of who you are marketing to and exactly what you're selling them, the best web site in the world won't get you clients. Before you even think about building a web site, you should know who your target market is, how to describe your professional specialty, and what specific benefits your work provides for your clients.

The content of your site is much more important than the design. Yes, you should have a professional-looking site, but a brilliant design and dazzling graphics won't pay off anywhere near as well as a clear explanation of why a client should work with you. Useful material such as articles, assessments, and other samples of your expertise will go much further to persuade prospective clients than flash intros and interactive menus.

Myth #2 – More traffic translates to increased profits.

The only result that more traffic to your web site guarantees you is increased bandwidth use by your web host. Before spending money on banner ads, web directories, or pay-per-click listings to drive more visitors to your site, you need to be sure that they'll want to do business with you once they get there.

Ask your colleagues and current clients to critique your site. Do they understand what you are offering? Can they see concrete benefits to your target audience? Revise your site based on their feedback. Then personally invite some prospective clients to visit and touch base afterward. Do your prospects seem more inclined to do business with you after seeing your site? If so, you're on the right track. If not, you still have more work to do.

Myth #3 – Do whatever it takes to build your list.

There's no question that a substantial opt-in mailing list is a valuable marketing asset, but the quality of names on your list is much more important than the quantity. Acquiring names through giveaways of other people's material, trading lists with joint venture partners, or purchasing them from a vendor rarely provides qualified buyers truly interested in your services.

Absolutely, ask your site visitors and people you meet to join your mailing list and offer them something of value in return. A well-written ezine, helpful report, or informative audio are all effective premiums. But, your premium should be directly related to the services you provide and also serve to increase your professional credibility. Names acquired from promotional gimmicks or unknown sources seldom turn into paying clients.

Myth #4 – Killer copy is the secret to sales.

Hype-laden web copy may be effective in selling certain info-products or courses, but it hardly inspires trust. You're not going to convince anyone to hire you individually as a consultant, coach, trainer, designer, or financial advisor by offering "not one, not two, but three valuable bonuses" as if you were selling steak knives on late-night TV.

Your Internet marketing persona should reflect the same professionalism as the work you do with your clients. If writing marketing materials isn't your forte, by all means hire a professional copywriter. But be sure you hire one with experience writing for professionals like yourself. The copy on your web site should inspire feelings of confidence about your abilities, and communicate your reliability and solid qualifications.

Myth #5 – Just follow the winning formula and you will get rich.

There's only one surefire recipe for Internet wealth I know of, and that's the business of selling surefire recipes. There seems to be an infinite number of buyers for every new get-rich-on-the-net scheme that is invented, but paradoxically, a precious few people actually making money on the web.

The Internet may be a different medium for marketing professional services than making calls, writing letters, or speaking to people in person, but the same time-honored principles still apply. There is no new winning formula. The secret to landing clients is what it always has been -- build relationships and get people to know, like, and trust you.

If your web site, ezine, and other Internet-based activities contribute to building long-term, trusting relationships with prospective clients and referral sources, you'll get business on the web. But if you blast your message out to anyone who will listen, aiming for a quick profit, the Internet won't bring you any more business than standing on a street corner with a megaphone.
Copyright C.J. Hayden.
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visit http://www.getclientsnow

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Resumes in Color

More than 98% of all resumes are still produced in black-and-white, but the day is coming when resumes will be in color. I came across this interesting site,, that offers companies a free printer if they agree to purchase their printing supplies through their company.
I don't know much about them, though.

I do know that you can often get a free inkjet printer with the purchase of new Apple computers, so be sure to ask about that if you're shopping around for a new computer.

Are you doing any resumes in color? I'd like to see your samples. E-mail me.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Going through an old issue (Jan/Feb 2006) of Office Solutions magazine, I came across an item about "JobsByFax"), a company that offers bulk resume distribution via fax. I looked it up online and was surprised to find it still in business, given that resume distribution via e-mail is now the norm. (They claim that faxing your resume to a prospective employer is a competitive advantage -- your resume will be "opened" because it comes through that way). I didn't read through the site enough to find out if they get permission from the employers to receive the faxes (although I did see that you can add or remove your fax number for free).

I found the site founder's story very interesting. Apparently, they used to fax 5,000+ companies each day with an advertising-supported "comic" of the day. But when the rules changed about unsolicited faxes, they had to change their business model. The question I have is -- why didn't they just go back to their existing list of 5,000+ companies and ask them to "opt-in" to receiving the faxes?

Has anyone used this service for their clients? I'd be interested in hearing your results.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Get Publicity - Ideas from CDI

Since my background is in Public Relations originally, I'm a big proponent of resume writers using publicity to increase their profile among prospective clients -- especially since advertising is so expensive.

I was reminded that Career Directors International has an extensive resource section for resume writers seeking publicity on their website.

Here are just a few ideas:
  1. What is International Update Your Resume Month.

  2. What is International Update Your References Week.

  3. Popularity and acceptance of video resumes.

  4. Challenges of resume writing for job seekers with new OFCCP rulings.

  5. Cum laude can get your resume kicked out – resumes and SPAM.
And CDI's Laura DeCarlo reminds me that she is always willing to be interviewed as a second source for any stories you're involved with. Visit the CDI website for her contact information.