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.


  1. Great information on working virtually. I worked with clients in the office for many years. Since 2007, unless the client specifically requests face-to-face, I typically work virtually with coaching and resume clients. I agree it is cost effective and allows us more freedom. Here's 3 more pros for the client and the resume writer. 1. Being cost effective for the business allows us to give the client a better price. Working virtual creates a green, eco friendly work environment by using email versus printing paper. And, I agree the virtual phone meeting is equally as personal as face-to-face. Great blog. Thank you very much.