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 (cc:, 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!