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 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, 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!