Thursday, December 17, 2009

ReTweet Wisdom #1

I'm on Twitter and get so much good advice on there (inspirational sayings & quotes, links to great blogs) that I'm going to share some of it occasionally on here with you. I only follow 103 people (currently) and I can't believe the great ideas, information, and resources that shows up in my Twitter feed!

Here's just a sample of the ones I liked in the last five minutes:

RT @derekfred 5 Tips For Making a Good First Impression #jobsearch (Thanks @BriteTab)

@KellyMagowan Glass Door, 50 best places to work in 2010 (Thanks @AnneMarieCross

HireCentrix Weighing the Value of That College Diploma

Animal Introverts & Networking - - by @JulieWalraven <-- it's all explained here @KevinWGrossman

BriteTab Build Your Brand #Networking #jobsearch

JobHuntOrg #jobhunting Effective networking follow-up for the holidays & beyond by @Keppie_Careers -

Here are some folks you should definitely follow on Twitter (more to come--this is just a start!):
Animal (recruiter)
JulieWalraven (resume writer)
BarbaraSafani (resume writer)
ValueIntoWords (Jacqui Poindexter, resume writer)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fall 2009 Issue Now Available

The cover story in this issue is an interesting one -- the results of the 2009 Recession Survey conducted by Resume Writers' Digest, the Career Management Alliance, and the National Resume Writer's Association. Also on page 1 is the article, "A Cover Letter is Really Just a Good Sales Letter."

Also in this issue: Ligaya Fernandez, of The Resume Place, Inc. talks about "The Art of Writing a KSA: Writing Effective Accomplishment Record Stories" in a story on page 6. And Dr. Katharine Hansen contributed an article on "How to Coach Clients to Handle a Poor Interviewer," with a sidebar on "Top 10 Executive Interview Pet Peeves from Hiring Decision-Makers."

I also write about "Using Conference Calls to Grow Your Resume Writing Business" in my letter from the editor on page 2. In this month's "Resume Writer's University," learn "The Strategies of Client/Career Branding: Getting It Right Every Time" in an article by Jane Roqueplot.

Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, writes about "How to Use Twitter for Business & Publicity" in her column this month. (Be sure to follow me on Twitter @RWDigest).

Subscriptions to Resume Writers' Digest are free -- subscribe here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Used Car Salesmen, Lawyers ... and Resume Writers?

Maybe I'm just more sensitive to the subject recently, but it seems that the professional resume writing profession is taking a beating lately. We're the subject of polls, discussed extensively in podcasts, and debated in Facebook posts.

Louise Fletcher, of Blue Sky Resumes
, caught some of this as well, and wrote an excellent note on her Facebook page. A recruiter, Jill, responded back with a post that included this comment:

"It's true that most in your profession just seem to get paid by the word but that's why it's so important that you (Louise) are out there."


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Live Twittering From NRWA Conference 2009

If you're like me and couldn't make it to the NRWA Conference, you can still find out what's going on through live Twitter updates from conference participants. Search for "#NRWAconf2009" or "#NRWA09" ...

Check out these folks:
@CEOCoach (Deb Dib)
@CIO_Coach (Kim Batson)
@wendyterwelp (Wendy Terwelp)
@dawnrasmussen (Dawn Rasmussen)
@susanwhitcomb (Susan Britton Whitcomb)
@tessaweeks (Tessa Weeks)
@RobynFeldberg (Robyn Feldberg)
@BonnieKurka (Bonnie Kurka)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Results: Resume Writers' Digest 2008 Subcontracting Survey

This is the third in a series of posts outlining the results of the Resume Writers' Digest 2008 Subcontracting Survey. You can read Part I of the survey results here and Part II of the survey results here.

While most subcontractors profess to enjoy their work, one of the biggest issues is compensation. When asked "what one thing you would change about your subcontracting relationship if you could," the subject of money surfaced again and again, as did the desire for more subcontracting work.

"I think most of the larger firms do not pay their writers adequately," says one resume writer. "If I had to subcontract to stay in business, I would quit writing resumes altogether, I think."

One writer lamented, "They were paying $75 for me to sift through up to 45 pages of information to do a cover letter and resume. It wasn't worth the time."

Several resume writers responded that they would like additional compensation for special services -- "higher pay rates for weekend work" or "additional compensation for weekend and holiday assignments."

Other responses:

  • "More appreciation for my work."
  • "More time to complete projects."
  • "No rigid template -- each resume is unique and deserves to be written from scratch."
  • "Higher quality of clientele"
  • "More complete information at the beginning of the process."
  • "More standard responses for answering typical client questions."
  • "More flexibility in formatting."
Why They Don't Subcontract Anymore
Those who no longer subcontract most often cite compensation and the desire to build their own businesses as reasons why they stopped subcontract writing.

"I have not subcontracted for many years. I have moved on in pricing and other issues that does not make it worth my while any more," writes one individual. "The other reason is that so many want you to write just like them; as if they wrote it themselves -- and that is very difficult to do after writing for so many years in my own style."

Another writes, "The only bad thing (about subcontracting) is the (lack of) money. When you get clients to your site who pay you the full price, and then you get your subcontract work and only get 35 percent, it's disappointing."

Advice From Other Subcontractors
Some respondents offered advice for their peers considering subcontracting:

"Advise people to be careful of the agreements they sign with some of the firms that offer subcontracting. There is at least one (company) out there that has a non-compete agreement which can make it difficult to have your own clients or set up your own business if the relationship does not work in the long term."

Another advises resume writers to evaluate the opportunity for work before signing on:

"Check on the level of jobs available from firms offering subcontracting. Some firms have a lot of work -- others do not. Make sure you will have enough work."

Another suggests asking other subcontractors for recommendations: "Some firms don't treat their writers well or support them in cases of difficult clients."

While some writers raved about the working relationships they have fostered, subcontracting isn't for everyone.

One wrote, "I strongly believe that subcontracting in the field of resume writing is the equivalent of sweatshop labor in third world countries."

If you find an individual or firm that is a good fit for you, one survey respondent pointed out the bottom line: "If you are very good and efficient, there is a lot of money to be made."

Another added: "If you work for an excellent firm with lots of clients, excellent contractor pay, and information sharing/training, then subcontracting is the way to go!"


Interested in learning more about subcontracting as a resume writer? Purchase the Resume Writers' Digest Special Report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Results Part II: 2008 Resume Writers' Digest Subcontracting Survey

The first part of the survey results can be found here.

Why Writers Subcontract
While income is one of the primary reasons cited by survey respondents, it's certainly not the only reason. Reasons given in the 2008 subcontracting survey include:
  • Flexibility/Convenience. One writer likes the flexibility of working "off hours." Another says, "Local clients for my own business want to meet, which is difficult for me with two small kids." Subcontracting "allows me to work from home." "I can control the work flow -- and take breaks from work easily." Another says, "I like being able to accept/reject projects at my discretion."
  • The Opportunity to Focus on Writing, Not Sales. "I'm not a great salesperson, so I like having that part already done," says one respondent. Subcontracting offers "less client contact, less stress, and a steady pipeline of work," volunteers another. "I can focus on the work instead of seeking it out -- I can better concentrate my efforts." "To avoid or eliminate it altogether: client contact/management, billing issues, and sales and marketing." One writes, "I hate dealing with clients directly." Another says, "I don't like marketing myself."
  • To Get Additional Experience. "I subcontracted to learn resume writing and to do sales before I set out on my own. Now I subcontract just to fill in lulls in my business." Writes another: "I did it to get started and hone my skills in a part-time writing business in retirement."
  • To Experience Diversity of Projects. "I do all kinds of business writing, and the bulk of my work right now is either technical writing or marketing communications. This is a good way to stay involved with resume writing without having to do any marketing," says one writer. "I enjoy the variety of projects."
  • The Volume of Work Available. I subcontract "to supplement my workload," writes one. "Because it provides steady work," says another. "It keeps me busy." "Steady work is nice, because I live in the middle of nowhere."
Subcontracting can be a good alternative to a local market area that doesn't supply a viable source of clients. One writer noted, "I cannot charge as much as I could like to locally. I live in a very depressed area -- I make much more subcontracting than I could from local clients."

It can also be a bridge for resume writers starting their businesses (although many firms prefer writers with some experience).

"I'm new to the field, need to work from home, and subcontracting is a feasible solution," says one writer. Another writes, "My website sucks and my SEO (search engine optimization) skills suck and I need to work."

The economies of scale large companies have to offer helps them attract clients, one resume writer pointed out.

"A large, national company can afford huge marketing and promotional campaigns, bringing in thousands of clients per year, [while] a small individual operation ... can only afford a telephone book ad and some Google 'pay per click' marketing," she writes. "I wouldn't bring in enough customers on my own to make the money I want to make. Subcontracting is two-thirds of my salary."

You can read more of the results here.

Interested in subcontract resume writing? Purchase the "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor" special report from Resume Writers' Digest.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Results: 2008 Resume Writers' Digest Subcontracting Survey

For many resume writers, subcontracting is a way to smooth out the peaks and valleys of self-employment, at least according to the responses in the Resume Writers' Digest 2008 Subcontracting Survey.

Thirty-three resume writers completed the survey. Of those, 90 percent are currently subcontract writers, either for an individual or a firm. The rest used to write resumes as a contractor, but are not currently doing so.

The opportunity to earn extra income is often the driving force behind the decision to subcontract. The average pay for more than half of all writers surveyed was between $101-$200 per project. Most resume writers are paid a flat fee per completed project (82 percent of those responding), versus a percentage of the client fee. None of the writers who responded are paid by the hour, although these arrangements do exist. For those who are paid a percentage of the project fee, the usual portion for the resume writer is 21-35% of the project fee.

Almost always, these projects include a resume and cover letter, although some subcontract resume writers reported resume-only projects are most typical for them (9 percent). Other services include bios, thank you/follow-up notes, interview preparation training, KSAs, and ASCII text conversions.

Project Management
Most subcontracting projects are assigned via e-mail (75 percent), followed by assignments made through a dedicated web portal.

Turnaround time can influence a contracting writer's satisfaction with the working relationship. While rush fees may be available for extremely short turnaround deadlines, in many cases, contracting writers must produce projects in shorter timeframes than they would when working with their own clients.

Reported turnaround times include:
Less than 24 hours -- 10%
24-48 hours (1-2 days) -- 10%
48-72 hours (2-3 days) -- 24%
3-5 days -- 52%
More than 5 days -- 4%

Working style is a big factor for subcontract writers when choosing an individual or firm to affiliate with. How you work with clients is a matter of personal preference, but choosing a firm that allows you to use your preferred style can make a big difference in your satisfaction with the working relationship. Writers reported a wide range of information-gathering styles (which is often mandated by the contracting firm):
Via e-mail contact only -- 39%
Mostly via e-mail, but up to 20% of contact on the phone -- 42%
Both phone and e-mail -- 15%
Entirely through the phone -- 4%

The majority of subcontracting firms require writers to handle a large portion of the content development process, from initial draft through project finalization, working directly with the client (58 percent). Other firms have writers handle the draft through project finalization, but working with the contractor, not directly with the client (21 percent). Some firms have the writer complete a draft version only, including formatting (21 percent).

As in the previous survey, writers reports that growth in subcontracting opportunities exists for resume writers who specialize in federal resumes, as only three percent of the survey respondents reported they specialize in this area, and demand from firms seeking subcontractors who have expertise in writing federal resumes continues to grow.

You can read the rest of the survey results here.

And if you're interested in subcontracting, purchase the Resume Writers' Digest Special Report, "Making Money as a Resume Subcontractor."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Resume Writers Recession Survey Results

Last month, I was invited by the Career Management Alliance and National Resume Writers' Association to participate in a joint effort to survey resume writers about how their businesses were faring in the current recession. (Thanks to Don Goodman, of About Jobs, for suggesting the survey idea and initial questions.)

We finalized the questions and put the survey out there. We received 191 responses between Aug. 3-16. Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., Research Master for the Career Management Alliance, compiled the results and prepared a report, which was released today. (If you have signed up for a free subscription to Resume Writers' Digest and confirmed your subscription to the double-opt-in list, you received an e-mail from me this morning with the 8-page report.)

Here are some highlights:
  • Compared to a year ago, more respondents (48.4 percent) are doing better now than are faring worse (39 percent).
  • Twelve percent of respondents say they are doing the same as last year.
  • Six percent of those surveyed said their revenues were up 61 percent or more over last year; 3.2 percent said their revenues were down 60 percent or more. Twenty-eight percent said their revenues were up 1-20%. Twenty percent said their revenues were down up to 20 percent.
  • The top source of business is referrals (47.5 percent), followed by their personal website (25.6 percent), Yellow Pages ads (14.9 percent), and subcontracting (14.4 percent).
Speaking of subcontracting, it can be an excellent source of business (especially during slow times). Resume Writers' Digest offers a special report for resume writers looking to affiliate with firms that hire subcontract writers.

If you would like to receive a copy of the results, sign up for your free subscription to Resume Writers' Digest and then e-mail me at editor(at) with the subject line "Recession Survey Results" and I'll send it to you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What the "Sharks" Can Teach You About Business

My husband Jon and I have been enjoying watching the new television show, "Shark Tank." (It's on Sunday nights on ABC). The show offers some lessons for entrepreneurs who are looking for investors for their businesses. Now I realize that there are only a handful of resume writers who would need a large capital infusion to start-up (or expand) their business, as this industry is fairly light on cash requirements, but the show makes some interesting points nonetheless from the case studies of folks pitching their business ideas to the five investors, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Kevin Harrington, Robert Herjavec, and Kevin O'Leary. (Many of these principles are also applicable to our job seeking clients.)
  • Stand for something. Even the investors who don't have a fleshed-out working prototype can win over "The Sharks" with enthusiasm, a personality, and a "brand" concept. In fact, several of "The Sharks" have invested in unproven concepts because they liked the person pitching the products, and they believed in THEM. Resume writers need to have a "niche" or a "hook" so people can remember them. (Deb Dib, the CEO Coach; Cindy Kraft, the CFO Coach). We've also all known job seekers that talked their way into a job, even though they didn't have the qualifications the employer said they were seeking. Attitude goes a long way!
  • Don't overvalue what you have to offer. Having unrealistic expectations for what their business is worth is a dream-killer for many of the folks pitching their products. Many pitchmen come in front of "The Sharks" with small revenue and profit realizations -- yet they want to value their companies in the tens of millions of dollars because of the "potential." Your worth is based on what you have to offer today -- not five years from now. I've worked with a number of young college graduates. Some of them are worth every dollar they are asking for in a first salary; most are not. You have to prove yourself before you'll get the big investment.
  • Be willing to say, "I'm out." The catchphrase for the show is when each of "The Sharks" decides to invest ... or not. If they decide not to invest in the pitch, they say, "I'm out." Know when to walk away from things. For example, I've recently been talking with resume writers who are trying to work out strategic alliances with recruiting firms (the subject of a new Special Report I'm working on). Some of them are so thrilled to be approached -- and star-struck by the offerings of dozens of new clients per week that the recruiters think they'll be sending their way -- that they don't realize that the deal doesn't favor them. Remember, "It's not personal, it's business." Be willing to walk away.
It's a good show. You should watch it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cost of Unemployment

Lately, in the promotion of my Get Hired Now! program, I've been sharing the "cost of unemployment" with prospective clients in an effort to educate them about the real "price" of not investing in their job search, if doing things on their own hasn't worked.

The Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches had an article in their July 2009 issue that also quantified this. Worth a read!

(Thanks to Jacqui Poindexter for the excerpt and Dawn Bugni for the original tweet that drew my attention!)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Alternative Payment Options

I've been thinking about this topic for quite some time -- and I'm going to have to do some research into the subject.

I wonder if any resume writers charge like the recruiters do -- a percentage of their client's future income. Only, instead of the recruiting firm receiving payment from the employer (usually 30-35% of the candidate's first year salary), the resume writer would be paid by the client.

Debra Feldman wrote about Executive Job Agents in Resume Writers' Digest, so I know there are some innovative resume writers out there ... I'm just wondering if any writers would be willing to share their insight into this strategy.

I was thinking maybe 1-5% of a client's salary, paid over the course of several months (or maybe even a year). It wouldn't have to be limited to executive clients -- I've thought of offering out-of-work professionals this kind of arrangement ... no money up front; pay only upon getting the new job. Maybe a sliding scale depending on the work found -- 2.5% of first year salary if they're making the same or less as before; 5% if they're making more (even if it's $100 more).

Thoughts, ideas? E-mail me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Affiliate Relationships with Recruiters - Compensation

As I am researching my new Special Report for resume writers on developing strategic alliances with recruiters and headhunters, I'm learning there is a wide variety of compensation strategies --- from NONE (the most frequently asked question I hear from resume writers: "So why would they refer someone to me, if they're not getting a referral fee or commission?") to 15%, on average.

I hope to have the Special Report done by the end of the month!! More details to follow...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Professional Resume Writers Strike Back!

In response to some rather visible attacks on the value of professional resume writers, some of our esteemed colleagues are striking back!

They hit on all the key points: The need to identify the job seekers personal brand; the difficulty of paring down dozens of pages of information, notes, research, and job postings into a succinct document; and the return-on-investment offered by engaging the services of a professional resume writer (a couple of hundred dollars for the service vs. thousands of dollars in lost income from being out of work for weeks ... or months ... on end.)

Professional resume writers need to write more of these types of articles!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ask Better Questions, Write Better Resumes

My goal, when I wrote the first edition of "Write Great Resumes Faster," was to compile in one place the great tips and resources I had assembled to help me write better resumes -- and to use them to write resumes faster, since I'm self-employed, and time equals money!

Over time, I expanded the book (leading to a second edition), and finally, this year, I turned it into a Resume Writers' Digest Special Report -- delivering it in electronic form as a PDF for immediate download so that I could continue to incorporate new information and ideas, without having to mess so much with the design (adding pages to an 8-1/2 by 11 special report is a LOT easier than paginating an 8-1/2 by 5-1/2 book).

I'm continuing to add new material to the special report. Consequently, a few months ago, I put together a survey to ask resume writers the best questions to ask their clients to get great information for the resumes they write. The results were fabulous, and are being incorporated into the Special Report. But the answers also sparked the cover story of the Summer 2009 issue, "10 Questions: Better Questions Yield Better Resumes."

The response to the article itself has been fabulous -- I've sold dozens of copies of the Special Report and was just asked by a prominent colleague to turn the article into a client-oriented piece for inclusion on her popular blog for job-seekers! (I'll provide the link when it's published.)

But in the meantime, feel free to incorporate these questions -- compiled from some of the best resume writers in the world!! -- into your data collection process. I've already done so, and am finding that these questions really DO yield better resumes. See if they work as well for you ... and be sure to let me know!

Also, if you don't currently subscribe to the Resume Writers' Digest newsletter -- you should! It's free (supported by the sale of our Special Reports and advertising).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Start Planning Now for International Update Your Resume Month

The ninth annual International Update Your Resume Month is this September. Career Directors International is posting 75 days of resume writing tips on the CDI Twitter page.

Resume writers (you do not have to be a member of CDI to participate) can download banners here to promote the idea that job seekers should keep their resume updated. You can use the banners to link to your own websites. (CDI members have access to promotional campaign materials.)

Now is a great time to send out your news releases on this topic to your local media.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Woman Sues Alma Mater for Not Finding Her a Job

Thanks to Barbara Safani for the heads-up about Trina Thompson, the recent college graduate who is suing her alma mater because they haven't "done enough to find her a job."

The story also lends a cautionary tale to professional resume writers: Manage your client's expectations as part of the career development process.

Ms. Thompson thought that paying $70,000 to Monroe College would guarantee her a job … and job seekers who pay anywhere from $49 to $4900+ for career services from you might think the same ... and, in fact, might expect you to do most of the the work for them. ("After all, that's what I'm paying for, right?")

I was reminded of this myself last week, when I received an e-mail from a client who wanted a customized cover letter for a position opening he had identified online. Following the link provided, I couldn't find the position listed online anymore. I e-mailed the client back, requesting that he contact the company and find out if the opening was still available.

The response I received back: "Can't you call them and find out?"


So be careful when you describe the services that you provide ... make sure that clients know that they are still ultimately responsible for the job search ... just as they're responsible for doing the job once they get it!

And be sure to read Barbara's commentary about the client's online brand profile ("digital dissing.") I just finished reading William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson's book, "Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand" (highly recommend it, by the way),

and I have to agree -- it's doubtful that Ms. Thompson is going to win her lawsuit ... and in the meantime, she's created an online brand profile that is whiny and negative ... not exactly traits that companies are looking for in employees today.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One Recruiter's (Warped) Take on Resume Screening

I can't tell if this recruiter is serious ... bitter ... or just unhappy because he's now unemployed, but I'm a bit disturbed by his take on the resume screening process. Not to mention that he's disparaging the entire resume writing industry.

As an example of his "take" --
Perhaps the most common service offered is professional resume writing. These services promise that, for anywhere between 400 and 800 dollars, a professional resume writer will not only critique your resume, but also work with you to create a resume guaranteed to “break through the clutter” by using better verbs to craft the “story of your career.” Corporate recruiters, apparently, have very strict guidelines for formatting on a resume, and a secret code known only to them and somehow cracked by the Professional Resume Writer’s Association. I must have missed that workshop at ERE, but I suppose so too did a lot of my colleagues, who I have seen commit such violations to code as cut and pasting resumes off of Monster into Word or forwarding horrifically misformatted LinkedIn profiles to hiring managers.

Recruiters who have this attitude -- which is somewhere between being bitter that resume writers get involved with their clients at all (?) and just downright cynical that a professional resume writer might be able to "add value" to a candidate's positioning -- aren't likely to be as successful as those who partner with resume writers to identify top-performing candidates.

Perhaps it's no surprise that Mr. Charney is currently unemployed? I can suggest a professional resume writer to help him...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Typepad Free Webinar Series

I first learned about the Typepad free webinar series when Kirsten Dixson Tweeted a reminder about it. I missed getting in on it by an hour, but found out that they are recorded. Listening to her session is on my to-do list for this weekend... and it should be on yours as well.

The series also has a number of other interesting topics for resume writers (small business owners). You can sign up in advance for upcoming topics (free) or listen to the archived webinars (also free).

I'm reading Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand at the moment and LOVING IT. I had purchased it a few years back at a resume writing conference and started it, but had set it aside and just picked it up again. Kirsten and her co-author, William Arruda offer fabulous advice for resume writers ... and their clients.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Timeless Advice for Handling Price Shoppers

I'm compiling an index of the first 10 years of Resume Writers' Digest and came across this timeless tip in the March/April 2000 issue. Reprinted with permission of Jan Melnik, CPRW, from her book, "How to Operate a Home-Based Resume Service" (now out of print):

"Over the recent years, I've used a variation of the phrase, "I didn't realize price was your only concern," when speaking with prospective clients who focus solely on price.

If the caller seems totally uninterested in any value-added service and is even grumbling about the price of a basic retype, you can add to the above comment, "In that case, you might try the quick-stop copy shop. They'll add no value to your resume, but they'll do it for a very low price, if that's your primary concern."

Nowadays, I get very few requests for resume retypes (most need at least an update or a rewrite), but the advice would be similar... "Well, if price is your only concern, you can find some resume mills online that will update your resume for as little as $29, but I can't guarantee their quality, of course."

Friday, July 31, 2009

10 Years of Resume Writers Digest (1999-2009)

I didn't want this month to pass without acknowledging the 10th anniversary of Resume Writers' Digest. Our first issue was published in July/August 1999.

Here's what I wrote in my inaugural "From the Editor" column in that issue:

I'm sure the first question that crossed your mind when you opened your mail today was, "What's this?"

"This" is Resume Writer's Digest -- a new bimonthly newsletter for resume writers.

Another newsletter?
No, it's not just another newsletter. It's a resource for you, the professional resume writer. Whether you are a part-time resume writer or you've made it your career, this publication is for you.

We provide news and information about employment-related issues. But we're also about the "people" of the resume writing profession. Most of the articles in other resume writing newsletters are written "editorial style," by experts. We want to be the "Living Section" of resume writers. In future issues, you'll see pictures of people -- ordinary and extraordinary -- serving resume clients in the U.S. and abroad.

In the September/October issue, we'll explore what it's like to be a resume writer in exotic and isolated places ... as well as in large and small towns across the country. You'll meet some of the most well-known resume writers ... and some you've never heard from before.

Add Us To What You're Already Doing
We're not a substitute for continuing education or association memberships (in fact, you'll find information about joining the Professional Association of Resume Writers, the National Resume Writers' Association, or the Association of Business Support Services International) on page 8.

Coming Soon...
Later this summer, we'll be launching our website, providing you with online links, archives of articles and interviews, and more information than we can cover in an eight-page, bimonthly newsletter.

Give Us a Try
If you like what you have to offer, subscribe.

Some things have changed over time, but we remain committed to our mission statement:
"Resume Writers' Digest ... (helps) resume writers keep on top of changes in the human resources field, new developments in technology, and trends in the resume writing field. Each issue provides information about what successful resume writers across the nation and around the world are doing, along with concise, timely information culled from a review of select periodicals."

Here's to the NEXT 10 years of Resume Writers' Digest!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Helping Clients -- It's Not Always the Cover Letter's Fault

In a recent blog post on CareerBuilder's Work Buzz Blog, a job seeker named "Jim" asked "How Do I Land an Interview?"

Blogger Kate Lorenz from CareerBuilder answered his questions, and provided some great information. I added my thoughts in a comment, reprinted for you here:

Great tips, Kate! Also, it might not be Jim's cover letter that is the real issue here -- it might also be the resume -- combined with a lack of focus on what kind of job he really wants (he mentions aerospace but then also an interest in a career change). As you advised, cover letters need to be specifically targeted to the position/company being pursued. It's fine to develop a general "template," but then that must be finely tuned to meet the specific responsibilities and challenges of the position being targeted. If it's a position in Sales Management in Aerospace, then that should be highlighted specifically -- no mention of a career change. To go a bit further than your comment about finding a "hook" in the cover letter, both the resume and cover letter need to quantify specific accomplishments that Jim has produced in his 20 years of experience (and most definitely in his most recent position) ... identifying how he specifically helped his last employer make money, save money, solve a specific problem, keep a customer, get new customers, etc. In addition, remember that cover letters are "employer-centric," not "you-centric." There's an awful lot of "I" statements in Jim's cover letter -- and it's nice that he wants to "simplify" his career, but the employer could probably care less about that. Instead, quantify the value that you have to offer to the EMPLOYER, not what YOU hope to get out of the job. In addition, you've got to get the resume and cover letter to the right person at the company. Go beyond applying online and research the company (look at their website, Google them, check out their recent press releases). Find specific individuals at targeted companies to contact. Use LInkedIn to identify executives at the company ... and then use those contacts to help identify what their specific needs are -- for both positions they're advertising, and the jobs that they're going to need to develop and fill, to meet future growth. (That is especially important since Jim has a background in product support.) When you're not getting interviews, it might not be your age or "overabundance" of experience. It might be that you need a professional to help you with taking an objective look at your resume and cover letter ... and learning how to network your way to your next job. You can find professional resume writers who would be willing to provide a free review of your resume through the various professional associations: Career Directors International ( National Resume Writers Association ( Professional Association of Resume Writers ( Career Management Alliance ( Bridget (Weide) Brooks, CPRW Editor, Resume Writers' Digest

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Six Steps to Find Your Voice

In the first part of the four-part series on "Writing Well," I talked about "Finding Your Writing Voice as a Resume Writer." Then I talked about "Strengthening Your Voice." The third installment is on "Technology and Its Impact on Voice." The final piece is "Six Steps to Find Your Voice."

"Writing may be magical, but it's not magic," says nationally-known writing consultant Chip Scanlan.

He outlines a series of steps all writers take:
  • The Idea: Who is this client? What is their job objective?
  • Collect: This is the "reporting" function of the resume writer's job. Read, observe, question, research -- amass information, without judgment.
  • Focus: Make sense of the material. Is anything missing?
  • Order: Organize and prioritize the information you have to make, to make sense of it in relation to the client's job objective, skills, and qualifications.
  • Drafts: Begin to write. Search out examples (accomplishments, case studies, supporting facts).
  • Revisions: Review the writing to ensure everything is relevant to the "the idea."
It may seem like an oxymoron, but "writers need to be more creative and more disciplined at the same time," Scanlan notes. "Writers are looking for permission."

They're often looking for permission to leave out information. That's often the right approach.

"You think you're overcollecting (information), but you're really underthinking," Scanlan says.

"Your job as a writer is to make the reader see," Scanlan says.

Getting better at resume writing is really about three things: practicing, sucking it up, and just asking people to share their lives.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Technology and Its Impact on Voice

In the first part of this series on "Writing Well," I talked about "Finding Your Writing Voice as a Resume Writer." Then I talked about "Strengthening Your Voice." Next up is "Technology and Its Impact on Voice."

The newest challenge to finding personality in resumes is the role of technology. Requests for ASCII resumes -- and the problems retaining fonts and formatting in Word documents places a greater emphasis on content. The story must be compelling, regardless of the visual package.

This is also the area of emphasis which benefits the resume writer in the face of resume templates and resume software. Most resumes submitted for critique feel sterile -- devoid of voice and personality of the job seeker.

Job seekers have been cautioned to reveal enough to get an interview, but not too much.

Every resume writer understands this challenge -- and it's a delicate balancing act.

In the next article: Six Steps to Find Your Voice

Monday, July 27, 2009

Strengthening Your Voice as a Resume Writer

In the first part of this series on "Writing Well," I talked about "Finding Your Writing Voice as a Resume Writer." Next up is Strengthening Your Voice.

When writing resumes, remember that you're writing, "one writer to one reader." What do you want that reader to feel when he or she is finished reviewing the cover letter and resume?

Your writing must be compelling and distinctive to evoke a feeling in the reader. There are certain verbs that can evoke a voice and tell a story.

Is there any room for feeling in resumes? Of course. In traditional journalism, "the embrace of objectivity was to counter the inflamed political rhetoric of the news media and replace it with the informed reason of the scientist," says nationally-recognized writing consultant Chip Scanlan. "It was not meant to produce a totally sterile, objective piece."

In resume writing, sterility was introduced in response to complaints of discrimination in the hiring process. Many issues related to this were unfairly attached to the resume's role in the screening process.

Next up: Technology and Its Impact on Voice

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finding Your Writing Voice as a Resume Writer

"Creative work, critical thinking, and courage is the 'Magic Formula for Writing,'" according to nationally-recognized writing consultant Chip Scanlan of the Poynter Institute.

All writers have to have a philosophy to guide their writing -- a "way of looking at your work and way of doing your work," he says.

The perspective that a writer has on a subject is the writer's "voice." Voice is made up of perspective and tone. It's a personal and honest expression that reveals the writer's background and personality.

Where does the resume writer's voice fit in when writing a client's resume?

Without voice, a resume is incomplete.

"Voice illuminates fact," Scanlan says. "It attracts and holds readers. It is tuned to the purpose of its message and the ear of the reader."

A resume without voice is a fact sheet. Voice brings a storytelling quality, incorporating what you bring to the story without getting in the way.

"Voice is the music to your words that is distinctly your own. (It's) the rhythm the world hears when they read it," Scanlan adds.

This is the first in a four-part series. Next post: Strengthening Your Voice.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Issue of Resume Writers' Digest

The Summer 2009 issue of Resume Writers' Digest is now out!

The 12-page issue offers a cover story on coming up with better questions to ask your clients to yield better resumes. (Based on the results of the "10 Questions" survey, it will be added to the "Write Great Resumes Faster" special report as well.)

Inside: Wendy Enelow reacts to the results of the 2008 Resume Writers' Digest Industry Survey and shares her comments and thoughts.

Also in this issue: Producing Error-Free Resumes for Clients (results of an Accountemps survey), and Jane Roqueplot wrote a nice piece on "Enhance Your Writing With Style Analysis."

Also, check out columnist Robert Middleton's Action Plan Marketing column in this issue on "Getting the Most Out of a Professional Conference." There are still two major conferences left this year (NRWA and CDI), so if you're planning on attending either (or both!), this is a must-read.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reach Telecall: "Test-Drive Your Dream Job"

I'm always glad when I take an hour to participate in the Reach Branding Club's Interview Series. William Arruda and Susan Guarneri consistently line up some of the best and brightest minds in the world to share their thoughts about career topics. And, best of all, it's free! Be sure to get on their e-mail list.

Today's call was with Brian Kurth, author of "Test-Drive Your Dream Job -- A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love." He's also the founder of Vocation Vacations, which allows job seekers to pay to "job shadow" folks in the career field of their choice for a few days, and see whether they'd like it.

The interview was fabulous. Kurth outlined an eight-step process for facilitating a successful career transition -- built heavily on the use of mentors and participatory research to find the right next job. It reminded me of a program in high school that I participated in -- "job shadowing" -- where the high school students would be paired with a businessperson in their desired career field that they could follow around for a day or two.

Kurth has extended this idea to make it part of your "vacation" -- you follow someone in another city or state and they allow you to see what that career path is all about.

A couple of key points:
* Discover/rediscover your strengths
* Create a vision board (a collage of your interests -- buy magazines, newspapers, and print stuff out online -- quotes, pictures -- "Who you are and who you want to become.")
* Confront your fears ("Fear never goes away -- it's how you handle it.")
* Create an action plan (and constantly tweak it)
* Find your mentor(s) -- 1-5 folks -- they should be in the field you want to go into.
* Branding is about EMOTIONS and creating emotional connections
* Establish your thresholds (boundaries or your comfort zone areas you won't cross)

All in all, well worth the hour! I'll let you know when I find out when the next Reach Branding Club Interview Series is.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Aleisa Benedict on Cake Boss

You never know where a resume writer is going to show up! Colleague Aleisa Benedict showed up on Monday's episode of "Cake Boss" on TLC. The cake looked fabulous!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Advice to Those Seeking A Job In HR: Interesting Insight

Thanks to Jason Alba of JibberJobber for the link to this blog post from Punk Rock HR. It's HR professionals responding to a question of a blog reader who is wondering if she should get into a career in HR.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

This is a topic that is frequently asked by job seekers. The one page resume myth SHOULD be all but extinct by now, but unfortunately still lives on...

Nick Corcodilos ("Ask the Headhunter") just addressed this question in recent newsletter. (If you haven't signed up to receive it, do it! For those of you who don't know Nick, he spoke at the NRWA conference in Scottsdale a few years ago. He's generally positive about professional resume writers, but down on "resume mills.")

Here's what Nick said:
"My advice: Edit your resume to make it relevant to the employer, and make it as long as it needs to be. Make sure it's long enough so it reaches where it's supposed to go."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Face-to-Face or Virtual?

In the September/October 1999 issue of Resume Writers' Digest, in my Letter From the Editor, I talked about how resume writers interact with their clients -- and how that interaction was likely to change over time. It's interesting to look back at what I wrote:

From talking to a lot of other resume writers, I know that many resume writers (including me!) are unwilling to give up on face-to-face interactions entirely. I personally prefer to work with clients in person, although I have done long-distance and Internet-based consultations in the past.

The key issue is meeting your client needs. There will be clients who are unwilling -- or unable -- to meet with you in person. There will be other clients who do not have the technology to work with you by computer. Each resume writer will be able to carve out a niche that will suit his or her needs.

Despite all the hype about the Internet, not everybody is online yet. We all have clients who have virtually no computer skills. They will need to "upgrade" themselves to meet the changing demands of the workforce ... just as the resume writing profession will need to change to meet the demographic trends of the new millennium.

Interesting. I changed to working virtually with clients in 2004, when I got married and moved my business into my home. Looking back, my sentiments were right on at the time -- but I've only had a handful or two of clients I haven't worked with virtually during that time. That's mostly because I have referred clients who preferred to work with someone in person to another writer in town who maintains a home-based office that accommodates working with clients in person. But it's also because I work primarily by questionnaire now, instead of interviews.

It's fascinating to see what has changed in the past 5 -- and 10 years. I wonder how resume writing will be different in 2014 ... and 2019. I hope I'm around to find out!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Do You Work With Clients in Finance, Accounting, and/or IT?

If you work with clients in finance, accounting, and/or information technology, request your free copy of the 2009 Salary Guide from Accountemps.

Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International, conducts annual salary surveys and publishes the results in an annual guide.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Teena's Looking for Writers to Interview

Teena Rose, author of "Start Your Resume Writing Business: The Ultimate Resource for Building a $100,000 Resume-Writing Business" is looking for resume writers to interview for her blog, Start, Operate, Profit! Resume Writing Business.

If you are interested in being profiled (look her for her new interview with Robyn Feldberg), contact Teena at teena(at) (replace the (at) with an @ sign).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Unemployment Claims Down, But Continuing Claims Rise

The U.S. Department of Labor released its most recent statistics on unemployment today, and the findings show that while unemployment has stabilized over the past 3-4 weeks (meaning there aren't as many newly unemployed), those who are currently out of work are taking longer to find new jobs.

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment fell 12,000 last week -- initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined to a seasonally adjusted 631,000 in the week ended May 16 -- but the number of people still receiving benefits after drawing an initial week of aid increased by 75,000, to 6.6 million.

What does this mean for resume writers? In simple terms, a need to continue to encourage clients to persevere in their search. There are certainly jobs out there, but clients will have to work harder (using their network and following up) to identify and secure positions. 

Making a point to emphasize a holistic approach to the search -- not just developing and distributing the resume (the equivalent of giving the job searcher a fish, rather than teaching him or her to fish). 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New 10 Questions Survey

One of the things we ask of subscribers to the free Resume Writers Digest newsletter is that they participate in our periodic surveys. Previous surveys have focused on subcontracting, "Write Great Resumes Faster," conference attendance, and our annual "Industry Survey."

Our latest request for your participation -- a question for resume writers OR career coaches -- is: "What question(s) do you ask your clients?" I'm trying to identify 10 "key" questions.

Can you help? Take a minute to fill out the survey -- or e-mail me your questions/questionnaire at

The results of the survey will be the basis for an article in the next issue of Resume Writers' Digest.

The responses I've gotten so far are FABULOUS! Keep them coming!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Analysis of the Resume Writing Industry

I thought I'd share some further data about how I think commercial list compilers are under-reporting the actual number of resume writers out there.

Another commercial list I found identified 809 resume writing firms. Take a look at the numbers reported from your state and see how that compares to your experience:

AK = 1
AL = 8
AK = 5
AZ = 20
CA = 75
CO = 14
CT = 19
DE = 3
FL = 50
GA = 18
IA = 10
ID = 2
IL = 43
IN = 12
KS = 9
KY = 9
LA = 6
MA = 25
MD = 26
ME = 5
MI = 19
MN = 25
MO = 24
MS = 6
MT = 2
NC = 25
ND = 1
NE  = 4
NH = 6
NJ = 32
NM = 1
NV = 4
NY = 62
OH = 39
OK = 5
OR = 8
PA = 48
RI = 4
SC = 6
SD = 1
TN = 12
TX = 52
UT = 2
VA = 27
UT = 1
WA = 15
WI = 14
WV = 2
WY = 2

In my case, I live in Nebraska. Although I wasn't able to see WHICH four firms were listed, I was able to analyze them by city/county, and none of them were listed for Omaha, which is the largest city in the state.

Just looking in one of my local phone books (Dex Yellow Pages), I identified five firms (in addition to my own). One of these is a recruiting firm with a resume writer on staff; the others are sole proprietorships. Interestingly, one of my oldest firms in the city isn't currently listed, so that's at least one more writer that isn't being counted.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Analyzing The Professional Resume Writing Industry

I received an e-mail today from a professional resume writer who was wondering if I knew how many professional resume writers there are out there. Because we conduct an annual Industry Survey, I think I've got a pretty good handle on this. I'll share the results that I gave to her.

My research shows that there are approximately 4,000 to 6,000 resume writers in the U.S. But some of those are career counselors who write resumes only occasionally (or who "consult" on resume writing, but don't write them themselves). Some of those are secretarial and typing services that "do" resumes, but don't necessarily focus on the craft of writing as heavily.

Many people trying to get a handle on the industry just look at the number of resume writers who are listed under "Resume Writing" in the Yellow Pages (SIC Code 73380101 = "Resume Writing Service"), but this is under-reported, according to my analysis. 

Current SIC Code counts are between 800-1300 resume firms -- but my own database shows more bona-fide resume writers than this. (My database is compiled from these Yellow Pages listings plus the major professional associations, plus "self-reporting" resume writers -- that is, they don't belong to associations and don't list themselves in the Yellow Pages, but still write resumes. Some of these might be those secretarial and typing services that also offer resume writing -- or even career coaches/life coaches/therapists who write resumes but don't advertise that service publicly. Others are "newbies" who haven't yet launched their businesses and therefore don't advertise.)

Also, there is no measurement  of what a "bona-fide" resume writer actually is. Do they write 1 resume a week, or 10? Are only certified resume writers counted (not the way I count them!). Do they have to actually WRITE resumes, or can they provide feedback to clients to help them write their own documents (I count both).

One analysis of a commercial mailing list targeting Resume Writing Services found 1012 listings.
1-4 employees -- 777 businesses
5-9 employees -- 141 businesses
10+ employees -- 94 businesses

I didn't find their sales data to be believable, so I won't share that information.

Businesses that are a single entity -- 921 (91%)
Businesses that are a headquarters for multiple branches -- 64

Years in business:
Under 1 Year - 10
1 Year -- 23
2 Years -- 25
3-5 Years -- 231
6-10 Years -- 200
10+ Years -- 523

Because this list was likely compiled from Yellow Pages listings, keep in mind that not all bona-fide resume writers in an area advertise in the Yellow Pages -- and that more established businesses are more likely to advertise than new resume writers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Do You Work with Salespeople?

If you write resumes for those in sales or sales management, you might want to direct them to the Selling Power 500 -- a listing of the organizations that employ more than 500 sales professionals. It's updated annually and published by Selling Power magazine.

Monday, May 4, 2009

More Tips to Help You Write Great Resumes Faster

Interested in writing better resumes faster? Me too!

Here are some more tips to help you "Write Great Resumes Faster" -- and be sure to buy the 60+page Special Report (just $14!) with even more tips, techniques, and especially the Quick Reference Guides (with hundreds of accomplishment-stimulating verbs, profile descriptors, section headers, and more).

  • Walk away from the project and start over again after a while.
  • Take a 20-minute cat nap.
  • Do something physically or mentally stimulating, and come back when you're refreshed.
  • Search websites for sample postings. These will give you suggestions as to how to approach the project at hand.
  • Look at past resumes you've written, or glance at books in your library -- especially in the field in question.
  • Talk to your colleagues -- post on an E-List asking for ideas or help.
  • Google sites for specific industries to use proper jargon and verbiage.
  • "Inspiration comes from going over my notes and reminding myself what the client needs to say (what I need to say for them) to demonstrate their strengths."
  • Review your own past work for inspiration in formatting or wording ideas.
  • "I like classical music. I like the relaxing tones without the words to fill my head."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interactive Resumes

While reading a post on ERE about whether resumes will become obsolete, I read in the comments section about an interesting "interactive" resume style. I have to admit -- looking at the sample, it's not THAT too far off from reality ... but totally useful. Be sure to look at the little "information" ("I") graphics on the right hand side.

His video resume is pretty interesting -- here's a guy who actually "talks" like his resume!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CDI Career Empowerment Summit Set for Oct. 16-17 in Orlando, FL

Dates: Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17, 2009. 
(Pre-conference on Thursday, 10/15).
Location: Caribe Royale All-Suite Resort Hotel, Orlando, FL (just 2 miles from the gates of Disney). 

$119/night for 2-room suites with microwave and refrigerator; in-room Internet $4.95 for 24 hours.

Program Highlights
Intensive-Hands-on Workshops:
Career Client Conundrums: Taming the Biggest Challenges Your Clients Can Give You
Laura DeCarlo and CDI Team Leaders TBA
Change Your World in Two Hours: 5 Key Steps
Pat Schuler, Kick Butt Sales Training™

Power Seminars (subject to minor changes):
Getting the Most Out of Web 2.0 Part I: Business Building
Getting the Most Out of Web 2.0 Part II: Career Tools
Barbara Safani, Career Solvers / FTT Research
Jason Alba,  
Powerful Social Networking Profiles for Profit & Client Success 
Louise Kursmark, Best Impression Career Svc. Inc.
Katrina Kibben, VisualCV
Where the Jobs Are: Exploring the Federal Landscape
Barbara Adams, CareerPro Global Inc.  
Putting the Squeeze On: Helping Clients Wring Every Dollar Out of their Compensation - from CDI's Fall '09 Expert Trends report
Laura Drew, Carolina Career Coach and CDI Director of Education / Research Committee member 
Engage Clients & Prospects: Move Your Website to Social Web 2.0 with Free Tools
Laura DeCarlo, CDI 
Dynamic Networking Events:
Registration Badge Bar 
Friday Networking Lunch
Friday Pool-Side Evening Tropical Reception with live steel drum entertainment
Saturday Lunch Banquet & Awards Ceremony
Saturday Vendor Fair & Networking Event 
Saturday Post-Conference Careers in the Café

Additional Value-Adds
Early bird rate of only $440 for members and non-members!  
Two, four, and five month payment plans available: $220x2; $110x4; and $88x5.
Vendor rate, only $599; payment plans available.  
Registrants are entered in a drawing for free registration in CDI's Entrepreneurial Wisdom program (self-paced version).
Program registration is an $1199 value.  
Registration includes two full days of programs and events!
Registrants receive all materials, workshops and seminars, two hot breakfasts, four breaks, two lunches (one banquet), and all networking events.
Beautiful suites for less than the price of most rooms!
Only $119 for 2-room suites with refrigerators and microwaves.
Low, low rate on in-suite Internet!