Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting Paid for Your Resume Services Online: Secure Online Payment Systems

Earlier this year, I closed the credit card merchant account I'd had for the first 14 years of my resume writing business. It was a tough decision, because I liked having the ability to process credit card payments offline. (I had clients fill out a Work Authorization form and fax, mail, or email me their credit card information and I'd charge the initial deposit to their card. When the project was finished, I'd bill the card for the balance.) The system worked pretty well, but the fees and compliance requirements were ultimately what led me to close the account.

It wasn't the transaction fees that were driving me crazy -- it was the monthly minimums and fees associated with processing the transactions. $.15 here, $1 there ... and if I didn't process a certain amount of transactions each month, I'd be billed for a $25 minimum anyway. Ugh. The last straw was when I spent an hour working my way through a labyrinth of questions with PCI compliance. I agree that card data security is important, but it shouldn't take an hour of my time and two calls to the support hotline to meet the compliance requirement.

The majority of all resume writers accept credit card payment for their services. If you haven't needed it yet, there is a very good chance that at some point in time you will need a mechanism to accept online payment from your customers. But for many resume writing businesses, the costs of setting up their own merchant credit card accounts, and satisfying all of the security and recordkeeping requirements that apply to such accounts, are too high.

Ultimately, after conducting research into the issue, I decided to process all client payments using PayPal's standard service online. It's not perfect (they're notoriously bad about advocating for the merchant in cardholder disputes, but I only had two disputes in 14 years in business, so I didn't worry too much about that), and I've had a few clients who didn't want to use PayPal to process their credit card. (I gave them the option to send a check, but told them it would delay their project starting and completion, as it takes time for the check to clear.) Also, if you don't link a social security number to the account, they will often impose monthly limits on how much money you can transfer out of the account into your bank account. (But a good way to avoid this is to link a PayPal debit card to the account and use that to make purchases.)

PayPal is the well-known heavyweight in online payment systems, and their credit card processing services are likely to be of most interest to businesses. PayPal's two primary business products are "Website Payments Standard" and "Website Payments Pro." Website Payments Standard is a great low-cost solution for businesses that want to accept credit card payments. There are no monthly fees associated with this service, so a business only pays a small flat fee plus a small percentage of the transaction value when someone buys something from them.

Website Payments Pro requires the business to pay a monthly fee, but in return the business gets to handle the entire payment transaction on their own site. With Website Payments Standard, the customer is sent to the website to actually enter credit card information and complete the transaction, before being sent back to the merchant's website. The fee for Website Payments Pro is currently $30 per month, and some businesses find that being able to keep their customers on their website for the entire transaction is worth the extra fee. (You also have to "apply" to be accepted into the Website Payments Pro system, but the majority of applicants are accepted.)

Other online payment systems have met with differing degrees of success. WebMoney is a secure service for online transfers, though it is less popular in the United States than it is in Russia and some Far East countries. Similarly, CashU is popular in the Middle East and North Africa, but has limited value in the United States.

The issue for these other services is something of a "chicken and egg" problem -- without many domestic merchants accepting the payment system, fewer people in the U.S. sign up for it. But with fewer U.S. residents having accounts on those systems, there is little reason for businesses to start accepting payment through that system.

In addition, some early adopters may have had bad experiences with other systems. E-gold was a popular a digital currency system in the early 2000s, but the legal problems of the company and its management led to accounts being blocked for a period of time. It therefore remains to be seen whether nascent online payment systems such as Bitcoin will continue gaining strength. I also considered Square, but didn't yet have my iPhone.

Because an increasing amount of online commerce is occurring on mobile devices such as smart phones, it is also worth highlighting a few secure mobile payment systems. Mobile payments are not quite as mature as the online payment space, but there are a few different services that are likely to become bigger players in the future. Google Wallet is currently a leader in the secure mobile payment space for android device users. Visa is also pushing its own product (called Visa Wallet) in the mobile space.

Regardless of what happens with services mentioned above, it's likely that the secure online payment mechanism will become increasingly popular in the future.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Opportunity to Earn MRW/CCM Is Back!

Following the demise of the Career Management Alliance, the future of the Master Resume Writer (MRW) and Credentialed Career Manager (CCM) credentials was briefly in question. However, Career Management Alliance arranged with Wendy S. Enelow (original founder of the Career Masters Institute, which became the Career Management Alliance) to take over the certifications.

You can now find a listing of all current MRWs and CCMs on the Career Thought Leaders website, including instructions on how to apply to become a Master Resume Writer and the application process for the Credentialed Career Manager designation.

The MRW and CCM are back with Wendy. All is right with the world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pros and Cons of Using a Template-Based Website

When you set up a website for your business, or decide that it's time to do a complete overhaul of your existing site, you'll be faced with a number of design decisions. Much of the focus will be on how your new site should look and how people will interact with it, and rightly so. As the internet "face" of your resume writing business, these are very significant issues.

But you also need to decide how your website is going to function behind the scenes, and choose the structure and framework on which your website will be built. If you are using a popular framework such as WordPress, Joomla, or perhaps using one of the pre-built websites that your hosting provider offers, you'll be using what is known as a "template." Using website templates provides a number of pros and cons that you should carefully consider before going forward.

Most resume writers equate the word "template" with "bad" -- i.e., a Microsoft Word resume template. Templates are really much more than that, however. They're simply structure. If you customize the template, it can simply be a good foundation upon which to build. In my book, "Write Great Resumes Faster," I talk about using a template that simply has placeholders for the information you want to include in the resume (often, advanced formatting tricks -- like section dividers.) In the same way, a website template can offer advanced customization features as well.

By the way, "Write Great Resumes Faster" is the October special report offered in the website. Join the Bronze level for just $10 a month, and you'll get access to the $14 "Write Great Resumes Faster" book as just one of your membership benefits for the month.

"Pros" of Using a Web Template
One advantage of using a web template is that you can get your website up and running much more quickly than if you were starting from scratch. A web template is usually ready to go right out of the box, or very close to it -- you still need to customize the template for your business name, contact information, and the like, but you're starting from framework.

Because they save you time, templates are also likely to save you money. There's a good chance you can find a free or open source template to fit your needs, or that is already included in the cost of your web hosting package. But even if you decide to purchase a template, it is likely to be significantly less expensive than either hiring a website programmer to build your site from scratch, or trying to learn to do so yourself.

Templates that are in wide usage by other websites are also likely to be stable and less likely to break down. Any bugs or defects in the code are likely to be discovered and possibly remedied by other users. Some popular templates even have discussion board communities on which you can find tips on maximizing the effectiveness of the template.

I've managed (but not built from scratch) Joomla and Wordpress-based sites, and although there is a learning curve, I found it fairly easy to edit existing content (especially changing out existing text) and even adding new pages.

Cons of Using a Website Template
On the other hand, popular templates suffer from a significant disadvantage because when a template is popular, it means that there are likely a number of other websites that look quite similar to how yours would look. Many businesses know that their success is going to depend, at least in part, on their ability to stand out from their competitors. Sometimes trying to start with a template and then undertake significant modifications winds up breaking a template, so you're back to square one.

In addition, although there are many reputable and trustworthy sources for website templates, there are also some sources that could wind up significantly damaging your business. Hackers and computer criminals have been known to take templates and add short snippets of malicious computer code, then offer the template for free. The code is often very hard to see, and wouldn't be found by anyone unless they were digging deep trying to find it, and could compromise your website or let the hacker potentially take full control of it. WordPress and its templates (known as "themes") are common targets, due to the popularity of the WordPress framework. Avoid downloading any WordPress themes or other templates that you see offered for free but which are offered for a fee from the official source.

I had a resume writer contact me just yesterday and mention his site had been targeted by a hacker. (Just like Windows folks are more susceptible to viruses than Mac users, just by virtue of the large user base, the same is true for Wordpress sites. I'd especially recommend changing the default passwords, as this is the easiest way to prevent being hacked!)

Consider all the factors outlined above before deciding whether to use a template for your website.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Using Your Blog to Get Better Search Engine Ranking

Many resume writers have a blog (Julie Walraven, Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Barbara Safani, to name a few) -- but not all resume writers understand how to optimize their blogs to get better rankings in search engines like Google and Bing.

Blogging is a free marketing tool that many don't take advantage of. Using it can help you to achieve higher search engine rankings for your website.

Think of it as the difference between formal and informal meetings with clients. On your website, you are providing essential information about your resume writing services -- what you can do for those who need your services. You give them what they need in a well-written format. They can find your "store" with links to purchase a resume package, for example, and opt-in pages for newsletters and mailing lists.

With a blog, you can let your hair down, so to speak. A blog allows you to post information for your readers and customers. Then, they can provide feedback to you in the form of comments on your posts. You can discover vital suggestions from customers that can enhance your business. (I get comments from resume writers seeking specific resources to support their business development on this blog, and on my job seeker's blog, I get questions from prospective clients.) Blogs have appeal to many and they are also followed by people who like what you have to say but who have not even visited your website -- yet.

So, use your blog to its fullest potential. Here are some ways to achieve better rankings for your resume business website.

* Write optimized posts -- More than likely, you are changing your content on your blog more often than you are on your website. While you are refreshing the website content, you don't need to do so as often to keep interest. However, readers of blogs are more voracious and need fresh news more regularly. By sprinkling the keywords you are trying to promote throughout your entries, spiders can crawl and rank your entries high on search result pages.

* Include links to your website -- Each post is ranked and given its own URL. This is a new opportunity to mention a link (outright or with anchor text) that leads back to your website. For those who only follow your blog, they can now find you in another capacity on your website. This increases your traffic. (Plus, it provides a link to your website, which gives it "authority" in the eyes of the search engines. Bonus!!)

* Use an RSS feed -- People can follow your blog easier and still use links in posts to find your website. Increasing the number of blog subscribers also increases website traffic.

* Submit your RSS feed to a directory -- This can also help to increase your search engine rankings of your blog, which is good news for your website. One example is FeedBurner, but there are many others you can also use. (I use Feedburner for this blog.)

Blogs are free and quick to set up. You can start with a site that has its own templates (I use Blogger!) and then further customize them for your needs. Without spending a cent, you have created another channel to divert traffic to your website though one-way links. Increase your search engine rankings faster with a blog.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

As a resume writer -- especially a self-employed resume writer -- it's easy to spread yourself too thin by wearing all of the hats in the business. (Chief Phone Answerer, Resume Writer, Bookkeeper, Researcher, Marketer, Blogger ...)

My husband and I were talking about this over the weekend. I told him my fuse is a bit shorter than it normally is (okay, it's a LOT shorter than it normally is), and I thought I was getting burned out. I did some research on the subject, and yep -- the self-diagnosis is that I'm a bit crispy around the edges... Read on and see if you're getting brown around the edges too!

How Do You Know If You're Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

Sometimes the signs that you're doing too much are subtle. Other times there's absolutely no doubt in your mind that you have too much on your plate. Here are a few signs that you're spreading yourself too thin:

* Insomnia -- you go to bed and cannot get tomorrow's agenda off of your mind. (This is one of my biggest challenges. I've learned to keep a post-it note pad and pen by the bed. If I can write it down at least, I don't worry that I'll forget to do it in the morning.)

* Fear and doubt -- fears and doubts start sneaking in. You doubt your skills, direction, and purpose. Francesca Battistelli's song, "Free To Be Me" speaks to me: "Sometimes I believe that I can do anything; yet other times I think I've got nothing good to bring..."

* Moody -- you feel tired, irritable, and frustrated. You may find yourself snapping at your spouse, children, or family members and then -- of course -- feeling guilty about it. Sometimes a nap helps, but other times it doesn't.

* Exhausted -- everyone gets exhausted from time to time. However, the exhaustion that comes from overwhelm doesn't go away. I know I've gotten to this point when I *know* I need to start a project and I just can't even think about it. And then the guilt sets in ... because there's always a deadline ... and it just spirals around and around.

* Family members -- when your family members start acting out or complaining that they don't see enough of you, then you know you've tipped the scales of balance in the wrong direction. (I don't have this issue as a resume writer, there are peaks and valleys, even in a single day. I might have a ton to do one day, and then a pretty quiet day the next day.)

* Negative thoughts -- when you start thinking, "I'm doing too much," "I'll never get this done", or "I'm not going to make it" then you're likely spreading yourself too thin.

What Can You Do about It?
Spreading yourself too thin isn't all doom and gloom. It is a very useful sign that things need to change for you. And sitting down and assessing what isn't working is a great way to improve and grow both professionally and personally. Truth be told, spreading yourself a bit thin can also be invigorating and fun -- it's certainly better than being bored. I find I like being busy a lot of the time. If I don't have a lot on my calendar on a particular day, that I waste a lot of time and don't get much accomplished. (What's the saying? "Want something done? Give it to a busy person." That's me, for sure.)

However, to be productive and to get where you want your business to be, it's important to regularly assess if your energy is being put into the most productive tasks. For example, if you spend two hours answering email every day, those aren't productive hours. You ideally want to spend your time on high priority tasks -- tasks that make you money. For most resume writers, that's talking to prospective clients and actually writing documents.

Tools to Overcome Being Overwhelmed
When you feel overwhelmed or that you're spreading yourself too thin, there are some very effective solutions.

#1 Create a schedule -- Schedule your day. Put your high priority tasks first. Schedule time with your family and friends. And schedule downtime for yourself. If you cannot take care of yourself, then you can't take care of everyone else.

(This brings me to another good point -- you're probably the caretaker of someone else in your life ... a spouse, child(ren), maybe a parent or other family member. I don't have any kids, but I do have two family members that I help take care of, and I find my "work" fuse is especially short when I'm stressed out about issues related to their care. You have to learn to separate the parts of your life from each other, and not let work-related stress spill over into your family life, and not let family stress spill into your work life.)

#2 Create a business plan -- If you don't have a business plan, create one. If you do have one, then use it. Set aside time each week, or month, and review where you are and where you want to be. Use your plan to help you stay on track. One of my big goals this year is to use a membership site to create passive income, so I'm not trapped in a "dollars for hours" system. My membership site ( is to help careers industry professionals be more effective in their work -- but I am working on a training program for resume writers to create a membership site for their clients.

#3 Outsource -- You don't have to do it all yourself, and to be honest you probably shouldn't. Outsource those tasks that you dislike, that take you tons of valuable time or that don't make it to your top priority list. These tasks can include house cleaning, writing, social networking -- you decide what gets taken off of your "to do" list. It doesn't have to involve hiring a virtual assistant. My 12-year-old niece/goddaughter is earning money for a school trip to New York in the spring, and I hire her for a few hours each month to handle shredding and data entry. (And I'm thinking of hiring her to help with taking out the trash each week -- especially after last night's spider-on-my-back episode!!)

Finally, be confident in your decisions and feel free to use the word "No" whenever you need to. Don't be afraid to turn down opportunities, requests, and other things that take up time (time that you don't want to spend). This is your life. You're the boss of it and your business -- take back your time and regain control!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Using TweetChat to Help You Monitor Career-Related Twitter Chats

In this week's YOUnique newsletter (the newsletter of Reach Personal Branding), Kristen Jacoway offers tips on "How Twitter Can Help Your Job Hunt." (Sept. 22, 2011, Issue 60).

One tool she didn't mention -- but that I find helpful when engaging in a chat on Twitter, is TweetChat. TweetChat allows you to monitor the chat in real time without being distracted by the other tweets on Twitter. It creates a "virtual room" for tweets using the hashtag (like #CareerChat) you have selected to follow. (Note: You will sign in with your Twitter account and click "allow" to enable access to your account. This will allow you to post your comments on the chat just the same as if you were posting from Twitter directly.)

(On the TweetChat home page, you put the hashtag you want to follow in the box right at the top there -- between where it says "TweetChat"  and "Go." It can be a little hard to find the first time around, so I thought I'd point that out.)

Here are a couple of chats Kristen highlighted in her article:

  • #JobHuntChat – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET. This chat is for a community where job seekers, career coaches, recruiters, human resource professionals, and hiring managers come together. Each week, #JobHuntChat focuses on 6 questions from job seekers and then practicing industry experts offer solutions.
  • #CareerChat – Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • #InternChat – Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. ET
  • #GenYChat – Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET
  • #HFChat – Fridays at 12:00 p.m. ET. HFChart is a part of HireFriday – movement where job seekers are marketed instead of job openings.
  • #Linkedinchat – Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. CT. Linkedinchat covers topics about LinkedIn and leverages this social media platform.

You can find a list of regularly-scheduled Twitter chats (not just careers industry-related), at this link:

You can sign up for a subscription to the YOUnique newsletter here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Career Directors International Announces 2011 TORI Nominees

Each year, CDI hosts a resume writing competition for the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) award.

Winner announcements will take place at CDI's award ceremony at the 2011 Career Empowerment Summit this October.

Here are the 2011 TORI Nominees, in no particular order:

Best International Resume
Barbara Safani, Career Solvers
Donald Burns,
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Sandra Ingemansen, Resume Strategies
Maureen McCann, ProMotion Career Solutions

Best New Graduate Resume
Ginger Korljan, Take Charge Coaching
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas, Career Steering
Cheryl Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue
Kevin R. Morris, CareerMobile
Surranna Sandy, Surcorp Resume Solutions, Resume Solutions

Best Creative Resume
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas, Career Steering
Michelle Riklan, Riklan Resources
Tina Nicolai, Resume Writers' Ink, LLC®
Cheryl Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue
Brenda Bernstein, The Essay Expert LLC

Best LinkedIn Profile
Karen Siwak, Resume Confidential
Donald Burns,
Maureen McCann, ProMotion Career Solutions
Melanie Lenci, Resume Relief
Cheryl Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue

Best Technical Resume
Leeza Byers, Byers Workforce Solutions
Alexander Kofman, Resume Pros for Less
Kevin R. Morris, CareerMobile
Jennifer Hay, IT Resume Service
Donald Burns,

Best Executive Resume
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Holly S. Reslink, EmpowerLink, LLC
Cheryl Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue
Surranna Sandy, Surcorp Resume Solutions, Resume Solutions
Michael Kranes, Resume Slayer

Best Sales and Marketing Resume
Surranna Sandy, Surcorp Resume Solutions, Resume Solutions
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas, Career Steering
Gayle Howard, Top Margin Career Marketing
Sharon Williams, JobRockit
Victoria McLean, City CV Ltd.
Sandra Ingemansen, Resume Strategies

Best Military Conversion Resume
Lee Kelley, CareerPro Global, Inc.
Jennifer Rushton, Keraijen
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Nancy Segal, Solutions for the Workplace, LLC
Joseph L. Tatner, CareerPro Global, Inc.
Fran Sheridan, CareerPro Global, Inc.

Best Cover Letter
Kevin R. Morris, CareerMobile
Maureen McCann, ProMotion Career Solutions
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Gayle Howard, Top Margin Career Marketing
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas, Career Steering

Robin Schlinger, of Robin's Resumes, coordinated the TORI awards this year.

Judges included:
Barb Poole, Hire Imagine, LLC
Darlene Dassy, Dynamic Resume Solutions
Laura Labovich, Aspire! Empower! Career Strategy Group
August Cohen, Get Hired StayHired, LLC
Annemarie Cross, Advanced Employment Concepts
Jill Kelly, Career Edge
Susan Guarneri, 

Handwritten Notes Can Help Your Clients Build Their Networks

Marketing expert David Frey shared the following story of how George Bush Sr. become president -- winning the ultimate job.

It's said that every person that George met, he kept in touch with.

It didn't matter whether it was interns, politicians, business people, or clergy, he and Barbara Bush would make sure they stay in touch.

The way he did that was with simple greeting cards and personal notes.

(This isn't a political story -- it's a networking story. Read on.)

Handwritten Notes are King!

Here's quotes and excerpts from six different, well-known professional business experts about the power of handwritten notes.

1. “Short handwritten cards yield long results. In sales, never underestimate the importance of the personal gesture, and right at the top of the list of effective personal gestures sits the handwritten card.

Always send memorable cards and personal notes when you are reminded of a person.”

HARVEY MACKAY, Author of "Swim with the Sharks Without Getting Eaten"


2. "Because I understood that building relationships is what selling is all about, I began early in my career to send thank you cards to people. I set a goal to send 10 thank you cards every day.

Guess what happened? By the end of my third year in sales, my business was 100% referrals!”

TOM HOPKINS, Auhor of "How to Master the Art of Selling"


3. "Sending cards is one of the most powerful tools in building a huge network, both professionally and socially.

People with the most impressive networks are typically avid card writers.

It's one of the best techniques for long-term winning without intimidation. I suggest getting into the habit of immediately sending out cards."

BOB BURG, Author of "Endless Referrals"


4. "Write customers personal, handwritten cards frequently. If you run into an old customer anywhere, follow up with a handwritten card.

In this electronic communication age of email, the handwritten card with a postage
stamp gets more immediate attention than ever.”

DANIELLE KENNEDY, Author of Seven Figure Selling


5. Welch sent handwritten notes to anyone in the company who he felt deserved personal communication, whether to motivate, correct, or congratulate, from top management to laborers.

Much has been said in business books and magazine articles about Jack Welch's habit of sending handwritten notes to his GE subordinates.

Matt Lauer of the Today Show said, "Jack is a master of the hand-written note.

JACK WELCH, Former CEO of General Electric


6. Joe Girard, the world’s greatest salesman -- listed in the Guinness Book of World Records -- sent over 16,000 handwritten greeting cards to past customers and clients every month.

As a result of that effort, Joe became the #1 car salesperson in the entire world for 12 years straight. Nearly every one of his sales came from referrals.

JOE GIRARD, Author of "How to Sell Anything To Anyone"


7. "I cannot overemphasize the value of the handwritten thank you note. I believe it’s more important than ever, because so few people do it anymore."

SHELLEY KAEHR, Ph.D. Author of Sales 101: Simple Solutions for Sales Success


Are You Convinced Yet??

If you're not sending out handwritten notes, then you're really missing the boat.

I personally write between 2-6 handwritten notes a day to people.

That one small practice has changed my life and the lives of many others.

Writing notes endears you to people and sets you apart as someone who truly cares about others.

With all the competition out there in today's business world, the one thing that can set you apart is the small, kind, thoughtful things you do for people.

And writing notes is the fasest, easiest, and most effective way to reach out and touch people.

Now that you're convinced that you should be sending out handwritten notes and cards, David recommends this solution to help you keep in touch:
David Frey is the CEO of and the author of the Small Business Marketing Bible.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Using PR Techniques to Get Your Clients Interviews and Get Hired

Jessica and Meryl

When I saw this article on "Using PR Techniques Can Get You Hired, Promoted" in the Atlanta Business News, it immediately caught my attention.

I've often said that there is no "degree" in resume writing -- careers industry professionals come from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. My personal background is in journalism/public relations, and I've often used these techniques in helping my clients with their resumes ... and to get interviews.

A couple of specific techniques from PR are important:
  • The message is the most important. When providing interview training, I remind clients that it's up to you to communicate your message. The interviewer may have his or her own agenda for the interview -- and it may not align with the message you want to communicate. If you can pick 2-3 key messaging topics for yourself, you'll be able to stay on track in the interview.
  • Use the "inverted pyramid" style of writing in the resume and cover letter. When writing a news article, you start with the most important information at the top, with the least important successively as you go down the page. In newspaper copyediting, this helps the editor trim from the bottom up, when space is an issue. The same is true with the resume.
  • Have a theme or story. The use of storytelling principles continues to grow in the resume writing field -- because it's important to stand out. The same is true with newspaper writing. Personal interest profiles are written very differently than straight news stories. You'll see this reflected in resumes too -- and it can be the difference between an "obituary" resume versus an interview-winning resume.

If you are interested in this subject, check out "Be Your Own Best Publicist" (Career Press, January 2011) by PR pros Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Business Card Resumes

Over the past 15 years, there have been many attempts to makes resumes "portable" -- from JIST Cards to Social Media Trading Cards to the "Business Card Resume."

Martin Yate's article this week on the topic, "The Business Card Resume" caught my attention.

While his article covers the basics, I thought the visual example he gave was lackluster:

If you're going to provide these cards to your clients, you need to make sure they have the same branding and identity (and look and feel) as the resume. And by all means, the "Performance Profile" has to be as distinctive as a branding statement on the resume. I don't know why Yate chose to abbreviate "Senior" in this example (did he really need to save the extra three letters?) or why his performance profile doesn't quantify ($$, %%, or ##) the real value the client can deliver to an employer.  (Shouldn't all senior A/R specialists be focused on the "identification, prevention and solution of recurring accounts receivable problems"? What sets this client apart? A 44% recovery rate of receivables past due more than 120 days? Expertise in reducing average time-to-collect by 23 days?

More "trendy" -- but not necessarily appropriate for all job search uses, are social media trading cards (thanks to Wendy Terwelp for pointing out her hometown's company, Meet-Meme).

These cards are certainly attention-getting! Another neat feature of the company's services is that QR codes on the cards direct to a personal online brand site, which can contain the full resume and portfolio.

No matter what format you recommend (or provide) for your clients, make sure that it's consistent with their personal brand and identity. Provide as much value as possible in the small space, but don't cram it with information. Consider adding a QR Code (like the ones on Meet-Meme's social media cards) to lead to the client's LinkedIn profile, or a personal website.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CDI Announces 2011 Career Innovator Award Nominees

Career Directors International has announced its 2011 Career Innovator Award nominees. This is the fourth year this award will be presented. The winner will be honored at the 2011 Global Career Empowerment Summit in Savannah, Georgia, in October.

Nominees include:

  • Jennifer Rolles, IntRvue, Inc. The website allows job seekers to create multipage multimedia storyboards, enabling them to use storytelling techniques in the job search.
  • Mary Elizabeth Bradford, The Job Search Success System.  A 10-step job search system for job seekers with 18 audio modules covering such key topics as internet job searching, "how to ace your interviews," networking without asking for a job, and finding and working with recruiters.
  • Camille Roberts, "Create an Effective Federal Resume with the Online Resume Builder." This 21-page free e-book, from Job-Hunt's Federal Job Search Expert, provides step-by-step guidance for clients looking to develop and upload their federal resume to the USAJobs website.
  • Barbara Adams, CareerPro Global Inc. Barbara has introduced the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) principles to the resume writing and career services industry.
  • Janine Moon, "Career Ownership: Creating 'Job Security' in Any Economy." Janine's 120-page book, available for purchase on, offers a roadmap for job seekers to take ownership of their career path and chart their course to success.
Congratulations to all the nominees!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Women for Hire Looking for Career Industry Pros for Fall Sessions

Women for Hire is looking for resume writers and career coaches to provide resume critiquing and mini-career coaching sessions at their Fall 2011 Career Expos.

There are six Expos scheduled:
Tuesday, Oct. 4 -- Cobb Galleria, Atlanta
Thursday, Oct. 6 -- Navy Pier, Chicago
Tuesday, Oct. 18 -- Four Points Sheraton at LAX, Los Angeles
Thursday, Nov. 3 -- Hilton New York, New York
Wednesday, Nov. 9 -- The Almas Temple at the Hamilton Crowne Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, Nov. 15 -- Doubletree Hotel by Hilton, Dallas

They are looking for veteran expo participants -- or first-timers! While admission to the expos is free for job seekers, they must bring a resume for admission. For resume critiquing you must commit to arrive by 9:30 a.m. and stay until 2 p.m. (the event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The expo includes:
*Power Seminars: Top tips and tricks on acing a challenging job search
*Mentor Match: Candid advice from another professional in the trenches
*Perfect Pitch: Nail your quick intro to wow everyone you meet
*Resume Reviews: Instant feedback on this all-important document
*The Interview: Experts will evaluate job seeker’s interview skills
*Engaging Employers: Access to the people who’ll get you in the door
*Exceptional Connections: Phenomenal talent to trade ideas and leads

When critiquing resumes, you will spend five to seven minutes with each jobseeker. The goal is to provide some general observations about a resume and make a few constructive suggestions. All resume critiquers are, of course, free to mention their services and provide contact information. But we like everyone to leave with specific tips and feedback. 

Lunch and beverages are provided.

We have found that giving candidates a one-page list of standard resume tips cuts down on repetition. This document is also a great place to provide information about your services, including a contact number or email address. Many participants receive referral business this way.

Note: If you would like to receive the Resume Writers' Digest Resume Critique Form (customizable!), send an email to editor(at) (subject: Critique Form).

Genevieve Geany is your contact at Women for Hire to sign up. Genevieve says, "In all of our extensive marketing efforts, we promote free resume reviewing as a key component to our events. Since we know your time is valuable, we include your name and contact information in the directory that is distributed to all attendees. This packet includes a list of participating employers as well as any additional offerings from last season. Last year, some resume critiquers also spent some time evaluating job seekers' interview skills with a new feature called The Interview. They also chose to partake in Perfect Pitch to help jobseekers perfect their 30-second elevator pitch. Please let me know if this interests you."

Contact Genevieve at Genevieve(at) or call her at (212) 290-2600.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Inspired "Ten Steps to a Federal Job"

Author Kathryn Troutman shared the story over the weekend about how the 9/11 tragedy inspired her book, "Ten Steps to a Federal Job." I requested permission from her to reprint the story on my blog. Here it is:

"Starting on the day after the attack, concerned citizens were calling our office at The Resume Place, Inc. to ask for help with applying for federal positions. We saw that Americans needed a quick, step-by-step guide to federal jobs in order to understand the complex application process and successfully apply for the anti-terrorism, emergency management, and law enforcement careers (that resulted from the attacks). I wrote and published the first edition of "Ten Steps to a Federal Job" (Bridget's note: link is to the third edition, which was just published this month) within months after Sept. 11, 2001.

U.S. citizens would call and say, "I want to have a job that will make a difference. I want to help protect our nation's security. I don't want to sell computers, or cars, or financial services anymore. I want a job with a federal agency that can make a difference for America. I don't know anything about federal jobs, but I want a job where I can help make America more secure, somehow, some way."

Job seekers were in a hurry to land a job where they could make a difference in America against terrorism. They wanted jobs where they could contribute their skills to new careers in security, safety, disaster preparedness, analysis, data, and communications to increase information about and reduce terrorism toward America.

Financial job seekers from New York City's financial district were calling to find new careers using the financial background that they had developed for many years in NYC. Their businesses were gone, many colleagues were lost during the attacks, and thousands of jobs were wiped away. We helped many financial analysts and financial specialists to relocate and redirect their careers into financial services in government agencies. Hundreds of new public service job seekers were asking about first-time federal jobs where they could make a difference.

Agencies and jobs that were of the most interest for first-time federal job seekers to help protect our nation's security included:
  • FBI: Police and law enforcement officials wanted to help the FBI track terrorists.
  • TSA: This agency was formed very soon after 9/11, and many retired police personnel, security, and law enforcement personnel flocked to TSA.
  • FEMA: Emergency preparedness, disaster preparedness, and EMT personnel were seeking positions to take care of emergencies that may occur in America following this day.
  • CIA/NSA/NGA: People from all walks of life were interested in intelligence positions, including language specialists (especially Arabic language speakers).
  • DHS (including CIS, CBP): People wanted to be a part of change in immigration, customs, and boarder work to help monitor those who came into the country safely.
  • HHS/CDC: Public interest spiked in epidemiology, biology, and forensics, as it related to possible terrorism in America.
  • Military Services: Thousands of brave Americans volunteered for the active duty and reserve services and would deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan for many tours over these past 10 years to protect America.
The Next Step:
Now, Certified Federal Job Search Trainers are helping thousands of first-time job seekers today who are public service-oriented!

Ten Steps to a Federal Job gave thousands of patriotic, public service-oriented Americans the steps they needed to try to begin a public service career that could help improve our watchful eye against terrorism, to serve expert skills in counter-terrorism, to assist with emergency preparedness, to design continuity plans, and to help manage disasters that we hope won't occur.

The "Ten Steps to a Federal Job" curriculum is still being taught on military bases around the world to military personnel and spouses who are currently serving America to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens.

A message of sincere appreciation goes out to the military personnel who have served for the last 10 years and sacrificed so much to protect America in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We at The Resume Place, Inc. are dedicated to helping the military and public servants continue to protect the security of Americans.


Resume writers: If you are interested in obtaining training to become a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer, click here for more information.

Kathryn Troutman Photo courtesy of Emily Troutman, Photographer.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's New, What's Next

For the past two months, I've been working on a new project for Resume Writers' Digest -- a membership site. Because Resume Writers' Digest has been around for more than 10 years now (I started it in 1999), I have a lot of content (in various formats) that I think can be useful for my fellow career industry professionals.

I've got more than 40 back issues of the Resume Writers' Digest newsletter. I've got recordings of teleseminars I've done. I've got about a dozen special reports -- some that I sell and some that I give away. I've got articles, blog posts, and pages and pages of handwritten notes and ideas. All looking for readers/listeners/viewers. But I didn't have a good way to package the information ... until now. (Some of these are incorporated into the site; others will be added over time.)

I'm not starting an "association" -- there are already plenty of those in the industry! This is a portal to help you gain access to information that will make you a more effective resume writer and better businessperson. It ties in with the mission that I've had for Resume Writers' Digest since the beginning -- when I identify something I'd like to know more about as a resume writer, I seek out the information and share it with you.

There are currently two levels of membership:
  • Free. Get access to the current issue of Resume Writers' Digest, selected free special reports, the general discussion forum, and a free listing in the public directory of resume writers. (Register for a free membership; applications are manually approved to keep out spammers.)
  • Bronze. For $10/month, you also get access to the entire archive of Resume Writers' Digest issues, additional member-only discussion forums, access to an enhanced Membership Directory (for networking!), several special reports (currently: Write Great Resumes Faster -- which normally sells for $14; Best of the Conferences -- which normally sells for $8; and Getting Started on Google+), business templates and forms (currently: Resume Critique Form, Company Profile Sheet, My Websites, and Backup Resources) and the first of the Pass-Along Materials (PAMs) content packs.*

* What are PAMs? Pass-Along Materials are content packs that you can re-brand, re-write, and/or re-package for use with your clients. The first PAM package is a guide that your client can use to ask questions in an interview. One new PAM content pack will be released each month for Bronze members. The previous month's content pack will be removed from the site when the new one is added.

The more members we get, the more resources that will be made available!

The membership site will be launched on Sept. 30 -- but I'm doing pre-launch testing this week (and a special Charter member offer next week). If you are interested in being a beta tester, email me at editor(at)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Don't Take Too Many Social Media Shortcuts

As this Hubze blog post points out, sometimes the tools you use to manage your social media presence can backfire. Although Hootsuite is one of the timesaving tools I mentioned in the Spring 2011 issue of Resume Writers' Digest to help you manage your social media presence in 30 minutes a day or less, over-relying on Hootsuite -- especially for Facebook -- can penalize you in two ways.

The first is by reducing your Edgerank score (Edgerank is the algorithm Facebook uses to determine which of your posts are seen by your page's fans). The second is that Facebook sometimes "bunches" posts from Hootsuite together. (We've all seen the "See more posts from Hootsuite" link in our Facebook news feed ... and raise your hand if you've skipped over clicking to see more of those posts. Yep.) The same is true for some other services, such as Twitterfeed.

See this example:

While it's perfectly fine to use Hootsuite to help you manage your social media presence, there's no substitute for manual posting, especially on Facebook. So mix it up a bit -- throw in a manual posting at least every other day, in order to maximize fan engagement. (For most resume writers, you should be posting on your fan page no more than twice a day and no fewer than twice a week.)