Tammy Shoup, of Breakthrough Resume Writing Service, asked me this question yesterday on Facebook. Her question is a common one. As resume writers, should we worry about "liking" the work of others, or sharing articles written by our peers -- should we be worried that it might encourage our prospective clients to seek our our colleague's resumes writing services instead of our own?
I reminded Tammy that clients always have choices -- but by sharing information from other resources -- including other resume writers -- we show prospective clients that we are committed to staying current in our field -- and sharing the best information -- even if it's not something we did ourselves.
By "liking" another resume writing business Facebook page (or following them on Twitter or Pinterest), we increase our connections to our careers industry community. We also have the opportunity to see articles and information that we can share with our clients. There is so much information out there, it's nice to have other resume writers help "curate" it.
But if you're worried about "standing out" among the many resume writing firms out there, here are some ideas that can help.
There isn't one set formula that every resume writing business should use to stand out. (After all, if everyone did that technique, no one would stand out!) What follows are a series of attributes that stand-out companies tend to share. Implement these in your own resume writing business and add your own twist to them to make your services stand head and shoulders out of the crowd.
Most sole proprietor resume writing firms try to be bigger or more official than they really are. Businesses that are able to let that drop and actually share what's genuinely going on are often able to garner a lot of trust and loyalty. After all, when it comes to their career, clients want individual, personalized service. If you're a one-person shop, they will actually be working with you -- and that's an advantage in setting yourself apart from larger firms!
Be real about who you are and where your company is at.
A lot of businesses -- not necessarily career service businesses -- treat their value propositions as win-lose. They make money, the customer loses money. I sometimes see this principle reflected in payment policies for resume writing firms. After being burned by one or two clients (out of one hundred -- or hundreds!!), the resume writer puts policies into place that "punish" future clients for the transgressions of a few.
Great companies, on the other hand, view their relationship as a co-creative one with their customers. Their customers want solutions and you're there to help provide that to them. You trust your customers to pay you (sure, you can still have policies, but you can be somewhat flexible when the circumstances warrant it).
View your customers as your partner in their career success and look to cultivate more win-win relationships with them. Involve customers in the design of a specific service program to fit their career goals, and you'll ensure you're really solving their problems.
Do Unusual Promotions
Did you know that Otis, the man who invented the elevator safety mechanism, got his company launched by placing himself inside a giant elevator in public and hacking off two elevator cables with a hatchet?
Unusual promotions garner a lot of attention. Try to come up with shocking or unusual ways of promoting your business. An "ugliest resume" contest might be one way to do this.
Write with Personality
Groupon launched its service with a successful business model — but they also had something else. They had fantastic writers that had real personality. People love reading personality-filled bits of content online. If you can get people to write witty, funny or edgy content, there's a very good chance you'll stand out.
Pick a Niche and Be World-Class At It
Don't try to be good at everything. Instead, try to be fantastic at just one or two things. Pick a niche and become the best in that niche. Stand out in that niche, rather than in the broader market. (I'm writing a cover story on this topic for the next issue of Resume Writers' Digest.) If you want to be known for something, don't just serve anyone.
Choose a Company Culture
A company culture permeates your website, your writing, and everything else about your resume writing service. If you're a solo resume writer, you may not think you have a "company" culture, but that's just a phrase. For example, the fact that your dog is your company's mascot speaks to your company culture. Is your resume writing business entrepreneurial and fun, or more corporate in nature? You can consciously shape your company culture.
These are some of the many ways you can stand out. Pick the ones that resonate with you and implement them in your resume writing business.