Friday, October 12, 2012
Effective Deadline Management for Resume Writers
Deadlines are an inherent part of being a professional resume writer. Most people will have anywhere between one and half a dozen active deadlines in their client work at any given time. Deadlines can be a very useful tool for managing resume projects, but when used poorly, can be a huge source of stress.
Using deadlines well will allow you to work more efficiently with less stress. So what does good deadline management look like?
Learn to Say No
The most important skill you could develop with deadline management is the skill of saying "no." When a client contacts you with an urgent need for a resume, it's tempting to simply say "Yes" -- especially if you need the work, or you're tempted by a rush fee.
For example, let's say a client asks you on Wednesday: "Can I get my resume by Friday?" A good answer might be, "No, a well-written resume takes at least three business days. I can have it done Monday, or we can do a quick triage job to submit it by Friday, but there will be a 30% rush fee for that."
A bad answer would be to take on the task anyway, even though you'd be overloaded.
Learn to say no to tasks that you can't handle.
Schedule Your Work and Deadlines
What goes hand in hand with saying "no" is knowing your schedule. If you don't know exactly how much work you have to do each day, there's no way for you to know whether or not you can take on more work. In order to know whether to say yes or no to a task, you need to be able to accurately gauge your current workload.
Take all your open resumes and task deadlines and predict how much work you'll need to put into them. Then schedule this work out on a day-to-day basis. You now know how packed or open your schedule is.
The next client resume project you get, you'll be able to make an informed decision on whether you can make the deadline. (Or you can set a deadline that works with your existing workload.)
Make Sure Clients Meet Their Deadlines
I saw an example of this on a fellow career industry colleague's Facebook page.
Oftentimes your ability to fulfill on a deadline will depend on your clients meeting their deadlines.
If your deadline is to deliver a first resume draft, and the client hasn't returned their questionnaire (or responded to your questions), you're going to have to either work from the information you do have, or reschedule the client's deadline.
Make sure your client knows what is expected of THEM in terms of meeting deadlines so YOU can meet their deadline. This will help you make informed decisions about delivering current projects -- and whether or not to take on new projects and what deadlines you can agree to.
These deadline management techniques will help you avoid taking on more than you can handle. They'll also help prevent late client projects due to unrealistic deadlines. All around they'll help you reduce your stress level.