Saturday, November 14, 2020

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (Advice from 2014?)

 I came across some notes in a notebook today. Even though the advice is probably 6-7 years old (it references MySpace, for goodness sake), I thought it was still pretty relevant. What do you think?

  • Update your status often
  • Keep your information fresh and current
  • Connect to others
  • Comment on what you see
  • Use the medium – post photos, videos, music — whatever is appropriate to the site/your situation
  • Be respectful of others’ time
  • Be prepared to offer more than you ask for
Ask yourself: “What do I want to achieve?”

Google yourself.

Make sure your profile is 100% complete.

Photo – bright, well lit, positive

Write unsolicited recommendations for former co-workers and colleagues.

Also on the page — “10 Best Jobs To Get Through Social Media Sites”
  1. PR Manager
  2. Social Media Strategist
  3. Musician
  4. Blogger
  5. Copywriter
  6. Consultant/Freelancer
  7. IT Worker
  8. Comedian
  9. Web Designer
  10. Marketing Manager

It’s kind of interesting to see old advice like this — because honestly, I think those seven bullet points are still pretty relevant in 2020!

Friday, November 6, 2020

10 Questions With Evelyn Salvador

Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Evelyn Salvador of Creative Image Builders.

Evelyn is a certified resume writer and career coach, a personal branding pioneer, and author. She has been a professional resume writer for 28 years. She describes herself as the “World’s leading resume product innovator,” and looking at her portfolio of products for resume writers, it’s hard to argue with that description.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
Ad agency bred, when I first started my business in 1990, I developed branding materials for businesses (such as logos, brochures, fliers, content writing, websites, and the like). In 1992, when asked by my friends to do their resume, I figured I’d give it a shot. When they got interview calls immediately, I thought it was luck or they were in the right place at the right time.

But when that happened time and again, I realized I was onto something … Most resumes were written like job descriptions, but because I was accustomed to branding my business clients, I automatically capitalized on my personal clients’ brands, benefits, competitive edge, value proposition, and return on investment, along with their matching achievements — both visually and verbally — in their resumes. Not knowing it then, I became a Personal Branding Pioneer (the phrase wasn’t coined until 1998); and this became the start of my resume writing practice.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What did you do before?
Previously, I was an Operations Analyst for two banks, and was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Policies and Procedures where I was in charge of documenting the procedures for three merged banks.

After that (in 1990), I decided to engage in my passion of graphic design and worked first for a printing firm and then for an advertising agency, both as a Graphic Designer. In 1992, while freelancing at the ad agency, I started my own business branding firm, Desktop Publishing Plus, and later changed its name to Creative Image Builders when I was branding for both businesses and individuals.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
Nice clothes.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
Best and worst (LOL): Obsessive compulsive when I am working on any writing, design, or photography project. It’s not done until I feel it is the absolute best I could make it. Sometimes I get a little too carried away and spend way too much time.

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
I use some of my own resume writing products, specifically the Career Worksheets and Resume ClipBullets. When I get brain-drain, I come back to and finish it the next day.

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
When the founder of NRWA and CDI were astounded by the
 Designer Resumes I created for my clients and requested I share them with other resume writers, this became my first resume product, followed by many others, and I am so grateful for that.

8. How do you unplug?
I take time to myself either taking and viewing photos, reading and posting on Facebook, conducting research, watching my favorite TV shows in the evening, and playing games on my phone.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
I really want to get into my dream profession of art and photography, but first have to finish everything I am in the throes of! I have 10 niche websites (for resume writing, business branding, art, and photography) — all of which are in an old format and not locatable on Google. I just did launch my site and am in the midst of consolidating all of my other sites into my new business site. (It is not done yet, but the staging link is

Then I have to go into the next stage of making everything downloadable. I also have to finish writing and publishing my 26 resume and career books (7 are published, 7 more are with the publisher, and the remainder are all in process). I so wish everything was done because I’m not getting any younger!

10. What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
Art and Photography and Resume Writer group forums.

You can follow Creative Image Builders on Facebook here:
. Connect with Evelyn on Linkedin here:

Her resume products are available here:

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Annette Richmond? 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Why Resume Writers Always Need New Referral Sources


Many veteran resume writers say they get a large percentage — maybe even a majority — of their clients through referrals. If that's the case for you, it's important to remember that even though you have a strong referral base, you need to constantly be looking for new referral partners.


Referral sources are constantly changing. Referral sources may stop sending you clients for a variety of reasons: people leave the industry, or retire, or die, or get mad at you.

Referral sources forget fast. If referral sources do not see you or hear from you on a regular basis, they tend to forget you. Remember, they are bombarded with information all the time. You may not be on their mind all the time. (In fact, it's highly likely that you are not!)

Referral sources will not know you exist if you don't let them know you are out there. Marketing strengthens your business. Continual communication enhances your reputation, your reliability, and the confidence people have in you.

Marketing enables you to maintain your independence. An abundant supply of clients allows you flexibility in choosing who you work with, and which referral sources to continue to nurture.

When economic conditions deteriorate, resume writers who consistently market new referral sources will have a better chance of staying busy and surviving.

Marketing is an anti-depressant. Marketing is empowering. Resume writers who wait for clients to call them are more likely to go through periods of depression and self-doubt. Depression is caused by a sense of powerlessness and helplessness. Taking action by cultivating new referral sources helps psychologically as well as financially.

It’s not enough to be a good resume writer. It’s not good enough to provide your clients with great service. The people with the busiest businesses are the best marketers, not necessarily the best resume writers. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

10 Questions With Annette Richmond

Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Annette Richmond of career intelligence Resume Writing and Career Services.

Annette has been a professional resume writer for six years. She is a former magazine journalist who “fell into the career field” after earning an MA in Psych. She is a former contingency recruiter, a 5x certified resume writer and is one of fewer than 50 Certified Master Resume Writers (CMRWs) worldwide.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
After almost two decades in the career field, I decided to combine my experience as a writer and perspective as a former recruiter to help my clients move forward in their careers.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What did you do before?
After earning a BA in English, I landed my dream job as a writer for a national 4-color magazine. My interest in people led me to return to school to complete a MA in Psych. The first job I found was as a vocational counselor in a nonprofit training and placement facility. Twenty-plus years later, here I am.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
T-shirts and leggings, primarily black.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
Best: Riding my Peloton.
Worst: Trying to multitask.

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
Photos of our 4-legged kids, Emma and Katie.

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
When I’m at a standstill writing the content, I switch to something fun like design. If that doesn’t work, I walk away for a couple of hours.

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
Ask for help when you need it. I’m not exactly sure where that came from, but it’s true. I’ve changed careers a few times, and the only way I succeeded in any of them was because people helped me along the way. I try to pay that forward wherever I can.

8. How do you unplug?
As a business owner, I work a lot. In my downtime, I turn to movies (lots of classics), fiction (mysteries, classics), sports (primarily football), and relaxing with my husband and our 4-legged kids.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
There’s a lot of misinformation out there, some of it from well-known career professionals. I wish there was some type of regulation to help the public understand the difference between solid advice and noise.

You can follow career intelligence on Facebook here: or on Twitter @careerintell. Connect with Annette on Linkedin here:

Smarter Career Moves podcast – available on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and wherever else you access your podcasts:


Career Intelligence Resume Writing – YouTube:

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Holly Genser? You can read it here!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

10 Questions With Holly Genser


Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Holly Genser of

Holly Genser helps frustrated professionals and leaders with integrity who want to find meaningful work that fits their values. She is a Certified Career Transitions Coach (CCTC), Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW), and Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE).

As an introvert herself, Holly also specializes in helping introverts develop gentle job search and interviewing strategies.

She is a member of the National Resume Writers Association (NRWA), is an NRWA Ask An Expert Blog Contributor, and a member of Career Directors International (CDI).

Prior to becoming a career coach and resume writer, Holly earned a MA in Training and Development from The Ohio State University. She also held several roles in Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and higher education, including project manager, consultant, instructor, instructional designer, success coach, and learning center director.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I became a career coach because, as a child, I felt sad and frustrated as I saw the pain of my mother’s career mismatch and my father’s discouraging job search during a recession. Then, I also felt drained in my job as a training consultant after graduate school, even though I liked it.

When I taught Career Coaching for Supervisors and Career Development for Employees at AT&T, I felt I’d come home to my career interest. I learned about being an introvert and what I needed in my work environment and applied my knowledge and skills to my own difficult planned and unexpected job and career changes. 

It took me several years to fulfill my desire to ease the way for others — first, part-time, and then full-time.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What did you do before?
I learned about career development when I was a training consultant at AT&T and I was asked to get certified to teach their Career Coaching for Managers and Career Development for Employees workshops.

Then I developed the Selection Interviewing for Supervisors and Interview Skills for Employees workshops at Sprint.

I used the skills for my own job and career changes, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I became a Certified Career Transitions Coach (CCTC) and resume writer.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
A colorful, cotton knit shirt, silver jewelry, and black or navy pants.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
My best habit is focusing for long periods of time. I get into the flow and get a lot done.

My worst habit is also this deep focusing. I don't get up often enough for good health.

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?I love the big Georgia O’Keeffe print I see when I enter my office. I love the colors. A bit of it shows behind me in my photo.

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
What works for me when I get stuck writing is to leave my desk — or, at least the project — and come back a few hours to a few days later. 

I get new ideas when I’m doing something else and a fresh perspective when I return to the project after a hiatus. Even working on a different project helps to gain perspective. 

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
Learn about yourself and find work that fits your personality type, interests, and values.

8. How do you unplug?
I mediate, listen to music, exercise, watch good shows or movies, and draw freely with colored markers and artist’s crayons.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
Have industry regulation to eliminate the unqualified resume providers who provide cheap services based on generic job descriptions without any client differentiation.

For resources and information, visit Holly's website at You can also connect with her on LinkedIn at

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Lori Jazvac? You can read it here!

Monday, August 24, 2020

How to Create Your First Client-Attracting Course

This month, I launched my newest course, “Ask Better Questions, Write Better Resumes.” This experience — of launching my fourth course under the Resume Writer’s University school — has given me a solid understanding of what’s needed to create a course.

Whether you’re talking about a text-based course or a video course, jobseekers can benefit from learning strategies to help them with their job search. And you’ll love selling a course, since the high perceived value means you can charge more for a course versus other infoproduct formats (such as ebooks).

So, with that in mind, check out these three steps for creating courses your customers will love…

Step 1: Do Your Market Research

The first thing you need to do is figure out what your audience wants. A good way to do this is to find out what they’re already buying. You can check:
  • to see what sort of video courses they are buying.
  • Marketplaces like Amazon and ClickBank to see what sort of infoproducts they are buying in your niche.
  • Websites in your niche to see what they are selling.
  • Paid advertisements (such as sponsored ads) to see what they are promoting.
Popular topics are: preparing for a job interview, job search using LinkedIn, and salary negotiation/getting a raise. But there are other opportunities too: customizing the professionally written resume to target specific job opportunities, identifying your personal brand, conducting a successful job search, applying for positions online, and more.

Select a topic that looks like it will sell well, and then move to the next step…

Step 2: Decide What to Include

Next, you need to decide what to include in your course and start creating your outline. To do this, take two steps:

1.   Brainstorm. Think up all the sub-topics, steps, tips, examples, mistakes, etc. you’d like to include in your course.

2.   Research. Find out what similar infoproducts. Use this information for inspiration – do NOT copy.

NOTE: While you may choose a topic that others have done before, and you may even look to similar products for inspiration, your goal is to create something fresh. This means:

  • Sharing unique strategies and tips.
  • Including unique information — such as case studies, personal stories, and personal examples.
  • Delivering information in a new way, such as turning a step-by-step formula into an acronym/formula.
Next step…

Step 3: Develop Your Course

Once you know what all information you want to include, then organize it into a step-by-step format. If you’re delivering the course in parts, then create equal-sized modules. (e.g., you might create a 12-module course and deliver one lesson/module per week for three months.)

Keep these tips in mind:
  • Use a light, conversational tone.
  • Add relevant stories to keep people engaged. For example, what problems do most jobseekers have when they are starting out with this topic? What mistakes do they typically make?
  • Add value to your course. Offer worksheets, checklists, templates, swipes, planners, and cheat sheets to help people take action on what they just learned. 
  • Proof and polish. If you have errors in your course, people will judge the information as a whole to be low-quality. If needed, hire someone to proof and fact-check your course.
  • Insert backend offers. Promote related products and services inside your course.

As always, you can outsource this entire task to a freelance writer (or video editor) to produce a polished end result.

We didn't talk about the technology, but I use the Teachable platform for Resume Writer’s University because it makes it easy to set up, market, and sell courses. It also includes an affiliate program, so you can let other people promote your course and share a referral commission with them.

Create a course once and it can provide residual income. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

10 Questions With Lori Jazvac

Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Lori Jazvac of Creative Horizons Communications – Resumes in Burlington, Ontario Canada.

Lori is an award-winning Master Resume Writer (MRW), Master Certified Resume Strategist (MCRS), Certified Hidden Job Market Coach, and Certified Transition Coach. She is a multi-credentialed NLP Practitioner and NLP Coach. She specializes in supporting jobseekers of all fields and levels globally to navigate complex career transitions within a competitive labour market via a holistic, intuitive, and results-driven approach.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I decided to become a professional resume writer in 2013 because I wanted to leverage my passion for creative writing and help jobseekers to navigate challenging career transitions.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What  did you do before?
I got into the career industry after undergoing my own career transition to working remotely as an entrepreneur. At that time, I identified a gap in the labour market as well as critical need by jobseekers (especially entry- and mid-level) for high-quality brand marketing collateral, job search planning, and strategic career services. I realized that jobseekers needed strategic and high-level career support as well as goal-focused and results-driven coaching.

Previously, I worked in the administrative field in various roles and industries, where I honed skills in business administration, accounting, customer service, and sales/marketing.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
When I am working, I wear professional, but casual and comfortable clothing. I like to wear clothing that reflects the colour I need for that day to bring me energy or calm and inspiration.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
My best habit is maintaining a to-do checklist while ensuring the highest-quality standards are met with all my clients.

My worst habit is sometimes staying up too late — I am a “night owl” so I get my best creative work with resume writing done at night.

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
My favourite object in my office is a beautiful picture that hangs on my wall reflecting a bridge and horizon.

The way the warm colours are portrayed, along with the bright lights and scenic background inspire me to drive my vision and mission to continue helping diverse jobseekers “cross their own bridge” and courageously embrace new opportunities and embark on a new transition. I am also reminded of my own transition that I made seven years ago.

It reflects my motto: “Think creatively and visualize a new career horizon.”

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
My “go to” technique when I get stuck when writing a resume is taking a short pause, then doing a brand map or brainstorming the attributes or key elements that make the client stand out. I get unstuck by reviewing and capturing the client’s most relevant information, including focus/target, audience, special value, and milestones while “connecting the dots” for the employer or recruiter. I also like to utilize the strategies offered by Bridget Brooks on writing resumes more efficiently. 

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
The best career advice I ever received from another professional when I was unsure of how to take that next entrepreneurial step was: “So just start!” And that is when my passion for wanting to help people grow and succeed led me to starting my career development journey through CPC (Career Professionals of Canada).

Also, the old saying by Robert H. Schuller: “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do” has always inspired me.

These sayings have reminded me to be spontaneous, take action, and believe in my own strengths to navigate among trying times.

These days, our careers are anything but linear. We each have our own unique vision and mission/purpose to fulfill, and we need to leverage that vision and mission to make a true difference. We each have our own career journey with lessons to be learned, gains to be made, and challenges to be overcome, that embodies an enriching experience.

While we may never know where our career path will take us, we need to go with the flow, believe in and channel our unique value, embrace change, and keep on learning. These are the fundamental pillars of success.

8. How do you unplug?
I unplug with exercise, yoga, dance, meditation, or taking long walks in nature. I also love listening to upbeat music.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
What I would change about the career industry would be to raise greater awareness to jobseekers about the immense value of investing in a high-quality resume package or career service. This is absolutely an essential service that cannot be delayed. Everyone needs to have a customized resume package and updated LinkedIn profile at all times as opportunities can arise anytime and one needs to be prepared.

Many jobseekers fail to realize that career services represent a high-value investment for their personal and professional growth. Working with a professional resume writer/career coach greatly benefits jobseekers to help them understand their value, set meaningful goals, and gain clarity with their journey. The value is priceless!

10. What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
@CareerProCanada (Twitter)
@WorkItDaily (Twitter)
Laura DeCarlo (LinkedIn)
Edwin Correa (LinkedIn)
Career Impressions (LinkedIn)
Deepti Pathak (LinkedIn)

You can find Lori on Facebook, on Twitter (@Lori_Jazvac), and on LinkedIn at

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Gayle Howard? You can read it here!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Resume Customers Will Pay More If You Show Them the Value

I’m working on a new Resume Writer’s University course on pricing and wanted to share some thoughts on a topic that you may have struggled with — or are currently struggling with.

Many resume writers — especially new ones — make the mistake of thinking that every prospective client is money-conscious and looking for rock-bottom prices. This could not be further from the truth. Think of the difference between a Toyota and a Lexus and you will see there are a range of factors that influence a purchasing decision beyond just price.

Show Them the Value
Resume clients will pay more if you show them the value of the service you offer — that is, the reason why your resume services are priced higher those of other resume writers, but also how your services offer real value.

Price and value are not the same thing. They can be related to each other, but they are not the same. A Toyota is not perceived as having the same value as a Lexus, even though they are made by the same company.

Why would this be the case? Marketing helps create this perception. You can do it with your services as compared with other resume writers.

For example, imagine you and another colleague who provide resume services to the same audience — for example, IT professionals. However, how you collect information from prospects differs. You use detailed questionnaires to collect the information, allowing the client to gather the details of their experience on their own time. Your colleague conducts an information-gathering consultation call.

Your marketing might appeal to introverted IT professionals who don’t want to “dig through” their responsibilities and accomplishments verbally. Your colleague’s marketing might appeal to IT professionals who are more comfortable “talking through” their responsibilities and accomplishments than writing them out.

Your Unique Selling Point
In other cases, the difference will not be so clear-cut, but the whole point of your marketing will be to distinguish your brand and products from others. This is commonly referred to as your unique selling point, or USP. Your USP answers the question: Why should people do business with YOU?

Reasons might include awards, industry status, your educational background, experience, and so on.

For example, if you are a resume writer with an extensive background as a recruiter who can provide insider secrets on how to connect with recruiters in the IT industry, your services will be in more demand than someone without the same authority and “street cred.”

Add Value without Spending a Lot
You can also add value to your services without spending a lot of money or time. In this way you can create the impression they are getting an even better deal for the price, even if your price is higher.

For example, you can create a range of educational items to supplement your resume services. These can include checklists, FAQs, worksheets, a quick start guide and other valuable information which will help people make the most out of the product. (Bronze members of, you have access to these tools as part of your membership.)

You might also create some training videos to help clients with specific aspects of the job search. You can use a platform like Teachable to do this. With online education booming, and video marketing as well, making quick how-to videos can be a great way to increase the perceived value of your offerings.

A free Facebook group, members only email lists with special offers, extra content, and so on, and a special customer support portal with FAQs can take a little time to set up, but add up to big bucks.

By branding yourself as a company that offers real value for money, it will be easier to make more sales and retain customer loyalty. Resume clients will pay more as long as you are clear about the value of what you were offering, so they will feel as if they are getting the best deal possible.

Stay tuned for more information on my new course!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

10 Questions with Gayle Howard

Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Gayle Howard!

Gayle, “Executive Resume Writer, Word Nerd, Mac Geek, and Storyteller Extraordinaire” is the owner of Top Margin. She has been a resume writer for 30 years, “helping people find their voices and tell their stories to stand out in a crowd.”

Gayle is a “strong believer in the notion that people gravitate to what they love — even when it involves compromise.” She says that her career aspirations were crushed (in “earlier, unenlightened times”) by a high school careers teacher who insisted that “journalism was for men.” That “pretty lousy advice” took her in different directions professionally, but ultimately, Gayle returned to her passion for writing when she launched Top Margin in March 1990.

“30 years later, and here I am! Master Resume Writer, author, career storyteller, coach, trainer, and 51-time nominee and 27-time winner of resume-writing awards — extolling the talents of my clients as they demonstrate determination, tenacity, and success. I tell people’s stories of insurmountable obstacles overcome, and of ways they disrupt the old, to bring in the new. My resumes succeed because I provide the context that makes people eager to know more.”

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
At the time, my son was only three years old, and I was keen to work from home. As I had experience writing resumes and recruiting, I thought it would be a good opportunity to run a home-based business.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What  did you do before?
I commenced my career in customer service and later was an executive assistant to an executive in the financial planning sector. As an executive assistant, I hired staff and went through their resumes to select candidates for interview. I loved doing that, and it seemed like a natural fit that could match personal and professional interests.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
Jeans, top, runners.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
My worst habit is procrastination combined with a short attention span. I can spend 3 minutes writing and a “ding” sound goes off on my computer and I’ll be looking at Facebook. Or checking Twitter, or reading the news headlines. I’ve not lost my focus, I can focus for hours on things I love doing … but after 30 years writing resumes, my focus and interest has just about disappeared. My best habit is my willingness to embrace new ideas, create new ways of doing things, and learn new technologies. It has served me well over the years!

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
I have a little Amazon clock sitting beside my desk. I like that it shows me the temperature, I like its pink clock face, and I love that I can control the lights with it, and ask it about things quicker than if I search Google. I love its shape too. Super cute.

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
If a client has gone on for paragraphs and I have trouble wading through all the jargon and detail, I look right to the bottom of the piece, because mostly they’ll put the result of all this stuff there. I then type that first: “Saved the world by…” and then I sift through the content looking for the “I did this” statement and add that. “Saved the world by calling upon my long-term relationship with Superman.”

Then, finally, I go to where they complain about all the things they hated and add that in between two phrases. So it becomes “Saved the world stagnating through lack of engagement by calling upon my long-term relationship with Superman.” I find this technique gets me strong, achievement-filled bullet points without having to plow through all the minute and unnecessary detail. Sort of a “sift and scan” technique.

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
I’d be happier to tell you the worst advice I ever received, which I usually write in my bio! But the best career advice I’ve taken on board, is in customer relationship management. Email is a terrible thing sometimes, and often we just answer quickly and it makes us sound harsh and rude. I make sure I write every email and then edit it. So I say what I want to say — complaint or question, and then write the nice stuff around it. “Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out. I really appreciate it.” Or, “I can imagine how upsetting that must have been for you at work and how up in the air this has made you feel.” I guess the quick answer is: always remember that behind every email is a person with feelings. Don’t trample on them.

8. How do you unplug?
I love my Netflix, I love reading, and I love going out on drives with my husband.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
For my business, I would have turned over the reins to freelance writers much earlier. I spent way too much time making myself indispensable in my own business and ended up writing until everything I did for the business became me sitting in front of the computer. I know lack of exercise has affected my health and eyesight, and I regret that very much.

As far as what I’d change about the careers industry, it would be that I think there should be one key body with influence to represent all resume writers and that has professional clout — like accountants and lawyers. I think multiple associations has created numerous toothless tigers and wide variations in what the average person can expect when hiring a resume writer with association backing.

10. What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
@SamHeughan (Twitter)
@MikeCarlton01 (Twitter)
@passengershaming (Instagram)
@theoatmeal (Instagram)
@natashas_skinspa_southbank (Instagram)

You can find Gayle on Facebook at Top Margin, on Twitter (@GayleHoward), and on LinkedIn at

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Dawn Rasmussen? You can read it here!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

10 Questions With Dawn Rasmussen

Get to know the other resume writers in our community with our “10 Questions” series!

Today’s profile is Dawn Rasmussen!

Dawn is a certified resume writer and the president of Portland, Oregon-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. She is the author of “Forget Job Security: Build Your Marketability,” which she says is “the first-ever book that provides a complete roadmap on how to manage your career.”

One thing that Dawn says makes her “tick,” is “a relentless and tireless desire to help everyone understand the importance of actively managing their career every minute of every day.” When she isn’t busy working with resume clients, speaking to conference groups nationally and internationally, writing articles and blog posts, or teaching, Dawn can be found hiking Oregon’s spectacular outdoors, kayaking, or plotting her next adventure.

1. How long have you been a professional resume writer?
Since 2007.

2. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I love writing and realized that the instincts were already there. The best part, however, is that this craft also means I get to help people. When they are not confident, I can reassure them and hold up the mirror that I have polished so they can see their value and worth. Over the nearly 13 years I've been doing this, I've heard back from so many clients that this project together had a positive impact on their lives, and to me, that is the best reward and reinforces that I am doing what I was meant to do.

3. How did you get into the career industry? What  did you do before?
It was an accident that was rooted in serendipity. The organization where I worked had a major org shift and I was without a job. My work had involved running a statewide school-to-career program for 49 high schools around Oregon. I was already going into the classrooms as a guest speaker, talking about resumes and job searches. After my job transition, a friend with whom I had lunch with said, "I know what you should do … become a resume writer!" Her daughter had dabbled in it and offered to set up a chat. After the conversation, I dove in feet first by joining the relevant professional organizations, attending the annual conferences, learning how to hone my craft, and ultimately, getting certified.

4. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
I wear dressy casual (clothes). No jammies for me. When I am in “jammy mode,” I don't feel focused, nor polished. I prefer being comfortable but in the professional zone.

5. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
Best habit is self-discipline … that was one warning I was given when I first started working as a professional resume writer — that I would need to be focused on creating a structure. That’s been an easy thing for me … the worst part was finally giving myself permission to take a day off. With a hustle mindset, I had been mentally berating myself for wanting to take a day off because I felt guilty for “not working” — without realizing that, for all the days that I worked 10-14 hour days, it was ok to have a rest day too.

6. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
My Buddha. I am not Buddhist, but this Buddha in a meditative pose reminds me to stay centered, calm, and realize that I cannot change the whole world…just the parts that I can change. This figurine was purchased two years ago when I was with a dear friend of mine when we visited Cambodia and Thailand with her two sons. This was a trip of a lifetime, and it always brings a smile to my face.

7. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
I walk away from my desk. I need to clear my head and give my brain a rest. That way, when I come back, I know what I need to do, but I am refreshed and can open my mind to new approaches.

8. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
Dress for one career level higher than where you are … that helped me especially when I was working in the mailroom, and wanted to move up the ladder. No one understood why I was wearing skirts and dresses, but it helped with my professional image.

9. How do you unplug?
Anything outside in nature which includes hiking, backpacking, birdwatching, gardening, and kayaking.

10. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
I wish the careers industry would have a more unified voice. Right now, there are so many different organizations and people with certifications — the general public can’t make heads nor tails of it all. Additionally, there should be a coordinated response when negative media stories come out about scammy fake resume writers who burn consumers…we need to educate the public that professional resume writers exist, and how to find them.

You can find Dawn on Facebook at Pathfinder Writing and Careers, on Twitter (@DawnRasmussen), and on LinkedIn at

Monday, April 20, 2020

Career Membership Sites: Helping Jobseekers Beyond the Resume

Jobseekers often need more help beyond just writing them an interview-winning resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and job search documents.

Some resume writers are offering additional support for jobseekers using membership sites. These sites can offer specific assistance in one area, like LinkedIn profiles, or a wide range of support for the job search. Some charge a small monthly fee while others are a one-time fee for “lifetime” access to the materials.

Here is a roundup of several career membership sites for jobseekers:

The Classical Career Club
This club offers four membership levels and is hosted on the Patreon platform. Memberships start at $3 for a "virtual tip jar" level that offers members access to a “bi-weekly newsletter featuring original content as well as curated lists of the best jobseeking and career development articles on the web.” The level also includes “good karma” as a membership benefit.

The “Athenian” level, $20 per month, is for those who are "serious about your career development and know you need to play the long game.” It includes the benefits from the three previous membership levels,  plus exclusive patron-only posts and a weekly newsletter, access to The Classicial Career Club community, and the “Classical Career Coaching’s Guide to Networking,” which is “20 pages of info on How to Use Your Network, Networking Cover Letters, Informational Interviewing, and much more.” This level also includes periodic additional long-form jobseeking resources, an ATS-friendly basic resume template, and regular access to VIP office hours and monthly “Ask Me Anything“ sessions.

The membership club owner, Steve Brady, has also upped the value of his memberships by offering members the opportunity to put the total amount of their membership fees towards the resume package of their choice once they reach their one-year anniversary of membership. Great idea!


Job Search Secret Weapon
This membership site is a collaboration between four veteran resume writers: Virginia Franco, Sarah Johnston, Ana Lokotkova, and Adrienne Tom. The membership site “connects jobseekers with everything they need and in one place” and is geared towards early-to-mid career level professionals. Members pay one upfront fee to get access to the membership site resources targeted to a kit that fits their specific needs in the job search.

The membership site offers several different “kits” for the job search: a “Resume/Cover Letter kit,” “LinkedIn kit,” “Interview kit,” “Job Search Planning/Hidden Job Market Strategy kit,” and a “New Grad kit.” Each kit includes a variety of resources, including articles, worksheets, templates, and/or videos. Kits range from $69 to $129 each.

Or, members can get a “Complete Job Search Solution” membership for $199 with more than 60 resources that include job search planning tools, resume templates, interview preparation guides, LinkedIn resources, and more. It includes scripts, worksheets, articles, and videos created by the four career industry professionals.


Leveraging LinkedIn For The Job Search
This fixed-term membership is an inexpensive ($15), yet effective way for jobseekers to start, cultivate, and maintain their LinkedIn profile. This eight-day membership delivers one lesson each day, via email, for eight days. It includes an action checklist to guide specific actions to take to build a LinkedIn profile that attracts interest from recruiters and hiring managers and helps you connect to your next job. The activities in each lesson can be done in just a few minutes.

Lessons include:

  • Lesson 1: Step-By-Step Guide to Setting Up Your LinkedIn profile. This lesson walks you through the process of setting up your LinkedIn account, using screenshots to show you exactly how to do it. (13 pages)
  • Lesson 2: Privacy Settings on LinkedIn. How to make sure the right people see what you want them to see. (5 pages)
  • Lesson 3: Putting Together Your Profile. What to put in your profile so that it’s attractive to recruiters and hiring managers. (13 pages)
  • Lesson 4: Making Connections on LinkedIn. How to connect with the people you already know on LinkedIn, and then leverage those relationships into connections with people you want to know. (10 pages)
  • Lesson 5: How to Give — and Get — LinkedIn Recommendations. Understanding LinkedIn’s online endorsement system, and how to get your network to say nice things about you publicly. Includes an easy formula to write LinkedIn Recommendations. (22 pages)
  • Lesson 6: Using LinkedIn to Find Jobs. Where to find job openings on LinkedIn — both advertised and unadvertised opportunities. Includes a Target Companies List. (20 pages)
  • Lesson 7: Maintaining Your LinkedIn Account. Now that you’ve spent time building your profile, don’t lose it! Step-by-step instructions to back up your profile and secure your data. (9 pages)
  • Lesson 8: LinkedIn: Next Steps. How to use LinkedIn on an ongoing basis and make the most of your LinkedIn profile. (2 pages)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Preparing for an Annual Performance Review

While annual performance reviews are typically conducted in the fourth quarter of the year (October – December), it's smart to get jobseekers thinking about their performance review early in the year. That gives them time to compile accomplishments throughout the year, instead of waiting until the last minute and having to dig through emails, documents, and files on a deadline.

Here are some guidelines for jobseekers preparing for an annual performance review:

If this is your first appraisal at this company, find out how it’s typically handled — and what it involves — either by asking co-workers or your manager.

If this is not your first review, get out your information from last year’s evaluation.

Prepare for this year's performance review by:
• Reviewing the feedback and ratings you received last year
• Looking at the areas where you scored well last year
• Identifying the areas that needed improvement last year
• Reviewing your goals and plans from your last review — have you made progress? Have any of the priorities from the previous year’s review changed?

Next, you’ll want to come up with your list of activities, projects, and accomplishments since your last review. Be sure to quantify your accomplishments. Your manager may not be aware of everything you were working on, so preparing a brief summary is important. What does your manager need to know before he or she meets with you?

Also assemble any relevant documentation to showcase in your review:
• Letters or emails from customers, supervisors, co-workers, and/or vendors
• A list of any trainings you’ve completed
• Copies of any honors, awards, or recognition you’ve received since your last evaluation
• A summary of your professional development activities since your last review

Your manager may also ask you to prepare a self-assessment. Some companies provide a form for you to complete the self-assessment. Others may give you some open-ended questions.

Looking for more tips for jobseekers to prepare for an annual performance review? Check out the Jobseeker's Guide to Preparing for a Performance Review Pass-Along Materials. It includes ideas for questions you should ask, information on how you will be assessed, and what to do if you get a negative performance review.

Pass-Along Materials content is done-for-you careers content that helps educate and inform jobseekers to help them be successful in their job search. For more job search topics, click here.