Monday, December 11, 2023

Mindset Mondays: Practice Positive Thinking

Negative thoughts can affect your ability to see your success — as well as make you feel bad about yourself and the world around you — and can lead to poor choices. Thankfully, you can turn yourself around by focusing on positive thinking.

  • Create a Minimum “To Do” List. Each day, look at your calendar and schedule and see what you need to do for the day to be a success — but just for that one day. It shouldn’t be 12 hours of work either. It should be a realistic depiction of the minimum necessary tasks to experience success.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal. Every evening, write down three things you are thankful for in general and for that day. Then, the next morning, read those three things before you start your day. When you focus on the good in your life, you’re going to feel more successful.
  • Meditate Daily. Take time out of your day to mediate. You don’t have to meditate for a long time to see results. Just five minutes a day can make a big difference in your mood and your thoughts. You can also meditate in different ways, such as by walking in nature, lying on the living room floor listening to music — or the typical way most people think of it. But clear your mind so you can reset and start fresh.
  • Time Limit Your Negativity. When you allow a negative thought to enter your mind, instead of dismissing it, try stopping and doing something else that makes you feel positive. Five minutes watching babies laugh on YouTube can pay off in numerous ways.
  • Practice Changing Your Thoughts. When a negative thought enters your mind, you can practice changing it. If you have a negative thought, think it out, and then turn it around to something positive. With practice, the negative thoughts will resolve themselves.

You don’t have to be overly positive for these tactics to work. If you have trouble turning a negative thought into a positive one, use a neutral thought instead. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Mindset Monday: Take Daily Baby Steps

Happy Mindset Monday! To support your success, I’ll be sharing mindset tips with you on Mondays. Today’s tips are to help you succeed without getting overwhelmed.

When you want to experience success, sometimes looking at the whole project is too overwhelming. However, if you take small steps daily, you’ll meet your goal and it will be less stressful.

This will help you to:

  • See things more clearly. The giant goal of building a six-figure career services business can seem daunting, but the smaller goal of getting one new client a week is a lot more do-able, because you can see it happening.
  • Increase your focus. It’s easier and more effective to focus on what you can do today, instead of thinking too far ahead. For example, if one of your goals is to write a book, it may seem impossible. Break your goal down to write one chapter a month. You could break it down further into writing 4,000 words a month, or about 1,000 words a week, or 150 words a day.
  • Stop procrastinating. Knowing you need to write 150 words to meet your goal is less stressful and easier to imagine than writing 4,000 words in one sitting — so you’re more likely to jump in and get it done.
  • Lower stress. If the thought of writing a book overwhelms you, it’s okay. You don’t have to focus on the whole project at one time. Instead, focus on writing the chapter outline. Or write 150 words. This will help you complete the work and meet your goal without dreading the task.
  • Build confidence. When you take small, daily steps, you’ll be able to start measuring your success within just a couple of weeks. Being able to look back on what you’ve accomplished will build your confidence level. Having more confidence makes it easier for you to envision the big goals you’ve made.
  • Create habits. Building habits that affect your life today and in the future is the best way to ensure you start reaching the goals you set. Habits work much better for getting things done than trying to motivate yourself or hope for willpower. Those small daily actions end up creating patterns that become habits.

It may seem impossible to get big results by taking small steps each day, but you can. For example, if every single day you increase your walking time by just one minute, by the end of the year, you’d be walking six hours a day. (No one needs to walk that much, but it demonstrates just how powerful one minute can become, given enough time!)

Monday, November 27, 2023

Mindset Monday: Envision Your Success

Today’s mindset tips are to help you with visualizing your success.

Most personal success mindset instructions tell you that before you can experience success, you should pinpoint what your vision of success looks like. Take some time to realistically “daydream” about the work you’ll accomplish — and your success.

The main reason you need a vision is because if you don’t know what you want, you won’t recognize it — even if someone handed it to you on a silver platter. 

​To help you visualize the success you want to achieve, try one (or more) of these suggestions:

  • Create a vision board. When you’re trying to achieve a goal, use a vision board to help you fully imagine what that success looks like. For example, if you want to build your career services business to six figures, create a vision board depicting what that looks like to help you create the steps to get there.
  • Write down your goals. If you don’t want to create a vision board, you can still visualize your success by using very descriptive writing to describe your goals. When you write down a SMART success goal, be very specific about what constitutes success to you.
  • Picture your goals being met. When creating your vision board — or writing down each goal — take the time to imagine it in your mind. You may want to consider doing this in a nice, quiet place in your home, where you can relax and/or find inspiration. Allow yourself to pretend you have achieved your goal. Use the following questions to help set the stage for your vision:
  • – Where will you likely be when you meet the goal or finish the project?
    – Will someone be there when you achieve the goal? Who?
    – What emotions will you probably feel?
    – What clothing will you be wearing?
    – Who will you call first, and what will you say?

Picture the future — and then work your plan to achieve it!

Monday, November 13, 2023

Mindset Monday: What Does Work-Life Balance Mean to You?

Welcome to Mindset Mondays! To support your success, for the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing mindset tips with you each Monday. Today’s tips are to help you with your work/life balance — something a lot of us struggle with (me included!).

Before you can dream about creating work/life balance, you first must define what exactly it means to you. The main thing to understand is that work/life balance does not mean that you spend equal time on everything you want and need to do.

Instead, it more than likely means that you can spend the time needed in each area of your life even if you can’t spend all the time you want. Discover your personal work/life balance with the following suggestions.
  • List the things you need to do and the things you want to do. For most people, it’s helpful to put all the things they want to do and need to do in a calendar with a realistic schedule. That way, you know if you have time or not.
  • Set your priorities. Your priority might be different from someone else’s and that’s fine. Your personal life is yours to live, as you see fit and you can prioritize what you want to. Try to remember that there is a difference between wants and needs as you move forward. You may want to sleep until 10 a.m. every day, but your limited time to get things done might make that unrealistic. 
  • Be consistent. Like most things, you’ll get better results when you are consistent for the long term. It works with almost everything you want to do, from finishing a certification to losing weight to running a six-figure career services business. 
  • Track your results. Don’t assume that a step you took resulted in a specific impact until you track and measure your results. You don’t really know which actions you took that worked until you prove it. For example, if you’re working on saving money, you look your savings account and see your account balance. Do the same when you’re trying to save time, build a closer relationship with someone, and so forth. 
  • Surround yourself with people who value you. When you do this, there is no pressure to be something you’re not. Just be yourself and do what you feel comfortable doing. However, you still need to grow and learn new things. 
“Time Freedom” is one of my personal values. Having the flexibility to work when I want to work (even if that means working late one night so I can have an afternoon off to pick up my niece and nephews from school the next day) is a core value to me.

What does work-life balance mean for you? What are your core values? Are your values in alignment with how you’ve structured your business? Leave a comment below!

Monday, October 23, 2023

Solving a Problem: Getting Organized in Your Job Search (Creator Spotlight)


One common problem jobseekers face in their job search is getting — and staying — organized.

Alison King has created a course — Get Organized to Get Hired: Organize Your Job Search, Reduce Overwhelm, and Get Hired – Quicker! — full of actionable tips and techniques to help jobseekers organize all the documents, communications, and appointments throughout the job search process. “The course is especially targeted to jobseekers who plan to apply to 10+ jobs and need help keeping all the administrative details straight!”

The course is designed for anyone (“any industry, job title, or experience level,” King says) who is preparing for — or in the very early stages of — their job search, whether they are looking to move up in their current industry or switch to a new career. 

King recognized the need for a course after conducting her own job search and realizing it was confusing trying to track all the details for multiple job applications. “It’s especially challenging for people like me who are not super-organized by nature,” she noted. “During my own job search, I got organized by necessity — not because I love organization — so I wanted it to be accessible to people like me.”

The course is quick — “about an hour to get through it,” King says — and offers low- and no-cost solutions so jobseekers can apply the tips immediately and feel confident and organized as they start their job search process. It includes templates for LinkedIn networking, tips for digital file organization for different versions of resumes and cover letters, and a spreadsheet to use to track all the jobs they apply for.

“This was the course I wish I had when I started my own full-time librarian-to-copyeditor job search in April 2022,” King says. “It had been a few years since I’d done a job search, and I had NEVER done one where I applied to more than five jobs.”

“The admin work got overwhelming so quickly, and I felt like my head was spinning all the time with emails, interview scheduling, and networking,” she adds. “Although I had seen some career pros allude to certain aspects of job search organization, I couldn’t find all that information in one place. When my job search ended four months later (and not a moment too soon, because otherwise I’d be going back to my school librarian job in September!), I knew I had to share the systems I developed with other jobseekers. My search was stressful, but these systems made the admin part far more manageable!”

The course is $49 and is self-paced so students can go through it at their own pace. Use promo code RWD10 to save $10 off the course price for a limited time. (Enter the promo code on the checkout page.)

For career colleagues considering creating their first — or next — course, King offers a peek into her course development process.

“My challenge is that I get really inspired to write a course, (so I) write a ton of it at once, and then leave it unfinished for too long. I lost momentum for months … or maybe a year? Seriously, I have multiple docs on my (hard) drive of potential course content in various states of ‘done-ness,’” King says. “There was some imposter syndrome mixed in there too, since I’ve only been writing resumes for about three years.”

When creating the “Get Organized to Get Hired” course, “I think I finally just set a date that I needed to release it — for my own sanity,” she added.

King also says the “Career Colleague Teachable Tribe” (CCTT) courses offered by were helpful.

“I was part of both CCTT sessions Bridget offered. The sales page template was a life-saver. I had never written a sales page before, so that was a big block to launching.”

King is already working on her next course. “With my most recent course about cover letters — which I started writing ages ago during the first CCTT — I got motivated to finally finish while at the NRWA conference. I’d go back to the hotel at night to write and while touring Colorado after the conference. I told myself I needed to finish it before I landed back home in Philadelphia because otherwise, I was likely to let it linger again.”

She reports she did finish writing the cover letter course on the plane ride home and is launching the course soon.

“With the cover letter course, I actually used ChatGPT to help fill in the blanks where I was getting writer’s block. It took a lot of adjusting the prompt (“make it shorter” and “make it less formal”), but that was enough to work with as a base before making it my own tips and voice,” she said.

King also said she used some of the Pass-Along Materials content from Bronze membership in to fill in the blanks in the content and help with creation of the downloadable files she created for students.

“Ultimately, I need to remind myself that ‘Done is better than perfect’ and that I can always go back and adjust things later … so just launch the darn thing!” 

For more information about Alison King and her courses, visit:

Royal Career Academy  

King Career Services 

Alison King on LinkedIn 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Day 3 at INBOUND: Two Words – Reese Witherspoon


“If you want to change the stories, you need to change the storytellers.” 

— Reese Witherspoon

When we decided not to attend INBOUND 2023 in person, one of my biggest disappointments came when I learned that Reese Witherspoon would be one of the Main Stage speakers.

I love Reese Witherspoon. I saw the original “Legally Blonde” in the movie theatre like half a dozen times. (I was a paid tester for the precursor to “MoviePass,” so we saw it a LOT.) We also drove to Des Moines to see “Legally Blonde: The Musical” and then saw it again when it came to Omaha. “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde” wasn’t as good as the original, but I’ve been anxiously awaiting a rumored third sequel. I also loved this pandemic skit that Laura Bell Bundy did in character as Elle Woods.

But anyway, knowing we weren’t going to Boston this year, and hearing about Reese Witherspoon being a speaker, I was bummed. So I was thrilled when HubSpot announced that the Main Stage speakers would be live-streamed — including Reese!

But before Reese, there were sessions on Brand Building (with BeyoncĂ©’s publicist), “How to Build a $100M Community,” a panel session on “The Future of Media,” an interview with the founders of HubSpot on how they built the company, and then a session on the growth of the Angel City Football Club (I missed most of this one because I was on a client call).

One change from the first two days of INBOUND (read about them here: Day 1 and Day 2) was that it was 10:06 a.m. Central time (more than two hours in) before the first mention of artificial intelligence. (The first two days were AI intensive!)

And then it was time for Reese Witherspoon! 

Her session was titled, “Lessons on Innovation, Leadership, and Navigating Change.” The one disappointing part was that the 2023 Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike meant that she wouldn’t be talking about her past, present, or future work, as the interviewer, Zinhle Essamuah, anchor of NBC News Daily (NBC), mentioned in her introduction of the actress, producer, and entrepreneur.

Still, there was plenty to talk about. 

Witherspoon described how she wasn’t seeing a lot of scripts with female leads, so she decided to fill that gap. “I can’t expect to make change by staying in the same circle,” she said. “I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.” So she started the first iteration of her production/media company, Hello Sunshine.

She self-funded the company. “It was high risk,” she noted. “Being famous does not equate to having business acumen.” She said she didn’t know how to be an executive, but she did know “critical life skills,” — for example: “Show up, do what you say you’re going to do, return emails, and if you tell someone you’re going to read their script, do it.”

Her experience acting helped prepare her to work collaboratively. She laughed when she noted, “10 percent of (her) job is acting; the other 90 percent is helping people get along.”

But it wasn’t easy. Witherspoon said that the award nominations flowed in, but the money did not. She said she had the proof she could create important work, but “I wasn’t paid appropriately for what I was bringing to the table.” So she retooled. She raised capital and got the company on solid financial footing. Persistence was key.

“Nobody believes as much in my dream as I do. I would wake up and do something to further my dream forward,“ she added.

Earlier in the week before INBOUND, the news broke that Witherspoon had sold a majority stake in a clothing line she had started, Draper James. It was a completely different growth path than Hello Sunshine. “Retail is hard. It’s really difficult.” But, she noted, she finally found the “right partners” and said she was excited for the company’s future growth. She will keep a seat on the board of directors, and has several family members involved in the brand’s retail presence in Nashville.

Essamuah asked Witherspoon her advice to people looking to maximize their bottom line. She responded, “It doesn’t matter where you get to in a business, you always have to be adapting.” She noted that her business has changed “again and again.” One thing that is consistent: “It’s so important that the audience is understood, spoken to correctly, and they feel seen and heard. That’s all storytelling is. That’s all media is. That’s all the relationship with your customer is,” she said. “Do you see me? Do you hear me? How do you make me feel? Do I see myself reflected in the stories you tell?”

For us as career industry professionals, this is an important message. Whether we’re telling our client’s story (in the resume) or our own story (in our own marketing), understanding our audience is critical. 

After spending three days “attending” the virtual Main Stage sessions at INBOUND, that was an important reminder. Artificial intelligence is here to stay, but AI can’t replace personal connections and relationships. 

Witherspoon ended by answering a question about the best advice she had ever received. She mentioned an Ava DuVernay quote she loves: “If your dream is only about you, it’s too small.” 

“Every single person in this room as the ability to change another person’s life, and I think you’re going to go out and do it,” Witherspoon said.

Did you miss yesterday’s blog post? Read it here:

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Day 2 at INBOUND: I Took 24 Pages of Notes (and Someday, AI Will Take Those Notes For Me)


What was the big takeaway from today (Day 2) at INBOUND 23?

That someday (probably today, actually), I won’t have to type furiously to capture everything I want to remember from a day’s worth of conference sessions. 

Mentioned prominently by several speakers today was how generative AI can eliminate the drudgery of work, allowing creative professionals to focus on the work that matters.

We already know that AI can transcribe videos pretty accurately — Teachable added that functionality to its course platform recently — so the fact that I spent most of my day watching sessions and virtually transcribing the speakers as they talked about how AI could take notes for us in the future and even — with “digital twins” — represent us in meetings … well, let’s just say the irony wasn’t lost on me.

But I’ve learned over the years that I learn best when I’m typing the information myself. So I’m not sure how that will work in the future, but for today, I got a LOT out of the sessions by watching the videos myself and doing the transcribing personally.

There were three sessions today that I found particularly impactful. I’ll try to give you a couple of key takeaways from each.

The Captain’s Playbook: Strategies for Success

The second day of INBOUND started an hour earlier than yesterday, but I didn’t want to miss this session, so I was up early. One of the neat things about INBOUND is the Spotlight sessions that bring in some big names to speak. In 2019, we got to hear from Jennifer Garner. Last year, former President Obama did the closing keynote.

This morning, Derek Jeter was the first speaker. Jeter isn’t just a former baseball player (and a good one, at that!). He’s a businessman, founder of a nonprofit, and father. His talk wove in elements of each of these. One of his key messages was about failure — and the resiliency required to survive it. “I played a sport where, if you fail for long enough, you go to the Hall of Fame. Baseball and the weatherman are the only two jobs where you can fail that much and still have a job,” Jeter said. “You have to get used to failure and try to find a positive in anytime you’ve done something wrong.”

He talked about creating a “winning culture.” He said, “You always hear people say they want ‘Everyone on the same page.’’ He said you need enough people on the same page, pulling in the same direction. “You have to make people feel they are part of the same team, that they are valuable.”

Listening to him made me want to watch his documentary, “The Captain” (which Jon looked up and it’s on ESPN+. We’ll definitely be checking it out.

Getting Candid: Lessons in Workplace Culture and Feedback

I had never heard of the concept of “Radical Candor” before this session, but I learned a lot about it — including that I want to try it in real life.

“Radical Candor is about caring and changing. It helps organizations become more collaborative,” says the book’s author, Kim Scott. Scott told the origin story of the concept. She and her dog were out for a walk and the dog was almost hit by a car. A man nearby said, “I can tell you really love that dog.” But, he added, you’re going to kill that dog if you don’t get her to sit. He pointed to the ground said “SIT” and the dog sat. He added, “It’s not mean, it’s clear.”

I like that: It’s not mean, it’s clear.

I got a sense of the Radical Candor framework from Scott’s presentation, but I’m looking forward to reading the book

One of the most important pieces of the concept was “It’s difficult to change personality vs. behavior.” Focus on what you observe.

Scott noted that “Some people have used Radical Candor to be obnoxious.” Someone told her, “It’s not a superpower if it can’t be used for evil.”

Preparing for the AI Boom: The Perspective of a Futurist

I’ve been in sessions with futurists before, but never one talking about the future of AI. This one was interesting. Sinead Bovell, the founder of Waye, first took us back to 1993. “The World Wide Web has just dropped. People are talking about it. They don’t fully understand it. We don’t know the industries that will be invented,” she said. “Explain to people from then how we live today: social media, apps, the creator economy. Imagine what has yet to be invented in a world where we co-exist with smart machines.”

With that in mind, where we are today with AI makes more sense. Bovell says we really haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to AI. She said right now, people are treating AI as a gadget. But, she adds, we haven’t invented the things that will exist on top of AI. She said it’s like the camera has been invented, but movies haven’t.

When it comes to the workforce, Bovell says employers are asking the wrong questions. They are asking “What roles can I replace with AI? Where can I leverage this for the bottom line?” She said they should be thinking about, “How can I add value with these systems?” She encourages attendees to be thinking “3, 5, 10 years down the road. If you’re only thinking 3-5 years down the road, things will look very different. If you were completely caught off guard by the breakthroughs in AI this year, you’re not looking far enough ahead.”

Bovell provided several “use cases” for how AI might impact us in the future. She talked about a chatbot as a part of a team — you can converse with it and it can answer your questions, create A/B tests, and execute a project. It’s still up to you to make the decision about how to move forward, but AI can add value and transform your team.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Day 1 blog post, “change” and “artificial intelligence” are the two themes of this year’s conference. Today’s sessions really focused on both.

I can’t wait for day 3. Two words: “Reese Witherspoon.”

Did you miss yesterday’s blog post? Read it here:

Insights From Day 1 of INBOUND 23: An AI Drinking Game and How Technology Let Me Down

Read Day 3’s blog post here:

Day 3 at INBOUND: Two Words – Reese Witherspoon

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Insights From Day 1 of INBOUND 23: An AI Drinking Game and How Technology Let Me Down

As I mentioned in my email last week to Resume Writers’ Digest subscribers, Jon and I decided not to attend HubSpot’s marketing conference, INBOUND 2023, this year. It’s an awesome conference, and we will miss being in Boston in September for the third time!

But we aren’t completely missing out, because HubSpot is live-streaming some of the daily sessions. Today was Day 1, and I wanted to share some key insights from the keynote session, and my thoughts.

There are approximately 12,000 in-person attendees in Boston, and Jon and I were among the estimated 100,000 people watching online.

First of all, looking at the livestream session descriptions, you’ll see it’s heavy on artificial intelligence (AI)-related topics. That was initially a little off-putting to me — but I was pleasantly surprised by the actual sessions themselves. I joked on a group text with our friend Jason (who is attending INBOUND in person) that we could make an AI “drinking game” where you have to take a drink every time they say, "AI."

His response was: “I’m not sure even I can survive that drinking game. Just reading the agenda for today is 14 shots.”

Since I drink Cherry Cokes, I’d survive … but to say that AI is THE topic of conversation this year would be an understatement.

And a nod to the “How Technology Let Me Down” part of the headline of this blog post: As I mentioned, the sessions are live-streamed. So I was taking notes as it went along. I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely LOVE Evernote … but today, Evernote failed me. In the opening session, there were three separate speakers. As I started to write the notes for the third speaker, I noticed that half of my notes from the second speaker had disappeared. I pay for the Premium version of Evernote, so I thought maybe I had overwritten part of the note accidentally, so I went back to check my version history to restore the note.

Nope. No luck. That wasn’t the issue. The content had just disappeared. 

Fortunately, it appears that I can go back and re-watch the second speaker of the first session and re-capture my notes. But UGH! After realizing that, I took the remainder of the day’s notes in Microsoft Word. Jon mentioned that there is an update for Evernote, and we’ll be updating it tonight to see if that fixes it. (In pasting in my notes from Microsoft Word after the last session, part of it didn't paste into Evernote either. So yeah, we’ll be doing the update to the app.)

One of my favorite things about attending conferences — whether that’s a resume writing conference or a marketing conference — is the inspiration. The content (especially actionable content) is important, but the ability to just step back from daily activities is such a critical thing for me.

Now, unfortunately for me, I couldn’t completely unplug from daily life. We’re getting new siding put on the house after a June 2022 hailstorm and I had to take my Honda Pilot in for an oil change (it was supposed to be yesterday, but my mechanic had to reschedule).

Ok, onto the highlights from the keynote session.

HubSpot Keynote

The first of the three speakers during the keynote was Yamini Rangan, CEO of HubSpot. 

Change is the theme. Technology is changing. The way customers buy is changing. How we connect with customers needs to change.

Artificial intelligence isn’t new — it’s been around for decades. But predictive AI — which predicts the future based on past data — has the potential to transform knowledge and creative work.

If you put the word “artificial” aside, focus on “intelligence.” That’s the shift happening with AI — going from acquiring information to acting on intelligence. What’s the best way to use this intelligence? Rangan says, “The intelligent way to use intelligence is to drive customer connection.” The power of acting on intelligence is to “connect deeply” with customers. That connection matters, she says, “because it drives growth.” She added that customers who focus on customer connection saw five times more growth than the average company. Companies who consistently connect with customers through every stage of the customer journey saw 19% more growth.

“No matter the segment or industry, the more you engage with your customers, the more you can grow,” Rangan said. “Customer connection drives growth. AI can drive connection at scale. Always start with the customer. Get deeply curious about your customer’s journey.” Getting to know customers on a granular level — understanding the whole person — is the key.

“Customer expectations are changing. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers to understand this change — from how they discover and consider the product to how they buy and use these products,” she added.

The customer journey:

Discover. This is changing from search to social. You use to be able to search and get links from all over the Internet. Now, customers are discovering products before they search — on social media. “Customers don’t want to search — they want to get social.”

Consider. Customers want to learn more. How they learn is changing from “clicks” to “conversations.” Before, when your customer wanted information, they went to your website. They would click, filter, and sort through information. All that clicking is time-consuming and inefficient, especially in the world of ChatGPT. Now, they want to go to your website and chat. They want a one-to-one helpful conversation to find out exactly what they need. “They don’t want to convert on your website; they want to converse on your website.” Their expectations are going from being okay getting personalized information to getting personal insights. 

Buy. Make it easy to buy. Don’t make them give you information they’ve already provided. Customers expect you to give them insights every time they connect with them, regardless of the channel. Personal is tailored. They expect insights that are specific to them.

Use. “This is where the real work begins.” Rangan says that customer expectations have changed from being okay with reactive help to getting proactive help. They submit a ticket or call in or follow up with an email to get the answer they need — but, most of the time, they don’t get the answers they are looking for. She says 98% of customers find service interactions frustrating, but you can use AI to “delight them proactively.”

She ended by saying, “AI can be the most profound change to transform marketing, sales, and service.”

Next up in the keynote was Andy Pitre, Executive Vice President of the Product Team. He also talked about change, and how it can be hard.

“This is the age of intelligence,” he noted. “Work smarter, not harder.” He talked about how the HubSpot CRM centralizes your customer data in a connected ecosystem, giving you the tools to customize the customer experience.

His part of the presentation focused more on the integration of AI into the HubSpot product itself. (And this was the part of my notes that Evernote lost, so I’ll have to go back and rewatch his section.)

The final part of the keynote was Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot and current Chief Technology Officer (CTO). He’s famous for his “dad jokes” in his speeches, and he didn’t disappoint. 

He started the presentation talking about how his son has been using GPT for the past couple of years. His son is now an advanced user, and built a role-play game that uses GPT. Shah said that English will become “the most popular programming language in the world” thanks to GPT. (Users will be able to program using English instead of code.)

He said advances in AI will address the frustrations that his son has experienced. 

Frustration 1: Static language models --> dynamic

Currently, GPT uses historical information. It doesn't know what has happened since September 2021. Shah said we will see learning models being augmented by real-time data.

Frustration 2: Text input --> Multi-Modal inputs

Currently, we use text as an input. In the future, we’ll be able to add images, audio, and code as prompts.

Frustration 3: Passive --> Active

Right now, GPT waits for you to enter a prompt. In the future, it will make suggestions. 

All of this will create to create “the next big wave in generative AI: AgentAI.”

Shah sees a future where AI-powered software will work mostly autonomously to pursue goals by working as an expert (working with large language models and other agents). He sees different “agents” tailored to your needs – search agent, web crawling agent, pricing analysis agent.

Shah asked the audience to consider two questions.

First, “How should I now be thinking about data in the age of AI?”

He said AI models are increasingly common, and data is the common denominator. The first generation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software was increased more than 30 years ago. Cloud CRM came about 20 years ago. The new thing is “Smart CRM” — CRM with AI included.

Second, “Will AI take my job?”

Shah said that “AI will take your job…”

But then he added “…and give you one that’s better.”

He said it offers the promise of “less grind and more growth.”

He introduced the AIAIO framework:

Awareness – discover what AI can do

Investigation – explore use cases

Adoption – get things done

Integration – weave AI into workflows

Optimization – look for leverage

He then shared a dad joke:
“I want to thank my wife for introducing me to the word ‘plethora’ — it means a lot.”

Okay, I thought that was funny.

He seemed pleased that the crowd laughed and thanked the crowd. He added, "When I try these jokes on Zoom, people don’t laugh. Maybe they’re not remotely funny.” 

He ended on a more philosophical note: “It’s not about believing in AI; it’s about believing in yourself.” 

The keynote started the day — and the conference — out on the right note. Change is inevitable. 


Thursday, August 31, 2023

Career Industry Conference Update: 2023

As the calendar rolls over to September, it’s time to talk about career industry conferences. This is an update to a post from November 2019 (“Have You Ever Been to a Resume Writing Conference?”), which built on a post from August 2011 (“When Is the Omaha Conference?”)

Last year, I found myself in Boston for the 2022 INBOUND conference instead of in New Orleans for the NRWA 2022 Conference. We had first attended INBOUND in 2019 (check out Jon’s series of blog posts about our travels in 2019 and 2022 – warning: there are really good food pictures!) with our friends Jason and Jolene. We actually haven’t been to an in-person resume conference since 2017, when we drove to Chicago for the NRWA conference.

Here’s the breakdown of where the national resume writing organizations have had their conferences in recent years. (I’ve bolded the ones I attended.)

The National Resume Writers' Association (NRWA):
2023 – Colorado Springs, CO
 (scheduled for Sept. 21-23, 2023 at The Antlers Hotel with an online component as well)
2022 - New Orleans, LA 
2021 – NRWA Virtual Conference
2020 – NRWA Virtual Conference
2019 - NRWA Conference at Sea (Cruise to the Bahamas)
2018 - Seattle, Washington
2017 - Chicago, Illinois
2016 - Annapolis, Maryland
2015 - Charlotte, North Carolina
2014 - Denver, Colorado
2013 - Chicago, Illinois
2012 - Charleston, South Carolina
2011 - Portland, Maine
2010 - Fort Worth, Texas
2009 - Annapolis, Maryland
2008 - San Diego, California
2007 - Savannah, Georgia
2006 - Phoenix, Arizona
2005 - Stamford, Connecticut
2004 - Nashville, Tennessee
2003 - Seattle, Washington
2002 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2001 - San Antonio, Texas
2000 - Las Vegas, Nevada
1999 - New Orleans, Louisiana
1998 - Chicago

I’ve been to Colorado Springs for hockey before, but never for a resume writing conference. It’s within driving distance of Omaha too! 

Career Directors International:
2016 - Present: No conference
2015 - Entrepreneurial Success Secrets Live for Career Professionals: Orlando, Florida
2014 - Global Career Empowerment Summit: SOAR — Orlando, Florida
2013 - Global Career Empowerment Summit: Your Big Breakthrough — Orlando, Florida
2012 - Global Career Empowerment Summit: Blaze Your Trail — San Diego, California
2011 - Global Career Empowerment Summit: Jump On Board the Success Express — Savannah, Georgia
2010 - Global Career Empowerment Summit: You Selected & We Delivered: The Most Outrageously Power-Packed Career Conference Yet — San Diego, California
2009 - Global Career Empowerment Summit: Take Your Career to New Heights — Orlando, Florida
2008 - Annual Conference: Get Super with CDI — Seattle, Washington
2007 - Annual Conference: The Future is You! — San Antonio, Texas
2006 - Annual Conference: Live the Dream — Orlando, Florida (PRWRA)
2005 - Annual Conference: Play to Win — Las Vegas, Nevada (PRWRA)
2004 - Indianapolis, Indiana (PRWRA)
2003 - New Orleans (PRWRA)
2002 - Atlanta, Georgia (when the organization was still PRWRA)

(Thank you to Laura DeCarlo for help assembling the conference titles and locations!) I was never able to make a CDI conference (they were often in October and conflicted with my UNO Hockey obsession).

Career Management Alliance (no longer in business as of August 2011):
2011 - Las Vegas, Nevada
2010 - New Orleans, Louisiana
2009 - San Antonio, Texas
2008 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
2007 - Louisville, Kentucky
2006 - ??
2005 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (when it was still Career Masters Institute)
2004 - Atlanta, Georgia (CMI)
2003 - Kansas City, Missouri (CMI)
2002 - San Diego, California (CMI)

Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches
2024 – Orlando (Thrive Orlando 2024)
2023 – Orlando (Thrive Orlando 2023)
2022 – Clearwater, Florida (Thrive 2022)
2021 – Virtual Conference
2020 – No conference due to COVID
2019 - St. Pete Beach, Florida
2005-2018: No conference
2004 - St. Pete Beach, Florida
2003 - Las Vegas, Nevada
2002 - Dallas, Texas
2001 - Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida
2000 - Toronto, Canada
1999 - Colorado Springs, Colorado

PARW/CC held conferences from 1999-2004 but then discontinued conferences in 2004. The conferences returned in 2019 and are held annually in Florida.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Do You Struggle With Pricing Your Resume Services?

In my most recent pricing survey of resume writers, 100% of respondents said YES, they have struggled with pricing their career services.

Eighty-five percent said they would like to learn more about pricing their services.

Accurate (and adequate) pricing is one of the biggest predictors of success in your resume writing business. 

Why Resume Writers Don’t Stay In Business

I recently read an article about the top 11 reasons small businesses fail. 

Number three was: Failure to price your product or service correctly. 

Number one was inadequate cash reserves, and number four was the failure to adequately anticipate cash flow. Both of those also relate to pricing, in a way. The author went on to say, “You can be the cheapest, or you can be the best, but if you try to do both, you’ll fail.”  

Pricing is one of the biggest challenges in succeeding as a freelance resume writer. Charge too much, and you may have trouble attracting clients. 


Charge too little, and you’ll have a hard time succeeding. At a minimum, you’ll work harder than you need to, or you won’t be able to give clients enough of your time or energy to truly help them. The worst case scenario is that you can’t afford to stay in business if you don’t charge enough. So pricing is a critical component for your success.


Let me start by saying that pricing your services is a very individual, personal decision.

Before you set your pricing, think about two things: 1) Who are you serving? Who is your target client? 2) What problem are you solving for them? What benefit or benefits do they get from working with you?


No matter what you end up charging, if you are crystal clear about who you serve and what you can do for them, it will help you attract great clients, and it makes your pricing less of a factor in choosing you.


Once you know who you want to target, you can start figuring out your pricing. 

Pricing Models

Let’s talk about pricing models for services.

  The first is a straight hourly rate, based on the time the project requires (clients don’t like this model because of the uncertainty for them, so it can be harder to get them to commit. If they don’t know up front if their resume project will be $500 or $5000, they’re not likely to work with oyu.)


  Flat fee, based on the number of hours it’s estimated the project will take. Clients like this because they know what they’ll pay, but the risk is that you have to estimate the time required accurately. You can either provide set “packages” for your services, or quote projects individually, once you’ve determined what your client needs.


  Value-based. This is not a common pricing strategy for resume writers, but it ties your pricing to the outcome the client will get. For example, if your client gets the job, you get a percentage of their first-year salary. (This is more common for recruiters.) 

But how do you come up with the hourly rate, or the rate that you’re basing your flat fee packages on? That’s where the formula for pricing your services comes in. Danielle has a worksheet in your Google Drive that you can use to calculate this.


A Formula for Pricing Your Services

The formula for pricing your services consists of three steps. 


The first is to estimate your expenses and income. Remember, as a resume writer, you’ll now have some expenses that you didn’t as an employee — marketing costs, supplies, equipment, and extra taxes. 

(In my course for resume writers, Pricing Right: Price Your Career Services with Confidence, there is a worksheet with expenses to consider.)


Add those up. Then, determine what you want to be making. Those two numbers, added together, are your income target. For example, let’s say you want to make $80,000 and your annual expenses are $15,000. Your income target would be $95,000.

Step two is to determine your billable hours and schedule. Even if you’re not billing by the hour, you still need to figure out how many hours a week you’re available to work each week — and use that to determine your billable hours. 


You’ll have billable hours and non billable hours each week. 


Billable hours are the hours you’re working on client projects; non billable hours is the time you spend on marketing, client acquisition, and all the fun paperwork that comes with being a freelancer. Let’s say you think you can generate 20 hours of billable time each week. And let’s say you want to include two weeks of vacation each year. For example, if you multiply 20 hours by 50 weeks, you get 1,000 billable hours each year.


The third step is to use the income target and your total annual billable hours to calculate your hourly rate. Divide your income target (step one) by the total number of billable hours per year (step two). For example, $95,000 divided by 1,000 billable hours gives you an hourly rate of $95/hour.

Adjusting Your Rates

But you don’t have to stick exactly to the $95/hour rate. You want to consider some other factors that can influence your pricing. 

• the type of clients you work with and the results you’re able to get for them

  what you were used to making

  your experience/certifications

  level of personalization

  what other resume writers are charging


Once you figure out your pricing, you have to figure out how you’re going to communicate it. Are you going to list your pricing on your website? Will you only discuss pricing on the phone or once you’ve met with a prospective client? 


Also, consider HOW you’re going to get paid. Deposit up front? Payment in full to start? A common tactic in consulting is progress payments — a deposit and then payment at agreed-upon intervals. 

Most resume writers get paid 100% up front because of the custom nature of work. But if you’re hesitant about that to begin with, at least collect a deposit (25% or 50%) up front and the balance when you deliver the draft (or before you deliver the draft).

Want more insight into pricing your resume services? Check out “Pricing Right: Price Your Career Services With Confidence.”