Monday, January 16, 2023

A Resume Writer’s Guide to Printables


What are printables? And how can they benefit YOU and YOUR JOBSEEKING CLIENTS?

Printables are things designed for the purpose of downloading and printing, such as: worksheets, checklists, to-do lists, trackers, planners, journals, guides, and calendars. Outside of the career industry, printables can also include color pages, art projects, patterns or designs.

Printables come in all shapes and sizes and have a wide variety of uses. For jobseekers, they can help them organize their job search, track their job search activities and make quick work of completing tasks, and collect and synthesize information. For resume writers, they can be used to grow your email list, turn prospects into paying customers, help your clients prepare for and execute their job search, and provide passive income revenue.

Printables can be a single page document or contain several pages (like with workbooks and accomplishment trackers). They are detailed and to the point, generally having a very specific purpose. Printables can be anything from a checklist to an instructional guide. They are a great way to help your clients AND you, without a lot of extra effort.

As mentioned, printables can benefit you as a resume writer by:

  • Increasing Subscriber Sign-ups. Creating printables to serve as a lead magnet to increase interest and boost subscriber sign-ups.
  • Boost Perceived Value. Adding printables to your existing 1:1 career services, courses, and coaching programs can instantly boost the perceived value of the product. People want answers to their questions, but they also want to reach their desired result quickly and easily. If printables help them achieve that goal, they will consider them to be highly valuable, allowing the resume writer to charge more for their services, product, program, or course.
  • Gain More Social Proof. When high-quality information is provided, along with the tools to help readers implement what they've learned, it creates loyal customers. These loyal customers share their results with others. They provide high-value testimonials and fodder for future case studies … which, in turn, brings in more new clients.

For list-building, a person looking for interview preparation questions may find a guide with a list of interview question prompts. However, if the seller includes a printable journal to write out key points for answering the question prompts, it adds to the value of the product and provides a bigger benefit for the buyer.

Printable Objectives

Each printable you crease should have an objective. Some common objectives are to:

  • Help a person take action on what they are learning.
  • Challenge oneself — for example, when setting goals for the job search.
  • Track data or calculate math. Think interview tracking worksheets or salary negotiation spreadsheets.
  • Develop a strategy for accomplishing a goal.
  • Brainstorm an idea and bring it into existence.
  • Plan out something (like a job search or recruiter connection strategy) in more detail.
  • Plan quarterly or annually with things like planners and calendars.
  • Organize information (such as job applications).
  • Organize thoughts and ideas (such as rough drafting interview questions, as mentioned above).
  • Compare and evaluate two or more things (like job offers).
  • Walk a user through the process of solving a problem. (“Is it time to quit your job?”)
  • Repurpose or reuse something, such as content, graphics, audio, and video. (For example, a guide to accompany your LinkedIn training course.)
  • Manage processes or projects.
  • To document your day, week, or month through journaling (i.e., an accomplishments tracker)
  • Do something relaxing to take your mind off something (like a coloring sheet to relieve the stress of a job search)

Creating Printables

You can certainly create your own printables. One of the best ways to get started is to look at the existing Pass-Along Materials you have access to. But there’s a NEW way to get started with printables — Tools For Resume Writers.

A new addition to the existing Bronze member benefits of BeAResumeWriter, Tools For Resume Writers gives you access to customizable Canva templates that you can brand with your own fonts, colors, logo, etc. 

There are currently three printables available to customize:

  • S.T.A.R. Worksheet (How to Create Compelling Career Stories)
  • Invest In Your Career
  • LinkedIn Industry List

The Tools For Resume Writers customizable Canva templates are included with Bronze membership in

How to Deliver Printables

Printables can be delivered in one of two formats — digital downloads and print documents. For digital downloads, use PDFs whenever possible to make delivery easy. You can sell your downloads on your own website using a digital download service (like or SendOwl). These services will allow you to create seller links you can post on your website and use to deliver the download after the sale. You can also use third-party marketplaces, like Etsy or Amazon to sell your print products.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Resume Templates — Yes or No?


I’ve been a resume writer long enough to have seen many generations of resume templates over the years. In the 1990s, there were the “resume-in-a-box" software programs. In the 2000s, you had Microsoft Word resume templates — which were either super boring or overly designed (with multiple columns). More recently, you've been able to purchase resume templates on Etsy or use the resume designs in Canva.

The problem is, many of these documents LOOK good, but aren’t GOOD to use in an actual job search because, especially in recent years, they have not been compatible with applicant tracking system (ATS) software, putting applicants at a disadvantage with their online resume submissions. 

But the world of resume templates changed when career industry pioneer Michelle Dumas introduced “Distinctive Resume Templates.” As a longtime professional resume writer herself, Michelle recognized the need for modern, ATS-friendly professional resume templates that could be used by career industry professionals to enhance their interview-winning content with visually attractive designs.

Michelle and I started in the resume writing industry in the same year (1996) and we’ve both seen lots of changes through the years. But one thing hasn’t changed: The need to create compelling, attractive, and interview-winning career documents.

In 2020, she created a series of resume templates to use with her company’s own clients. They were designed to be easily customized, right down to the color schemes. Her first goal was to streamline the resume development process, creating templates that were useful but also easy to customize. In using the templates with clients, she realized how useful they would be to career industry colleagues. So she started selling them to other resume writers.

“Our work is tremendously time-consuming and we trade our precious time for money. Writing a great resume for a client is a very time-consuming process,” Dumas says. “Our income is limited by how much we are able to produce, which makes it hard to grow/scale a business.”

By introducing resume templates into your resume writing business, you can focus more on the content creation and let the design enhance the content, instead of having to struggle with formatting the resume and associated career documents.

“Writing and graphic design are two different skill sets,” Dumas says. “We are professional resume writers, not graphic designers. While both of these — the writing skill and the design skill — require talent, they are completely different skill sets. Graphically-enhanced resumes that incorporate color and shapes became the norm and the expectation.”

Simple Microsoft Word design enhancements can make a big difference. 

For example, take this Key Qualifications section:

In the Amplify template, it becomes this:

Because the templates are provided in Microsoft Word format, you can change the color of the themes. The change from blue to green was done with ONE CLICK.


The templates are Microsoft Word templates (.dotx extension), and MS Word is required to use and customize them. Template collections are sorted into categories — professional and executive, student and entry-level, industry and trade-specific, career change, etc. When I choose a design, I start with the client and pick the template to fit the content. Sometimes I write the content first and then copy-and-paste the text into the template. Other times, I write “to the template,” writing directly in the template. Or, you could do a combination of both. Fill in the “easy stuff” — education, certifications, affiliations — in the template, and then write out (long hand or in a blank Word document) the other content and then paste it into the template.

Dumas suggests that resume writers can save approximately one hour per project by using one of the templates. My personal experience reveals similar time savings — more for complex projects. For an average $1167 project (the average price for a resume and cover letter project, according to the 2022 Profile of Professional Resume Writers), the investment of $21 in a Distinctive Resume Template provides a strong return on investment (representing only 2% of the project cost but saving one hour of the average nine hours resume writers estimate spending on an average resume project).

Instructions for making the color changes are included in each document, including links to videos to illustrate the process. Successive page headers are automatically set up, including page numbers.

There are dozens of templates to choose from. 

I’ve been using Distinctive Resume Templates with my clients since March 2022. My favorite designs that I’ve used so far with clients are:
    Amplify (the design showcased in the samples above)
    Alluring Luxury
    Ascendant Modern
    Blue Collar
    Career Launcher First-Job Resume Template

The resume templates are $12 per design. You can also purchase coordinating templates (cover letter template, biography template) for $8 each (or save 10% when you purchase the resume and coordinating templates in the same transaction). For less than $21, I save hours of design time while providing my clients with attractive, ATS-compliant documents.*

* The templates are marketed as “ATS-friendly” but I have found them to be ATS-compliant for all the clients I’ve used them with. The official documentation says:

Disclaimer: While all efforts have been made to ensure resumes created with these templates will be ATS-friendly, it is impossible to guarantee ATS compatibility. The purchaser takes full responsibility for ensuring ATS compatibility, if this is important to them. Distinctive Career Services, LLC is not responsible for the content or effectiveness of any resume created with one of our templates.

But like I said, I’ve found all the ones I’ve used to be ATS compatible.

(I test graphic resumes for ATS-friendliness by saving them as text and reviewing the content to make sure it remains intact.)

The license for the template allows resume writers to use the templates to create resumes for clients. (You may use the templates with your clients on an individual basis. However, only one writer per firm may use the template, so if you are a contracting writer, you must purchase one license per writer – but discounts are available for large agencies.)

Want to try them? Get 50% off your first purchase using this promo code:

(Fifty percent discount is valid on first purchase of any amount. Visit to redeem.)


Note: This post contains affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links, but there is no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions stated in this blog post are my own. As stated in the blog post, I personally use Distinctive Resume Templates with my own clients. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Profile of Professional Resume Writers 2022

As a resume writer, do you ever wonder how you compare to other career industry professionals? The Resume Writers’ Digest Industry Survey is the tool I use to provide this kind of information to the industry. The results are published in the “Profile of Professional Resume Writers: Who We Are, What We Charge, How We Work.”

The survey was conducted in February 2022, asking respondents to reflect back on 2021. The results were compiled in March 2022 and analyzed and turned into a report written by Kristin S. Johnson in April 2022.

If you are a career industry professional, you can receive the report here.

Here are some of the key findings from the 2022 report:

Profile of the “Average” Resume Writer
While no resume writer is “average,” this graphic illustrates the characteristics of the profile of the typical survey respondent.

See how this compares to the 2016 profile:

Interested in the full 2022 report? Get it here. 

Note: The Resume Writers’ Digest Industry Survey is not statistically valid due to a small sample size; however, the results are an interesting insight into the career services industry.