Showing posts with label Evernote. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Evernote. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

My Favorite Tools for Resume Writers

I was talking about one of my favorite tools for with some of my resume writing colleagues, 
and I thought I’d share them in a blog post.

Focus/Productivity: NOISLI

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a harder time focusing these days. My attention span isn’t what it once was, and there are so many distractions!

When I need to write — whether that’s a client resume, Pass-Along Materials for, or even this blog post, I pull up Noisli on my computer. (They also have an app.) There is a free level of the service that gets you 90 minutes of free listening a day. I’m seriously considering upgrading to the paid service (unlimited) for $10/month (billed annually).

You can customize your sounds — whether for productivity (like I use it) or for relaxation. You can select the sounds you want to include, mixing and matching them according to your personal taste. I usually start with the default “Productivity” mix and then add in some thunder (because I *love* the sound of thunder). Today, I added in some “campfire” to get a little crackling in there too.

Cost: Free for up to 90 minutes a day; $10/month (billed annually)

Learn more here.

Client Management/Document Management: Evernote

I’ve talked before about how I use Evernote with my client files. When I talk with a prospect by phone or by email or LinkedIn message, I start a note with their name. That way, I'm able to keep all of my notes about them together in one place. As I start to collect their documents (old resumes, questionnaires, exercises), I attach them to the note. That way, everything is accessible to me, no matter where I am. (These days, that’s usually at home, but you never know!) And, once I create their new documents, I attach the files to the note. I also include a copy of their invoice, so I can see what work I’ve done for them, and what I charged them. The next time they come back for service, I can pull up the note and see exactly what I’ve done and when. You can also set reminders in Evernote for a specific date/time. This allows me to do follow-up with clients a month down the road and then a year later too (for updates). 

If you’re on a paid plan for Evernote, you can also scan in notes or upload copies of handwritten notes and the text will be searchable. I still like to take handwritten notes when attending webinars and this keeps me from having to re-type my notes. (Although sometimes I do that just to help me remember stuff!)

With the Premium plan, you can even search inside Microsoft Word docs. This has saved me a number of times when I can't remember a client's name, but I remember their job title or company name. It pulls up the matching options and that’s enough to help me find what I’m looking for.

The Evernote app icon is an elephant — because “an elephant never forgets” — and that’s exactly what Evernote does for me. I use it for my daily to-do list, ongoing projects, I have a note with my affiliate links (so I can just copy-and-paste), my shopping list, and even the list of TV shows Jon and I are currently watching (including what season/episode we’re on) and shows and movies we want to watch next.

You can get a free month of Evernote premium using my affiliate link:

Cost: Free level provides basic functionality, but the Premium level ($7.99/month) allows you to sync across multiple devices (I have it on my iPhone, iPad, and laptop), upload all the types of client information I mentioned earlier, and search within notes.

Learn more here.

Accounting/Finances — QuickBooks Online

Okay, just to be upfront about it — I *hate* accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes. It’s ironic, I know, since my parents met when they both worked for the Internal Revenue Service, and because I was runner-up Ms. Future Business Leader for the state of Nebraska my senior year in high school. 

One of the things I hate(d* - past tense!) most about tax time was putting together my files for my accountant. We had been using QuickBooks (the Mac desktop version) since we started the business in 1996, but I always had to manually bring in my PayPal data at the end of the year, and spend days tagging and reconciling the transactions.

So when my accountant said I had to switch to QuickBooks online this year, I was more than reluctant. 

But you know what? I actually *enjoy* doing my bookkeeping now — and, more important, I’ve actually kept up with it. So 2021 might be the first year I get my accountant our data in January. (And actually, I don’t have to send him anything related to the business — he has access to my QuickBooks information from an accountant portal built into my subscription.) 

Here’s my favorite part: It brings in my business checking account data and PayPal data automatically once a day. Then, I go in and categorize the transactions. It has built-in “rules,” so some transactions it automatically categorizes (and I just click “Add” to approve it). That’s great for my recurring monthly payments (like Evernote, above). Honestly, it’s like a little game every time I log into categorize them (which I do 3-4 times a week). It takes me like 5 minutes. It’s almost fun!

I also do all my client invoicing through it (although I don’t have it set up with the built-in merchant account, since I use Affinipay for processing credit/debit cards). But you could do that if you wanted. I can email invoices through QuickBooks, and the reports it creates are interesting. But honestly, I just use the “Dashboard” feature more than anything. That shows me a quick P&L (profit & loss) graphic for the past 12 months, a widget with my expenses over the last 30 days, my annual sales for the last 12 months, and a daily accounting of my bank balances for all linked accounts. I may be more aware of the financial health of my business than I have ever been in the last 24 years we’ve been in business!

I‘m not sure if we’re on the Essentials or Plus plan, because I pay my accounting firm directly ($30/month – so it’s either the Essentials plan with some built-in support from the accounting firm, or I’m getting a discount on the Plus plan). Who knows. It’s totally worth it.

Email List Management — Constant Contact

This one is a little tougher, because there are SO many email management programs out there, and the one I’m recommending isn’t the cheapest, nor does it have the most features. But it’s the easiest one to get started using, and therefore, it’s the one that I recommend for career industry colleagues to start with.

Constant Contact offers more than just email though. You can actually create a website through them, and even host an online store that you can sell digital downloads through. You can also use Constant Contact to offer coupons and promotions, run surveys, and even host and promote events. (All of these are additional, add-on services.)

But for basic email functionality, Constant Contact is perfect for the solopreneur. You can offer an email signup form on your website, using a QR code, “text to join,” and more. Once you get people in, you can segment them to different email lists, and even set up an onboarding campaign of welcome emails. They offer tons of cute templates you can customize, including a built-in library of free (and, optionally, paid) graphics to include.

Cost: $20/month+ (cost depends on list size).

You can get a free trial using this link.

Online Courses/Coaching Platform — Teachable

Online learning is exploding. And jobseekers sometimes want to learn about the job search but not pay your $100-$150/hour one-to-one fees. The solution: Online courses. You can provide transformative content that educates and informs your clients on their own time. Or offer live training on specific topics at specific times. Or offer coaching services using their integrated platform.

The basic plan, at $29/month, includes unlimited students for courses and coaching (but paid courses and coaching will have a small transaction fee for each purchase). You can set up live courses, courses that clients get access to all at once, or even drip courses (where content is released on a pre-determined schedule – or “dripped” to users). 

The possibilities are endless: LinkedIn training for the job search, job search strategies, how to use your resume, how to create your personal brand, and more. I’m looking at offering my jobseeker challenges on Teachable too.

Cost: $29/month for the Basic Plan (annual billing) or $99/month for the Pro plan (this is the plan I use)

Learn more here.

Membership Platform — Wild Apricot

I am a HUGE proponent of membership systems for creating recurring revenue from your clients. And I’ve said that the resume writer who comes up with a system for turning their one-off clients into members will transform the industry. But it hasn’t happened yet.

What has happened is resume writers creating private libraries of content for their clients to access and using membership systems to do that. And resume writers using Wild Apricot to create private client portals where clients can access their files indefinitely. And resume writers offering fixed-term membership programs to provide client training. (Although since I’ve started using Teachable, I’d recommend going that route for a FTM instead of a landing-page-plus-autoresponder membership program). 

If I were starting my resume business today, I’d use Wild Apricot as my website and client platform. You can create a responsive, mobile-friendly website (using WYSIWYG website building tools – What You See Is What You Get). There’s an online “store” that you can use to promote package bundles (resume+cover letter, resume+cover letter+LinkedIn, resume+LinkedIn, resume+coaching, etc.). You can create membership levels, so you could create membership levels where clients could get access to a library of content (using Pass-Along Materials to create custom, branded job search information and tools) and maybe even an annual resume update (at a higher membership fee, obviously). 

And, as previously mentioned, you can create individual client portals with password-protected download pages for client documents. And, because it includes a built-in email management system, you can use it to deliver a monthly client newsletter. And, you can get set up with Affinipay as your merchant service processor, which allows you to bill clients for a monthly or annual membership.

Cost: $40/month for up to 100 contacts; $50/month for up to 250 contacts. 

Learn more here.

The tools included are just a few of my favorites. I’d love to hear what you’re using (and loving). Post your favorites in the comments below.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What I'm Doing Differently This Year

As I mentioned earlier this week, my word for 2015 is "FINISH."

I love starting projects ... I even enjoy the middle ... but sometimes, finishing is hard.

I was talking to a couple of resume writing colleagues about this today, and they suggested some ideas to help ... but I think the biggest thing for me is focus and mindfulness. Making it a priority to finish the projects is the first step. That includes actually putting tasks on my schedule so that I spend time on them each day.

I'm also using Evernote to help. Each day, I start two notes. One is a daily journal to help me keep track of my time. If I don't track my time (even loosely), it gets away from me. The second note is a daily to-do list, with no more than 10 items in bold that are my priority for the day. I try to at least get the bolded items checked off each day. (And I love checking off items!) I can copy-and-paste the items that are still on there to the next day's note.

The second thing I do is I write "FINISH" at the top of both of the Evernote notes. This reminds me of my overall goal for the year.

The third thing I'm doing is actively focusing on learning. I'm dedicating a minimum of 1 hour a week (my ideal goal is 2 hours a week) to continuing education and learning. That includes NRWA teleseminars, Career Thought Leaders Expert calls, and courses on Udemy. (I shared my affiliate link with my colleagues who want to learn on Udemy -- they're offering a $10 special on more than 9,000 courses, but it ends at midnight Pacific time tonight.)

I saw this statement on Facebook just before the end of the year:
If you want things to be different, do something different.

What are you doing differently?

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Use Evernote In Your Resume Writing Business

I was inspired to write today's blog post by a thread on the Career Thought Leaders Consortium LinkedIn Group.

The more I use Evernote, the more I grow to love it. If you're not familiar with Evernote, it's a system that enables users to capture information and store it in one place. I use Evernote on my laptop and on my iPhone, and when I enter information in the app on one device, it syncs and is available on *all* my devices. (There is also an Evernote website that you can sign into, so you can access your information anywhere you have a web connection, too.)

According to the developers, “Our goal at Evernote is to give everyone the ability to easily capture any moment, idea, inspiration, or experience whenever they want using whichever device or platform they find most convenient, and then to make all of that information easy to find.”

You can capture web pages, photos, handwritten notes, old resumes – just about anything you can imagine, you can collect in Evernote. 

One thing I use Evernote for is content planning. When I'm putting together information for future blog posts, public speaking opportunities, teleseminars, special reports, and Pass-Along Materials, I start an Evernote "Note" for each project. 

You can also use Evernote to create a monthly content plan for marketing your resume writing business. A content plan is an organized list of the articles, blog posts, newsletters, emails and other business content you’re going to publish each month. It includes keywords, publication date, purpose/goal, and audience information.  You can do an Evernote "note" for each month.

Using Evernote
Evernote allows you to create Notebooks and to tag each note with searchable keywords. This makes content planning, creation, and research extremely efficient. With Evernote you can:

  • Store content ideas – blog posts and headlines that you read online can be stored. You can also take notes on each idea and store them with the link. For example, maybe you’re planning a series of blog posts on using LinkedIn in your job search. You might add various articles and tips to your notepad labeled “LinkedIn blog content” or “July 2012 blog post content.” You can also add your notes to each article.
  • Store keyword research – you can also add your keyword research to each month’s content plan. All your relevant ideas and keywords in one key location.
  • Content – have you ever been out and about and had an idea for a blog post or article? You sit right down, grab your notebook or smartphone, and start writing. Then what? With Evernote you can add it to your content file and you’re good to go. 
  • Content research – in addition to content ideas, you can store your content research, including sources and references in the same location you store your content. It makes it very easy to find everything you need. When I'm researching a new topic, I copy-and-paste links to articles I'm using as research, screen shots, PDFs, and my own notes and thoughts.

Evernote also lets you store images. If you’re collecting images for your blog posts, then you can keep them in the same folder with your content. (I recommend Fotolia for inexpensive graphics to illustrate your blog posts.)

Another unique use of Evernote (not business-related) is to store health notes for family members. I know I'm not the only resume writer who is part of the "sandwich generation" -- taking care of our parents and our kids. I use Evernote to keep track of my dad's doctor's visits, my mother-in-law's cancer treatment, and my aunt's health information. I can take notes on my laptop at doctor visits, and then reference the information anytime on my iPhone. (Note: Evernote does require a password for access, but it is not an encrypted site, so don't include sensitive information like social security numbers, passwords, or insurance information.)

Getting Started on Evernote
Evernote is free. They also offer a premium version that allows users to add others to their account. It also provides more storage space, the ability to use your info offline and many other beneficial features. It’s just $45 a year or $5/month. If you struggle to consistently plan your content or you haven’t found a good organization system, consider Evernote. It also works on mobile devices so you can always have it with you.

I'm just starting to use Evernote Hello ... I may blog about it later. If you're using Evernote, I'd love to know how you're using it in your resume writing business! Leave a comment below!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Start an Inspiration Book

I was stuck tonight writing a cover letter ... so I pulled out my trusty inspiration book. I started the inspiration book while I was subcontracting a few years ago. When you're writing 7-10 resumes a week, sometimes you just get "stuck." You look at the blank page and nothing comes to you.

I address the syndrome of the blank page in my "Write Great Resumes Faster" book. One of my best blank-page busters is an inspiration book. Divided into sections, it addresses the common challenges with a resume -- the qualifications profile, achievement bullets, core competencies (for keywords), cover letter openings, cover letter bullets, and cover letter closings.

Obviously, you don't want to just cut-and-paste into your resume and cover letter documents. But sometimes just reading through some of your previous work will help create the inspiration you need to break through the blank page.

How to create your own inspiration book? Cull through your past resumes and find turns of phrases that speak to you ... or, absent that, just copy and paste a variety of phrases and pieces. I find a three-ring binder works well to organize your information, although you may find that keeping a Word document or using an app like Evernote helps you access the information you want.