Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Importance of Targeting Your Job Search

A quote shared by Jacqui Barrett:

"All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have
been more specific."

--Jane Wagner

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Better Yellow Pages Ads

What you write in your Yellow Pages ads can make the difference between you getting 3 calls a week -- or 3 calls a DAY. The more calls you get, the more clients you can book, and the more revenue you can make!

Yellow Pages advertising is the NUMBER ONE source of new clients for MOST résumé writers. How can you maximize the money you are spending in this medium?

We examined this subject in the March/April 2000 issue of Résumé Writers' Digest:

Here are some of my top tips:

1. Focus on the READER. Remember, it's BENEFITS, not FEATURES. "Interview-winning résumés and cover letters," not "1- and 2-page resumes".

2. Emphasize CREDIBILITY. Include mentions or logos of associations you belong to. Mention your inclusion in résumé books/publications. Mention how long you've been around. ("10 Years in Business") and include Better Business Logo or Chamber of Commerce affiliation if you've got them.

3. Make it EASY for them to work with you. Mention hours of operation (either specifically -- MON-FRI 9-5 or DAY/EVENING/SAT. APPOINTMENTS).

4. Help them see your services are for THEM. (Mention specific industries or your areas of specialty.)

5. Don't forget a CALL TO ACTION. At a minimum, this is your phone number, but it can also include your e-mail address and web site. Lead them in with "free resume critiques" or "ask for our free booklet, '10 Strategies to Make $1000 More At Your Next Job'" or whatever you can do to get them to CALL you.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What's In Your Client Service Agreement?

Do you outline your agreement with your resume clients in writing? If you don't, you should. Manage your client's expectations and protect yourself legally by capturing your client's signature on a document outlining the work process.

You can take a look at my Work Authorization form here. Nona Pratz was also kind enough to share her Work Authorization in Resume Writers' Digest.

Your Client Service Agreement should not only outline what you charge, but when clients pay, how they pay (if they have to send a check and have it clear before you'll release the draft, let them know!), when the draft will be delivered, how many revisions are included, etc. Indemnify yourself against mechanical failures, acts of God, and the like. Remember, informed clients are happy clients

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Getting "Better" Clients From Your Referral Sources

A while back, there was a thread on the a resume writing association's e-list from a résumé writer who was having problems with clients referred to her by third parties. Basically, she was finding these clients to be ill-prepared for meetings and sometimes ill-suited to be clients.

While some résumé writers are wondering HOW to generate referrals at all, those who are successful sometimes wonder HOW to maximize these referrals for the benefit of everyone -- client, referring source, and you!

Think of it first from the referring person's point of view. How nice to have a resource to refer someone to, if it is outside your area of expertise (this includes job coaches, employment services, recruiters, etc. who don't provide résumé writing services themselves). The flip side to this is that they are taking a risk by recommending your services. If you don't do a good job, they look bad.

Then there is the client. They are often pre-sold by being recommended by a third party. But they might not know much about your services, and you might make the assumption that you don't need to tell them much because they were referred by someone else. But they have a problem that needs to be solved, and they were told that you could help them.

Finally, there's you. While it's nice to be needed, it is frustrating to try and work with clients who really aren't suited to the work that you do or who aren't prepared to do the work necessary to make the relationship succeed. You end up frustrated and ready to toss the "baby out with the bathwater" -- not wanting to take referrals at all.

Let me offer a solution: Educate your referral sources.

Set up a time to meet (bring along a thank you gift for the referrals so far) or take him or her to lunch. Say that you appreciate the referrals and you want to make sure that you are best able to meet the needs of the clients being referred. Share information -- how you manage the resume development/career search process, what clients need to prepare, etc. Give him or her materials he or she can pass along to clients he/she will be referring that clearly outline the process/benefits/your credentials (this might be your brochure or you might have some other communication piece for this purpose).

One nationwide tips group, BNI, has a good way of handling the issues of referrals. They recommend asking, "If I were going to recommend your services to someone, who might be a good candidate?" Find out what common "problems" these clients share, what solutions they are interested in, what they "look like" -- in a mutual referral relationship. As you educate him/her, you also need to know more about the kinds of individuals your referral source interacts with so you can say (to a therapist, for example, who provides career coaching): "When they have narrowed down their job search target to a specific job description and can find job listings that match what they're interested in, they're a good candidate for my services. I'll work with them to develop a focused, hard-hitting résumé to help them specifically get interviews for that type of job." You might also add: "If they don't know what kind of job they are suited for/interested in yet, they're not ready for my services. Those are the kinds of calls I'll refer to you first."

Also, make sure all your referral sources are on your newsletter mailing list (whether it's a print newsletter or an e-mail newsletter) -- continue to educate him/her just as you do your clients and prospective clients! You'll find that the clients that come your way are better prepared to work with you effectively (just as I've found that my best referrals come from clients who actually used my services, rather than from sources as you've mentioned -- such as employment services and recruiters). The quality of my referrals improved once I realized that these individuals often don't know how I work -- but want to make the process work for the people they refer as well.

Think of it from their perspective too -- they're not going to continue to refer people to you if the feedback they hear is that the process didn't work -- and that's a lose-lose situation for everyone.