Thursday, January 14, 2021

10 Questions with Anne Barnwell

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

Today’s profile is Anne Barnwell of The Write Resumes.

Anne has been a professional resume writer for two years. She is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer with the National Resume Writers’ Association and a Certified Professional Resume Writer through the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW/CC). Anne is currently pursuing a certification in federal government resumes. Anne works with clients from C-suite to college students and, as a former stay-at-home mom, has expertise in helping professionals relaunch their careers.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I was trained in resume writing and critiquing many years ago when I was a college student. (Many, many years ago…) I thoroughly enjoyed working with people and it was something I did well. I don’t know why it took me so long, but it wasn’t until two years ago when I thought that perhaps, this was a missed opportunity. My plan was to start slowly but it’s kept me busy ever since.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What did you do before?
I still work full time in Corporate Communications for a financial services company and work with clients to build their resumes as my side business. Most of my experience is in communications — corporate, executive, nonprofit, social media, public relations, and media relations.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
Whatever I want to wear! When I work with clients I am rarely on camera because I am focused on listening and capturing information. Most often I am wearing workout clothes.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
Best habit: Taking care of my health. Healthy body, healthy mind.
Worst habit: I am too attached to my phone.

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
My running medals. For my day job I am usually on camera (and not in workout clothes) and my medal holder is on the wall behind me. It is quite the conversation starter.

It also includes an amazing Marilyn Monroe quote: “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”

6. What is your “go to” technique or secret when you get stuck when you’re writing a resume? How do you get unstuck?
Keep moving forward by putting some language down, and then I highlight it in green. A green highlight indicates that I need to return to that action and fix the language. Yellow highlights indicate a question for my client.

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
From my parents, who immigrated to the United States: Work hard and don’t complain. And if work isn’t going well, work even harder.

8. How do you unplug?
Running, knitting, and football. Go Bills!

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
Although it gives us more business, I dislike the ATS software. At a time when Diversity & Inclusion is paramount to moving our country forward, I believe that ATS software hinders our ability to address bias within the system.

10. What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
The Muse – (Facebook)
Extra Shot of Leadership – (Facebook)

Connect with Anne on Linkedin here: 

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Brianna Watts?

Thursday, January 7, 2021

10 Questions with Brianna Watts

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

Today’s profile is Brianna Watts of Brianna Watts Consulting and Services LLC.

Brianna is the newest of the resume writers we’ve profiled as part of the “10 Questions” series. She has been a professional resume writer for two years. Her educational and professional background is in higher education administration, and she is a proud member of the Society of Elite Resume Writers.

1. Why did you decide to become a professional resume writer?
I became a professional resume writer on accident. My initial goal was simply to provide knowledge from my own resume writing experience to my peers for them to conduct a successful job search and land the role of their dreams right out of graduate school. After witnessing my own — and their — success through interviews and job offers, I took my offers to my personal Instagram, which gained a lot of attention and turned into a high demand for me to provide resume writing services. That is when I began to take things seriously. I invested in trainings and sought out mentorship to develop my writing skills. After finding a mentor and learning that there was an entire industry and business for resume writers, I took heed and started my own career consulting company.

2. How did you get into the career industry? What did you do before?
Prior to becoming a full-time resume writer and business owner, I worked in higher education and student affairs. My focal points within student affairs were always leadership and professional development. I always had a knack for career services.

3. What do you typically wear when you’re working?
Being that I work from home full-time, I wear comfortable branded loungewear. I have to look like something to make myself feel good enough to work.

4. What is your best habit, and what is your worst?
My best habit is when I am in my zone and focused, I tend to check off everything on my to-do list for the day, and even sometimes start on tomorrow’s to-do list.

My worst habit is when I procrastinate.

5. What’s your favorite object in your office? Why?
My favorite object in the office is my speaker. I love to play my music at the loudest volume sometimes. Music sets my vibe for the day and gives me the motivation and energy I need to power through the day or my task list.

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 will first review former clients’ resumes in the same or similar industry to see what I wrote in their resume. If that doesn’t work, I will turn to my resume writing community and ask my sisters for their help and expertise. If all else fails, I just take a break and revisit it the next day.

7. What’s the best career advice you ever got?
To interview the company and persons who are part of the interview as much as they are interviewing you. A supervisor can make or break your experience, so choose wisely. Ask as many questions as you can and conduct extensive research.

8. How do you unplug?
I take food breaks. I will go for a drive. I will pour a glass of wine. I also like to hang out with family and friends.

9. What ONE thing would you change about your business or the career industry, if you could?
I would hope that one day prospects would fully understand the value of a resume writer and career coach. The work that we do as resume writers and career coaches is worthy of high ticket prices. A lot goes into our skills and development.

10. What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
Milano Di Rouge – iammilanrouge (Instagram)
Megan Thee Stallion – @theestallion (Instagram)

Connect with Brianna on Linkedin here: 

You can connect with Brianna on Twitter at @briannanwatts

Did you miss our last 10 Questions profile, featuring Laura Slawson?

Monday, December 28, 2020

The “Persistence Effect” and How It Can Help You Fill Your Appointment Book in 2021

 Have you heard of the “Persistence Effect”?

There is a direct connection between the level of effort you put into marketing and the results you get, even when it seems the results are completely unrelated to your efforts.

But it can be hard to figure out what marketing you SHOULD be doing. Should you advertise? Post on social media? Write articles or a blog? Work on networking? Cultivate new referral sources? Start a podcast? Do videos on YouTube?

I have the answer for you:

The secret to marketing

Yep, sounds simple. It doesn’t matter so much WHAT you do as THAT you do.

But it works. 

It’s like that saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
How do you fill your appointment book? One action at a time.

Do one or two simple things each day … consistently.
(The consistency part is important.)

You may look at your resume writing colleagues and wonder: Why does that person seem to have all the business they can handle, and I’m struggling with “feast and famine”? The Persistence Effect is one answer. Even if the things you’re doing aren’t DIRECTLY bringing you new business, the fact that you’re doing SOMETHING can bring you results.

I asked my Bronze members what they’d like to learn more about and the answer was how to get more clients. So I put together a mini course to help: 5 Simple Strategies for Securing More Sales.

In the course, you’ll discover three things you may be doing now that might actually be preventing you from getting clients, you’ll learn how the Persistence Effect can dramatically transform your marketing, and one simple habit that you can begin TODAY that may bring you all the clients you ever need.

Because it’s a mini-course, you can get through it quickly. It’s also designed to help you get results right away. There’s one 25-minute video and two homework assignments. It’s something you can start before the new year. (Although you can save the homework until Jan. 4 if you want.) 

The mini-course is regularly $27 but because I just launched it, you can enroll for just $18 through Dec. 31.

It’s a gift to give yourself to get 2021 started on the right foot. It’s partly about mindset, but there are also practical, actionable strategies you can implement to start filling your appointment book for next year.

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.