Bettie Biehn is a proven nonprofit manager and senior-level HR professional with a solid background in both areas as well as excellent leadership skills.
Bettie is a talented resume writer with a keen ability to capture clients’ strengths and present them in winning format.
She builds solid working relationships, delivers outstanding products, and successfully resolves issues with an eye on the bottom line.
Bettie is an excellent verbal and written communicator with a training/coaching background; she is an accomplished writer, trainer and public speaker.
1. What led you to write resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
Bettie: I started writing resumes in the 1980’s for friends and family – this coincided with my foray into the world of Human Resources.
I didn’t charge for resumes written in the early years for obvious reasons, but in the early part of the new millennium, someone suggested that I charge for them as I was so good at my craft!
I started my website in 2004 and became a Certified Professional Resume Writer in 2009 while I was lead resume writer for Jobfox. Listed below are the credentials that I present to potential clients which demonstrate my ideal fit for the industry:
- 20+ years’ experience as a resume writer;
- Designation as a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) through the Professional Association of
- 25 years as a senior level Human Resources professional and 30 years’ experience as a hiring manager;
excellent writing skills, including articles published for 3 years in an award-winning, widely circulated trade journal (NACS Magazine);
- Author of a successful “resume tips” column for a national executive recruiting firm’s online newsletter;
- Former lead resume writer for a national online job board; and,
- Great success crafting well-written, very attractive resumes, cover letters, executive profiles/bios and other career-related documents, and providing coaching services to a wide variety of talented professionals throughout the U.S.
I was quoted last summer in a Washington Post article on student resumes and was published in a rewrite of a book on cover letters “Designing Cover Letters to WOW Hiring Managers” by Teena Rose (I was selected by the author to submit samples.)
I am also a volunteer resume writer/critic for “Warriors to Work,” a program of the Wounded Warriors project helping veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to reenter the work world. I am so pleased to be part of this program.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
Bettie: My answer to this is a qualified yes.
One needs to be patient, articulate (verbally and in written format), diligent in responding to clients/potential clients, good with numbers (tracking $$, reporting income), available for conversations, able to set boundaries with clients, flexible, and thick-skinned at times when clients tell you how to do your craft.
I have changed my style of designing and structuring resumes since the early days, and have learned a lot from my experiences. I’m continually updating everything I do, and I’m an avid reader of most anything resume-related.
Being an HR professional keeps me on my toes and helps me stay true to my craft and honest with my clients.
A good resume writer cannot be satisfied with the status quo; e.g. using the same template for everyone.
Also, I have “fired” clients who I considered unreasonable in their demands, or who proved too difficult to work with.
This is a subjective area, but I found having the ability to say “no” was important.
The income can be inconsistent as the client base is also; one needs to understand this.
I have another job that provides a more steady income and benefits to lessen my financial anxiety!!
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improving efficiency?
Client Relations: responding promptly to inquiries and other emails or phone calls; providing a lot of information up front about services, credentials etc.; being friendly but staying firm on pricing (but flexing if the need arises); listening to potential clients and responding to them with concrete help.
Business: Networking, networking, networking – and sharing samples with the folks in the networks so they can speak to your qualifications & talents. I get a lot of referral business. Also, having a good website where folks can find you and to which you can refer potential clients.
Having the CPRW designation – I get clients who have gone to the PARW (certifying organization) website and found me under the state listing. Providing clients with an excellent product and a great experience – this will build a network in and of itself.
Improving Efficiency: staying organized throughout the process (from initial email or phone call through final document provision), tracking referrals for fee-sharing, keeping spreadsheets for tracking income (for you and the IRS!!), saving emails to/from clients for reference purposes.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Bettie: Be HONEST with your client on expectations for delivery of final documents.
Trying to be the “nice guy” really doesn’t work if it exerts so much pressure on the writer that he/she feels constantly behind the 8-ball.
I did this once playing “catch up ball” after being out sick for over 2 weeks, and nearly made myself sick again!
I learned the hard way and will not do it again. Most folks are reasonable and understanding, and if I couldn’t meet their time frames I referred them to another qualified writer.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
Bettie: I would not have overbooked myself (see above).
Almost everything else was an evolution, learning how to run my own small business from my home.
All in all, it’s been an interesting ride!
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Bettie: Always strive for excellence in your products and your customer service.
Read everything you can find on resume writing (much of it is redundant but sometimes you’ll find a gem or two) and incorporate the learning into what you know.
Be clear on why you want to write resumes – my motivation was to help friends/family members and later non-relative clients present themselves in their very best light to prospective employers.
As an HR professional, I felt I had a lot to offer, combined with my writing skills and experience as a hiring manager. I wanted to help people. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it’s true.
7. How do you see our industry transforming over the next 12 months? 5 years? What do you think resume writers need to know in order to survive?
Bettie: I’ve experienced major transformations in the style/format/design/writing of resumes over the last 10 years and would imagine that the changes will keep on coming.
I think resumes will continue to be a valid door opener for job candidates, presenting what they can offer to employers in nutshell form.
Writers need to read everything they can on trends in recruitment, hiring, resume writing, and stay current in the full life cycle of employment.