The following is part of a colleague spotlight series. A new colleague spotlight will be published each Monday. To read all colleague spotlights that have been published thus far, simply visit the colleague spotlight category.
1. What led you to writing resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
In 1990 I was looking for a job and saw an ad for a resume writer. I have a degree in English and have written two books and a number of articles for national publication, so I thought, “I can do this until something else comes along.” Turns out it was the perfect fit. I absolutely loved working with my clients to help market them for the right position. I bought the business two years later and have never looked back.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
People who want a steady income and great benefits will not do well managing their own resume business. The ups and downs can be epic. But for me, the benefits have always been worth it. I make a difference in people’s lives. Clients tell me all the time, “You saw things in me I never even thought of,” or “I have the confidence now to go after the job I want.” It’s very, very rewarding.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Care first and formost about the clients, not the income, and the rest will follow.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
It’s so basic: think about your customers and what you can do for them rather than what they can do for you. I believe that is the secret to success in any industry, and especially in resume writing, where people literally put their careers into our hands.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
When I was trained the focus was sell, sell, sell. Over the years I have turned it around. Rather than thinking about closing a sale when a prospective client calls, I think about the client: What is their situation? What are their strengths? What can I do to help this person achieve his or her goals? I should have done this from the beginning.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Think of yourself first and foremost as an advocate for your clients.
7. How do you see our industry transforming over the next 12 months? 5 years? What do think resume writers need to know in order to survive?
When I began writing resumes, I met all my clients in person and the only version of the resumes and support materials they received were hard copies. The world has done a complete 180 since then. It’s always been about creating an individual’s brand, but today that brand isn’t just on a piece of paper, privy to a few. I now work with clients all over the country, and my services include helping them create an Internet presence, as well as proactive networking and self-marketing.