1. What led you to writing resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
I entered the career field as a coach. My professional background is in organizational psychology and higher education. I’ve also done research and consulting on job stress, work life issues and transitions. Initially I did not offer resume writing services. But I found that clients often needed help with presenting themselves to showcase their unique skills. In today’s world, it’s essential to communicate in a way that gets attention quickly. I have always enjoyed writing, so adding resume writing seemed like a natural way to offer more value to my clients. I completed my certification with the Resume Writing Academy.
2. How long have you been in the industry? Would you recommend it to others? Why?
As I mentioned above, I began with coaching and added resume writing services more recently. Personally I like the combination of coaching and resume writing. It allows me to customize my services based on my client’s priorities. I enjoy the variety and value the opportunities to build longer term working relationships with clients who want support at different times in their career. For someone entering the industry, I would recommend designing your services in a way that maximizes your personal strengths. There is no one model that will work for every individual. Know yourself, talk to other career professionals and learn from them, and then figure out what will work best for you.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
There are a lot of different tools available, but one that I find very valuable in my business is Aweber for email management. They provide training to get you started and are continually improving their products. If you call the company, a real person answers the phone! Having said that resume writing is a service business. The best tool we have is ourselves and the support we can offer to our clients as they navigate what can be a complex and confusing process.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
I think my biggest lesson comes from my personal experiences of reinventing my own career. One tiny step really can make a difference. Make a commitment to one thing and see what happens. Here’s an example. My first major career change was leaving nursing after about 10 years, and starting a degree in psychology. It was a big decision. I began by signing up for a “Return to Study Program” for adults at the local university. At the time, it was a small step – an evening class a few hours a week for 6 or 8 weeks. But looking back, the course was a turning point for me. It gave me the momentum I needed to move forward even when my goals were still unclear. So the lesson is, never underestimate the power of a small action.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
That’s a good question. One of my mentors often says a bias towards action is the key to success for small business owners. I think there have been times when I invested too much time gathering information. It’s important to remember that our personal strengths can become a weakness if they are overplayed. When it comes to growing a business, no amount of research can give you the direct feedback you get from trying things out.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
At the beginning, there is a lot to learn. You are building your professional skills as a resume writer. But your business skills are equally important, especially if you are new to working independently. It can be challenging to juggle everything. I found that working with a business coach makes a huge difference.
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? We are seeing some of the ways in which social media is changing the rules. There is no doubt that technology will continue to have a major impact on how our clients find work and manage their careers. As resume writers, we need to constantly educate ourselves about these changes. It’s challenging to keep up even for those of us in the industry. That makes it all the more important to be ready to guide our clients through a process that is fast-changing and often confusing.