I first realized that I had a gift of writing resumes when I had to in fact construct one for myself when I got out of college in the U.S. Due to my former background in Human Resources (Recruiting & Training and Development) and Marketing in the Banking and IT industries respectively (8 years of working in my 1st jobs right out of High School prior to pursuing a degree in the U.S.), I employed some of my tactics to my writing my own resume. Due to the fact that my resume landed me lots of interviews, while my colleagues were struggling to get even one interview, I was approached by many to re-write their resumes. This was back in 2002.
I also discovered my passion for career development during one of my internship experiences in my senior year, as a Career Ambassador for the state of Minnesota for School District 742. So, when I moved to Georgia, I eventually obtained a position at the Georgia Department of Labor as a Career Services Specialist in 2004 and was promoted within 10 months to the Field Unit Supervisor position to manage the Re-employment Unit for Dislocated workers. I turned around this underperforming unit which had a 20% re-employment rate for job seekers and took it to 76% within a 3 month period by re-training my staff and revamping all job readiness workshops for job seekers.
2. How long have you been in the industry? Would you recommend it to others? Why?
I’ve been in the industry since 2002 (since I’m counting my internship experience as well in here). I would recommend getting into this industry only if you have a genuine passion for helping others to realize their full potential within their careers. I stress the term ‘genuine’ because there are a lot of resume mills out there that don’t care about the job seeker and are least interested in getting to know the job seeker’s needs. They’re in it for the money. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of players enter the Career Industry and have witnessed capitalism at its best as well. This has happened because the career industry is not regulated like other professional industries. So, it leaves unsuspecting job seekers prey to the resume mills of our industry; which of course affects the quality of work received in exchange for the ridiculously low-priced item. This of course poses a challenge for the ‘real’ professional who’s actually qualified, ready, willing and able to assist a distressed job seeker in dire need of a professional career makeover. Don’t get me wrong though, there is money to be made, as there’s enough of the pie going around for everyone to have a piece of it. My advice here though is to only get into this industry if there’s a passion to help people facilitate a fulfilling career. Don’t worry about the money. It will come once you acknowledge that what you’re offering is of tremendous value and should therefore be priced accordingly.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Hootsuite – it manages all of your social media platforms with just one click. Therefore, it is extremely efficient, not to mention, cost effective as well; since time and money are two precious commodities of a solopreneur. 😉
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Be sure to have a cushion of savings before leaping into business, as you need to have a good budget/business plan in place that you can hold yourself accountable to on a monthly basis. Having a plan is one thing, but sticking to it is another important factor that is necessary for success in steadily building your business.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
Different: I would have described what my ideal client looks like in my target marketing segment of my business plan and go after it instead of trying to be all things to all people. Same: Maintain the value offered for fees that I charge. An old Chinese proverb states: “Cheap things no good and good things no cheap!” In other words, you get what you pay for. Too many times, I’ve had clients come to me to repair $30 -$50 resumes and it just saddens me when I see these products which shouldn’t even hit the desk of any hiring manager/recruiter.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Pick a niche and be sure to position yourself as the expert in that niche. Do not try to be all things to all job seekers! Know your value and never de-value your services. Have the right mindset that what you’re offering is extremely valuable to your clients, so that you have confidence in commanding the fees that you deserve as the professional that you are. Afterall, have you ever heard of a lawyer or doctor that low balls his/her fees just to get business? I haven’t… and that’s because they are professionals in their own right, just as we are professionals in the career industry. We, therefore, should not be quick to under-price or discount our services just for the sake of getting business. This mindset will put you on the fast-track to burn out instead of on the track for 6-figures in your business.
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?
Resume Writers need to continually evolve as the job market continually evolves as well. What worked 5-10 years ago, no longer works. We live in a technological age and must continue to re-invent ourselves so that we adequately equip ourselves to enable us to assist our clients as best as possible. LinkedIn is the resume of the future and is here to stay. QR Codes and Resume websites will soon be the norm instead of the exception that outstanding job seekers utilize as part of their online branding.