My LI profile pretty much says it all. About three years ago, the company that I have worked for over the past 23 years announced a large restructure – 30% cut in workforce – in HR and IT. For the first time ever, I was afraid of losing my job and asked myself some really tough questions. What will you do? where will you work? What skills do you have? My husband was in IT at the same company so we were facing the possibility of us both losing our jobs. I was really scared, so I decided to do something about it. I started taking inventory of all the things I loved about my HR role, what made me happy and what made me feel valued. When I started thinking back, it all centered around placing people in new jobs – I loved the whole process of reviewing their resume, preparing them for an interviewing, and helping them grow their confidence to the place where they could land a job. I knew I had the skills, experience, and passion for it and was glad I found the perfect fit – even if it was at 44 years old! So yes, I had a background ideal for the industry. I worked in HR for big pharma (still do), and I loved helping people find a job, so that’s how I started. You could say I was pushed because I was afraid of losing my job. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
2. How long have you been in the industry? Would you recommend it to others? Why?
I have been in the resume industry for over three years, but helping place people internally for almost 15 now. I would recommend it to those who have a passion for helping others, will listen to others tell their story, and have a knack for taking a lot of information and boiling it down to the most relevant points. Working in business has helped me a lot too. I am a recruiter now and I am able to work on the “inside” and help my clients with what goes on behind the closed doors.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
I love LinkedIn. I have a limited amount of time to work on my business because I work full time, so I feel like I need to choose one thing and do it well. I connect with almost everyone who wants to connect with me. I ask for a recommendation as soon as my client writes me back and tells me how much they love their new resume. I reach out to fellow recruiters and connect and learn as much as I can. I don’t watch TV much – I read. I read everything I can and soak up as much as I can. I use every opportunity my employer gives me to learn. If I see a class I want to take, I ask. I try to leverage my resume business to help my full time job and my full time job to help my resume business. It all connects, so I try to do everything I can to meld the two together to be the best I can be at both.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Get a certification and go to a conference or two (or however many you can afford). Don’t get a certification for the letters or the sake of getting it, but for the learning. I choose one that I felt like would teach me how to be the best writer possible from the best in the industry. I wanted feedback on how I wrote – feedback is a gift if you choose to look at it that way. I didn’t want to just take a test and get a piece of paper. I wanted to really know how to do it right.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
The same: I purposefully built my business very slow at first because I had the luxury of doing so. I read a book called Quitter by Jon Acuff that taught me this. There were many times I wanted to go faster in my business, quit my job, and write full time. It simply wasn’t prudent. I kept reminding myself to go slow and learn as much as you can while still employed with a great company. I used my paycheck to invest in myself and my business and went really, really slow, taking one client per week. I realized that I could apply what I learned on the outside to my recruiter job and apply what I learned on the inside to my resume business, and be great at both. When I am ready to retire in less than five years at 52, I will have a great business built up and lots of knowledge and experience. That’s the plan, anyway.
Different: Invest in a good EA. I spend to much time on estimates, answering emails, and other things that I wish I could teach someone to do and remove from my plate.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Go slow. Learn. Get certified. Practice. Use other resume writers as mentors- they are the best at helping one another.
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?
To be as effective as possible, you need to spend time with hiring managers and keep up on industry trends. What are they looking for in a resume? What do they want to see? What kinds of questions are they asking in interviews? Our industry is going to need to really connect the dots between the needs of the hiring businesses and the candidates. Companies only have so much headcount these days and they need people with specific, yet broad skills sets (a true generalist). The more we can learn about the needs of their business, the more we can help our clients succeed by writing a resume that clearly show the connection between the job description and the candidates achievements.