My background is in Counseling and eight years ago I was hired by Brazosport College to be a part-time advisor and to help with career services. Before that my only experience with resume writing had been doing my own.
My early assignments were to teach workshops in resume writing and to critique the participant’s resumes. I found with teaching the workshops that no matter how I presented the material or what kind of handouts I had, that people were still unable to translate that into great resumes. However, students began seeking me out to work with them one-on-one. That’s when I began to discover the missing piece—good content. Students just were not able to dig that good content out of themselves. That’s where my counseling background was a benefit.
I began to see the benefits of what a resume could do for a person. A good resume has the power to change lives. I worked with single moms, people that had been laid off, people starting a new program or making career changes, first generation students, you name it. Being able to see their work and education history on paper gave them confidence that they could find better jobs.
2. How long have you been in the industry? Would you recommend it to others? Why?
I’ve been writing resumes for almost eight years. I found it to be more of a calling rather than something I sought out. I think you have to genuinely have enough curiosity about people to get good information from them and be determined to give them the best possible document.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
For me it’s been my enthusiasm and my ability to deliver a product that gets the job done. Nothing makes a client happier than submitting a resume and getting called for an interview. At the college, I didn’t have unlimited time to work on custom resumes. I had to develop a process that was time efficient, yet still benefited the client.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
For me, it’s been to get out of my comfort zone. I was doing good work and making a difference in people’s lives. But by staying in that role so long, I was losing my passion. Because I wasn’t connecting with people in my profession (resume writing) or outside my industry (higher education) I was becoming bored with the work and somewhat complacent in my abilities. Starting my own business has made me realize all the things that drew me to this work are still there and I’m excited again.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
I would have gotten involved in the professional organizations earlier. I was very self-motivated to grow and be better but by being somewhat isolated in a college career center, I missed out on so much. Now that I’ve connected with other professionals outside my institution I am enjoying learning and growing as an even better career professional.
The thing I would do the same is to choose work that I’m passionate about. By going with something I was passionate about, I was able to really connect with clients. Because it was interesting to me, I didn’t mind reading countless books on the subject and really trying to provide the best possible service.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Study and practice. Join a professional association and take advantage of the resources that they offer.
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?
I love the craft of writing a resume, so I hope that the actual document remains a part of the job search process. I see our role with social media broadening. We have to have strong know-how and expertise in how to use current social media but also be on the lookout for what’s coming up. I think we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg right now. Our industry will be transformed within five years. When I started writing resumes just eight years ago, paper submissions were still the standard. Now it’s all electronic. I only see that increasing and evolving into new forms and processes.
Resume writers will still need the skills to take a client’s experience, educations, and qualifications and translate them into whatever form that evolves. In fact, I think it will be more important than ever to have the ability to make a person stand out from the rest to put a human face on an electronic submission. We can’t be tied to one way of doing things and have to be open to trying new things.