William Mitchell, CPRW, The Resume Clinic. The Resume Clinic is an A+ rated BBB Online Reliability Program member offering career document development services worldwide since 1995.
1. What led you to write resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
William: I graduated in Finance from Xavier University in Louisiana in 1992 at a time when that industry was suffering.
As such, jobs were few and far in between, which led me to learn every resume strategy possible to develop an effective document.
Even though I never landed a position during that stretch, the resumes I did for friends and family members seemed to do well for them.
After a few years of people telling me “You really need to do this for a living,” I decided to take heed and pursue resume writing as a career path.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
William: The resume writing trade has numerous benefits and I would recommend it to anyone comfortable with the written word.
There is the freedom of flexibility.
The advent of the laptop, the Internet, and cell phones/Skype means one can write resumes from the beach in Miami or an apartment in Paris.
It is something that can be done part-time or full-time. You can write as a contract employee or build your own client base.
While I keep my eye open for the contrary, one thing that will not likely change soon is that our craft never goes out of style. Every professional needs a resume.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Client Relations – The best way to maintain a good relationship with clients is to provide a quality product ON TIME.
A good way to get a bad reputation is to over-promise and overreach when it comes to what you can do and the timelines you can meet.
Next, be sure to be available by phone and reply to emails in a timely manner.
As an online service, clients already feel a sense of isolation. As such, I do all I can to make clients feel that I am always at their fingertips.
Building Your Business – This would depend on the environment for which you operate.
As a 100% online service, I forego the traditional methods for building local clientele (local chamber, yellow pages, etc), as my efforts are better spent on improving my online profile.
A well-organized website is paramount to my success, combined with various strategies for marketing it. I hired an SEO professional to increase my search engine profile and I am starting to see the fruits of the investment.
But I also am big on pursuing referrals.
Of course, the main thing here is excellent work and personalized service.
But you also have to ensure that clients remember your name. I can’t tell you how many of my clients have come to me for services because they just couldn’t remember their previous resume service.
My monthly newsletter does an excellent job keeping my business’ name fresh in their minds while communicating valuable information and tips to assist in all areas of career management.
Improving Efficiency – I have always felt that this was my primary goal to grow the business.
For me, speed and knowledge of the MS Word program was the first goal.
With the knowledge I have of shortcuts and formatting capabilities, I can produce a great product for my clients faster than most. Organization of emails and contact lists are also key since it is my primary method of contact and communication.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
William: I believe many would agree that one of the most valuable lessons I have learned over the years is that every sale is not a good sale.
Every now and again, there is a situation where a client is simply not a good match.
Early in my career (when funds were at a premium) I didn’t pay much attention to this.
But what I began to learn was that when the match was a bad one, the sale doesn’t make up for the lost time and aggravation. The firing of a bad client is perhaps the best way to maintain efficiency and one’s sanity.
For me, there is no dollar value I can put on ensuring the client and I see eye-to-eye on how a project should progress.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
William: In retrospect, what I may have done differently is integrated a CRM program into my process early on.
I use Outlook and its contacts management add-on, which works great for me.
But to convert to a CRM program now would be a huge project that I am not currently willing to undertake. But I am pretty sure that I would have done everything else the same.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Learning MS Word inside and out – There is almost nothing the program cannot do with regard to the formatting of a document.
The better you know it, the faster you can produce a document, thus the more work you can take on without burning out.
Seek out a mentor – Resume writers with experience can pass along information quickly that could take you years to stumble on by yourself.
They could turn you on to creative ways to lay out a document that you never considered, point you to other professionals who may be looking for young talent and maybe even point you away from more unscrupulous services that may abuse your lack of industry longevity.
Pursue certification – Not only will this help you to become a better professional with a more rounded knowledge base of what constitutes a good and effective resume, but it will increase your compensation with resume services and improve your profile with potential clients.
Process, process, process – I learned from a former employer many years ago is that when you have a proven process, things just go smoother.
And he was right.
Whether operating as a contractor or launching your own venture, be sure to iron out your processes so that you do not get overwhelmed.
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?
William: I believe that where our industry goes depends on the H.R. profession.
While the concept of resumes will likely not change, the way that this information is gathered and disseminated can possibly change.
Technology changes quickly (sometimes it seems as though it is daily).
Is some database reservoir system on the horizon that makes our generation of MS Word documents and PDFs obsolete?
That is what I am keeping my eye out for.
Sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook are already changing the way we market ourselves.
Of course, as writers, we still have a stake in that process because, whether on paper or in digital form, it still needs to be phrased succinctly and with a punch.
However, if there is a skill we need in order to survive, it is the ability to adapt to new technologies and merge it with our flair with the written word.