The following is part of a colleague spotlight series. A new colleague spotlight will be published each Monday. To read all colleague spotlights that have been published thus far, simply visit the colleague spotlight category.
1. What led you to writing resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
I’d say a combination of the right HR experiences led me here but my passion for helping others with strategies that facilitate job search success is what motivated me to start my own business. My background originally was in the corporate world in NY, specializing in Training and Development. I moved on to do some contract recruiting with a rapidly growing consulting firm that evolved to a 6-year career in that arena. For two of those years, I concurrently facilitated career transition workshops with an industry leader in career management, working with recently downsized staff on job search, resumes, interview skills, and salary negotiation. I loved doing the group workshops but really wanted to help people at the individual level. So, I began looking into professional associations to learn more – I joined a couple of these, started working with a mentor, attended professional conferences, and eventually earned a certification as well, my CPRW. I’ve been hooked ever since!
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
Clients need a person who is well rounded in a number of critical areas to really be helpful – knowledgeable about the employment world, a good listener, knows how to probe for relevant information, understands what a “targeted resume” is and is creative so that they don’t all look like cookie cutter copies. It’s important to have a friendly personality and the ability to help clients feel comfortable talking about themselves and their strengths. I think it’s a great time to start this type of business if it is your passion…..due to the current needs, though I’ve been in the business for 10 years and it has been steady through good economies and bad.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Wow – tough questions! I’m not sure I have “a single best” in these arenas. I am a strong believer in networking and helping others / other businesses it always comes back to you. Volunteering can help someone get off the ground quickly – such as volunteering to do free resume evaluations at job fairs or speaking at local libraries. Regarding building your business and other improvements, I am a strong advocate of professional development – join organizations such as NRWA, PARW, CDI, CMA……..attend conferences and workshops to learn about cutting edge strategies and tools to help your business grow.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
I think customer service is the most important thing you need to pay attention to – but you have to balance that with being fair to yourself. Belonging to an organization provides easy access to your colleagues who can help with quick advice in a sticky situation. In my first year, I had one difficult client who was very intimidating. After initially being pleased, he kept returning and asking for minor changes….I felt like he was never going to “ok” the job. He was really taking advantage. Upon consulting with colleagues, I learned the importance of a signed contract and to have a clause specifying how many rounds of revisions are included in the project fee. Over the years, I have learned of other nuances to include in a contract in order to be fair to both my client and myself.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
It might have been helpful to start out as a subcontractor working for someone else first – it can be a nice way to learn the ropes with a little less pressure.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
This probably sounds repetitive, but the value of professional associations is the best investment you can make.
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?
More recruiters are looking at resumes and cover letters over iPhones, etc so I think documents are going to need to be shorter; I think that we are all becoming very used to fast information and polished websites / blogs, lots of fast, high-tech info on social media and I wonder if eventually everyone will need an online resume as the only tool for marketing themselves.
Interview conducted with … Diane Irwin, Dynamic Resumes of NJ. Dynamic Resumes of NJ offers high impact resumes and job search help that gets results! Diane Irwin, CPRW, has over 15 years in Human Resources including a background in career transition and recruiting.