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 had been a High School Guidance Counselor for several years when I realized I was not the best fit for that vocation. I decided to pursue an MBA and found a position that could use both my Guidance Counseling and business background in the Human Resources Division of Kansas City Power and Light.
My Manager asked me to help prepare a resume for a friend of his as an entrée to our Career Planning department. He didn’t get the job, but I found out I had a talent for translating what people had done into language someone in HR or a Hiring Manager could appreciate.
Once people knew I could help them, I was writing resumes both internally and soon externally. I even taught resume writing as a class over a 3-4 year period to tens of bargaining unit employees who wanted the opportunity to advance into management positions.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
It is certainly not for everyone. The key is being able to listen to what people have done, probing for the right information, separate out the wheat from the chaff, decide how to handle difficult backgrounds, listen to people’s problems and sometimes serve as a counselor in boosting their egos after they have been fired or out of work for some time.
There is also the need for an expansive vocabulary to describe the skills and competencies of clients in concise and precise terms that anyone can understand in appreciating what your clients bring to the table.
Finally, you have to write correctly, using impeccable English and grammar to make your points.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Creating a resume that amazes clients with your clairvoyance, earns their kudos and almost empties your business card holder.
At least 25% of my business comes from referrals.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Be honest and sincere in your desire to help people. Don’t appear mercenary. Go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction with your work. Then do something little to let them know you really care about their success, like changing the objective or wording to give them another version of their resume or cover letter.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
I might have tried to market my services to more business facing downturns that could have used my program. Other than that, I have expanded my advertising and promotional efforts to continue attracting potential clients in this increasingly more challenging economic environment.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Join the right professional associations, become Certified, establish an attractive Web site and link up with the major search engines, join a network of career-counseling professionals, volunteer to offer resume writing classes locally, link with professional business groups etc.
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?
Market, market market your services to anyone who could use them. Successful resume writers are going to have to be much more proactive in promoting their services. There are so many ways in which a job-hunter can receive help in writing resumes, that it has diluted the old marketplace into an ocean of Sharks, ready to take people’s money with typically inferior results.