Janet Beckstrom, Master Resume Writer (MRW), Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW), and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), with WordCrafter.com.
Janet, a multi-certified and published resume writer, has been partnering with clients to craft their career success since 1991. Janet provides resumes/CVs, cover letters, letters of introduction, thank you/follow-up letters, LinkedIn and other social media profiles, bios.
1. What led you to write resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
Janet: I started writing when I was in 7th grade and won a contest to write a column about my school for the local newspaper. I went on to major in Journalism in college.
In 1991, after about 15 years of child rearing, full- and part-time work, I decided to open a business to provide general typing and desktop publishing services for students and local business people.
A few customers asked if I would type their resumes and it took off from that.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
Janet: Yes, as long as the person is cut out for self-employment.
First, you can reap the benefits as with any entrepreneurial endeavor: set your own hours, work as hard (or as little) as you want, make your own decisions, control your own destiny.
Second, as a result of today’s economy, resume writing is a service that is probably going to be in demand for many years, so there should be a market for it.
The key will be keeping pace with the ongoing changes impacting clients’ job searches.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Building client relations: Be personable and genuine. Clients want to know we care about them and that we’re in their corner.
Building business: Help the client remember you after the sale: Provide them with takeaways (that have your name on them, of course). Send thank you notes. Request referrals. Send thank you notes for referrals. Put them on your newsletter mailing list (with permission).
Improving efficiency: Set up as many templates* and streamline as many processes as possible.
*Not resume templates, but rather templates for repetitive tasks like emails to prospects, critiques, quotes, etc.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Janet: Understand the value we offer clients and therefore our own value.
Realize that as we gain experience and expertise we should also gain the confidence to charge accordingly.
This is an area where networking is extremely helpful to gauge one’s place in the market and gain colleague support.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
Differently: I would have become more serious about building my skills sooner than I did.
Other than networking with a couple of local colleagues and reading monthly/weekly association newsletters, I didn’t do any professional development for 15 years.
Had I learned in the first 5 years what I’ve learned in the last 5 years (not only about resume writing but also about running a business), I’d be far better off today.
Do the same: Start a home-based business. I was fortunate to have a setting that made seeing local clients in my home office possible (separate entrance and a restroom in the office area).
It’s especially great now not to be paying rent on am office since I work more virtually than face to face.
Working from home was very convenient and gave me flexibility while my children were growing up.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Janet: Build your skills (and better understand the industry) by participating in professional development and networking with colleagues as time and budget allow (both in person and virtually).
The more you read/hear/learn the better able you’ll be to help clients and the more confident you will be.
If you don’t, you’ll be working in a vacuum and run the risk of becoming stagnant.
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?
Industry transformation: I’m afraid I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t answer that question.
Survival: In order to survive whatever comes down the road, writers need to make a concerted effort to keep apprised of changes in the careers field before/as they happen.
Then we need to educate potential clients why they need us.