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 am a born writer. The opportunity to use my writing skills in a business setting to help people made me an ideal fit. But I think that there are many approaches to “fit” — being a great listener and being able to see themes in clients’ experiences, skills, etc. are the real keys to being a great resume writer.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
I have experience in resume writing, a portfolio of resumes and cover letters, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) designation. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and have completed a graduate program in Communications.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
The need to control my schedule and focus on writing assignments, rather than manage all aspects of a business is what led me to consider contract work. I would recommend contracting to those who are talented writers but may not have sales and marketing skills or the time to devote to business management. Contractors can still operate a business or take a select number of clients on their own as long as there is not a conflict of interest (or time crunch!)
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Pros: Generally you can manage your own schedule more effectively as you simply need to deal with one client or a handful of clients, rather than interact with multiple clients per day, responding to inquiries, explaining process, etc. You do need to be careful though that the contracting company does not dominate your schedule or has unrealistic expectations about turnaround times. Cons: You may not be able to charge as much for projects but that really depends on the contracting company and your sales ability. You may not have the natural opportunity to learn and grow professionally as you are focused on serving the one client rather than working with a more diverse client base.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
Over the next year or so, I see contract work as fairly stable. Over a longer time horizon, though, I anticipate changes in contracting company needs, scheduling demands, pricing, etc. You need to keep pace with industry and economic changes, and make sure that the business model still fits what you want and need. Be careful about what types of companies you deal with — some are great but others are simply interested in pushing volume. Take time to develop your own skills and perhaps even create a separate revenue stream so that any changes in contracts will allow you to continue earning income without interruption.