Laurie Berenson, Sterling Career Concepts. Laurie works with clients on projects related to resume development, career change and transition, job search strategy, interview coaching, and salary negotiation.
1. What led you to write resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
Laurie: I worked for three years as an executive search consultant with a national contingency search firm.
While there, I found myself tweaking my clients’ resumes before submitting them to clients – and realized I really enjoyed the process.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
Laurie: Yes! I am so grateful to have found such a great field in which to work.
I wholeheartedly recommend it to someone who enjoys writing and working with people.
The flexibility is also abundant.
You can work from home or you can have a storefront.
You can be a solopreneur, subcontract with larger firms, or manage a team of your own writers. You can work flexible or part time hours or you can do it full-time.
For these reasons, it’s ideal for a parent with young children.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Client relations – blogging to develop your industry expertise.
Business building – social media / online presence.
Efficiency – many things, but one I waited too long to set up – email templates for common situations.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Laurie: One lesson I learned several years in is to not to be something you’re not.
I originally created my website with language alluding to “we/us/our company,” but my mentor with CDI pointed out that hiring a resume writer is a personal decision and what I really needed to do is sell my unique background and strengths.
Now my website is unabashedly more personal with “I, me, and my” to engage with prospective clients on a one-to-one basis.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
Differently – I would have invested more money earlier to optimize my website for SEO and focused on building up a large email list a lot sooner.
The same – I feel my ‘slow but steady’ strategy was the right approach for my family and me.
While my children were babies through preschool, I focused on developing my skill set, reputation, and business presence so that I’m ready to hit the ground running now that my youngest is starting full-time school in the fall.
I could’ve tried (and sometimes wished I had) to ramp up sooner or faster, but building the business slowly but surely was what worked best for me.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
- Join at least one professional association.
- Attend a conference.
- Meet colleagues online and offline.
- Invest in your website and social media presence.
- Get certified.
- Start a blog.
- Submit your work for publishing opportunities.
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?
Over next 12 months – continued movement in the direction of social media and clients vetting us through our online presence.
Over the next 5 years – Online professional profiles will become a standard component of job searching, not just a recommendation.
Resume writers will need to know how to manage an online presence and embrace social media for both themselves and their clients in order to survive.