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 started out providing administrative support services in several languages, not just English. As the employment market started to change in the late 80s, my clients started to request resumes. So I got in touch with PARW (the only one at the time), got training, and became certified. My writing abilities were an ideal fit for the industry.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
At this point, I would not recommend the industry to others unless it were for a temporary time. Resumes are currently changing: the way they are written (as they have to be visible and eye-catching on devices such as a Blackberry), the way they are requested (e.g., video submission, which may still require a script), and their other forms such as bios, profiles (e.g. LinkedIn), and so on.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
Right from the first call/question, establish a rapport so that the client understands you have his or her best interest at heart while demonstrating your expertise by posing probing questions. This inevitably leads to building your business as happy clients recommend you to other prospective clients. Efficiency is improved as you keep refining this process along the way.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Not every one is or can be your client. By posing the appropriate questions as mentioned under no. 3, you can quickly establish whether the prospective client is a PIA or not. If he or she is, get rid of them immediately. If you go against your intuition, you will pay the price in several ways: 1. it will cost you more money than you are making; 2. you will be aggravated and experience stress rather than joy at your work; 3. the client will not be happy no matter what you so you will not get any referrals and even run the danger of him or her badmouthing you so that you may lose out on a good prospective client.
With some people, no matter what you, it will never be right or cheap enough.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
I would have invested more time and money sooner into how to actually run the business (how to attract clients, have some systems in place, …) What I would do the same is come from a place of caring and genuinely want to help the client; i.e. it’s not just about making money. After all, we deal with people’s lives here.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Based on my previous answer, learn how to run the business, but also be prepared that you will have to make many changes along the way as the industry is constantly shifting. A good way to keep up is to belong to one or more professional organizations. Reading trade papers and business magazines allows for keeping a finger on what is going on.
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?
I do not have a crystal ball so it is hard to predict, and our task is not getting any easier with all the resume mills out there (people taking money from others in order to make a profit and not deliver what they promised). I am guessing that the writing will have to be geared more and more toward handheld devices. In 5 years from now, who knows what will have been invented? Descriptive sentences are disappearing so that instead of writing vague statements, one can substantiate a statement with one or two concrete examples. Writing skills are not enough for resume writers to survive. We need to demonstrate our value to the potential clients, keep up with the various forms of resume writing (see above), and belong to at least one organization so as to be kept informed of the latest trends.