The following interview was conducted with Rebecca Hayes, from Career Action Associates. This interview is part of a colleague spotlight series, which is published weekly. To read all colleague spotlights that have been published thus far, simply visit the colleague spotlight category. Here is what Rebecca had to say about herself, her business, and the resume-writing industry:
1. What led you to writing resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
I help people with resumes as part of my career counseling practice. I began doing career counseling after working for a year for a company patterned after Haldane & Associates. I also studied with Richard Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute?” My background is in vocational rehabilitation counseling, which is career counseling for persons with disabilities. So I feel that prepared me to do the career counseling part of it. I also think I have a “way with words.” I am also a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the state of Texas.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
I would recommend it for the sense of satisfaction it provides. It was difficult to make a lot of money doing it, but I always combined it with my vocational rehabilitation practice, which is probably my first love.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
For building client relations, I always tried to be available and to give every client my best. I built my business by word of mouth, giving workshops and presentations, sending out a newsletter. I found it efficient to develop ways to make the process easier on the client, such as “bundling services,” putting together a notebook for each client and ultimately, hiring an assistant.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
For me or for my clients? I very much believe in transferability of skills and in order to do that well, it is important to know what you do well and what you love to do. Important for everyone.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
In starting my business, I committed myself to too much overhead in the beginning. I would have started out a little more slowly and not committed myself to that until I had built the business. I am satisfied with most everything else. I purchased a small house and remodeled it into an office so that I did not have to pay rent (except to myself) and then sold the building at a good profit. Probably the smartest business decision I made. I have had a lot of fun and worked with wonderful colleagues.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
I have never been in the strictly resume-writing business and would not want to be. I learned about resumes by reading tons of good ones and bad ones, attending workshops, helping people present themselves in the best light by first determining with them what the best light would be.
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?
Much has changed since I started out in terms of technology and being able to transmit resumes online. I think this will continue to be the trend of the future and the area that most people need to stay in tune with, including me. I am old school. When I started doing resumes, there was no internet.