Wendy Haylett, a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst, Certified DISCstyles Communication Consultant, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Rapid Employment Master Coach, Buddhist Sensei/Minister, and Unified Mindfulness Teacher in Training / Mindfulness Coach.
She offers Career, Behavioral, Communication & Spiritual Coaching; Personal Branding & Identity Strategy Development; Resumes, Bios, LinkedIn, Cover Letter & e-Notes; Marketing & Promotional Copy; Artist Summaries & Bios; DISC Communication & Behavioral Assessments.
1. What led you to write resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
I worked as TV broadcast engineer and director prior to beginning my resume writing career, so it wasn’t a classic move, like moving from HR or similar role.
Writing and communication have been passions for me throughout my life, however, so that made it a comfortable fit. I would write or edit resumes, letters, essays—everything—for friends and began to hone my skills that way.
A job search company got a hold of one of my resumes and asked me to write resumes for their clients and that’s how I jumped into the business.
I worked for them in a part-time independent contractor role, during the early and mid-1980s while I was still working in broadcasting. When I had built a relatively steady client base, I transitioned to resume writing full time.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
I maintained my resume business full-time, from 1987 on.
My client base grew rapidly, from initially attracting business through Yellow Page ads, then building exponentially from referrals.
I was very busy every year until the economy began its post-dotcom and post-9-11 slip around 2002-2003.
At that time, business got slower and slower every year.
Since most of my work came from a local Rochester, New York client base (and their referrals), financial considerations prompted me to do one of two things:
A) Build a major web presence and brand; or
B) Pursue subcontracting.
Although I was hesitant about subcontracting, because I was worried about how I would do writing to someone else’s specifications and expectations, it seemed the lesser of two evils.
Building the business all over again as e-Commerce was daunting. I responded to requests for subcontractors appearing on the PARW chat list and newsletter.
I went through a few companies initially, not finding the perfect fit due to low pay or impossible turnarounds. I connected with one company in 2007 that was an excellent fit for me. I added a few more to ensure I always have work.
Some get very slow, one went out of business, and I just formed a great partnership with another in the last few months.
Fast forward to 2017 and things have changed. I started ‘outgrowing’ or splitting off from my subcontractors’ quality standards and business models, so I let all fall away except one, while I finally tackled building a web presence and brand.
Getting older, I was frustrated by the lack of income potential as a subcontractor.
Additionally, I felt that my client coaching skills, experience, and vision were handcuffed to the vision of the contractor, which I didn’t always share.
At the same time, I was building a web presence, I invested in more training in career coaching and behavioral analysis/communication coaching.
I obtained my Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) certification through TTI and my Certified DISCstyles Communication Consultant (CDCC) certification through ProfilingPro. These were added to my original Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) credential.
This additional training and certification significantly strengthened my coaching ‘chops’ and the value I offer to my clients.
In the last few years, I changed my business model to 90% independent clientele gained from my website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and referrals, plus a continued collaboration with a colleague as a resume consultant, writer, and editor.
The coaching part of my business has increased and is a major part of every service package I offer clients.
This chronology frames what I would recommend. For those just starting in this business I would recommend three important things:
- DO subcontract to be exposed to different industries, resume strategies, formats, etc.
- DO establish a web presence and brand. We preach this to clients; we need to do it for ourselves!
- DO get involved with professional associations and get to know colleagues. It can be a lonely business and you can develop insular, tunnel vision about what makes a good resume and what best serves clients. I developed a partnership with a contractor, who I now consider a friend, and I gained — and still gain — so much working with her! She is tremendously creative and inspired me to expand my creativity.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improve efficiency?
I wouldn’t say there is any “single best” tool in my experience. There are many great tools. Here are some, in no particular order:
- Get visible through a strong web and social media presence … Write blogs and articles … Post regularly on LinkedIn, your business Facebook site, Twitter, Instagram or others.
- This is not meant to be a commercial, but I highly recommend a partnership with ProfilingPro to become an Authorized DISC Administrator or Affiliate. The use of behavioral and communications strengths assessments has been a critical factor in helping my clients and adding to my income stream.
- Get involved with professional associations, like NRWA, PARW, CDI. Get to know your colleagues. You will always have the latest insights into our business and its trends, plus have access to education and training opportunities.
- Do what YOU do best. You can learn by imitating, but find your unique brand and expertise, then build on it and publicize it!
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Don’t be an island.
Get to know your colleagues, share, complain, ask questions!
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
When I threw myself into subcontracting and ignored building a web presence, I stayed there too long.
I should have done the web part at the same time. I am glad for my subcontracting experience.
I would not change that.
I learned tons and developed a wonderful partnership.