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The National Résumé Writers' Association Article Library is full of great information on résumé writing, marketing, and more!
  • October 01, 2014 3:49 PM | Cassie Olson

    By: Cheryl Cooper

    Managing several social media tasks can be overwhelming, as well as time consuming. In the end, one may wonder if all the writing and posting is worth it at all. Does it truly affect the bottom line? Does it bring in more income? There are a few ways to make sure it does.

    In monetizing your social media platforms, first and foremost, it is crucial to have content that attracts readers and keeps them on your site. Each social media platform used must provide potential buyers with information that interests them. Résumé writers must ask, “Who is my client? What information are they looking for? How can I show them that I have the answers they seek and that I am an expert in my field?” Free online marketing content should address these questions rather than simply scream “Buy my services! Buy my services!”

    Providing free, informative content is key to attracting potential buyers. The next thing to do is to link more detailed information as monetized options. In addition to career marketing service offerings, consider packaging your knowledge and expertise by topic to offer as a product to sell. Generating reports, authoring an ebook, or creating an informative instructional video for purchase may be less expensive options for potential clients who are not yet ready to make a major investment or want to see what new insights you can offer.

    If you are more inclined, more detailed options could be profitable and worth the time to make. Developing products like instructional webinars or skills development tests can be something that buyers are willing to purchase once they believe in your credibility as a leader in the career-services field.

    These product options are in addition to any promotions you may post on your website or schedule to advertise on Facebook and Twitter. Please note that in advertising promotions, the key to keeping potential buyers engaged is to mix in your promotions with information content. A bombardment of promotion only is sure to turn readers away.

    A good way to measure your effectiveness in creating a well-balanced, monetized marketing strategy is to review your Twitter posts, for example. If the majority of your posts are only promotions or invitations for others to invest in your services, this may not be the most effective use to bring in additional income. Believe it or not, you may want to reduce the number of promotions you post. “Sell” less and inform more may actually be a better strategy to monetize your social media platforms.

    Cheryl Cooper, MBA, CPRW has been a writer for more than ten years and is the owner of Professional Best Writing Services in Atlanta, GA. She is the former Marketing Chair for The National Résumé Writers' Association and is currently a member of the Marketing Committee. She is also a member of the Georgia Career Development Association.

  • October 01, 2014 2:58 PM | Cassie Olson
    By Fred Coon

    Watch Your Language

    As a professional résumé writer, you must be careful of the language you present when crafting your clients’ executive résumés. Résumé language will be the standard that hiring managers use to measure not only the alignment of a candidate’s technical skills to the requirements, but also his or her behavioral competencies.

    Thus, résumé writers need to understand how each client speaks and behaves so that the language selected for the résumé matches the individual. Writers can easily discover a client’s preferred language-style through a quick phone conversation.

    Behavioral Competencies
    The days of companies hiring managers who have underdeveloped social skills are over. In an employment environment that hosts, quite possibly, the most diverse workforce in American history, there is no room at the top for senior managers who mistake bullying for management.

    Traits like leadership, adaptability, empathy, and collaboration have gained new importance. Companies that desire these behavioral competencies are listing them on their senior-level manager job descriptions for a reason. Through previous experience, executive candidates may have cultivated these competencies. If so, résumé writers can then add those behavioral competency terms, and similar ones, to their clients’ résumés to demonstrate the potential to be a valuable asset for prospective employers.

    Quick question, though -- what exactly are the behavioral traits that résumé writers should look to highlight? They may be defined as leadership, empathy, and adaptability, which are among the many traits all of us use each day.

    To understand how to view and apply a behavioral trait as a strength, let’s consider the trait, adaptability. According to the Harvard University Competency Dictionary, adaptability has several key foundational traits that résumé writers must know and understand to truly assess whether adaptability is one of their client's strengths. In order to find this out, here are a few checkpoints to consider about the client for adaptability:

    • Understands change
    • Keeps a positive attitude during change

    Misrepresenting Your Client on Paper

    If a client’s background can represent these key factors, adaptability may be considered and highlighted as a strength on the résumé.

    Many times, résumé writers may craft résumés for clients who don’t have a basic understanding of what their résumé buzzwords actually mean.  So while résumé writers can make a client look good on paper, if the client is unable to explain the skills supporting a listed behavioral trait, this failure may trigger a red flag for a hiring manager who poses questions based on those traits.

    Your clients’ inability to define stated traits and qualities would make it seem as though you have misrepresented them and exaggerated their competencies. So be sure to educate clients on keenly understanding the core skills and abilities required for each of their character traits. When it comes time for the interview, they will better be able to recognize which one of their management skills is being tested when asked behavioral competency questions.

    Fred Coonis founder of Stewart, Cooper & Coon. He is a Licensed Employment Agent, a Nationally Certified Job and Career Transition Coach, a Behavioral Consultant, and a Certified DISC Administrator. He has advised thousands of executives on their job search campaigns. Mr. Coon has appeared on affiliate stations of ABC, NBC, and CBS as an expert on jobs and employment markets. He has been featured as a career expert in the Wall Street Journal and in Money Magazine as well as other major national publications.  He is an active contributing author, providing job advice to nationally known websites such as Monster and CareerBuilder, among others.


  • September 03, 2014 3:32 PM | Cassie Olson

    By: Cassie Olson, Marketing Chair, The NRWA 

    For a moment, imagine that developing a social media strategy is just like planning for a much-needed vacation. We all imagine ourselves feeling the sand between our toes on a beautiful beach. But in reality, most of the time, we only daydream about what the sand between our toes would actually feel like. That’s why I recommend installing an office sand box like the one below…

    Even if you decide to install this nifty sand box in your office, it's still important to schedule some time away from your work -- especially emails! So, for a vacation, first you decide where you want to go. Next, you figure out the best way to get there. Is it cheaper to drive or fly? What is your time worth in getting to your destination?


    So, I told you to imagine developing a social media strategy like planning for a vacation. That's because just like a much-needed vacation, social media strategies need to be planned! If you are to experience the joys of social media success (your end destination), then your social media strategy should provide you with the best, most cost-effective, and most time-efficient way to get there. The following steps can help:


    Step 1: Define your end goal. For example, your goal might be to get more clients!


    Step 2: Determine which social media network(s) are the most valuable to you based on where your target audience spends their time online, and then BE THERE with them! For example:

    • If you prefer to work with recent college graduates then you may want to spend most of your online time marketing your services on Facebook alumni Pages.

    • Perhaps you are a very experienced writer who is looking for CEO/Executive job seekers. ​In this case, consider searching Twitter for the upper management audience. Because Twitter has a 140 character limit it's a quick and easy social network for business executives always on the run.

    Step 3: Build a social media profile so that your target audience can match your offerings to exactly what they're looking for. So...what are they looking for!? Value in the form of knowledge, information, and sometimes, encouragement. Content marketing demonstrates this value and is currently considered the best method of marketing strategies for small businesses. 

     

    Content marketing doesn’t require YOU to develop all of the material for your social media pages. Most of the time it means sharing content created by others. People love when you share their marketing content, and sharing results in a win-win situation. Content sharing leads to more traffic for the originator and more followers for you. Think of it as good social-media karma.


    Sharing content is great! However, you should create your own marketing content as well, with article titles that lead traffic directly to your personal website. Here are some examples of blogging titles based on the suggested target audiences from above:


    • Recent College Grads: "How to Stand Out in the Job Market Straight Out of College."
    • Career Changers: "Top 10 Tips for Stay-at-Home Parents Looking to Enter the Workforce."
    • CEOs/Executives: "The #1 Way to Manage Your Career Like You Manager Your Company."

    Topics such as these build online awareness of your expertise and increase your potential to sell to your target audience.


    Step 4: Create a social media development schedule. The social media strategy timesheet below is from Buffer and gives a great breakdown of how one social media content crafter/guru organized his time for creating content: 




    Essentially, the time breaks down like this:

    Every Monday, revisit your strategy to make sure you’re on the right track and focusing on the right areas

    Time: 1 hour

    Monday through Friday, implement the strategy. Schedule, create, and post updates. Engage with the community.

    Time: 2 hours

    Every Friday, check your metrics. See how you’re doing on your goals, and identify areas for growth.

    Time: 1 hour

    Following this plan, your total time for social media planning would be four hours per week.

    Cassie Olson is a professional résumé writer currently serving as The NRWA Marketing Chair. She has managed the career services department as the Director of Career Services at a for-profit college. In June of 2013, she started her own career services business called Career Confidence. Career Confidence, specializing in an all-inclusive career services package designed to guide and support her clients throughout their career search. She also shows clients how to stand out above the crowd with infographic and online résumés. Her professional background mainly includes working college graduates, one of whom recently started a communications internship at Facebook.

  • August 06, 2014 3:58 PM | Cassie Olson

    By Marcia Baker 

    It’s the experience you never want to have; however, it’s probably just a matter of time before your website is compromised in some way. To minimize the chances of your website being hacked, incorporate the following tips.

    1. Have strong passwords for your website. A strong password has a minimum of eight characters that are a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid simple passwords that can make it easy for someone to break into your website. If you find that you have too many passwords to remember, consider using a password manager such as LastPass, Roboform, or 1Passwords. Free and paid versions of each password manager are available.
    2. Do not assign “admin” as your user name in the administrative section of your website. Admin is the most common user name hackers use as they attempt to break into a website.
    3. Use tools such as Neighbourhood Checker or Google Webmasters to help determine if your website is being associated with spammers.
    4. Invest in a software solution to back up your website and use the service frequently. There are free and paid solutions available for any type of website. Make sure you understand what the software will do and under what circumstances. For WordPress, Backup Buddy is a great backup solution, and it is handy when you need to transfer your site from one host to another.
    5. Set up a schedule to monitor and update your website manually or hire a website maintenance company.
    6. Install a security plugin such as WordFence or All In One Security to help make your self-hosted WordPress site less appealing to hackers. You can also configure WordFence to alert you when plugins need to be updated.

    A word of caution, especially if your website is built on the WordPress.org platform: you must keep your website updated. Updating is not an option. If your site was built or redesigned three months ago but hasn’t been updated since, it is a target for hackers. Be sure to keep your website current, as WordPress frequently updates its core software and also updates hundreds of its plugins and themes daily. WordPress is great to use for blogging and for use as a content management system. There is a plugin available for just about any feature you would want to incorporate, but you cannot “set it and forget it.”

    So, what should you do if your website has been compromised?

    1. Do not panic! If you have taken the time to prepare for the worst, you should be able to repair any damage and get your site running within hours.
    2. Enlist the help of your website host. If you are on a shared server, other accounts on the server could be affected or could be the culprit of the attack. Your website host can determine the source and extent of the damage.
    3. Subscribe to a service such as Sucuri, which will monitor, detect, and clean up malware, spam, blacklists, hacks, etc. on your website.
    4. Change all website and business passwords. You will have no idea what information the hacker was able to access, so it’s best to change all passwords assigned throughout the site and your business.

    Take time to prepare a defense against a website hacker. Make sure your work is saved and backed up systematically to lessen the pain of a compromised website.

    Marcia Baker is the founder of MARK of Success, a career, marketing, and training services company located in Maryland. For more than 10 years, Marcia has helped her clients craft career and business marketing communications to reach their target audience. Marcia is a former NRWA Board member, a recipient of the Vivian Belen Volunteer of the Year Award, and currently serves on The NRWA’s marketing committee.

  • July 02, 2014 5:13 PM | Cassie Olson
    By Donna Tucker, CareerPRO Resume Center


    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a local network of résumé writers to learn from, learn with, and share stories? You can make it happen in your area. For example, here in Arizona, the Résumé Writers Council of Arizona (RWCA) is 21-members strong and boasts two paying community partners.

    The Mission:
    To enhance and improve the résumé writing and career-search industry of Arizona; to ensure quality work, fair prices, and ethical practices. To remain current with changes in our industry through continuing education and to develop the knowledge necessary to maximize employment opportunities for our clients.


    Our group began in 1995 with four local résumé writers focused on industry networking -- long before the term “networking” was popular. At first, we met sporadically and casually, but as we grew, we established structure with dues, bylaws, code of ethics, website, and marketing materials. As with any organization, members come and members go, some are brand new to the careers field, trying to find their footing, but we have had a solid core of seasoned résumé writers for the past 15 years or so.

    “I enjoy being a part of RWCA because it encourages me, once a month, to get together with friends and colleagues who challenge me, stretch me, and support me in so many ways. I have grown as a writer and as a business owner ever since I joined the RWCA in 2006. In addition to our meetings, RWCA members are just a phone call and an email, or luncheon date away.” – Ginger Korljan, past national officer, The NRWA


    Each month, we offer a program, usually facilitated by a member but occasionally presented by an outside speaker, on relevant industry topics. We’ve covered everything from How to Write Résumés For Hard-To-Place Job Seekers to Techniques for Better Résumé Reviews, from Writing LinkedIn Profiles to Technology Updates, and fromMarketing Your Business to Federal Résumé Writing.

    This doesn’t mean we dismiss membership in The National Resume Writers’ Association; conversely, we encourage it. The more knowledgeable our members are about the industry, the more information they have to share. We all get along famously, never seeing ourselves as competitors -- more like colleagues -- and often, great referral sources. We want you to think about getting together locally, too.

    “I have been a member of the Résumé Writers Council of Arizona (RWCA) since 2003. I appreciate the support of each and every one of our members. I can always count on someone to give heartfelt and professional advice should I need input on a question... or a dilemma I have regarding a particular client or résumé. I learn something new at each meeting!” – Martha Rockwell, The NRWA member

    So if you’re looking for local support and education. Pick up the phone and give your colleagues a call. You can start small as RWCA did. Schedule a luncheon. I think Denver, St. Louis, Atlanta, and a few other areas have successfully gathered together, albeit informally. I promise you, your business and your clients will appreciate all that you gain from the associations you will form at a local résumé writer group.

    Donna Tucker is a certified professional resume writer who has been writing résumés since 1988 though her company CareerPRO Resume Center in. She is passionate about helping clients achieve their career goals with a good résumé that will properly highlight an individual’s value and accomplishments -- and just as passionate about helping colleagues be successful. She is a founding member of the Résumé Writers Council of Arizona, serving as president for many years. Additionally, she served five years on the executive board of the National Resume Writers Association.
  • July 02, 2014 4:01 PM | Cassie Olson


    Last month, Cheryl Cooper discussed the importance of an effective content-marketing strategy. I found this piece from her article to be particularly powerful: “The key to attracting new clients is creating and sharing content that educates and shows business owners as industry experts rather than salespeople.” Today I would like to discuss the basics of building a website for effective content marketing and share tools that I have found to be successful.

    A search of The NRWA’s website reveals that roughly half of the listed 448 NRWA résumé writers do not have a website link on their profiles. As résumé writers, sometimes our biggest challenge lies in marketing our services. By creating a website as an online portfolio to market our services, we are giving job seekers more opportunities to find the services they are looking for.

    For do-it-yourself business owners who are looking to create their own websites, I recommend a drag-and-drop program called Weebly, which is free to set-up and costs $10 per month for special features and a customized URL.

    For those who are looking for a more advanced web design option, I recommend usingWordpress. This website builder is free and is one of the more user-friendly platforms available for non-coders. WordPress allows users to optimize their websites through search engine optimization (SEO). If WordPress is selected, I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin to easily add SEO to a website. Users should be aware that WordPress is a free website, but they will need a website host. As a complementary service, I have found Bluehost to be a very suitable webhosting service with a great support team. 


    Users can either search for free themes within WordPress or search for a web design viaMojo Marketplace or ThemeForest. When selecting a theme, users should make sure that it is a responsive one. This means that the website will adapt to all media devices: desktop, mobile, and tablet.

    After selecting the preferred platform, users should develop their website content.

    Important information to include on a website is as follows:

    • Service Offerings: résumé writing, cover letters, reference sheet templates, career coaching, etc.
    • Contact Options: contact form, phone number, e-mail
    • Credentials and Experience: How long have you been in the field? What certifications do you have? What memberships are you a part of?

    The following items are optional but strongly suggested:

    • A Blog (content marketing)
    • Testimonials
    • Résumé Samples
    • Links to Social Media Accounts
    • Hobbies (at your discretion)

    Cassie Olson currently serves as The NRWA Marketing Chair. She has been working in the career services field since graduating from college in 2009. In June 2013, she relocated to Colorado where she started her career services business, Career Confidence. Her main clientele are college graduates. Cassie also enjoys social-media marketing and website development. She strives to learn how to effectively use all social-media platforms and to share the knowledge with The NRWA members.

  • June 04, 2014 5:07 PM | Cassie Olson
    By Brenda Goburn Smith


    New clients are often surprised when I ask them many questions about their career accomplishments, work likes and dislikes, job situations that help them achieve great results, or unique values. I tell clients that I and other professional résumé writers ask many questions so that we can present a clear picture of who they are and the unique values they have to offer an employer. Contrary to many clients’ beliefs, we don't just sit at our computers and create glowing narratives of their work experiences. If it were that simple, we would be known as fiction writers and not résumé writers.

    It is amazing how many people do not realize that long gone are the days when they could review the Sunday help-wanted ads to discover who was hiring and then mail out 250 résumés or make 50 phone calls. Some clients get defensive when I mention that, today, job searching also includes networking, personal branding, and social-media marketing. A few clients get a deer-in-the-headlights look when I mention those job-seeking strategies. It can be challenging to get clients to understand that a résumé must both accurately present their value and clearly show what makes them a good “fit” for the company in a compelling way. Résumé writers know that recruiters and hiring managers spend mere seconds reviewing a résumé before moving on to the next one. Our mission is to help our clients get noticed and win the interview.

    We must get clients to understand that our mission as professional résumé writers is to get beyond the empty boilerplate descriptors such as “excellent communication skills, detail-oriented, team player, creative, or motivated.” In addition, many clients cannot think beyond simply listing their generalized past duties and responsibilities. To put things into perspective for candidates, I ask them to explain how they will convince an interviewer of what they've said about themselves on their résumé. I point out that when the interviewer utters those dreaded words, “so tell me about yourself,” the candidate cannot stumble. Puffed up, glowing buzzwords on a résumé won’t help candidates when they are asked to give specific examples of their past skills and challenges in quantifiable terms. At that point of questioning, I usually have clients’ attention.

    As résumé writers, our responsibility is to present a clear snapshot of the client that is truthful, intriguing, and of interest to the employment gatekeeper and the person who will be making the hiring decisions. To accomplish this and ferret out reoccurring themes and descriptors, we use every investigative tool available: questionnaires, interviews, past performance evaluations, online research, and assessment instruments. What emerges is often a concise, personal brand that represents the candidate’s values, goals, unique skills, strengths, and career objectives.

    Most clients would be surprised by the actual number of hours it takes a professional résumé writer to write a résumé. Yes, if we could just fictionalize their career document, certainly the work would go much faster.

    Brenda Goburn Smith is President of Resume & Career Services. She has been a serial entrepreneur, employer, and occasional employee during her 30-year career. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, Brenda is a full-time résumé writer and career strategist. She can best be described as an easy confidante with a passion for helping others to clarify and package their gifts, talents, and passions for their goals and new opportunities.


  • June 04, 2014 4:04 PM | Cassie Olson

    By Cheryl Cooper

    By now, most business owners have heard about content marketing, the latest buzzword in marketing and advertising. The intent of content marketing is to move businesses away from the hard-sell advertising strategies that consumers now find irritating and annoying. Today, buyers are able to skip commercials and navigate quickly from website to website to avoid high-pressure and gimmicky sales tactics. More and more, consumers look for specific and intelligent information on products and services to make informed decisions on purchases. Content marketing allows business owners to recognize this change in traditional marketing and to provide clients with the information they want.

    An effective content marketing strategy means more than creating a website and a blog or selecting and posting across several social media platforms. Content marketing begins well before those activates by planning the content to be shared. The key to attracting new clients is creating and sharing content that educates and shows business owners as industry experts rather than salespeople. Done correctly, content marketing can turn prospective customers into paying clients and repeat buyers.

    Résumé writers can develop and use their own content-marketing strategies to gain more clients for their businesses. To do this, it’s best to avoid sharing random information just to have high volumes of activity. Rather, the focus should be on the type of content chosen, which should be valuable to targeted customers. The content should educate prospective clients about an industry, products, and services to name a few things. Content should educate through tips, insight, and instruction to prospective clients rather than give a hard sell. Résumé writers’ marketing content should demonstrate their abilities, as industry leaders, in their specialties to lead potential clients to trust their knowledge and capabilities.

    Done correctly, effective content marketing can make résumé writers more visible to the right audience. To achieve the best results, before developing a social media strategy, résumé writers would benefit from first creating an SEO optimized content strategy. This first step will increase chances of search-engine recognition and the possibility of being found by prospective clients. Effective content marketing can then drive inbound traffic to business websites and provide customers the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. With the right content, résumé writers can convert potential clients to satisfied, repeat clients who deliver word-of-mouth advertising to their family and friends.

    Cheryl Cooper is the owner of Professional Best Writing Services in Atlanta, GA. She has been a writer for more than ten years. Cheryl is a former NRWA Board member and currently serves on the Marketing Committee for The National Résumé Writers' Association. She is also a member of the Georgia Career Development Association.

  • May 07, 2014 6:31 PM | Cassie Olson
    By Robin Schlinger


    In the past few years, it has become more difficult for civilians seeking federal jobs to secure employment. I have had many nonveterans come to me who are seeking employment within the federal government; however, I am not able to help many of them. This is due to several reasons:

    First: Reduction of the number of federal jobs available. The legislative and executive branches have cut back substantially on funding in the federal government. These cutbacks, which have caused freezes and even reductions in several agencies, have made fewer jobs available.

    Second: Increases in the number of people applying for federal jobs. With the economic downturn, more people started applying for federal jobs. After 2008, jobs that nonfederal employees found uninteresting, due to lower salaries and possibly less advancement, began to look great, as they were perceived as having better benefits and stability. Competition for each job increased.

    Third: Increases in veterans applying for federal jobs. During the War on Terrorism, most veterans with veterans preference were either at war or already employed in the private sector. As the government scaled back the war, hundreds of thousands of veterans were released or retired from the military. These veterans are now looking for federal jobs and are given preferential consideration for federal employment.

    Fourth: Changes in how veterans are considered for jobs. In the past, either five or ten points were added to application scores for veterans, depending on their status. At that point, the top three scoring applicants were forwarded to the hiring official. Veterans / disabled veterans in the top three had preference over nonveteran applicants. This meant that a non-veteran applying for a federal job - if they had a professional helping them - would have a good shot at being one of the top three. When the War on Terror was in full force, with few veterans applying, nonstatus applicants had a good shot at federal job openings.

    Today, this has changed. Now, instead of points being added to applicants’ scores, applicants are placed in categories - Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. For many positions, disabled veterans who are just “Qualified” are placed immediately into the Best Qualified category. Veterans in the Best Qualified category must be selected (in most cases) above nonveterans - with disabled veterans placing above nondisabled veterans.

    Fifth: Changes in the application process. In the past, if an applicant had experience similar to the job announcement, the applicant had a great chance to explain how their experience prepared them for the position via essays, such as Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities statements. These days, for most announcements, these KSAs are covered instead via multiple-choice questions. They are very specific for the job, and in some cases, for the preselected person the hiring official wants for the job.

    Unless applicants can state that they have all of the experience asked for (which gets very specific), and they are an expert in EVERY item in the questionnaire, the applicant’s résumé may not even be read. When it is read, the reviewer will match the answers in the questionnaire to the résumé to verify that each question in the questionnaire is referenced in the résumé. Note, if they score a veteran to be Best Qualified and an applicant is not a veteran, the applicant’s résumé may not even be read.

    How can we help our clients in this new environment? There are several questions I ask potential clients to qualify them for a federal job:

    1.    
    “Have you been asked to apply for the job? Has the announcement been tailored to your background?” If yes, applicants should apply if the job is very specific to them. If a job is very specific and requires a high level of expertise, even a nonveteran can get a job. For example, I often help folks get very technical jobs working for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), even if they are not veterans, since the jobs require specific degrees and highly technical experience.

    You can use this question to encourage your clients to network for a federal job if they know someone. I have done this before and have helped my clients to secure jobs.

    2.    
    “Are you a disabled veteran?” If yes, encourage your clients to find jobs in which they have some experience and at least match the minimum requirements if the job is below GS-09. If it is above GS-09, they should be an expert in the job.

    3.    
    “Are you a veteran?” If yes, encourage your clients to find jobs where they are the expert in all the job duties, and can illustrate that in the questionnaire.

    4.    
    “Do you have clearance?” If an announcement states that the job requires clearance, and your client does not have clearance (or has not had clearance), have him/her consider another job. Due to the number of veterans with clearance who are now applying for federal jobs, controversies in the current clearance processes, budget cutbacks, and the costs/time to conduct clearance checks, many agencies no longer process new clearance checks, except in very few cases. Consider having the correct clearance as one of the “requirements” for the job.
    If a person is not a veteran and has not been asked to apply for a job or that job has not been tailored to him or her, the chances of being hired (unless it is very technical and he or she is a recognized expert in all the required areas) is very low. Due to decreased hiring these days and the highly specialized questionnaires, most jobs are filled by preselected candidates. Federal jobs that are not preassigned often go to disabled veterans or veterans.

    If a client is qualified for the job, the résumé that is written must address every item in the questionnaire, job duties, and job requirements. They must include the following key information:

    Contact Information: name, address, phone numbers, and email address

    Announcement Information: number, title, and grade

    Status Information: federal status, veterans status, and clearance

    Each Job Information: title, company name, company address, start date, end date, average hours per week, salary, supervisor name, and supervisor number

    Education: degree, major, minor, school name, school city, school state, school zip, date graduate, grade point average, semester hours, honors, and course list

    Training: name, date completed, and length; certifications; technical and language skills and additional information, including memberships and publications.

    If you are unsure if a client qualifies for a federal job, you may want to contact someone who has experience helping folks navigate the federal environment.

    Robin Schlinger, a recognized Résumé Writing Expert, is a Master Career Director (MCD), Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Certified Master Résumé Writer (CMRW), Certified Federal Résumé Writer (CFRW), Certified Electronic Career Coach (CECC), 360 Branding Analyst, and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC). Since 2001, Robin has been adding value to résumés and other career-marketing documents to win job interviews for her clients. In 2006, she started her own company, Robin’s Resumes®, specializing in executive, technical, student, and federal résumés. Robin uses her previous experience as a senior chemical engineer, quality engineer, process engineer, planning analyst and applications engineer to help her clients. Robin earned a BSChE with a concentration in Writing from MIT.


  • May 07, 2014 4:04 PM | Cassie Olson

    By Mill Montejo


    I remember the days when jobseekers could just find a résumé template online, edit it to fit their work history, and add a generic objective statement like this: “To get a position where my skills can benefit an organization.”

    Those days are long gone. Today, candidates have to create their “personal online brand.”  Well, they can create an offline brand too, but eventually they will need to be online to increase their chances to be found for work that matches their goals, dreams, and “keywords.”

    Jobseekers who have been out of the job-search sector for a while may have noticed that the help wanted classifieds of local newspapers have shrunk. Even the Sunday paper isn’t worth buying anymore for finding good job leads. Due to the economic downturn, many companies are swamped with résumés and are resorting to outside recruiters to find talent.  Recruiters, and even large corporate companies, use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which scan the résumé for matching keywords to those desired for an open position.  If keywords from the job description are not in your clients’ résumés, your clients will never be selected and will wind up in the ATS black hole. 

    To avoid the black hole possibility, your clients must treat their optimized résumé like a “forever template” that they must tweak and edit for every job ad they wish to apply for.  They should focus on what they really want to do and what they will love and find the companies that fit their personality, drive, and goals. Candidates should connect online with others in those companies and should make themselves heard in online company groups or in their own expert group. It’s not easy, but connecting can be done. Google indexes articles and blogs, so companies may seek out candidates once their brand becomes more noticeable online. That’s the position that today’s jobseekers want to be in instead of sending out hundreds of résumés per week with no feedback. 

    Here are a few basic tips to get clients started in Digital-Era Job-Search Methods:

    1.
        It’s all about personal branding and connections. Jobseekers are the product. You must re-package their skills with a nice pretty bow and sell to their desired employers. So that they can be found online, you should recommend a LinkedIn profile right away if they don’t have one. Clients should visit LinkedIn daily to network in group discussions, post and share articles, and connect with others. 

    2.    Résumés and online profiles should steer clear of sounding like a job description. If jobseekers are unable to frame grammatical paragraphs about their accomplishments, then they should hire a professional résumé writer to assist. Educate potential clients that if the professionally written résumé gets them more calls for interviews, and they land the job, then they will have saved thousands in lost wages.

    3.    Quantify their accomplishments in online profiles. Some jobseekers may not have access to employer data about how their role in a project helped the company to succeed and thrive. But they can “guesstimate” the percentage of improvement. If background checks are of concern, from my experience, most background checks will not focus on percentages.  Candidates should not lie but should certainly use all the quantifiable aspects from their career to make their brand stand out.

    4.    Add focus to their résumé and online profiles. Don’t clutter the résumé with their entire work history. Choose the jobs that are most related to their desired position and go back only 10-15 years.

    5.    Avoid current title statements like “UNEMPLOYED” or “looking for my next opportunity.” They can start their own groups on LinkedIn with the job title “Social Media Community Manager Group XYZ,” thereby presenting an active professional appearance. The long-term unemployed are a sector of workers that are currently being discriminated against.

    Yes, there have been many changes in conducting job searches in the last decade due to technological advances. But part of being a great worker is being able to adapt to changes.  Searching for a job is a full-time job these days and it takes a bit of effort to understand the new technologies available.

    Mill Montejo helps Millennials and graduates land entry-level jobs. She helps professional Baby Boomers and Seniors to bridge the gap between "old-school" and digital-age job search methods. She is passionate about helping Americans get back to work by teaching them about the new Digital Global Labor Market. With her tech background and bilingual writing ability, she employs keyword technology to give her résumé clients an edge over their competition.

The National Résumé Writers' Association
P.O. Box 482, Collingswood, NJ 08108

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