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resume writers | Mary Elizabeth Bradford - The Career Artisan

Posts Tagged ‘resume writers’

When and Why to Consider Hiring a Professional Resume Writer

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

If you have never invested in your career via having your resume or LinkedIn profile professionally written, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Sometimes it takes going down the path of applying for positions and not landing any interviews – or having a trusted college or professional recruiter tell you in confidence that it is your resume that may be holding you back – for you realize there is an actual ROI. However, more and more professionals are avoiding those uncomfortable situations by being proactive and planning their job transitions well in advance. I receive a lot of calls asking me about the value of having a resume professionally written.

The bottom line is when you retain and invest in your career, your resume writer becomes part of your professional support system, and you might be surprised by the benefits that can deliver. A really good, experienced and certified writer can:

  • Help you by properly diagnosing the core problems you might be experiencing in your job search and dispel any areas you might have misdiagnosed so you do not inadvertently sabotage yourself in your job search.
  • Help you identify your core motivations and crystalize your focus and goals.
  • Create marketing documents for you that will help you land more interviews that align with your goals.
  • Help you by stepping up the quality of your presentation which will improve potential employers perception of you and increase your value in their eyes; in other words, make you more money.
  • A good resume writer can be the strongest ally, professional sounding board, and positive support in your core circle when times of transition are most critical. A good resume writer’s baseline of perspective is very accurate.
  • It goes without saying that a professionally written resume gives you a distinct edge and advantage when working to naturally rise above your competition.

A few circumstances that come to mind when you should seriously consider investing in a professional (certified) resume writer include:

  • When  you are applying for government positions and filling out “KSAs.”
  • When you are changing industries or attempting to move up in position.
  • When you have any challenges in your job search that are really concerning you.
  • When you need an edge. Generally, investing in a professionally designed resume ends up paying for itself and actually yields a bigger payoff.  In many cases, having your resume professionally written is also tax deductible (check with your CPA).

If you look at my case studies here – you will see that quite often my clients write me to share they gained huge surges in income, among other benefits. Of course, every case is unique, but the odds are in your favor that this is a wise business investment in most any case.

When would it not be appropriate to retain a certified resume writer? If you really and truly don’t know what you wish to do next. A career coach is probably a better investment as they can help you identify your core skills and map out a direction.

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The Truth About the $199 Resume

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

If you type “resume writers” into your search browser, you’ll notice that the first big sites to come up are fondly referred to by reputable writers as “resume mills.”

These are companies with a lot of writers who generally have pretty slick websites and offer cheap resumes. I have often seen resumes offered on these sites for $199 and even “executive level” resumes offered for $299. If you are tempted to go with one of these mills to save a few bucks, here are a few things to think about before you take the plunge:

  1. Generally in life, you get what you pay for. I not only like that my resume prices are a great value, but that they include a lot of extras and bonuses, because I want my clients doing back flips about my services, and I want to help them in a holistically with their entire job search. I also offer a full money-back guarantee if someone isn’t fully satisfied with the quality of my work (which to date, I am happy to say, I have never had to use). But I can’t and don’t give my services away for next to nothing. And I generally don’t invest in services that do, because there is always a catch. I might not know where or what it is, but I know it’s there – either in lack of quality, lack of experience, lack of service or dependability, etc…
  2. Before you do anything CALL and talk to a live person. Some companies are involved in fraudulent business practices. Talk to a live person – ask some questions and trust your gut.
  3. LOOK at their resume samples. Once you do that, go to Career Directors International and search for certified and/or award winning resume writers. Now look at their samples. I have so very rarely seen these samples compare, because when you are a reputable, award-winning and certified resume writer, your charges are in line with the market. A good – a really good resume – is a critical piece of your job search pie. It’s not the place to skimp. It’s your career. Get the best writer you can afford. You are worth it.
  4. Be realistic. Here is what I have seen as averages for good/great/excellent resume writers: $299 to $450 for a new grad resume; $550 to $800 for an entry-level to mid-level management resume; and $800 to $3000 for a VP to C-level “executive” resume package. If you are making determinations in this range, generally you are in a good spot.

If the rates for a resume service or writer you’re researching seems drastically lower than the figures in #4, my suggestion is to check with the major Career Services Associations, look up some members websites, and conduct your own comparative analysis. In my opinion, Career Directors International is the best place to start, because their certifications are not cheap, the testing is very difficult, and they set their quality bar very high. To keep certifications current and in good standing with CDI, writers must provide a certain number of annual continuing education credits and hours of volunteer work. THAT is the writer you want to hire, because that writer is serious about their craft and getting you the biggest return on your investment possible.

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DIY Resume eBook & Online Custom Resume Templates…This Is The Deal Of The Century

Monday, July 11th, 2011

My new eBook is now LIVE on Amazon eBooks:

The Career Artisan Series: The 21St Century Resume Guide For The Perplexed

It comes with a link to downloadable resume templates – custom designed by me.

The best part is: the special introductory price is .99 cents.

I know, it’s crazy. You may want to grab a copy NOW before I change my mind! :)

Get it here

Yes, I know this book is worth far far more. I tell you what – if you read it and love it – won’t you consider writing a short review of the book on Amazon? If you help me take this book to #1 on Amazon – that is the biggest THANK YOU that you could ever give me. :)

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Ten Tips To Instantly Improve Your Resume

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

What happens if you are a professional who has a great job history, lots of accomplishments, but you have a mediocre resume?

Well, often it means you hold yourself back from reaching your full career potential so that your compensation, level of responsibility and overall job satisfaction suffer.

Think of it this way: even securing interviews with a resume that just doesn’t cut it puts you in the challenging position of having to try to “sell up” from the “just okay” first impression your resume has already created for you in the eyes of the interviewer.

A smarter plan that will ultimately save you time, money and frustration is to start off on the right foot and create the best first impression possible. Here are ten steps to get you started:

Tip number one: start with a great heading
No, I don’t mean a one sentence objective or your current title. I mean two or three words that closely match your key skills, key industries or a combination thereof.

These grab the readers attention right away, so they need to be powerful, crystal clear and targeted. Check out my website for several samples.

Tip number two: make it stand out
A good design is eye-catching and professional. If you know basics in MS word (like how to create a shadow or a border), this should be easy for you to incorporate into your resume and cover letter. Be careful no to go overboard, though!

Tip number three: add lots of keywords
Keywords at the top of your resume that demonstrate both soft and hard skills help the reader separate out your strengths from your current and past employers. This makes it easier for the reader to connect with you and mentally “picture” you working with them!

Keywords also ensure the document can be quickly read or scanned to find a match between your skills and the target position.

Tip number four: bullet point your quantifiable achievements
Right at the top of the first page you should, if possible, lead with three to six bullets – each with a crystal clear sentence outlining your strengths.

Tip number five: spell out and BOLD your academic achievements Rather than writing MBA, write Masters of Business Administration (MBA), and BOLD your degree.

Tip number six: add the extras
Memberships, volunteer activities, certifications and training programs that are relevant to the position and industry you are seeking, should all be listed in your resume.

You can leave off personal information, such as family status, personal hobbies and statements such as “references upon request.”

Tip number seven: create an accomplishments summary
Under your professional experience, you should always call out your key accomplishments.

You can do this at the top of your professional experience (just group your accomplishments all in together) or as key points under each of your positions.

Don’t forget to BOLD your key accomplishments.

Tip number eight: create the right resume for you
Are you changing industries or building on the one you have been in for some time? Are you a legal professional or in academia?

Resume styles for these professions are all different, so make sure yours is the right style for your industry and/or position of choice.

Functional resumes are generally best for industry or position changes, chronological for staying in your industry.

Tip number nine: sell your present and past employers
Add a favorable sentence or two about each employer as you list each position (ex: ABC Company is a 50 million dollar provider of award-winning widgets with three divisions and 450 employees).

Tip number ten: quantify your accomplishments
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is communicating a menu of responsibilities without completing the story.

Employers want to know “WHAT HAPPENS” when you do what you do, so help them understand why they should hire you by telling them the results of your responsibilities.

Granted, these tips are just the tip of the iceberg, but making sure they are incorporated into your resume can make a difference in the quantity and quality of interviews you get!

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How To Pick A Resume Writer and/or Job Search Coach Who is Perfect For You

Monday, December 15th, 2008

I love my assistant. She is incredibly sweet, supportive, intelligent, organized and experienced in all the technical areas that I know nothing about. I enjoy talking with her, reading her emails, I trust her and just working with her in general is an enjoyable experience.

This was one of my goals when I first knew I needed to hire an assistant – I wanted our working relationship to be easy, fun and productive. Being a sensitive person, I knew myself well enough to know that any other type of relationship in my “inner circle” would sap my energy and creativity. I remember in our interview I clearly communicated this to her.

So how does this relate to hiring a career coach or resume writer? Simply to demonstrate that knowing your expectations and the way you like to work will hlep you determine the most harmonious partnership.

Here are several tips to help you choose the best resume writer and/or career coach for you:

Understand why a good fit is important
This is the person who is going to help market you, draw out your greatest strengths, guide you towards your ideal industry and position and possibly much more. You are putting a large part of your career success in their hands. You should like them and trust them. You need to have a good connection with this individual so they can help you.

Make sure they have ample experience
I am sure there are lots of great resume writers out there who are either new to the industry and/or not certified. However you are probably going to have better success overall by choosing a writer who has a good amount of experience (the more senior the executive the more experience you want your resume writer to have – working of course at your level).

Make sure they are certified
You also will benefit from the peace of mind of knowing they are certified. Career Directors International and Career Masters Institute are my favorites. Their credentials are tough to obtain (a good thing), require renewal and these two associations are really good about keeping their members up on the latest trends and techniques.

What is their style?
You want to really make sure that you gel with their style. Are they super-business like and detail oriented, or more friendly and informal?
How does that fit with your style?

With my site for example – you can tell right away I convey a highly personal, friendly and caring approach. I was very careful to design my site to communicate this to my clients and potential clients. Why? Because I want to attract and help professions who are drawn to my personal style.

Do you resonate with them?
Here is a quick and easy way to discern whether you resonate with your resume writer/career coach or not:

Look at their website…do you like how it looks, are you drawn to and do you relate to the content? Are you excited about the products and the services? Chances are if they know how to market themselves that’s a great sign they will know how to market you!

Talk to them…does the conversation flow smoothly? Are they asking you a lot of questions in order to better understand your situation?

If the call was an appointment were they on time? Have they returned your emails promptly? Do you feel that they understand your situation and have offered at least a general overview of what they can do to help you? Do you feel excited or drained and overwhelmed at the conversations end?

If you get a funny feeling or sense it’s not going to be a fit then quickly move on! It doesn’t necessarily mean that the resume writer/career coach is a bad one, but it could mean they are just not a good fit for you.

A word about money
I truly believe you should hire the very best you can afford. These professionals are paid to draw out and market your key skills and abilities and pull you forward in terms of everything career success means to you.

This is an investment in yourself – a serious one that helps you achieve wonderful results. Baring a few exceptions this isn’t the time to go bargain basement shopping.

By keeping these simple points in mind you can move forward with your resume writer/career coach of choice with excitement and confidence!

You will be amazed at how your “partner” and “coach” will help you in more ways then you may have imagined during your job search. Having someone you like, trust and enjoy working with – walking with you step by step towards your goals will ease the burden, increase your confidence and motivation and quicken your path to success.

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Executive Resume Tips: Five Common Resume Mistakes

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

 

 

I see it too many times. Brilliant, forward thinking executives who miss out on fabulous job opportunities just because their resume wasn’t working for them like it should!

 

A resume is no place to cut corners on your job search…that’s like going on a first date with someone you really like without getting all cleaned up. Yikes!

 

Here are five common resume mistakes to avoid:

 

 

Mistake number one: Too generalized

 

If you are an executive you must be able to communicate precisely what it is you bring to the table.

Here is a quick tip on getting specific: what is the ONE key area where you really shine? Is it your industry (that you plan to say in) or is it a function or a process? Once you have that written down, next write down your next two greatest strengths.

 

Are these keywords right at the top of your resume? They should be.

 

 

Mistake number two: Too long

 

Is your resume more than two pages? Under certain circumstances a three page resume is acceptable (and of course a CV can be as long as you like), but generally you are better served to keep your resume no longer than two pages.

 

 

Mistake number three: Too garbled

 

Word economy is extremely important when it comes to writing your resume. Do you have a long list of bullet points under your job from the 1990’s? Was the position you held at that time about four levels below where you are at now? If the answer is yes, that is a big red flag.

 

Perception is everything and you really want your potential employer to see you as the leader you are now, not the manager you once were.

 

 

Mistake number four: Too plain

 

Have you looked at a few samples of executive-level resumes? How does your measure up to them? Boxes, arrows and even small charts and graphs which demonstrate your accomplishments are quick, compelling and effective strategies that garner positive attention.

 

Have you ever looked at a credentialed, experienced resume writers website and seen the testimonials about how Mr. Executive couldn’t get an interview until Mrs. Super-Resume Writer redesigned his resume? It works and it’s a wise (and often tax deductible) investment!

 

 

Mistake number five: Too boring

 

One of the most important things your resume should convey is your accomplishments. They need to be quantified, short and highly compelling!

 

This is a tough one for most executives. Even resume writers admit they would be hard pressed to write their own resume! 

 

But you can begin by using a simple template that includes the following: problem, what you did and what happened when you did it?

 

These stories should detail what you are doing when you are at your very best and LOVING your job! This way you will be honoring your strengths and aptitudes authentically and attracting the right attention!

 

By avoiding these five mistakes you stand to secure more high quality interviews and reach your career goals more quickly and easily!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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