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  • 09 Feb 2021 2:46 PM | Deleted user


    By Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, CEIP, JCTC, CCM
    Best Impression Career Services

    Most resume writers agree, one of our most challenging tasks is getting the information we need to be able to produce meaningful and compelling documents for our clients. Whether we use worksheets, telephone or in-person consultation, or a combination of both, it’s imperative that we dig out the nuggets of information that will help us package, position, and sell our client’s value.

    This challenge is more severe with some clients than with others. I have found the following strategies to be effective when working with those clients who don’t quickly grasp what I’m looking for or naturally think along the lines of “results” and “value to the employer.”

    Establish a Clear Target.

    If you don’t know what clients are seeking, you will not know what to ask them or how to position the facts you gather. Beware the client who says anything like this:

    • I’m not sure.
    • Anything, really.
    • I want to keep my options open.
    • I was hoping you could tell me that.

    Quite simply, you won’t be able to write a powerful resume for this client, and his or her job search will probably not be successful. Why set yourself up for failure?

    Instead, require your clients to tell you the type/level of job they are looking for and furnish you with a few relevant job postings. You can use this material to steer the consultation, and your clients will end up with documents that make the most of their relevant experiences and capabilities.

    Be Explicit.

    When talking with clients, tell them exactly what you’ll be looking for. Many clients like to talk in generalities, and you must bring them down to the specifics so you can gather accomplishment statements for the resume. You can prepare them by saying, “I will be looking for specific examples of things you’ve done in your career that demonstrate your skills,” but it’s quite likely you’ll have to be even more explicit than that. Here, behavioral interviewing techniques are especially helpful:

    • Tell me about a time when you managed a difficult project.
    • For the jobs you’re targeting, you will need to demonstrate that you have good customer-service skills. Describe a situation when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What did you do, and what was the outcome?
    • You’ve told me you have great negotiation skills. Tell me about a recent negotiation that was successful.

    Use Examples.

    Some people respond best when the ideal response is modeled for them, so if you want them to provide examples to you, use an example in your language to them:

    • Rather than hearing that you were very successful in that sales role, I want you to tell me that you inherited a territory that had falling sales for three years, you implemented an aggressive cold-call campaign, and you increased sales 27% the first year and 15% the second year.

    Interpret Their Remarks.

    Another good technique is to draw upon what your clients tell you and feed it back to them. After doing this a few times, you might find that your clients “get it” and start to give you detailed examples rather than generalities.

    • I’ve noticed that detail orientation has been important in all of your jobs, at the restaurant as well as in the accounting offices. Can you tell me more about some detailed projects you managed and how that helped the company?

    Inquire About Context.

    One of my favorite questions to ask clients is “What was going on?” when they took a specific job. I want to know the challenges they faced, what they were expected to do, and of course how they performed under those circumstances. With this context, I can write compelling position descriptions that focus on big-picture achievements rather than mundane day-to-day duties.

    Understand the Challenge

    Similarly, you can often write stronger accomplishment statements if you compare results to expectations. To get at this vital information, ask questions like these:

    • What were you expected to do?
    • What were the projections for that initiative?
    • Did you have a budget and timeline?
    • Did you have a quota?
    • How did you perform compared to your peers?
    • Was that a realistic expectation? If not, why not?
    • Why was that so difficult?

    Incorporate Feelings

    Some people respond well when asked questions that evoke emotions. They’ll reveal their feelings and passions in a way that points you in the direction of a key question or helps you understand what makes them great at their job. For example:

    • It sounds like you really enjoyed that job. What did you like about it?
    • What job have you loved the most, and why?
    • What in your career are you most proud of?
    • Was that difficult for you?

    Use Samples

    For some clients, an example is worth a thousand words. If they’re struggling to give you what you need, share with them some “typical” accomplishment statements for people in similar positions that you’ve culled from resumes you’ve written. Then ask, “Can we write a similar statement about you? Tell me about when that happened.”

    Ask for Endorsements

    Shy clients may feel uncomfortable talking about themselves. You might be able to get some rich content by asking them what others have said about them.

    • What did your last manager say about you?
    • How would your co-workers describe you?
    • Have you noticed any consistent trends in your performance reviews?

    Call Them On It

    In a few cases, I’ve had to take a bit of a challenging tone with clients who are simply uncooperative or unforthcoming. In these cases it’s important to use direct language so they don’t misunderstand. For example:

    • You’ve said that you’re an expert at operational efficiency, yet you haven’t been able to give me any specific examples of when you improved efficiency or how much you saved. Do you think an employer is going to believe your claims when you can’t support them with facts?

    In other cases, it might be that the client has unrealistic job targets. While I don’t want to shoot down someone’s dreams, I think it’s important that clients have a realistic expectation of success when we complete a resume project, and I won’t hesitate to say, “I’m not sure you’ll be a strong candidate for the senior-level jobs you’re targeting. Do you have a back-up plan if your efforts aren’t successful?”

    In the final resolution, we must work with the material we’re given. But it’s our job to go at it every-which-way to get rich material from clients who may not understand what we need or why we need it or don’t feel comfortable “bragging” about what they’ve done. The result of our hard work should be career marketing documents that impress employers with our clients’ capabilities, experiences, and successes. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worthwhile.

  • 09 Feb 2021 1:38 PM | Deleted user

    As professional resume writers, we all know that a great deal of a resume’s effectiveness is based on accomplishments what a job seeker has done to improve operations, increase revenues, strengthen bottom-line profits, reduce operating costs, enhance business processes, upgrade technologies, and so much more. And, as we also know, one of the most difficult tasks can be identifying those accomplishments when clients cannot easily articulate them.

    To help you become even more effective in identifying your clients’ achievements, I’ve outlined key areas of accomplishments for 13 different professions. Use this information as a guideline when you’re interviewing your clients, digging deep to uncover their accomplishments and showcase them in their resumes.

    To identify your clients’ achievements, begin by asking these questions:

    ACCOUNTING & FINANCE It’s all about the money!

    –Improvements in revenues, profits, ROI, EBITDA, and other financial measurements

    –Design/implementation of cost controls and quantifiable results

    –Negotiation of contracts including dollar amounts, profits, cost savings, and more

    –Implementation of automated programs, tools, and technologies to optimize business performance

    –Partner relationships with investors, pension plan administrators, board of directors, auditors, and others

    –Merger, acquisition, joint venture, and divestiture experience


    ADMINISTRATION & OFFICE MANAGEMENT
    It’s all about organization and efficiency!

    –Design/implementation of streamlined work procedures and processes

    –Introduction of automated tools, programs, and systems to enhance efficiency

    –Internal and external communications responsibilities

    –Contributions to improved operations, cost reductions, and overall performance improvements

    –Personnel training and development experience, and the success of those employees

    –VIP and executive responsibilities and relationships


    CUSTOMER SERVICE
    It’s all about customers, clients, patrons, and others!

    –Improvements in customer service and customer satisfaction scores

    –Top industry rankings for quality of customer service organization

    –Contributions to sales growth

    –Key account management responsibilities and results

    –Introduction of automated customer service technologies and tools

    –Reductions in customer service operating and overhead costs


    ENGINEERING
    It’s all about development and improvement!

    –Engineering/design of new products and their positive financial impact on the organization

    –Engineering/design of new processes and their positive financial impact

    –Redesign of existing products and their resulting financial/market/customer impact

    –Patents awarded and/or pending

    –Integration of advanced technologies to expedite engineering and expand capabilities

    –Project planning, management, staffing, leadership, and financial success


    EXECUTIVE & GENERAL MANAGEMENT
    It’s all about bottom-line performance!

    –Measurable increases in revenues, profits, EBITDA, ROI, and other financial indices

    –Leadership of/contributions to strategic planning and long-term business development

    –Leadership of/contributions to mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and business-building initiatives

    –Success in expanding into new markets, new geographic regions, new countries, and more

    –Improvements in organizational performance, infrastructure, productivity, yield, and more

    –Recruitment and leadership of successful management teams (and their contributions)


    HEALTH CARE
    It’s all about quality!

    –Positive impact on quality of care and quality of patient outcomes

    –Expansion of health care services, programs, and outreach to meet patient needs

    –Development of innovative new health care delivery systems, medical procedures, and the like

    –Attainment and maintenance of stringent regulatory requirements

    –Implementation of advanced health care and health care support technologies

    –Reduction in disease incidence and overall health improvement of targeted patient base


    HUMAN RESOURCES
    It’s all about the people and their impact on the organization!

    –Success in recruiting personnel and their performance within the organization

    –Improvements in traditional employee benefits and reductions in premium costs

    –Introduction of innovative employee benefits and incentives (e.g., flex time, onsite day care)

    –Expansion of HR information systems and technologies

    –Creation of expatriate recruitment, training, employee support, and related programs

    –Measurement improvements in manpower and organizational performance/productivity


    LAW
    It’s all about distinction!

    –Establishing legal precedents

    –Managing prestigious cases and clients

    –Breadth of legal experience across multiple legal disciplines

    –Demonstrable expertise within one area of legal specialization

    –Success in negotiations, arbitrations, mediations, and the courtroom

    –Relationships with regulatory, legislative, judicial, and other agencies/organizations


    MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION
    It’s all about yield and output!

    –Increases in production yield and output, worker productivity, and other performance measurements

    –Improvements in quality performance and award of quality certifications

    –Reductions in operating costs and overhead expenses

    –Design, set-up, and start-up of new manufacturing facilities and production lines

    –Seamless introduction of new products into existing manufacturing plants and favorable financial results

    –Implementation of new technologies, robotics, and other automated processes, systems, and equipment


    RETAIL
    It’s all about product movement and sales performance!

    –Increases in revenues, profits, and market share

    –Improvements in product movement, from warehouse to retail floor to customer sale

    –Distinction for merchandise design and display (including sales results)

    –Departmental staffing and management responsibilities, and quantifiable results

    –Implementation of POS, interactive selling, online selling, and other automated retail technologies

    –Reductions in store operating costs, staffing costs, loss rates, and other expenses


    SALES & MARKETING
    It’s all about capturing clients and generating profitable revenues!

    –Increases in revenues, profits, and market share

    –Individual sales and account achievements

    –Capture of new key accounts and revenue streams

    –Sales honors, awards and percentages over quota

    –Development of new territories and new markets

    –Introduction of new products and services (and results)


    TEACHING
    It’s all about innovation and student/learner excellence!

    –Development of new curricula and instructional programs

    –Development of computerized and web-based programs and teaching/learning tools

    –Committee memberships, student activities, and special projects

    –Management responsibilities for programs, budgets, resources, personnel, and more

    –Experience in training and developing other teaching staff

    –Measurement of student/learner performance and achievement


    TECHNOLOGY
    It’s all about technology innovation and advances!

    –Development of new technologies and their organization/operational/market impact

    –Involvement in emerging e-commerce, e-learning, Web 2.0, telecommunications, and other technologies

    –Financial benefits of technology (e.g., revenue gains, cost reductions, productivity improvements)

    –Patent awarded and/or pending

    –Success in systems migration, conversion, integration, and more

    –Domestic and international technology transfer programs and ventures

    These questions are just a sampling of the many industry-specific questions you can use to dig for information and identify great achievements. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to write resumes that are just the right mixture of responsibilities, accomplishments, career highlights, and brand for each and every one of your clients.

    Get more questions, sample resumes, and more for specific client challenges and job targets by taking an E-Summit training session.

  • 09 Feb 2021 1:27 PM | Deleted user

    Just last week, I experienced the complete spectrum of client experiences with regard to resume review and revision. Client A was thrilled with the draft, made literally no changes, and spent perhaps five minutes in post-draft conversation with me before immediately putting his new resume to work. Client B also said he was very pleased with his resume but wanted to “work through a few tweaks.” He faxed me a heavily marked-up draft and then spent an hour on the phone reviewing and explaining his changes. We went through that same process twice more – each time getting shorter, thank goodness! – before he professed himself 100% satisfied and ready for the final documents.

    The extreme contrast between these two clients made me think about my business processes. What made the difference between Client A and Client B? What could I have done to streamline Client B’s review? What should I do differently in future to avoid a similar scenario? Here’s what I learned and appreciated from this experience.

    Embrace the Balance

    I noticed I never question myself when I have a run of Client A scenarios! It’s only when the occasional Client B comes along that I worry I might be doing something wrong. Yet in the big picture, there are far more speedy resume revisions than protracted ones. As a rule, they balance each other out. So it makes sense to take the occasional lengthy process in stride and realize it all comes out in the wash. Just reminding myself of this truth improves my tranquility.

    Understand Client Types

    My Client B is a high-level executive who works in the esoteric world of leveraged finance. His close attention to details enabled him to become very successful in an extremely fast-paced and competitive arena. He applied this same laser-like focus to his resume. No detail was too small to be examined, discussed, and then decided upon. In fact, I realized as we worked and reworked the document, if he hadn’t gone through such an extensive review process, he wouldn’t have felt good about the resume!

    I could discern my client’s style from the get-go, when he sent me a nine-page resume that he had laboriously worked down to six pages. I was prepared for him to be detail oriented, highly technical, and verbose. Mentally preparing myself for that kind of client and a lengthier than normal interaction is a good first step in overcoming my natural impatience for a lengthy review process.

    Focus on the Work

    As writers, most of us take pride in our professional skills, and we put so much of ourselves into our work that it’s hard not to take it personally when clients critique our efforts. But making the matter personal won’t help you draw it to a successful close. Try to keep your feelings out of the issue, focus on the work itself, and never fall so in love with a phrase, sentence, or paragraph that you can’t see other possibilities.

    Fortunately for me, Client B is extremely charming and easy to work with (it just takes a while!). He never made me feel that I hadn’t done a good job. In fact, he was very complimentary about the strategy, writing, and editing that had brought his six-page resume down to two. Both he and I put all our attention on making sure the resume was as perfect as it could be, and as a result the review process was always pleasant and productive.

    Go Back to the Beginning

    Whenever there is lengthy editing to a document, there is a danger that the initial focus will be lost, or repeated edits will change the meaning of a sentence or a section. For every resume project, but especially when we have gone through lengthy and/or numerous review cycles, I like to look at it with fresh eyes before finalizing the next draft. For me it’s extremely helpful to review my interview notes, reread the client’s paperwork, and refresh my memory about current objectives. Then I read the entire resume top-to-bottom, with those objectives clearly in my head, and can make sure the document supports the client’s goals.

    If you’re having trouble with repeated client revisions, you might need to spend a few minutes with your client discussing her goals as stated at the beginning of your interaction. Describe how you crafted the resume to align with those goals, and point out any changes she is requesting that conflict with the goals. You might gently remind your client that she can’t be “all things to all people” but that the resume you created does position her for her stated goals.

    If nothing else, your “back-to-the-beginning” review will reassure you that you are on the right track and the edited version will indeed support the client’s goals.

    Remove Obstacles

    In a protracted review process, it is very helpful for you to be extremely efficient in getting subsequent drafts to your client. The minute you get off the phone or receive a marked-up copy, get to work, polish the next daft, and send it to your client. You want to position yourself as highly responsive and eager for your client to move on with his career transition. The fewer the delays, the fewer reasons the client will have for prolonging the process. In fact, he will probably be very appreciative of your efforts and do his part to keep the process moving as well.

    Be Honest With Yourself

    We all experience the occasional long client review cycle. But if the majority of your client reviews are multi-step, protracted, even painful processes, it would be a good idea to take a critical look at your work and perhaps get an outside opinion as well. Perhaps you need to improve your strategic thinking skills, your resume formatting and design capabilities, your basic writing and grammar skills, or learn some new strategies for positioning and presenting your clients.

    Ongoing training keeps our skills sharp and gives us confidence that our work is of a high-quality and professional caliber. At the least, consider partnering with another writer to share ideas, ask questions, discuss industry trends, and keep each other refreshed and up to date.

    Select Clients Carefully

    If you know that certain kinds of clients – whether representing a certain personality type, job function, or industry – repeatedly give you headaches, practice saying “no” and referring them to other writers. Everyone will be much happier!

    But don’t be afraid to stretch from time to time. I find that it is the most challenging clients who drive me to do my very best work. I am on my mettle, more determined than ever to produce a great product. There is great value in going deeper into the process, admitting new ideas, and being forced to explain what I did and why. And in the end, it is usually those same challenging clients who become my very best referral sources!

    Ultimately, Client B is happy. Client A is happy. And I’m satisfied that I did good work for two very different clients. So I guess you could say it was a good week!

    Are you pricing and marketing your services to attract your ideal client? Check out more of our business resources.

  • 09 Feb 2021 1:25 PM | Deleted user

    Most resume writers agree, one of our most challenging tasks is getting the information we need to be able to produce meaningful and compelling documents for our clients. Whether we use worksheets, telephone or in-person consultation, or a combination of both, it’s imperative that we dig out the nuggets of information that will help us package, position, and sell our client’s value.

    This challenge is more severe with some clients than with others. I have found the following strategies to be effective when working with those clients who don’t quickly grasp what I’m looking for or naturally think along the lines of “results” and “value to the employer.”

    Establish a Clear Target.

    If you don’t know what clients are seeking, you will not know what to ask them or how to position the facts you gather. Beware the client who says anything like this:

    • I’m not sure.

    • Anything, really
    • I want to keep my options open.
    • I was hoping you could tell me that.

    Quite simply, you won’t be able to write a powerful resume for this client, and his or her job search will probably not be successful. Why set yourself up for failure?

    Instead, require your clients to tell you the type/level of job they are looking for and furnish you with a few relevant job postings. You can use this material to steer the consultation, and your clients will end up with documents that make the most of their relevant experiences and capabilities.

    Get more tips for writing resumes for career change clients.

    Be Explicit.

    When talking with clients, tell them exactly what you’ll be looking for. Many clients like to talk in generalities, and you must bring them down to the specifics so you can gather accomplishment statements for the resume. You can prepare them by saying, “I will be looking for specific examples of things you’ve done in your career that demonstrate your skills,” but it’s quite likely you’ll have to be even more explicit than that. Here, behavioral interviewing techniques are especially helpful:

    • Tell me about a time when you managed a difficult project.

    • For the jobs you’re targeting, you will need to demonstrate that you have good customer-service skills. Describe a situation when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What did you do, and what was the outcome?
    • You’ve told me you have great negotiation skills. Tell me about a recent negotiation that was successful.

    Use Examples.

    Some people respond best when the ideal response is modeled for them, so if you want them to provide examples to you, use an example in your language to them:

    • Rather than hearing that you were very successful in that sales role, I want you to tell me that you inherited a territory that had falling sales for three years, you implemented an aggressive cold-call campaign, and you increased sales 27% the first year and 15% the second year.

    Interpret Their Remarks.

    Another good technique is to draw upon what your clients tell you and feed it back to them. After doing this a few times, you might find that your clients “get it” and start to give you detailed examples rather than generalities.

    • I’ve noticed that detail orientation has been important in all of your jobs, at the restaurant as well as in the accounting offices. Can you tell me more about some detailed projects you managed and how that helped the company?

    Inquire About Context.

    One of my favorite questions to ask clients is “What was going on?” when they took a specific job. I want to know the challenges they faced, what they were expected to do, and of course how they performed under those circumstances. With this context, I can write compelling position descriptions that focus on big-picture achievements rather than mundane day-to-day duties.

    Understand the Challenge

    Similarly, you can often write stronger accomplishment statements if you compare results to expectations. To get at this vital information, ask questions like these:

    • What were you expected to do?

    • What were the projections for that initiative?

    • Did you have a budget and timeline?

    • Did you have a quota?

    • How did you perform compared to your peers?

    • Was that a realistic expectation? If not, why not?

    • Why was that so difficult?

    Incorporate Feelings

    Some people respond well when asked questions that evoke emotions. They’ll reveal their feelings and passions in a way that points you in the direction of a key question or helps you understand what makes them great at their job. For example:

    • It sounds like you really enjoyed that job. What did you like about it?

    • What job have you loved the most, and why?
    • What in your career are you most proud of?

    • Was that difficult for you?

    Use Samples

    For some clients, an example is worth a thousand words. If they’re struggling to give you what you need, share with them some “typical” accomplishment statements for people in similar positions that you’ve culled from resumes you’ve written. Then ask, “Can we write a similar statement about you? Tell me about when that happened.”

    Ask for Endorsements

    Shy clients may feel uncomfortable talking about themselves. You might be able to get some rich content by asking them what others have said about them.

    • What did your last manager say about you?

    • How would your co-workers describe you?
    • Have you noticed any consistent trends in your performance reviews?

    Call Them On It

    In a few cases, I’ve had to take a bit of a challenging tone with clients who are simply uncooperative or unforthcoming. In these cases it’s important to use direct language so they don’t misunderstand. For example:

    • You’ve said that you’re an expert at operational efficiency, yet you haven’t been able to give me any specific examples of when you improved efficiency or how much you saved. Do you think an employer is going to believe your claims when you can’t support them with facts?

    In other cases, it might be that the client has unrealistic job targets. While I don’t want to shoot down someone’s dreams, I think it’s important that clients have a realistic expectation of success when we complete a resume project, and I won’t hesitate to say, “I’m not sure you’ll be a strong candidate for the senior-level jobs you’re targeting. Do you have a back-up plan if your efforts aren’t successful?”

    In the final resolution, we must work with the material we’re given. But it’s our job to go at it every-which-way to get rich material from clients who may not understand what we need or why we need it or don’t feel comfortable “bragging” about what they’ve done. The result of our hard work should be career marketing documents that impress employers with our clients’ capabilities, experiences, and successes. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worthwhile.

    See the Resume Writer's Secret Room for more questions to get better content!

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