The Ethics of Resume Writing

The NY Times recently asked in its Ethicists column whether one should hire a person to craft his or her resume and cover letter. I read it ­– and the resulting comments – with great interest. Have I made a career out of something unethical, I wondered?

Not just to defend myself but I do believe the work of a highly certified resume writer is perfectly ethical, assuming the following points:

1) The applicant is honest if asked who wrote the documents. Although I’ve personally never heard of this happening, I do recommend to clients that they answer honestly if asked, “Who wrote these documents?” An appropriate response might be, “I partnered with a resume writer on crafting the documents to ensure my information was not just accurately represented but clear and concise as well.” If one is looking at a team management or project management role, you could point out that this is similar to collaborating with others on ensuring an optimal outcome. 

2) The applicant is responsible for providing requested writing samples or anything else relevant for the role itself. Though this is not common either, there are roles where writing samples, portfolios, or other materials are requested and relevant for the job itself. While it’s one thing to have a trusted writer (including your resume writer) review any such work as another pair of eyes, we do suggest clients prep those materials themselves.

3) The resulting documents accurately portray the background. I previously hinted at this but it is essential that the information be fully accurate. Surprisingly to some, this is very much a two-way street: the client must provide accurate information while the writer must ensure that the content correctly indicates the client’s background, accomplishments, goals, etc.

Additionally, a strong writer will be able to identify opportunities for re-positioning information to best suit a client’s goals but recognizes the line between “well-positioned” and “incorrect.” Lastly, it is not the writer’s job to verify a client’s information – honesty is the best policy, especially in the age of Google!

If you are in the market for strong resume and cover letter and are also looking for more than a service that simply reformats your info, I would also suggest considering the following points:

Collaboration: Look for a writer who will partner with you on the project. The ReFresh Your Step philosophy is that while we are the expert writers, you are the expert in you. You know your background, accomplishments, and goals best so it is ideal that we collaborate to ensure truly excellent documents. Not all writers share in this philosophy but many do. All you need to do is ask!

Methodology: Resume writing, similar to the overall job search, has changed quite a bit in recent years. We have found that it is essential for clients to understand why we did what we did with each section on the resume and overall. As such, we provide a methodology overview for each person that is tailored for each client and answers the vast majority of questions. This is especially important for the…

Interview: The resume gets you the interview and the interview gets you the job. If you follow that logic (and we suggest you do), then it is helpful to understand all aspects of the resume so you can speak to it in an interview. A highly skilled resume writer will collaborate with you on the full resume and cover letter project, provide you with the overall methodology, and prep you for the interview.

What are you waiting for? It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew!

LinkedIn Series – Profile Basics & Your Resume

You have your basic LinkedIn profile set up and have included (please) a snazzy headshot, but how do you work in your resume? Should your profile and resume match? Although your resume is an important part of your LinkedIn profile, they’re not the same thing. In fact, the two are more like supportive siblings than identical twins: they should complement one another but not match (exception: your basic contact and job info should always be consistent between the two!).

While completing your LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that it should be a good self-representation of where you want to go with your career while indicating that you have the foundation for it (again, similar to your resume…but not identical). Your profile should be straight to the point, but unique at the same time. Remember that others will be viewing your profile. It is a good idea for someone else (who knows you and your work) to review it and provide constructive feedback to ensure you are on the right track. View your LinkedIn profile as your image. Build it accordingly to create a powerful reflection.

Once you have the work/education basics in place, it is time to flesh it out with details. Concentrate on your accomplishments for each role and provide context if that would suit your needs. Additionally, indicate your Core Competencies in the Summary section (though they will be referenced again in the Skills/Expertise section; more on that later!).  Remember to read our post on Resume Don’ts (parts I and II); though it’s true that the two should not be identical, many of our guidelines here still ring true for LinkedIn!

We have much to cover regarding LinkedIn profiles–today’s post barely scratches the surface on how to handle the basic profile. Next up:

  • Creating a strong summary and how to obtain a unique URL.

Other upcoming profile topics include:

  • The importance of outside validation and strategies for obtaining it.
  • Why projects matter and how to work them in to your profile.
  • An overview on increasing your “Subject Matter Expert” presence and why you want to do that at all.

After we cover the profile, we’ll move into the amazing features built into LinkedIn and discuss how to maximize your usage of each one. Until then, remember, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

The Importance of Resume Certifications

As summer begins to wind down, many people begin looking forward to getting back to work and / or school and dealing with important issues in their lives. When it comes to picking important service providers (doctors, financial planners, etc…), most people look for professionals that (besides being recommended by a trusted source), have attained a certain level of education or training in their respective fields. Why then, settle for less when it comes services for your career, likely one of the most important aspects of your life?

Unbeknownst to many, there are a growing number of  national certifications and training programs for career-related topics such as resume writing, career coaching and human resources.

While many websites and companies advertise resume and cover letter writing and editing services (some promising unrealistic results and timing for a relatively low cost), it is important to understand who is behind the glossy website and will actually be doing the work. Just as you wouldn’t want to undergo surgery from someone who performs procedures as a hobby, or doesn’t have the level of knowledge and training with which you are comfortable, preparing yourself for a potentially career-defining opportunity should be the responsibility of a trained and certified professional. In this improving (albeit slowly) job market and economy, your resume can make all the difference between landing the right opportunity and…not so much.

ReFresh Your Step, is owned and led by, Emily Kapit, MS, CPRW, ACRW, a career-oriented professional who has attained a Masters in Educational Psychology, has a professional background that includes journalism and recruiting roles, among others, and is a trained  writer backed by resume certifications from two prestigious organizations. Her first certification, the CPRW, is from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and the second, her ACRW, is from the Resume Writing Academy. The latter group is widely considered to be one of the highest levels of certification in this growing field. As one of a relatively small number of ACRW certified writers worldwide and one of only 2 based in South Florida, Emily Kapit, works with a wide variety of professionals from every sector/level in over 45 states, throughout North, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and India, and is ideally suited to help you achieve all of your career goals. Connect with us today and take the first step towards towards career success!

Top Five Reasons to Hire a Resume Writer

Your resume – usually the first thing a potential employer sees  – is often a key determinant in whether you’ll be offered a job or even an interview. While it’s tempting to think that writing your own resume is the cheaper, easier option, it may end up costing you in the long run. Consider this: with so much riding on one document, using a professional resume writing service is a wise investment for jobseekers. There are many reasons to employ a professional resume writer – and it’s tax deductible (a BONUS reason)!

1. The experts agree! Some interesting statistics – according to www.theladders.com, a professionally written resume can make you 38% more likely to be contacted by recruiters, 31% more likely to land the interview and 40% more likely to land the job. With stats like that and an 8% unemployment rate (at least),  not using a professional resume writer can truly be hurting your chance at finding your next job.

2. You’ll Get to Recruiters Faster. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are widely used by employers and can work against you before your resume even reaches a hiring manager’s desk. With each job, there are certain keywords the tracking systems look for – with an 80% match of the right words, your resume will be sent directly to a hiring manager. A 60%-79%% word match may or may not be enough for your resume to move past the application process, and anything less than a 60% match will send your resume into the black hole of forgotten applicants. A professional resume writer will know exactly what keywords employers are looking for and can help your resume bypass the tracking system. Strongly accredited writers will even teach you how to quickly and effectively tailor your resume’s key words for individual job descriptions. Choose wisely!

3. Resume Trends Evolve: A professional resume writer is a trained expert and truly knows what employers are really looking for in a resume. Do you know what kind of accomplishments you should pull out of your experience and put onto paper? Are you aware of how your skills should be presented in order to show your potential to employers? Have you considered building in a strategy for how you want your document to be viewed by hiring managers? Resume writers aren’t inventing any of your experiences or abilities, but they know how to present them in a way to place you in the best light possible – and to show employers how valuable you are–and will be to them.

4. Accountability & Preparedness: Hiring a professional resume writer can also be a great way to reinvigorate your job search or achieve clarity and preparedness when looking for a new position. The fact that using a resume writer makes you 40% more likely to land an interview means that job seekers with professionally written resumes are landing interviews more often and thus have more experience putting their best foot forward with potential employers. Getting more interview opportunities will allow you to feel more confident and capable of finding a new job. Not to mention, seeing your new resume with all of your useful skills and abilities can enable you to communicate what makes you special to employers.

5. The Investment Often Pays off VERY Quickly. Although some may be reluctant to shell out money for writing something they could technically do themselves, hiring a professional resume writer may actually save you money in the long run. If you are between jobs or a new college graduate, you’re losing money the longer you remain unemployed – spending a few hundred dollars now can pay off when you land a job faster than had you written your own resume.

There are many more reasons to hire a professional resume writer – peace of mind that your resume is in the best hands, getting expert advice or even not having to stress out about whether or not you should have included your first job as a camp counselor. With statistics showing how beneficial a resume writer can be, the only question left is: when can I start using my new resume?

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Proven App: Can You Trust It?

It seems like there’s an app for everything recently – with the help of your smart phone or tablet, you can order Chipotle, check the weekly coupons for Publix and find the nearest ATM. Now you can even find a job on the go with the new Proven application.

Users can browse Craigslist job postings, upload their resume and cover letter and apply right from their computer or iPhone. So far, Proven has received great reviews from users for being easy to use and the numbers speak for themselves – 18K users downloaded Proven in January. Proven received 5 out of 5 stars from users on the iTunes store and the updated version allows users to sync accounts on their phone and computer.

While using the Proven app may seem like the new frontier in finding a job, it also has its limitations. Although the app makes it easy to send resumes and cover letters to potential employers, it also is restricted to positions posted on Craigslist. Not all job postings on the site are exactly what they seem and there is often a larger concentration in service industry job postings. This may require more in-depth searches to find a legitimate posting that is well-suited for an employee. Jobs on Craigslist also represent only a fraction of available jobs, so Proven is not a one-stop-shop in finding your next job.

With other job search apps like JobMo, Job Aware and Ultimate Job Search gaining in popularity, it seems like thousands of people are taking advantage of the convenience of applying for jobs on the go. As so many aspects of our lives are virtual nowadays, it makes sense that we would use technology to apply for jobs. Keep in mind that your online presence should also be kept up to date to best utilize the Internet in your job search. With RYS’ Social Media services, we can help you put your best foot forward in your online job search.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

What Can a Professional Resume Writer Do for You?

In today’s competitive job market, there are a seemingly endless number of factors that can affect whether an applicant is hired or not. Not wearing the right outfit to the interview? Your application goes in the “No” pile. Accidentally submit a cover letter you used while applying for another position? Most companies won’t even give you a second look, no matter how qualified you are. This economy calls for great attention to detail – so while creating your resume may seem fairly easy, perfecting your resume means you’ll need a professional.

A professional, you say? Professional…resume writer? That exists? While such a writer technically falls under the “Ghost Writer” category (as you would not advertise having used our services on the resume), there has long been a job sector solely devoted to ensuring you get into – or move up in – your targeted job sector.

Remember: resume writers are not created equal; the top resume writers earn certifications in their craft while carefully honing their skills to include the most complex of cases. The main certifications are CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer, given through the Professional Association of Resume Writers), ACRW (Academy Certified Resume Writer, given through The Resume Writing Academy), and NCRW (National Certified Resume Writer, given through the National Resume Writers Association). Often the CPRW is thought of as the “undergrad” of resume writing certifications and the ACRW and NCRW are the more advanced or “graduate” certifications. Using a resume writer with these credentials means you will be working with a professional who knows their field and can help you succeed.

Now, going through a professional resume writing service may not be cheap – having an expert revise your resume will cost you hundreds of dollars. So why would you even bother? Think of your resume as a first impression – this is most likely what the company will see before you land any kind of interview. A professional will know what language businesses are looking for and how to ensure that all of your skills and experience are effectively communicated to employers. Additionally, writers whose services extend beyond resumes can collaborate with you on how to utilize the document in job searches, help you perfect your social media profile, as well as prep you for interviews. Often times, these particularly “well-rounded” writers can be a one-stop-shop to assist you in landing the job.

Just like you wouldn’t try to rewire your house without the aid of an electrician, hiring a professional resume writer means having someone who is a highly skilled writer helping you create your best resume. Luckily, ReFresh Your Step’s own Emily Kapit is a CPRW and finalizing her ACRW certification, making her a leading expert on resume rewrites and updates  as well as other career services. With the Resume and Cover Letter services and a pro lead resume writer, ReFresh Your Step will help you find the perfect job for you! Check out our Results and Services pages to see just what RYS can do for you and your career.

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Wall Street, Dust off Those Resumes!

Dear Wall Street-ers,

Wow, I used to BE one of you back when I worked on the PR and recruiting teams at Lehman Brothers. I launched my company as a result of Lehman’s bankruptcy and have worked with many of you across different functions since our inception. I can say without  doubt that you are an interesting brood.

Based on this article, I may be speaking to more of you soon. Are you worried about your job? Have you updated your resume or LinkedIn profile recently? Are you thinking about potential next steps in case you fall victim to the layoff hatchet? How’s that networking going (remember, late nights at the office or sushi place around the corner are opportunities to network; #ABN)?

Despite a slight adjustment, the old adage rings true: all bad things must come to an end:  “‘Most analysts say these cuts won’t go on forever. As soon as lending starts to pick up, banks will increase headcount,’ said Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski.” While that may be the case and you could either land a new job quickly or get your old job back, have you pondered the REAL question: is going back to Wall Street what you really want?

It’s YOUR career–whatever curve ball is thrown your way, refresh, revive, renew!

 

Executive Recruiting Shifts In-House–Wall Street Journal article

The Wall Street Journal published an article earlier about a growing trend among major companies: rather than depending on major search firms to discover top talent for vacancies, they are instead bringing their recruiting efforts back in under the company roof (so to speak).

Why this new trend? For one, it is a significant money-saver. “At Time Warner, where Maggie Rubey Lynch leads internal recruiting operations world-wide, the company says it has saved more than $100 million in search-firm fees since her 30-person team launched in January 2003.” [emphasis added]

If major companies are bringing their recruiting efforts in-house, what does that mean for you? A lot! For one thing, it is that much more important to ensure that your professional documents are in top shape–in-house recruiters are more likely to push internal candidates so the competition is even stiffer.

ReFresh Your Step Career Development & Advisory Services can collaborate with you on the documents, making in-house connections and more!

http://on.wsj.com/SSboXx