Archive for January, 2014

There is more than one way to write a resume. Find yours!

Your resume is not a government form. Dare to be different!

Your resume is not a government form. Dare to be different!

There’s something about writing a resume that tends to put people into “official mode,” as if they’re filling out a tax form and there’s only one right way (paved with “self-motivated” and “visionary” cobblestones). If you want a great resume, let go of that idea right now!

January 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment

Hey, Buddy! Wanna Buy a Resume?

Resumes are not commodities any more than job candidates can be compared based on salary.

Resumes are not commodities any more than job candidates can be compared based on salary.

Or: Why I Don’t Lower My Prices or Allow My Clients to Lower Their Standards

I received an email today from a potential client asking if I could lower my prices. Her reasoning was that the investment to work with me was nearly twice as much as other writers she had contacted for a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, so I should lower my rates.

Her note makes me think of my respected colleague and good friend Robyn Feldberg who often repeats the industry adage: “A good resume is expensive, but a cheap one is even more costly.”

That said, I can relate to where my potential client is coming from. I sold my first resume for $100 and felt like I’d won the lottery. I got to help a nice man in the grocery industry get a promotion, and I was even getting paid to do it!

Eight years into my business, I have learned a lot about my craft and about the value any person brings to a situation in which they trade their time, expertise, and unique perspective for money. To be clear, there are instances when I do service for someone who needs and values my skills but is unable to pay my full rate. That is a topic for a different day. This post simply addresses the concept that one can shop for a resume the way one would shop for a gallon of high-octane gasoline or a bar of 24-karat gold.

Here is what I wrote to the potential client:

“Thank you for your response! Resume writing is not a commodity any more than a shirt or a car. You’ll get a different product shopping at Walmart, Kohl’s, and Neiman Marcus.

While I have several years of experience; a background in sales, marketing, and creative writing that paved the way for me to offer unique value to my clients; and record of winning awards (I was the most nominated of anyone in the industry last year), the result is what matters. If you review the samples I sent you and keep in mind that 80%+ of my business comes from repeat and referred clients, I believe you’ll understand the quality I bring to the table.

I am not able to contribute less and am therefore not able to charge less. The plus side for my clients is that they receive an exceptional tool in the deliverables of the resume and other documents while benefiting from the deeper work we do together: articulating why they are not a commodity to be compared with other candidates on the basis of price/salary/commission structure.

I do understand that this is a major investment, and I am honored by the clients who choose to make that investment and take the journey with me. I approach the work as a sacred trust. The arrangement is not for everyone, and that’s okay since I take no more than 3-4 clients a month.

If this feels right to you, I would be greatly honored to tell your story. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably not the right decision to work with me. Either way, I am so glad to know you, and I hope we will keep in touch.”

You can find resume writers who work for $50 and those whose packages go into five figures. When you’re choosing a writer, or deciding to write your own resume, consider the results you hope to achieve and how much those results are worth to you.

January 28, 2014 at 5:16 am Leave a comment

Rising Star: Tiffany Brooks of HGTV Shares Her Journey!

I’ve got my head down finishing my upcoming book on personal branding, This Little Brand of Mine. While I’m working, you can enjoy this big juicy piece of inspiration candy:

I recently sat down with one of my favorite successful careerists to find out how she went from part-time business owner to TV star in a few short, passionate years. 

Tiffany Brooks of You and Your Decor has no formal design training. She started her interior styling business in 2008 as a result of a lost bet. When I met Tiffany three years ago, she was working as an administrator at my children’s school. While working her day job, raising her child, and supporting other family members through hard times, she built her business.

Today, Tiffany has a growing design empire. She won HGTV Star in 2013 and has gone on to host other shows and write featured columns for HGTV Magazine.

If you’ve been waiting to make that big move your heart is urging you towards, or you’re in the middle of a heart-driven slog, this is just the thing to keep you rolling along with a smile on your face!


Be real!—Tiffany’s willingness to openly share her “red hot mess” (5:35) of a house and her personal struggles (6:47) won the HGTV decision makers over.

Research opportunities.—Don’t go blindly into situations if you don’t have to. If you’ve got a lead on a great opportunity, learn all you can about the key players. (6:27)

Self-doubt is normal!—Every client I’ve worked with, from office managers to CEOs, has experienced doubt in themselves and/or their chances of success. Tiffany is no exception. (7:35)

Turn your competitors into friends.—Tiffany set a precedent on HGTV Star by helping her competitors. By establishing a tone of camaraderie, she built lifelong friendships and contributed to the most amicable season in HGTV Star history. (8:20)

So what is Tiffany’s brand?—Without doing any branding studies or market research, Tiffany has developed a strong personal brand. Faith-filled, supportive, and relatable, Tiffany is “that girl,” the one people want in their living rooms. (10:55)

What’s next?—(12:30) Smart Home, Urban Oasis, and HGTV Magazine contributor! Also, her firm is offering real-world and virtual design services for individuals and small businesses via You and Your Decor.

There’s no such thing as an “overnight success.”—Tiffany was a manager at a high-end rental property. Her boss gave her the assignment to design the model home as a kind of “rehab” from the stress of the sales aspect of her job. Entering a contest on a bet, she won the “Best Model” title against big Chicago firms. After jotting down a business plan on loose leaf paper, she was off and running. Then, it was four years of active blogging and business development before capturing the HGTV opportunity. Secret about Tiffany: She’s a pessimist! (15:00)

She thought of giving up almost every day!—If you’re working towards your dreams and thinking of giving up, take heart and keep an eye out for divine messages! Tiffany often got discouraged, but kept going because each time she was really tested, she’d get a sign that told her to continue. (20:10)

Ask for what you need.—God (or the Universe or the universal field or…) can’t fulfill your requests if you don’t ask. Tiffany says God will send you down the right “hallway.” If a door closes in your face, it means you’re supposed to be in the next hallway over. (23:30)

Keep learning!—Tiffany has a library of books on design and business, and she reads them! (25:10)

Follow your heart(burn)!—Self explanatory. But you may enjoy Tiffany’s blog post of the same name. Tomorrow is not promised. Don’t die with your music still inside! (25:30)

January 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment