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The Watercooler
Articles from the NRWA Newsletter

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  • April 06, 2021 3:00 AM | Administrative Manager

    Feature Article: How Doing Resume Reviews for Helped Me, My Business, and Job Seekers

    By Alison Smith – Radical Resumes, LLC

    Providing 10-minute video reviews of resumes for was an unexpected gift, resulting in three wins!

    • My business has soared since the start of my assignment; coupled with Norine Dagliano’s 5-star Writing Excellence course, my confidence to develop robust resume strategies has resulted in nonstop, consistent referrals and projects.
    • My knowledge of different industries has expanded exponentially; some resumes that previously caused anxiety do not phase me.
    • In addition to the NRWA professionals, I can collaborate with over 50 writing professionals who share the same passion and mission of helping people find a path to employment satisfaction.

    While 10-minute training videos will never compete with what we do as full-service professional resume writers, this service is perfect for helping interested job seekers learn resume basics and serve as a fundamentals boot camp for any daring resume writer!


    After completing the “Writing Excellence” course in September 2020, I wanted more opportunities to apply the breadth of what I learned during the summer-long class. Based on an article in the NRWA’s September 2020 newsletter, (an NRWA partner) was in search of experienced resume writers to perform video reviews of resumes. It sounded interesting, so I applied. My expectations were neutral.

    The Adjustment

    After applying, interviewing, and onboarding with, I completed Indeed’s detailed internal resume writer’s training and began video-recording my initial resume reviews. My initial reviews were much too complex, and my video recordings exceeded the allotted 10-minute timeframe. Was this for me? I wasn’t sure. I needed to find a way to become more efficient; I received supervisor feedback, studied best practices, learned from other reviewers, and developed a successful plan of attack. Working for was out of my comfort zone, but this experience keeps benefitting me by stretching, challenging, and honing my resume-strategy skills like no other exercise could—with pay!

    The Process

    I review approximately 100 technical resumes per month. I receive the submitted resume, a parsed resume, a questionnaire, client notes, and a link to three jobs for each client. I respond to the client’s submitted questions and concerns, develop a tailored resume strategy, and guide the client through the process of writing front-loaded, results-based bullets and keyword-rich resumes. Via screen-only videos, I demonstrate methods to identify keywords and ways to tailor the resume to the specific job.


    Reviewers earn $30-$40/hr. by completing 3-4 resume reviews/hour, providing a 10-minute resume review-training session.

    Some resume writers are classified as 1099 independent contractors, while others are W-2 employees of iWorkGlobal, with access to a full range of benefits. As part of the agreement, you have full access to Upwork’s freelance Platform, which includes your own public profile page, free connect points, and a daily deluge of potential clients outside of; fees apply.

    Interesting FAQs:

    • has 52 active resume writers.
    • 700+ orders for resume reviews are received each week.
    • Average rating for resume services is ~4.5 out of 5 stars.
    •’s goal: "Our intention/goal is to grow our capacity for and volume of orders for resume services by 10x or more, and we're looking for more writing professionals!"

    Indeed, New Services & Pilots

    Indeed’s Resume Help service line offers additional resume services and is currently piloting and beta-testing two new service offerings:

    • FREE automated instant online resume scan tool. (Active)
    • Rewritten client resume and 5-minute video review. (Active)

    Alison Smith is a retired engineering manager who is passionate about helping job seekers achieve more than they thought possible. She specializes in optimizing technical resumes and encouraging others. She owns Radical Resumes and is based in Birmingham, AL. Find her on LinkedIn or at

  • April 06, 2021 2:00 AM | Administrative Manager

    What’s Saving My Life This Month?
    By Amanda Brandon – NRWA Newsletter Editor

    The professional development hour. I had a Zoom call with a friend in Florida last week. We just got together to discuss our businesses, pricing, strategies, and how to use some common tools. It was the best hour of my week—kind of like going to a real watercooler. We went almost an hour over our scheduled time because the collaboration was just perfect. If you need a boost, I recommend you add a professional development hour to your week. Read a book, Zoom with a colleague, or work on your own resume!

    I’d love to feature more “What’s Saving My Life This Month?” contributions. Here’s what to do:

    1. Share a tip that’s related to your business or profession that others can adopt.
    2. Keep it to 100 words or less (we’re writers; I know you can do it!)
    3. Share a headshot and 2-3 line bio with your location and business or job.
    4. Send it to me via email by the 10th of the month. I’ll contact you when I run your submission.

  • April 06, 2021 1:00 AM | Administrative Manager

    What Happened on Social Media for NRWA Pros in March
    By Amanda Brandon – NRWA Newsletter Editor

    The networking on our Facebook group was stellar this month! I posted about an unexpected photo from a client and heard some other off-color stories from our “colleagues.” It was a hoot! Want to see the full post, visit it here.

    Valuable Conversations: Here are three conversations you may have missed on Facebook this month. Lots of value for growing your business!

    • Should you edit a client’s LinkedIn profile? Larisa asked this question, and many pros shared how they handle this pervasive question. It’s worth a read, ICYMI.
    • What do you do when you make a mistake on a resume, and the client calls you on it? I found this conversation so helpful and am so proud of our members for sharing “what to do” instead of “How could you?” It really showcases the spirit of our organization. I ended up adding some “in case of errors” language to my contract. See that conversation here.
    • Have you updated your member profile? Norine posted about this on Facebook. She was the first resume writer to respond to a client who had contacted 15 resume firms. He found her through the NRWA member directory! I landed my first client through this directory in February. (Similar story, I followed up with the client.) See more details here, and update your profile today!

    Pet Colleague of the Month:

    Marian Bernard's dog Rodney

    Marian Barnard’s “Rodney” is a former colleague who won our pet superpower contest this month. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2015, but his hidden talent didn’t require words. According to his owner, “he could melt your heart with his huge brown eyes.”

    Want your furry, fluffy, or scaly friend featured next month? Check for my post on Facebook the first Friday of the month OR email your photo and caption to me.

  • March 02, 2021 8:05 AM | Administrative Manager

    Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of February 2021! Feel free to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself via our members-only networking forums: the Member Forum on our website, Facebook group, and LinkedIn group.

    You can find colleagues in your area by searching here.

    New Members

    • Uche Achinanya in Fulshear, Texas
    • Jamie Anderson in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
    • Benjamin Cooper - Baylor University in Waco, Texas
    • Jennifer Ferraro in Santa Fe, New Mexico
    • Scott Gardner - Vitae Express in Tampa, Florida
    • Candy Graupera in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    • Kanavwa Hayes in Memphis, Tennessee
    • Tonya Hergenrader - Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska
    • Gary Hrosik - KH Controls, Inc. in Greensburg, Pennsylvania
    • Maureen Jenks - Sea Glass Life & Career Coaching, LLC in Unionville, Connecticut
    • Muhammad Umair Khanzada in Brampton, Ontario, Canada
    • Alison King - Copyedit Queen in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania
    • Emily Lane in Anderson, South Carolina
    • Kentia McLemore in Sanford, North Carolina
    • Jennifer Messner in Altoona, Pennsylvania
    • Denene Mozzachio in Winterville, North Carolina
    • Russell Podgorski in Beaverton, Oregon
    • Mary Schmidt in Amelia, Ohio
    • Kristen Schmidt - Wordschmidt Consulting LLC in Worthington, Ohio
    • Justin Shepherd in Port St. Lucie, Florida
    • Erica Teasley in Nashville, Tennessee
    • Angelo Westfield in Laurel, Maryland
    • Amy Zitterkopf - Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska

    Renewing Members

    • Angelina Arlia in New York, New York
    • Rashauna Arnold - BrandYou Career Coaching, LLC in Hamden, Connecticut
    • Alicia Buzan - RiseSmart in Carmel Valley, California
    • Samantha D'Angelo in Ramsey, New Jersey
    • Cynthia Estalilla in Daly City, California
    • Brooke Fisch - Four Corners Career Consulting, LLC in Darien, Connecticut
    • Dayna Feist - Gatehouse Business Services in Asheville, North Carolina
    • Rebecca Francoline - Go Write2Hire in Charles Town, West Virginia
    • Audie Fridstein - Your Call To Action in Highland Park, Illinois
    • Heidi Giusto - Career Path Writing Solutions LLC in Apex, North Carolina
    • Kerry Gustafson - Simply Great Resumes in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • Alana Henry - The Writique, LLC in Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Jerard Holton in Edmond, Oklahoma
    • Scot Hulshizer - The Career Expert in Alpharetta, Georgia
    • Diane Irwin - Dynamic Resumes in Cherry Hill, New Jersey
    • Jeanne Knight - Career and Job Search Coach in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts
    • Orinthia Marks in Oakville, Ontario, Canada
    • Debra Ann Matthews - Let Me Write It For You: Job-Winning Resumes in Clarksville, Tennessee
    • Rebecca McCarthy - Bright Career Branding in Vista, California
    • Amy McDaniel in Channahon, Illinois
    • Jan Melnik - Absolute Advantage in Sarasota, Florida
    • Kevin Morris in Naples, Florida
    • Jonathan Nugent - All★Star Career Services in Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Patti Rock - Hoff Resumes & Career Counseling Services in Clinton, Iowa
    • Robin Schlinger - Robin's Resumes in Atlanta, Georgia
    • Barbara Schultz - The Career Stager in Homer Glen, Illinois
    • Rachel Shelton in Darien, Connecticut
    • Tammy Shoup - Breakthrough Resume Writing Service in Decatur, Indiana
    • Elizabeth Southers - The Fine Print Writing Services in Stuart, Florida
    • Sara Timm - DFW Resume in Garland, Texas
  • March 02, 2021 8:04 AM | Administrative Manager

    Member Spotlight: Donnella Tilery
    By Anne Anderson – NRWA Written Communications

    As the NRWA membership grows, so does the diverse range of skills we can offer. Please welcome new member Donnella Tilery! Donnella’s vibrancy and warmth come through immediately. It’s easy to see how clients are comfortable sharing their stories with her.

    Donnella’s career began in New York’s digital publishing industry. She worked for several publishing houses, including John Wiley & Sons, working in scientific and medical divisions. She focused on training large corporate clients, such as Bristol Myers Squibb, on how to maximize the use of technical databases, products, and services. Her sales training and presentations skill took her across the country and overseas to the U.K., Asia, and Amsterdam.

    Donnella switched gears to focus on the fashion industry as more friends and colleagues asked to purchase items from her wardrobe. As she strengthened her sales skills and learned the industry’s back-office operations, she began building a business as an event producer. With her keen negotiation skills, she obtained corporate sponsorships from Coca-Cola and Lord & Taylor to found New Jersey Fashion Week, which is now more than 10 years old. She also manages and moderates career webinars for Fashion Group International.

    Donnella put her skills together to focus on career development and resume writing. With her combination of strategy, presentation skills, and corporate background, she knew she had a knack for career storytelling. She even wrote resumes as a high school hobby. However, it didn’t occur to her then that it would eventually be her career choice.

    Now that she’s focused on resume writing, Donnella has been building her business through LinkedIn referrals. She finds she’s filled a niche in helping ethnically diverse clients present their career accomplishments. Donnella takes pride in teasing out her clients’ personalities and reflects their individuality in the documents she prepares for them

    Donnella joined the NRWA this year, after spending two years observing the organization and attending webinars as a nonmember. She was impressed with the quality of the education and the instructors’ passion. She plans to complete the Writing Excellence program and proceed with certification.

    She especially appreciates the NRWA’s collaborative nature—a significant change from the fashion industry’s competitive culture. Donnella is currently serving in a volunteer role, writing articles for the NRWA Watercooler.

    Donnella is based in New Jersey, and you can reach her at or

  • March 02, 2021 8:03 AM | Administrative Manager

    The NCRW Corner: Why Having a Resume Objective is Essential
    By Norine Dagliano, NCRW, Grader and Writing Excellence Instructor

    Picture this: You grab your car keys, start the engine, open your GPS, and tap “Go.” After driving around aimlessly with no exact destination in mind, you run out of gas, and end the day certain that your GPS and car failed you.

    That’s analogous to what happens every time you launch MS Word and begin composing a client’s resume without an objective.

    “But wait,” you exclaim, “I thought it was obsolete to put an objective on a resume.”

    Let’s look at the evolution of the resume objective.

    In the beginning, it was a simple statement at the top of the resume that clearly stated the job seeker’s goal—Career Objective: Senior Widget Maker

    Then it evolved to be a little more descript—Career Objective: Senior Widget Maker for a Maryland Manufacturer

    But then job seekers started to get nervous, wondering if they were limiting their opportunities, and decided it was best to be “open.” So, objectives evolved into something like this—Career Objective: A challenging position with a successful company where I can learn new skills and advance in my career.

    At this point, the professional resume-writing community pulled the plug, and the objective met its demise.

    The NCRW Commission is not endorsing the return of the objective statement. We ARE endorsing the concept of having a clear goal in mind before we write a single word. This will ensure we properly position the client by knowing what to include in the resume, what to leave out, and how to spin the content.

    It begins with the client’s answer to a simple question:

    What types of positions are you targeting? (job titles or occupational clusters and industries)

    It is essential that the client – and you – both have a clear answer to this question. In your eagerness to book a client and earn an income, don’t make the mistake of attempting to write a resume for a client who is “open,” unsure, or believes that “something generic” will do. You need a clear destination – an objective – or you and your client are destined to run out of gas and the resume to fail.

  • March 02, 2021 8:02 AM | Administrative Manager

    Jewels & Tools: Handy Resources for Marketing Your Business
    6 Ways Networking Cards Can Boost Your Clients’ Professional Poise
    By Paul Bennett – NRWA Director of Member Support, New Business Owners

    We create many tools for our clients: resumes… LinkedIn profiles… and of course, all the various letters – cover letters, thank you letters, inquiry letters, proposal letters; the list is long. And we provide many kinds of coaching: career planning, job search strategies, networking tactics, interview prep, salary negotiation, and the like.

    But how many of us create networking cards? After surveying quite a few of our members’ websites, I’ve concluded that hardly any of our members do. But we shouldn’t overlook networking cards because although they’re small, they can be very useful.

    Networking cards are not the same as business cards. Business cards market organizations, products, or services; networking cards market people – and smart people will circulate their cards both when they’re unemployed and when they’ve got a job. Doors to success can open unexpectedly!

    So, what makes for a great networking card? Besides the obvious (being visually attractive and error-free), here are a few other considerations:

    1. They’re created after the resume. If you create the card before the resume, while writing the resume you may discover errors on the card (and reprinting cards can be costly). If a client insists that you create their card first, you’ll need to explain why that’s a bad idea.
    2. They’re well-branded, with words and graphics that accurately and persuasively convey your client’s value proposition (this is why the personal branding process, which determines and articulates the value proposition, should precede resume development).
    3. They incorporate content from the resume. The best part of the resume from which to derive content would be the summary at the top of the first page; you can also draw upon the client’s elevator pitch or include information from other sources.
    4. They make it as easy as possible for someone to get in touch. Besides just the email address and phone number, include social media handles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and website, blog, or portfolio addresses (URL shorteners such as or are handy for this). For the ultimate convenience, a scannable QR code can link directly to wherever your client has pitched their tent on the web.
    5. They’re (optionally) printed on both sides. This gives you more room to convey the value proposition; for example, rather than just having a tagline on the front (typically underneath the name or along the bottom edge), why not elaborate using bullets on the back? Make sure the front contains all essential contact information in case the reader doesn’t read the back. If you don’t overcrowd the back side, this will leave room for handwritten notes (and of course, you could just leave the back blank).
    6. They don’t include a postal address, unless one is essential (otherwise, it’s a waste of precious real estate).

    Creating memorable networking cards hones your writing skills. Because they have far less room than a resume, they require you to distill your messaging, strip away the fluff, and leave just the bare essentials. Just as with elevator pitches, you’ve got to make the most important points using the fewest words.

    In a nutshell, networking cards are a great way for your clients to market themselves quickly and easily. Sharing one doesn’t require a computer, a phone, an internet connection, or even a ballpoint pen (and it’s far more convenient to just whip out a card from one’s pocket than fumble through a bag or briefcase). And recruiters can read a networking card much more quickly than they can scan a resume.

    But what about just using our phones? The networking card keeps the networking going. It means that your clients’ potential leads don’t have to shift focus to reaching for their phones so they can enter details in a contact list.

    Who knows how small marketing tools will get? Maybe one day we’ll be writing “tweesumes” for the Twitter-addicted!

  • March 02, 2021 8:01 AM | Administrative Manager

    Feature Article: Promoting the Value of Hiring a Resume Writer in Your Initial Consultation
    By Donnella Tillery, NRWA Newsletter Assistant Editor

    We've all been there—an initial discussion with a potential client about their resume, bio, or cover letter. You took the time to conduct an intake call, researched the new role or position they want to secure. You’ve created the contract and sent them an invoice for the deposit.

    Then, a day or even a few hours later, you get a call or email, “I’ve decided to use a free resume service. Thank you for your insight.” For a professional resume writer, this is both disappointing and frustrating, not just because you lost the business but because you know your expertise could truly capture the person's talent and help them get to interviews faster.

    So, what can we do about this problem? We need to spend more time selling the value we offer our clients. It’s overwhelming for a client to understand all the details—time, costs, process. But it’s essential to differentiate yourself from free services and other writers.

    Here are five ways you can use your free consultation to sell your value to your clients:

    1. Explain how you capture their unique story and personality to get more response. A free service can’t do this for your client. They may receive a cover letter, but it’s not going to make a memorable impression. Technology doesn’t replace craft. You can also help them strategize how to leverage accomplishments and skills.
    2. Describe how you can capture the human element alongside the ATS optimization. Job seekers must work with the technology tools companies use to screen candidates. That’s a given. However, a professional helps them balance the keywords with a real story, and you help your clients check all the boxes required by HR.
    3. Upsell your value as a coach who helps them stand out during the interview process. Many resume writers also provide coaching or interview services. Don’t shy away from discussing your extended services such as interview coaching, strategy sessions, and application assistance. You can do this in a nonaggressive way that sparks interest. You’re a partner in their job search, not just a writer. Sell that value and boost your income!
    4. Share skills and talents your clients can leverage that they may be too close to see. This is probably the best tool a resume writer has in an initial discussion. Use probing questions to help them see the value of hiring you. “Have you considered?” “I see transferrable skills to supply chain…did you know that area is struggling to fill roles?” I've worked with quite a few clients that can humbly admit their weaknesses, but they don’t realize their real strengths and what they should highlight in their experience.
    5. Be frank and clear that you know your stuff. If you specialize in military, healthcare, or any type of resume service, share that with the potential client. Clients are probably unaware that many types of resumes require understanding the nuances of formatting and style. You can be a resource on how to leverage these tools!

    Overall, the consultation should be about your clients’ needs, but you are a KEY to their results. We all want to help and make our clients shine and excel. Use that consultation to spell out the value you offer as a resume consultant. That beats free every time.

  • March 02, 2021 8:00 AM | Administrative Manager

    What Happened on Social Media for NRWA Pros in February
    By Amanda Brandon, NRWA Newsletter Editor

    The networking on our Facebook group blew up this month! I hope everyone is enjoying all the collaboration and getting value out of these interactions. I sure am!

    Valuable Conversations: Here are three conversations you may have missed on Facebook this month. Lots of value for growing your business!

    • There’s a great thread on the impending changes to LinkedIn ProFinderGo check it out here. One marketing alternative was to be the resume writer for LinkedIn Groups. I’m adding this to my weekly professional development hour. (More on this next month!)
    • The tools conversations have been excellent, particularly the discussion on what to use for calls when you’re traveling. I personally learned so much about ways to leverage calls with a Zoom account. I struggle with this on occasion—getting blocked by client phone spam filters, my number showing up as my husband’s name, and out-of-area calls that people don’t want to answer. I can see a Zoom invite for a call only being good for all involved! See that conversation here.
    • Full voicemail boxes and other client hang-ups that may be hampering their job search: This was a lively discussion on how to overcome the “full voicemail box” with texts or emails. I like pointing out to clients these small things that add up to big changes for their job search. Big kudos to Kiersten’s hubby for bringing her a latte to help her frustrating situation! See that conversation here.

    Pet Colleague of the Month:

    Julia Mattern's Cats sitting in stock pots on a stove

    Julia Mattern’s Kalani and Makana like to help her cook up new resume strategies! They have a regular strategy session before she makes soup for the week. Sometimes they fall asleep on the job. I guess it’s an occupational hazard of being in such a warm place!

    Want your furry, fluffy, or scaly friend featured next month? Check for my post on Facebook the first Friday of the month OR email your photo and caption to me.

    What’s Saving My Life This Month?
    This is a new feature for the newsletter! I started a conversation in our Facebook group to get some feedback, and it led me to a tool that’s saving my life – I finally invested in a real project management tool.

    Many pros chimed in on how to leverage productivity management tools, and Dawn gave a great sanity-saving tip: “Walk away from your phone!”

    Want to chime in? See the conversation here.

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