August 2020

by Amber Fernandez - Assistant Newsletter Editor

I can’t believe the 2020 NRWA Annual Conference is next month! Have you registered yet? For the first time ever, we’re going completely virtual. Keep reading to have a few of your logistics questions answered—like, “How on earth is this conference going to work?” (Answer: We have the technology!) We’ve also included a few tempting sneak peeks to get you in the mood.

We’re eager to snag a few more writers for the NRWA Connection Newsletter! Contribute to a column, write a guest article, or come up with an exciting new idea to include! Our member involvement is invaluable. Send feedback or get involved by emailing Written Communications Committee Chair, Norine Dagliano at

Committee Reports 
by Donna Tucker, NCOPE - NRWA Secretary

latest news

The many NRWA committees continue to work diligently behind the scenes to bring value to members. Should you wish to volunteer, any one of the committees can use your help. Simply send a message to President Lorraine Beaman ( or President-Elect Kathi Fuller ( to let either know of your interest.

Sara Timm, Membership Committee Chair, is planning a few fun events that will take place over the course of the virtual conference, including a welcome party, a happy hour, and more! She has announced a new name for the NRWA’s Zazzle store: Everything NRWA, Just a Click Away. It should be active by the time of the conference.

Certification Committee Chair Sally McIntosh is excited to announce that Kathy Keshemberg, NCRW, has accepted the role of incoming certification chair. She will train with Sally through December and take over as sitting chair in January 2021. Kathy has been a member of the NRWA since its inception, previously served on the board, and has been a grader for the NCRW for years. Sally reports that “Kathy is full of ideas and exactly what the committee needs."

President Elect/Ethics Chair Kathi Fuller led the first meeting of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee, with 13 NRWA members in attendance, including several who recently joined the NRWA. Kathy proposed some broad goals for the committee and gave everyone an opportunity to share why they are interested in this initiative and what they bring to the table. Kathi ended the meeting by asking that members who are interested in assuming a leadership role on the committee phone or email her. The committee plans to meet monthly.

The Public Image Committee led by Kathi Fuller completed another major project—publication of the e-book Career Tips for Job Search Success, which is free to download from the NRWA website. With the e-book now complete and the Ask the Experts website and blog running smoothly, the PIC is refocusing its efforts on launching new projects and initiatives. If you’re interested in joining the PIC or have ideas for other ways to promote the NRWA and the career services industry as a whole, contact Kathi at

A Virtual Conference 
by Anne Anderson, NCOPE - NRWA Written Communications Committee Member

The NRWA 2020 Annual Conference - Going Virtual!

Everything You Wanted to Know

A virtual conference! What does this mean for NRWA and you? Based on NRWA’s recent survey feedback, our annual in-person conference has been reinvented for the virtual platform. The NRWA planners are working hard to provide us with an educational, engaging, interactive, and collaborative conference experience.

We have selected the Accelevents platform for its versatility and ability to customize features to our needs. Conference participants will be provided with their personal login information and encouraged to create their profile to share a little about themselves with other attendees.

What are some of the conference elements? Presenters will use the traditional webinar format. Activities will include a welcome reception, lunch ‘n’ learns, networking breaks, and a closing ceremony. In the virtual exhibitor hall, vendors will be able to add their branding to a virtual booth, stream with Zoom, and speak one-on-one with participants.

What will you need? Optimize your virtual conference experience by planning ahead. You’ll need a good internet connection (we recommend using Chrome as your browser) and minimal distractions. Networking opportunities require only a video camera and microphone.

How will the schedule work? The conference schedule is being designed to accommodate participants in all time zones as much as possible. The great news is that you won’t be tethered to the live conference schedule. You will be able to select sessions you wish to attend in real-time and view recordings for other sessions, at your convenience. Recorded sessions will remain available on the conference platform to registered participants for three weeks after the conference.

Our thanks go out to our leadership for their thoughtful, careful response to the national COVID crisis in rethinking and redesigning NRWA’s annual conference. We depend on this conference every year to stay current with the latest trends and practices, but it’s never been more important than at this moment. Recruiting practices are shifting to virtual platforms, requiring unique skillsets for our clients.

Please be sure to join us in September!

Member Spotlight: Nancy Grant 
by Norine Dagliano, NCRW, NCOPE - NRWA Written Communications Committee Chair

I recently had the pleasure of “sitting down” with Nancy Grant for a virtual chat about her business and her role as the NRWA 2020 Conference Planning Committee Chair. Many of you know Nancy from her previous role planning the NRWA 2019 conference and her work on the NRWA board, but there is so much more you may not know about this go-getter and heavy lifter!

Nancy Grant

As the sole proprietor of Regional Career and Employment Services in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, Nancy has a full-time contract with the New York State Education Department, Adult Career & Continuing Ed Services-Vocational Rehabilitation, where she has worked for more than 17 years as an independent career strategist/job developer. Managing a revolving caseload of 30-40 clients, ranging in ages from 16 to 70+, Nancy provides pre-employment transition planning, job search documents, and coaching to support clients with employment barriers in identifying, pursuing, and having rewarding careers. She describes herself as being “in the business of empowering people, to increase their competitiveness."

With a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Plymouth State University, Nancy’s initial career ambition was to work as a college career advisor. She has long had a passion for serving young adults and until recently held a part-time job at Finger Lakes Community College in the Academic Success & Access Programs department.

Nancy’s career goals shifted when she completed her master’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University, envisioning her career as Clarice Starling, the fictional character in “The Silence of the Lambs.” So, how did she end up chairing the conference planning committee for not one, but two, “first-of-a-kind” NRWA Conferences?

Nancy joined the NRWA in 2015 and immediately registered for the 2015 conference and NCRW Boot Camp pre-conference workshop. Unable to be a passive member of an organization—she is innately wired to be actively involved—Nancy joined the planning committee for the 2018 conference and was hooked. Reflecting on another of her personal career ambitions—to be an event planner—and leveraging her prior experience planning events for her college, her sorority, the International Association for Workforce Professionals (of which she was a member) as well as many social and family events, she stepped up to lead the planning of the NRWA’s first-ever conference at sea in 2019.

Riding on the high of the success of that conference, Nancy volunteered to take the lead in planning the 2020 conference, originally scheduled for New Orleans. She never would have thought she would be breaking the mold again, this time shifting all the planning to host a virtual conference. With the support of the NRWA admin team from Stringfellow Management Group, and her all-volunteer committee comprised of Rebecca Metz, Jean Austin, Sara Timm, Rebecca Bosl, Paul Bennett, Grant Cooper, and Rachel Sirca, Nancy promises to deliver a conference experience that will top all others!

Thank you, Nancy, for all you do for the NRWA! You certainly represent our commitment to excellence!

Uncovering Implicit Bias in Resume Writing 
by Dr. Cheryl Minnick, NCRW

preparing resumes

The following is a brief snapshot of Dr. Minnick’s upcoming presentation at the NRWA 2020 Conference— “Unintentional Bias in Resume Writing: It’s Real and it Matters.”

Implicit bias is the unconscious attribution of particular qualities to a specific social group. It is an attitude, a thought, or a feeling about a person that spontaneously and subconsciously passes through one’s mind. As career specialists, our roles are to support and advance our clients’ careers. We write their resumes, biographies, and cover letters without inserting discriminatory content, but do we unknowingly insert implicit bias?

It is important that NRWA members stay up-to-date on best practices and current research, as well as strive to eliminate bias from our clients’ career documents—bias that could lead to overlooked talent and/or discrimination.

In 2012, The Ladders shared seminal research showing our eye’s bias to read in an “F” pattern, vetting a candidate’s job viability in 6.25 seconds. In 2003, the National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a labor market discrimination field experiment finding resumes were discriminated against if they had nonwhite-sounding names. Between 2012 and 2016, gender disparity research was conducted on resume reviews and found resumes with a male name secured more interviews than the identical resume with a female name. In 2017, Frontiers of Psychology published a study showing that subtle age signals led to reduced hiring. That same year, research found older facial appearance evoked unfavorable impressions about fitness.

As resume writers, how do we avoid name, gender, and age bias for our clients? Do we use nicknames or initials? Do we avoid adding leadership roles in the Shriners, Mary Kay, or Elks? Do we encourage clients to “youthanize” their photographs and add fitness-related activities to their resumes? Maybe we should.

While we cannot change a person’s name, we can write masculine-style resumes, which research shows are more appealing to recruiters. Masculine resume-writing-style is concise resume writing that includes bulleted lists, eliminates personal attributes, and avoids gender-stereotypical adjectives (“hard-working” women vs. “accomplished” men). Research by Harvard Business Review found that while men will apply for a job if they meet 60% of the requirements, women will only apply if they meet 100% of them. Should we encourage women to apply for a job if they hold more than half the requirements? Maybe we should.

Resume writers generally avoid inserting faith-oriented content to avoid religious bias. We should continue this practice, as resumes expressing religious orientation received nearly a third fewer responses according to 2014 research published in the Journal of Social Current. University of Toronto 2016 research found 26% of minority candidates “scrubbed” their resumes of race-revealing language and content. Should resume writers “scrub” resumes if research shows scrubbed resumes garner a 25% greater interview rate? Maybe we should.

Research also reveals that there is a bias surrounding socioeconomic status, parenthood, and unemployment in assessing resumes. How can we avoid it?

To learn more about uncovering implicit bias in resumes, hear about free assessments that identify your subconscious bias, get free software that will help you decode gendered language in your writing, and learn techniques to avoid implicit bias in your resumes, attend the NRWA 2020 Conference!

Online Resource Spotlight for Career Professionals 
by Paul Bennett, NCOPE - NRWA Conference Committee & Marketing Committee Member

This month I’m featuring another fabulous online resource, Now in its 27th year and expertly curated by Susan P. Joyce, this site is a massive, well-organized collection of blog posts and documents addressing everything from soup to nuts about one of my favorite subjects—job hunting!

At first glance, the site can seem overwhelming. But it’s very well organized, and it provides you with five ways to build your job-hunting knowledge:

1. Search by Theme
At the top of every page is a horizontal menu bar containing three drop-down lists featuring the following theme categories:

  • On the left: Covid-19, job loss, work from home.
  • In the middle: interviews, resumes, and career change.
  • On the right: LinkedIn, Facebook, personal SEO, and more.

For example, choosing “Covid-19 Job Search” in the left-hand list will take you to an article about searching for work during the current coronavirus crisis. Or selecting “Personal SEO” in the right-hand list will take you to an excellent discussion about incorporating SEO into your job search.

2. Search by Author
A collaborative effort involving many experts, is a great example of crowdsourced expertise. Each expert (some of whom are current or former NRWA members) specializes in one or more topics. For example:

  • Frustrated in your federal job search? Camille Carboneau Roberts can help you out with that.
  • Contemplating a career change? Check out the articles from Virginia Franco.
  • Longing to learn more about LinkedIn? Then you’ll want to read what Laura Smith-Proulx has to say.

Click here for a list of all the experts who contribute to the site. Be sure to check out the links, present in all the articles, to related topics. These are usually down the right-hand side, and you’ll also often find them in an article’s body.

3. Site Search
Don’t overlook that little magnifying glass in the top-right-hand corner! It offers yet another way to research this huge site. If you plug “ATS” into the search box, you’ll find almost a hundred articles mentioning ATS, and if you try “networking” you’ll get dozens and dozens of articles that mention networking. The site uses a Google search engine, so to see the ten articles listed on each page of the results, you’ll have to scroll down past four paid ads.

4. Newsletter Archive has published approximately 200 newsletters since 2016. To see the most recent ones, check out their subscription page. The whole site is leading-edge and continuously updated, so you’ll want to get your name on the list!

5. Free Beer!
Well, to be honest, you won’t find any free beer. But what you will find is an enormous collection of topically organized free online job-hunting guides, and there’s also a page with free downloadable e-books.

The Bottom Line defies the adage “you get what you pay for.” Just about everything on the site is free, and the value you get is enormous. The few minutes it takes to figure out the site design is time well spent! The only drawback is that there are quite a few ads—but all things considered, it’s a very minor inconvenience.

Certification Programs 


New & Renewing Members 

Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of July 2020! Click here to view the full list.

By the numbers for the month of July:

  • Nearly 20 new members
  • 12 new members from the East Coast
  • 15 member renewals

Feel free to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself via our members-only networking forums:

You can find colleagues in your area by searching hereNot yet a member of the NRWA? Click here to join!

Conference Announcements 

Are you interested in sponsorship opportunities for the 2020 Conference?

Sponsorship opportunities include options for sponsoring individual sessions, the welcome networking event, addressing attendees, a virtual exhibitor booth, and more.

We are also offering Member-to-Member Virtual Advertising Opportunities, including a Virtual Book Nook to promote and link to your literary efforts, and a virtual space for member-to member advertising in place of the printed ad book.

Click here for details on becoming a 2020 Conference Sponsor!

Virtual Conference Door Prizes

One of the many highlights of our annual conference is a chance to be a lucky recipient of one of the many door prizes that are donated for the conference. The conference planning committee is soliciting door prize contributions—something as simple as a gift card or a book or as elaborate as tuition for a webinar, workshop, or training program.

If you’d like to donate a door prize—and have your name, company name, and logo published on our conference website and in the conference materials as a donor—contact Rebecca Bosl at

Conference Welcome Package

The Membership Committee has once again assembled a collection of NRWA-branded products and other welcome items for conference attendees. But no need to be dismayed that you cannot pick it up in person. Register for the conference prior to August 14 and your package will be shipped to your home prior to the start of the conference…guaranteed!


The NRWA offers live and on-demand webinars, a self-paced Resume Writing 101 course, teleseminars, and more opportunities for learning throughout the year.



Our 2020 conference is going virtual! Registration is now open. More details are available on our website and in our September newsletter!


Resume Experts

Visit our public-facing companion site to access our directory of resume experts, learn more about how we help job seekers, and read our Ask the Experts blog.


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