October 2020

by Norine Dagliano -  NRWA Written Communications Chair

It’s difficult to believe that October has arrived, and the 2020 NRWA Conference has come and gone—I must add, with rave reviews from all who attended! Congratulations again to Nancy Grant and the Conference Planning Committee, Sara Timm and the Membership Committee, the SMG team (Jennifer, Robbie, and Addie), and all the presenters for delivering an exceptional conference for the 170+ attendees (our largest conference to date!). We hope to see you all (in person) in 2021 when we resume our plans for meeting in New Orleans.

I invite you to take some time away from developing and implementing the many awesome ideas you picked up during the conference and enjoy reading this issue of the NRWA Connection.

Committee Reports 
In case you missed the update that President Lorraine Beaman shared during the conference, here’s a rundown of what’s been happening this year with some of the NRWA committees:

  • Membership: We've seen a 12% boost in new members since the start of the year, bringing the total membership to 631 members as of September 2020.
  • Education: Attendance in webinars hit a record high—798 registrations to date! And on September 29, we launched the Best Business Practices Course with ten registrations.
  • Certification: The spring and summer cycles of the Writing Excellence Certification Preparation Program exceeded planned enrollment numbers, with 12 participants in each (and the fall cycle was capped at 10!) Likewise, our Nationally Certified Profile Expert course produced more than 50 new NCOPEs this year!
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Alana Henry and Bernice Maldonado have stepped up as co-chairs and will be leading this initiative.
  • Although not a formal committee, the ad-hoc group that planned and hosted the Zoom Coffee Breaks and COVID-19 Business Talks tracked 129 attendees.

Let’s see what additional records we can break before the start of the new year!

Guest Article: PITA Clients May Be Helpful... 
by Jane Roqueplot, ProfilingPro - NRWA Affiliate Partner

It may surprise some that the acronym PITA—commonly recognized as "Pain in the A--" may actually stand for People Interacting Totally Awkwardly.

PITA challenges differ among people. What is difficult for one may not be difficult for another. Maybe you label a client as resistant, disinterested, or aggressive. Perhaps someone else negatively labeled a client or potential client as a PITA and shared this label with you or the NRWA community. Negatively labeled clients often have different communication styles and behavioral traits than the person describing them.

A key in effectively dealing with clients, including a so-called PITA, is to begin with an understanding of the science of human behavior. Being aware of a client’s natural communication style and behavioral traits can help us avoid negative interactions and more effectively build rapport. By adding an online assessment tool to your service packages, such as the DISC Communication and Behavioral Style Assessment, you and your clients will benefit.

DISC assessments and reports provide insight into an individual’s preferences while making no judgments. On the other hand, people often have preconceived ideas and opinions. Neutrality improves interactions through self-awareness, helping us adjust our behaviors with individual clients. DISC can help us eliminate judgments and acknowledge our clients’ viewpoints, enabling us to treat people the way they want to be treated.

No behavioral styles are better or worse, simply different. All styles can be successful; styles don’t limit one’s ability to excel when people learn to adjust. Even PITA can become self-aware for effectiveness. Administering a DISC assessment as your first step, “opens the doorway of communication.” You will learn the communication preferences and behavioral traits of PITA, and they will learn about themselves, while also realizing YOU know a lot about THEM!

As you develop rapport with PITA, you learn and become even better at what you do. PITA boost your professional development by enhancing your communication expertise and more!

Communication is essential and PITA give your communication muscles a workout! By working those muscles through practice, inherent-style adaptability eventually becomes easy. Adaptability is aligning your style to meeting a client’s needs; synchronize and clients will be more receptive.

PITA may also be the result of unrealistic expectations. Being on the same page from the beginning, ensure PITA have an accurate view of what will be gained. With PITA, you likely won’t agree on much, but goals are uniting factors. Create conversations around goals to keep topics in perspective and stay on task.

And PITA help you perfect how to say “no.” There are occasions when the best you can do, for all involved, is walk (or run) away. While you shouldn’t quickly flee from challenges, there are factors that go deeper than conflicting styles. Your emotional output and stress aren’t worth the revenue. PITA teach us why, when, and how to fire them. Cut your losses so you both find a better professional fit.

Using the DISC will not only help you navigate PITA challenges successfully and gain professional development lessons but earn money while learning. To DISCover more about this topic and the exclusive NRWA member benefit offered by ProfilingPro, click here.

PITA clients may be helpful…when we DISCover how to smooth out challenges!

Member Spotlight: Kyle Elliott 
by Amber Fernandez - NRWA Assistant Newsletter Editor

In April of this year, I [Amber] joined the NRWA. I soon started attending the biweekly Zoom meetings designed to connect and inform members during the pandemic crisis. After participating for a few weeks, I started to recognize a few familiar faces – and one of them was Kyle Elliott.

As we tell our clients, first impressions make significant impacts.

Kyle Elliott

Kyle struck me as a rather quiet and friendly man, not vying for the spotlight, but happy to share expertise when relevant. The phrase “humble professional” comes to mind. So when his name came up as a candidate for the newsletter’s “Member Spotlight,” I was eager to interview him.

Like any good reporter, I did some background research before our call, which included a visit to his website, caffeinatedkyle.com. Right there on the homepage were these three phrases:

Get unstuck.
Own your fabulousness.
Achieve the impossible.

I don’t know about you, but just reading those three phrases boosts my confidence – and I’m not even looking for a job!

I admit I was a little intimidated during the first few moments of our Zoom call. This guy goes beyond resume writing and career coaching. He’s the one who coaches career coaches, writes articles for prestigious publications, and speaks at events for Fortune 500 tech companies and universities. I had to smile at this invitation on his site: “I heard you need a highly caffeinated speaker for your next event. You’ve come to the right place.”

Kyle’s clientele consists of high-ranking Silicon Valley professionals and executives as well as nonprofit CEOs. Why this particular target? He explains: “I help people who do work that impacts people’s lives.”

And this is the common thread throughout his career: Kyle wants to help people. In fact, he originally intended to become a nurse. As opportunities opened up to him, he moved to supporting nonprofits in the healthcare and public health sector.

So how did he start writing?

While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Health Education at San Francisco State University, Kyle started writing resumes on freelance website Fiverr “…to finance my Starbucks habit” for as little as $5 per resume. He also started helping classmates and advertising his services on Craigslist.

He kept writing resumes while attending the University of Washington in Seattle for a Master of Public Administration. (I can’t resist speculating that he chose Seattle for its ubiquitous Starbucks shops!) By the time he finished his degree, he says, “It just blew up.”

The resume-writing business was never his plan. In fact, he said something that sounded shocking to me at first: “I don’t love resume writing. I tolerate it, but I don’t love it.” But he continued: “What I love is helping people find jobs. That’s what lights me up.” There, again, is that common thread that has defined his career: helping people.

Kyle holds other credentials too. He is an official member of the invitation-only Forbes Coaches Council, giving him access to experts in the field and opportunities to publish articles for Forbes Magazine. He’s also a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. His Doctor of Education in Higher Education degree is in progress. Oh—and he holds an annual pass to Disneyland!

Kyle says, “Our job as resume writers and coaches is to extract what’s already in people and make sense of all of it.”

And that’s when I understood something profound: His mantra, “Own your fabulousness,” isn’t about making people fabulous. It’s about recognizing what’s already there. It’s about giving words to it and then giving feet to it, equipping people to move forward.

I hope you are as inspired by Kyle’s story as I am. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to brew a pot of coffee and toast to Kyle’s fabulousness.

The NCRW Corner: Take Control of Your Document Line Spacing 
by Norine Dagliano, NCRW - NRWA Written Communications Chair

This is the first in a series of columns written by NCRW Commission graders, presenting a closer look at best practices for writing and formatting resumes and cover letters.

preparing resumes

In addition to grading NCRW candidates’ sample submissions and exams, I proofread resumes and cover letters from Writing Excellence participants and subcontract resume writers. Lately I’ve noticed something strange about how some documents are formatted, specifically related to line spacing.

  • Line spacing is the distance between lines of text. The common practice, and default, has always been single-spacing a document, which stacks lines closely together with minimal space between. To add more space, one could manually adjust the line spacing (for example, format the entire document in double-spacing) or insert blank lines between paragraphs by clicking the “Enter” key multiple times.

If you're reading this and thinking, "Nothing here I don't already know," then think again.

Unbeknownst to many writers, Microsoft Word is randomly adjusting a document’s line spacing. I first began noticing this while reviewing cover letters and questioning why a writer would not adhere to the Gregg Reference Manual rule “Type all letters single-spaced” (section 1309), and instead insert excessive amounts of space between sections and paragraphs. Checking into the document’s format settings, I was seeing line spacing set at 1.08, 1.15, or other random numbers. My first thought was “why would someone take the time to change a document from single-space to some random number?”

To answer my question, I turned to the almighty answerer of questions—Google. Keying in “why is MS Word messing with my line spacing,” I found the answer!

Back in 2007, the designers of Microsoft Office changed the default line spacing to “improve document readability.” The amount of space varies depending on the font used. And all of this may be happening without you knowing it; therefore, giving the appearance that your documents are incorrectly formatted. From a grading perspective, this reduces the total exam score.

Stick with standard single-spacing of documents—especially in cover letters where the rules are firm about spacing between sections and paragraphs. Stop Microsoft from automatically adjusting the spacing by changing the default settings in the Paragraph dialog box. Here’s how:

From the Home tab on the Menu bar, select the Paragraph settings tab.

This will open the Paragraph dialog box. In the bottom-right, you’ll see options for “Line spacing.” If it’s not already there, select “Single” from the drop-down arrow then select “Set As Default.”

This will open another dialog box, in which you should choose the second option.

From this point on, every new document will be automatically single-spaced—giving you full control of how your document looks. A word of caution though: if you’re working with a document created by someone else (for example, a client’s original resume), check the line spacing. The default set in the original document will travel with the document and once again, Microsoft is back in control!

Spotlight: Video Interviewing Resources for Clients 
by Paul Bennett - Director of Member Support, New Business Owners

Thanks to COVID-19, job interviews just aren’t like they used to be. The advent of video has moved the goalposts in a fundamental way. Now job seekers don’t have to wonder, while sweating and squirming on some old chair that has one leg shorter than the other, whether they rolled on enough deodorant that morning. They need not worry because they’ve chewed their fingernails, or they’re being tormented by an unreachable itch. They won’t drive to an interview in an unfamiliar part of town, miss two consecutive freeway exits, and then search in vain for a payphone (as I once did, back in the pre-mobile days).

These kinds of problems won’t occur in the video interviewing age. But that doesn’t mean job interviews are getting any easier; the in-person interview minefield has simply been replaced by the online video ordeal. Job seekers have to check plenty of new boxes, including operating hardware (laptop and/or smartphone) and software such as Zoom, Skype, and so on … calmly troubleshooting when technology inevitably decides, mid-call, to pack it in … and practice with friends beyond the point at which they think they’re fully prepared.

Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources that will make your clients’ job interviews more enjoyable and effective, by educating them about the most popular platforms and how to maximize their performance while being “scanned by the cam.”

The three main video chat platforms are Zoom, Microsoft’s Skype, and Google Hangouts.

Zoom is by far the most popular, and the Zoom Help Center features QuickStart Guides, numerous video tutorials, and other resources covering everything your clients need to know.

Skype is a close second in popularity, and Microsoft has created comprehensive support for it.

Google Hangouts is also in wide use. Unlike Zoom and Skype, this platform usually requires a Google account. Google has a great Q&A page to answer questions about Hangouts.

Because it’s highly likely that employers will use one of these three platforms for job interviewing, your clients should acquire at least a basic familiarity with all of them.

Besides being comfortable using the main platforms, job seekers need to adequately prepare. Many interview preparation resources exist online. For excellent blog posts, just Google “video interview preparation,” and you’ll find things like Indeed.com’s comprehensive video interviewing guide and their excellent article “18 Tips for Succeeding During Your Zoom Interview.”

Taking an interview training course is usually time well spent. How2Become offers one such course at no charge and other courses are available at Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning. If you’re willing to pay a little more for online interview training, consider sites such as BigInterview, which bills itself as “Your Secret Weapon to Win Any Job Interview.”

Your clients won’t guarantee themselves smooth interviews by using these resources. They’ll still need to do things like hide the greasy pizza boxes that are scattered around behind them, plead with the guy on the other side of the fence to hold off on sawing concrete for an hour or two, and hide the toddlers next door lest they burst in and throw cookie tantrums right when the interviewer asks, “So, tell me a little about yourself!”

New & Renewing Members 

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

By the numbers for the month of September:

  • Evenly split between new and renewing members.
  • 3 international members representing Canada, United Kingdom, and France.
  • 4 new members from North Carolina.

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!

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


Certification Programs 


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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