The NRWA Watercooler - The monthly newsletter for the National Resume Writers Association - Quenching your thirst for information and connection

December 2020

by Norine Dagliano - NRWA Written Communications Chair

Dear NRWA Community:

It’s difficult to believe that December has arrived and the holiday season is upon us! This has certainly been a challenging year on multiple fronts, but I imagine I express the thoughts of many of you reading this in saying that the camaraderie and support of the NRWA has made a difference. The association has accomplished a lot this year, including hosting multiple top-notch educational programs and webinars and our first-ever virtual conference, electing new board members, and rebranding our monthly newsletter! And all of this through the dedication of multiple volunteers with the invaluable support of our admin team from Stringfellow Management Group.

As we wrap up the year, I invite you to set aside a few minutes to read this issue of The NRWA Watercooler. We’ve included a guest article authored by Debbie Lipton, another installment of Paul Bennett’s feature column (note the new name) and to brighten your day, a bit of humor from the U.S. Government’s Plain Language website (“government” and “plain language” is indeed a bit of an oxymoron!).

Stay safe and healthy!

December is Update Your NRWA Profile Month - Sign up for our December 4 webinar to learn more!

Committee Updates 
DE&I Action Committee: The committee met in early November and the first point of business was to approve the official name—Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action Committee. Alana Henry, committee co-chair, then led a discussion of the mission statement and proposed initiatives for the coming year.

The (DEI) committee aspires to foster and sustain an organization-wide culture that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential to fulfillment of the mission for more diverse and inclusive membership. The NRWA will provide valuable opportunities to develop effective cross-cultural competencies for meaningful interaction with diverse job seekers in an increasingly competitive job market. To make these goals a reality, the organization will need to be intentional in its efforts to create a climate and culture that recognizes, honors, and respects its diversity and commits to the implementation of policies, procedures, and activities that promote equity and inclusion. The committee is tasked with driving internal and external DEI initiatives, engaging the NRWA community, making recommendations, and monitoring progress in key organizational areas.

Members and nonmembers who are interested in joining the committee may contact Alana Henry at

Public Image Committee (PIC): The PIC met in November and discussed the ongoing “Ask the Experts” column, and the current and planned second edition of the e-book, Career Tips for Job Search Success. If you haven’t downloaded your free copy of the e-book yet, click here to do so. Content for the second edition is currently being compiled, to be released in early 2021.

Director of Member Support Brandi Munoz updated the committee on the status of a survey sent to NRWA members from college and university career service centers soliciting their feedback and ideas for how the NRWA can best meet their needs in providing career services to students and alumni.

Guest Article: Coaching Clients to Overcome Older-Worker Stereotypes 
by Debbie Lipton, Lipton Career Management

Directional Signs for Advice, Tips, Guidance, Help, Support, and Assistance

Age discrimination is a familiar issue facing older workers. Since the passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in 1967, proving age discrimination has shifted more and more onto the shoulders of job seekers and employees. At the same time, the tools of the job search never stop transforming, and older workers need to demonstrate that they are using the most up-to-date tools and resources to be considered as candidates of choice.

Some employers are negatively biased when they evaluate the technology skills of older workers. To get ahead of this stereotype, make sure your clients know how to fine-tune their resumes to be ATS-friendly in format and results-focused in content. Similarly, be ready to coach your clients on the value of LinkedIn and how to leverage its features. This serves the double purpose of encouraging your clients to be knowledgeable about LinkedIn and helping them to self-present as technology-savvy when it comes to their social media skills in the job search. Additionally, your clients can update their job- or industry-specific tech skills by using (which is free through many public libraries) or simply searching for free online training in popular software applications such as Salesforce or Microsoft Office.

Another way to prepare your clients to deal with potential age bias is to evaluate how much they understand the job search process from the perspective of a hiring organization. Many older workers are tempted to rest on their laurels rather than doing the research to understand how they can present their skills and experience as tools to solve an organization’s problem. If they blame age discrimination as the reason for not landing a job, it may be their interview skills that need some polishing rather than age bias that is at work.

It is also helpful to ask your clients about their attitudes toward working with younger managers and colleagues. Are they concerned and if so, why? Do you hear them sharing negative stereotypes of younger people? Similarly, are your clients internalizing negative stereotypes of older workers? If so, take some time to explore these feelings with them and unpack their concerns. Once these have been aired out, they are more likely to consider younger workers, as well as themselves, in terms of the positive traits each bring to the workplace and how they can complement each other at work.

Candidates often hear that they have been deemed “overqualified” and take the response at face value. Yet, overqualification often refers to a range of potential issues that are on the minds of employers, including salary demands, energy level, desire to stay put, and even retirement. Working with your clients on how to prepare responses to these concerns can raise their level of confidence and allow them to respond thoughtfully and strategically.

Yes, there are candidates out there who do not want to upgrade their technology skills and have no interest in exploring their own age biases. And there are hiring managers and organizations who feel that it is too risky for them to hire older workers. But a prepared and confident candidate can go out there and demonstrate energy and attitude that makes the older worker a compelling choice – mature, not easily rattled, reliable, and steadfast. Interestingly, these are the same qualities that they can use to their advantage during the job search itself.

Debbie Lipton, M.S., ACRW, CPRW, MBTI is the Principal/Owner of Lipton Career Management (, located in the Metro Boston area. She is also a career advisor at MassHire Metro North Career Center in Cambridge, MA, where she helps unemployed job seekers return to work. To reach her directly, email her at

The NCRW Corner: Nine Easy Steps to Longer Sentences 

Resume writers do love words, so much so that they often have difficulty cutting to the chase. Ask any NCRW grader what feedback they frequently share on sample submissions and exams and they’ll answer with “write tight.” Knowing when and how to deliver one’s message in as few words as necessary can be a challenge. From the U.S. Government’s Plain Language website comes this satirical ‘how-to” guide by Kathy McGinty:

preparing resumes

Are you tired of short, direct, and simple sentences that seem to take forever to fill up a page? Are you paid by the word? In either case you can benefit by increasing the number of words in your sentences and the bulk of your writing. And it’s easy if you just follow nine simple steps, many of which you may already know and practice.

To show how easily you can apply these steps, I’ll start with the following ludicrously short and simple sentence and increase its verbiage step by step.

More night jobs would keep youths off the streets.

Begin to lengthen your statement by referring to studies, even if you’re not aware of any studies. After all, who really cares? And if anyone challenges you, you can protect yourself by weaseling (see Step 5).

Studies have found that more night jobs would keep youths off the streets.

Replace simple words like more, jobs, night, youths, and streets with multiple syllable words of Latin or Greek origin.

Studies have found that additional nocturnal employment would keep adolescents off thoroughfares.

Use sophisticated verbs, the vaguer the better. The verb “found” is much too clear and simple, whereas indicate, develop, and identify are excellent multipurpose verbs with so many meanings that you can use them in almost any context to mean almost anything. What precisely does indicate mean, anyway? If you use identify or indicate, you can further lengthen your sentence by attaching “the fact that” to it.

Studies have identified the fact that additional nocturnal employment would keep adolescents off thoroughfares.

Rely on such adjectives as available, applicable, and appropriate to lengthen sentences without changing or adding any meaning. If possible, use various, one of the most meaningless of all the meaningless modifiers.

Various available applicable studies have identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment would keep adolescents off thoroughfares.

Use weasel words as often as possible. “A number of” is particularly useful because it can refer to any number at all: -9, 4.78, 0, 5 billion, you name it. (For more effective weaseling, replace wills and woulds with cans and coulds.)

A number of various available applicable studies have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep adolescents off thoroughfares.

Sprinkle your sentences with classic redundancies.

A number of various available applicable studies have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep juvenile adolescents off thoroughfares.

Add meaningless “it is” and “there is/are” expressions, not only to lengthen your sentences but also to give them a scholarly ring.

There is no escaping the fact that it is considered very important to note that a number of various available applicable studies have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep juvenile adolescents off thoroughfares.

For the precision that all good writing deserves, use legalisms, the more redundant the better.

There is no escaping the fact that it is considered very important to note that a number of various available applicable studies have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep juvenile adolescents off thoroughfares, including but not limited to the time prior to midnight on weeknights and/or 2 a.m. on weekends.

Use foreign words and phrases to lengthen and enliven your sentences. Especially apt are Latinisms and other obscurities whose meanings have long been forgotten, if they were ever known.

There is no escaping the fact that it is considered very important to note that a number of various available applicable studies ipso facto have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep juvenile adolescents off thoroughfares during the night hours, including but not limited to the time prior to midnight on weeknights and/or 2 a.m. on weekends.

So there you have it. Following these nine steps, I’ve managed in no time to increase the number of words in my sentence nearly sevenfold, well above the level of incomprehensibility. And best of all, I’ve accomplished this feat with little or no change in meaning.

Jewels & Tools: Handy Resources on the Web
Specialty/Niche Job Boards

by Paul Bennett - Director of Member Support, New Business Owners

Our clients’ chances of landing a good job (and the degree to which they’ll enjoy the process) will improve tremendously if they understand why “know, like and trust” are at least as important to the hiring decision as “skills, education, and experience.” That’s why whether it’s over coffee, in buzz-filled conference rooms, or (thanks to the coronavirus) online, networking will always be the best way for our clients to find a job. Networking invariably leads to enjoyable conversations, new friendships, doors opened, and even blind luck.

But as we all know, some of our clients just don’t have enough faith in the magic of networking, or they’ll always be afraid to get out there and work those personal connections. That’s why whether it’s Workopolis, Indeed, or even Craigslist, a gargantuan job board (a “big board”) will always be there for any of our clients who don’t yet understand the power of networking or are held back by their fears.

Granted, some people land great gigs through Indeed, but on average, the odds are dismal. The big boards are crowded, overwhelming, and—apart from LinkedIn—a terrible place to try to establish one’s personal brand. Big-board denizens often charge around like lemmings, only to plunge over the cliff of despair after concluding that “there aren’t any jobs out there” or “there’s too much competition."

So, should we advise our clients to eschew job boards completely?
Definitely not!

In contrast to the big boards, specialty boards (aka niche boards) can be well worth our clients’ time. By catering to a particular demographic or industry, specialty boards make it much easier for our clients and employers to find each other. And many (but not all) are available at no charge to job seekers. Here are a few examples:

Is your client looking for a youthful scene with foosball tables and beanbag chairs? The Muse ( bills itself as “the go-to destination for the next-gen workforce to research companies and careers.” As such, it has a decidedly millennial flavor, as does Mashable (, which is about all things digital and social media.

Do you have clients who are seeking internships? Point them towards InternMatch (, WayUp ( or InternJobs (

Is transportation, distribution, or warehousing their thing? would be a logical place for them to look.

Are you working with a client who loves closing deals? Then plug them in to and

For those clients who have no idea where to begin (meaning they’re not even sure what specialty boards are out there, let alone which would best for them), SmartRecruiters has a searchable database of specialty boards ( as does Workable (

There are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of specialty job boards. Working them – plus getting out there and networking, of course – will help our clients feel that they’re not trapped in the belly of the Monster beast and that they’re not lost, Indeed.

New & Renewing Members 

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

By the numbers for the month of November:

  • 20 new members.
  • 4 new members from New Jersey.
  • 1 renewing member from Puerto Rico.
  • 1 new member from London, U.K.

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

You can find colleagues in your area by searching here
Not 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.


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