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

May 2021

by Amanda Brandon – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends! I hope you are enjoying the sunshine and warmer days!

I also hope business is going well for you. I’ve seen several of my clients post on social media that they were hired! That’s why we do this, isn’t it?

This issue is filled with some valuable info about our organization. We have board elections coming up this summer, and our leadership asked me to share details on how we run our organization. A few things I learned in my research:

  • Everyone who works with the NRWA is a volunteer (minus our association management company). That means they dedicate their time to making this organization better for you! I urge you to reach out and volunteer. We have lots of opportunities listed here.
  • Our accreditation process is the industry standard. It’s a challenging process, but when you complete your NCRW, you join just 70 current professionals with this prestigious title. I want to see more of us pursue certification. I’m currently working on my CEUs to begin the process and will share my progress in this greeting each month (I need accountability!) I plan to cover this process in-depth in the June issue.
  • Your member profile is your best marketing tool. If you haven’t updated your member profile since you joined, you may be missing out on business! Your membership in this organization boosts your credibility. I hear this over and over from our board and membership, “Update your profile!” So, have you updated your profile lately?
  • Our association management team is AWESOME! Jen, Robbie, and Addie are our member spotlight this month. If you’ve ever wondered who makes all the webinars, emails, and events happen, check out Anne’s article on this special group of people!
I’d love to hear your feedback on the articles this month. I need your ideas as well! Please send them to me via email. Thank you for reading. Cheers!
Amanda Brandon

Pet Colleague
of the Month

Caitlin Gonzalez’s dog, Phenix

This month, I asked our members to contribute photos of their pets in their best “business attire.” Caitlin Gonzalez’s “Phenix” is a dapper gentleman in his tuxedo. He really knows how to work the room.

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.

The networking on our Facebook group was hopping this month! Here’s a recap of what you may have missed:

  • What do you do when a client makes you doubt your abilities? Dawn asked this question, and the encouragement was fantastic. If you need a boost, be sure to read it here.
  • How do you structure your consultation sessions with clients? I found this conversation so engaging and thought-provoking. Several members shared how they keep calls to a set time and structure their intake to minimize phone time. Others shared that phone time is what sets them apart. If you’re looking for some ideas on client communication, see that conversation here.
  • Does the ATS have you stumped? Check out some of the myth-busting on ATS requirements in this post and in this post!
Did you know we have a membership forum? So, if you’re not on social media, this is a place to network with your colleagues. I’m planning on posting the same topics I post to other social media here this month, so we don’t miss anyone. Access the NRWA Forum here. (Hint: You must be logged in to see it!)

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

    I was struggling with my email this month and found a tool called Mailbutler. This tool acts like a CRM or personal assistant right there in your email program (MacMail, Outlook, Gmail, and GSuite).

    It’s truly saving my life right now. I love Mac Mail, but it lacks one awesome feature—templates. I don’t like going onto Gmail (which does include templates) because I’m easily distracted by browsers. So, I found this tool and thought I’d share it with my colleagues. Some of the key features include:

    1. Schedule “sends” and attachment reminders. Sometimes I work at night, and I schedule the send for the next morning. I also often forget attachments, and the delayed send (20 seconds) and reminders help me avoid the “oops” emails. 
    2. Make notes, assign tasks, and schedule follow-ups. It’s like having a CRM in your inbox. 
    3. Manage signatures with ease. The MacMail signature feature is fairly robust, but you can’t add images to it. I like that I can add photos and logos to my signatures. 
    4. Integrate with productivity tools. I use Slack and Trello for project management, and Mailbutler integrates with several project management tools. 
    5. Message templates. I send many of the same emails – scheduling phone calls, initial drafts, revisions. It’s nice to have a starting point saved in one place!

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

    1. Share a tip 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 a 2-3 line bio with your location and business or job.
    4. Email your contribution by the 10th of the month. I’ll contact you when I run your submission.

    Feature Article: All About the NRWA Board 
    by Amanda Brandon NRWA Newsletter Editor

    I recently sat down (on Zoom) with our NRWA board president Kathi Fuller and president-elect Sara Timm to discuss the upcoming elections and how our board serves the NRWA membership.

    What does the NRWA board do?
    First of all, every member of our board is a volunteer because the NRWA is the only nonprofit resume writers’ association in the world! And they work hard to make this organization a productive investment of your time and money through education, certification, and representation. Secondly, our board positions its resume writers and career professionals as experts in our field. For example, the NCRW is the most stringent accreditation in the industry (we’re featuring an in-depth look at this certification in the June issue).

    Who serves on the board?
    The board is divided into two parts – elected and appointed governance. The three executive positions are President, Treasurer, and Secretary. 

    The six Directors of Member Support are also elected, and we have four membership segments: college career centers, military/workforce development centers, experienced business owners, and new business owners.

    Appointed positions include program chairs covering certification, education, marketing, sponsor relations, membership, written communication, and conference planning. These set program chairs are supported by committees and/or specific program direct reports working alongside them to meet different NRWA missions.

    How long do elected board members serve?
    Each elected board member serves for one full year beginning in August after elections are certified by the current board. The Treasurer serves a two-year term because the role requires specialized training.

    The President has the support of the Immediate Past President throughout their term. They also serve for a full year as President-Elect and Ethics Chair to learn the ropes before stepping into their leadership position. The Secretary and Directors of Member Support each serve for one year.

    Click here to read the full article.

    Member Spotlight - The Stringfellow Management Group: Meet the People Who Keep the NRWA Engine Purring!
    by Anne Anderson – NRWA Newsletter Staff Writer

    In 2018, the NRWA selected the Stringfellow Management Group (SMG) as its association management company. Established in 2012 and based in Maryland, SMG is an AMCI-Accredited Association Management Company with 45 employees (35 of whom are in Maryland) serving 25 associations and foundations for association management, financial/grant management, and meetings management.

    Their clients span an impressively broad range of industries and interests such as floral design, sports construction, human resources, commercial real estate, clinical research nursing, animal health, historic American theaters, chiropractic care, grounds management, and manufacturing for wood machinery and asphalt roofing. SMG’s accreditation underscores its commitment to best practices in core functions, including financial management, evaluation of services, employee training, insurance coverage, and more. SMG takes a long-term view with its clients and is invested in their success.

    • We are fortunate to have a highly-skilled, experienced team serving the NRWA. Many of you have worked with the core team of Jen Thornton, Robbie Heacock, and Addie Blevins. Three people from SMG’s accounting staff work behind the scenes: Amy Chetelat (CFO), Mary Skudzinskas (financial manager), and Susan Posluszny (bookkeeper).
    • Jen Thornton serves as the NRWA’s executive director. Working in association management for 28 years, Jen earned her bachelor’s degree from Towson University and is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Delaware. She lives in Ellicott City, MD, with her husband, Matt. Her hobbies include travel, cooking, and baking.
    • Robbie Heacock is NRWA’s associate director. He has worked in nonprofit management and event planning for more than 15 years. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College. Robbie lives in Bel Air, MD, with his husband and two dogs, and they are currently awaiting the arrival of their first child through adoption. In his free time, Robbie enjoys live entertainment, cooking, and travel.
    • Addie Blevins, NRWA’s association coordinator, has been with SMG for just over a year, bringing prior experience with another association management company and managing social media. She loves working with and getting to know members and helping leadership develop great ideas into new programs. Addie earned a bachelor’s degree from Towson University. In her free time, she enjoys crafting and singing in her community chorus.

    Click here to read the full article.

    The NCRW Corner: I Know What a Cover Letter is, but What’s an E-note? 
    by Dr. Cheryl Minnick, NCRW, NCOPE, MRW, CCMC, CHJMC

    An e-note is the third note of the C major scale and the “mi” in fixed-do solfège … it is also a brief cover letter in an email body that captures the core of an applicants’ success. Unlike a traditional cover letter, an e-note is used for 1) internal promotion, 2) inside network connection, 3) job referral, 4) accompanying a resume when it alone is requested, and 5) uploaded into an online application field when a cover letter is not requested, or character space/word count are prohibitive. It’s also an add-on service a professional resume writer can offer.

    A cover letter and e-note are both preambles to a resume. Due to the e-note’s brevity, it is laser-focused, fluff-less, and absent a formal letterhead. It does, however, include a warm, formal greeting. To write a concise e-note, analyze the job posting and research the company to discern one top value job requirement, a key ROI, that your client offers. Write the e-note focused on that one key ROI sharing your client’s top two to three achievements that validate their expertise or tell a success story. Remember, brevity highlights weak word choice and spelling and grammar errors, so proofread this first impression document.

    New & Renewing Members 

    Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of April 2021!
    Click here to view the full list.

    By the numbers for the month of April:

    • 21 new members.
    • 37 renewing members
    • 3 new members from Maryland.
    • 3 renewing members from Michigan.
    • 3 board members who have renewed their membership. 

    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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