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

June 2021

by Amanda Brandon – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends!

Happy June! I hope you are getting ready to relax a bit as summer starts. After a crazy May, I’m ready to do just that.

A few updates:

  • I told you that I started CrossFit to ensure accountability to my fitness goals. Still going strong!
  • My family started a 100-day burpee challenge. We’re almost three weeks in, and it’s been so fun to see everyone’s progress. It’s amazing how a tiny habit and accountability can help you build confidence.
  • I revealed last month that I’m getting serious about my NCRW certification journey. I’ve completed one webinar and dug up my registration for Resume Writing 101. I’m also considering entering the ROAR contest (Did you know there’s a fictional client option this year?) to see how I do on my sample.

After discussing with the board, I decided that it’s time to do some myth-busting about the industry’s best resume writing certification. This issue is all about how to attain Nationally Certified Resume Writer status.

I love to do hard things (like the burpee challenge) to say, “I did that!” You CAN do this, and we’re aiming to help you understand the process and make progress toward certification. But don’t take it from me; take it from the pros who made it.

We’re also introducing a new feature called “Perspective.” This month’s article is about avoiding bias in resumes. I found the topic enlightening, and I hope you do as well.

As always, I enjoy hearing your thoughts on each issue at Thanks for reading!

The NRWA 2021 Annual Conference - Resilient and Thriving - Registration is now open! Click here for more details!
Amanda Brandon

Pet Colleague
of the Month: Kate, the Boss

Erin Kennedy's cat, Kate

Meet Kate. She enjoys obstructing paper and pens needed by her colleague, Erin Kennedy. She also enjoys engaging with clients on Zoom calls, walking back and forth in front of the camera to ensure they see her. Thanks to everyone who shared their pet photos this month!

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 did ghostwriting for an employer and claims the published work as their own? This conversation is an excellent primer on what to do when you face this unique challenge.
  • How do you help clients tailor their resumes? Some writers give their clients comments in the file. Others schedule a post-document review. Check out the discussion here to get some new ideas.
  • Forum Update: We need more engagement in the Member Forum! I got a great referral project from checking it out in May. Maybe you could be next? Let’s all aim to connect in the forum as much as we do on Facebook in June. We have many members who don’t follow Facebook.

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

    In my interview with Laura Bashore (our member spotlight this month), I discovered three gems that are saving my life. Maybe they’ll save yours too!

    1. Use “Project Draft” in your subject line. Laura says that this eliminated many of her clients’ frustrations, and she hasn’t had a refund request since making this transition in positioning. 
    2. Don’t react immediately to frustration. Give it 24-48 hours. Laura recommends scheduling a call to “address concerns” but push it out 24-48 hours. “It gives the client and me a chance to calm down.” 
    3. Maintain your expert status. When clients want to make significant changes, Laura says it’s fine to push back and give easy-to-edit files. “Your clients hire you for your expertise; don’t put your name on a document that won’t serve your client well."

    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.

    Perspective: Avoiding Bias in Resumes & Job Search Communications 
    by Eustacia A. Campbell NRWA Staff Writer

    We all have unconscious bias. If you think you don’t, you’re lying to yourself.

    When presenting your resume to a potential employer, the focus should be on representing your work experience and accomplishments in the best light. You should be preparing a targeted resume and a cover letter discussing your qualifications and what problems you can solve for the employer. However, there’s often more to the story.

    Early in my career, as a Black female, I have felt compelled to remove certain criteria from my resume for fear of unconscious bias. I believed that the recruiter or hiring manager’s perception of my resume might inadvertently harm my candidacy. To counteract this, I simply omitted things like my address, used my middle name, and removed any professional organization deemed too ethnic.

    Names can give an indication of someone’s race or cultural background. At first, I thought it was pointless for me to use my middle name (Audrey) on my resume instead of my first name. However, I began to notice a shift when I did, and I immediately started to receive more calls for interviews. According to Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge research, “Minority job applicants are ‘whitening’ their resumes by deleting references to their race with the hope of boosting their shot at jobs, and research shows the strategy is paying off.” It certainly paid off for me.

    Click here to read the full article.

    Feature Article: Interview with the NCRW Chair Kathy Keshemberg 
    by Donella Tilery  NRWA Staff Writer

    Once you join the NRWA and log into the Member Resources, relief comes to you. After many years of writing cover letters and resumes, it is nice to know you are not alone in the quest to craft exceptional documents for your clients. When you join the NRWA, you have access to your tribe—people who enjoy the highs and lows of working as a freelancer or as college career center or workforce development center staff member.

    Even more satisfying is knowing there are classes, programs, and materials provided by a plethora of industry professionals who want to see you do well. However, as you progress, you decide to pursue the NCRW certification, but may feel slightly intimidated by the process.

    Well, to help soothe your worries, we've talked with the NCRW Certification Chair, Kathy Keshemberg. Kathy has been a member of the NRWA for more than 20 years and is equipped to provide incredible behind-the-scenes insight into the inner workings of the Certification Commission.

    Click here to read the full article.

    Member Spotlight: Laura Bashore 
    by Amanda Brandon – NRWA Newsletter Editor

    When I came across Laura’s comment on a Facebook post, I did what any curious writer does – I checked out her social profiles and website. I started browsing her website, and something resonated with me – her authenticity of being a mother. Her “why” for this business is her children. I hope you enjoy getting to know Laura as much as I did.

    Laura ran a local career center in the San Diego area beginning in 2012. She was helping professionals recovering from the Great Recession adjust to the new job market. Through her work in the career center, she handled the “tough cases.” She helped professionals transition to new industries and careers, shift back into the workplace after long-term unemployment, and secure federally funded training.

    Then her own world shifted – she had her first child. And as she says, “He had different plans for me.” So, she stepped down from her career center leadership role. However, play dates and playdough would not be her new normal. She has a specialized skill set (like all of you!) that former colleagues, friends, and family needed.

    One particular former colleague sparked her new business. He had been No. 3 out of 2,000 sales reps; yet, he had been job searching for an entire year without any results. So, she reworked his resume, and within two weeks, he got an interview and a job offer for more than he was making before. Soon, she launched Anew Resume & Career Services.

    Click here to read the full article.

    The NCRW Corner: NCRW Attainability—Myth vs. Reality 
    by Mary Jo King, NCRW, NCOPE

    Do a gut check right now and ask yourself, “What’s stopping me from trying for my NCRW?”

    After all, you’ve heard about the advantages. The Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) credential means instant prestige for resume writers, branding you as the best of the best. It’s a smart business decision that will ramp up your visibility and your earnings.

    Yet you’ve heard from the skeptics, too; those told by someone, somewhere, sometime that the NCRW process is too difficult and the graders too strict for all but an elite few to earn the certification. The real statistics may surprise you. In the last two years:

    • 74% of those who took the exam passed it. 
    • 90% of candidates passed the exam on their first attempt.

    New & Renewing Members 

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

    By the numbers for the month of May:

    • 15 new members.
    • 8 renewing members
    • 2 new members from New Jersey.
    • 2 renewing members from Illinois.
    • 16 states represented in new and renewing members. 

    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!

    Sponsored by:


    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.


    Affiliate Partners

    Indeed - Profiling Pro - Stewart, Cooper, & Coon - WebPages That Sell

    Follow Us on Social Media:

    Facebook    Twitter    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram

    Click here to join our mailing list!

    Copyright © 2021 The National Résumé Writers' Association, All rights reserved.
    You are receiving this email because you opted in at

    The National Résumé Writers' Association  |  443-966-3851
    2331 Rock Spring Road, Forest Hill, MD, 21050