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

July 2021

by Amanda Brandon – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends!

I hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend! Can you believe we’re already more than halfway through this year? It’s been a great one so far.

A few updates:

  • I’m still loving CrossFit, and I can run again! This has been such a fantastic achievement. I hurt my foot three years ago, and it’s taken me quite some time to rehabilitate it. I had to stretch different muscle groups several times per day to regain my strength and flexibility. I love to tell my clients this story because it helps them when they are struggling with a frustrating job search. Persistence pays off.
  • I attended my uncle’s funeral in June (I didn’t know him very well), and I learned that the impact we make on people matters so much. He owned an insurance agency and beat cancer twice over 20 years. Those were significant life accomplishments, but the real lesson I learned about him was his character. That’s what people pay attention to when they interact with you or hire you. Takeaway: Make sure you lead a life and business backed by character.
  • I revealed a couple of months ago that I’m working on my NCRW certification. I had no time in June for webinars or studying, but I have decided to enter the ROAR competition. Will you join me? It’s just $20 to enter, and there’s even a fictional client category. Submissions are due July 18th.

I LOVED working on this issue. The content is so rich and helpful. We’re continuing our focus on how our organization serves you specifically. We have a spotlight on our Member Services Committee, a preview of a conference session for career center resume writers, and a perspective on how to deal with disabilities on a resume. Finally, Kathy Keshemberg gave us an awesome overview of the new NCRW Study Guide.

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: Phineas, the Inquisitive Kitten

Phineas, the Inquisitive Kitten

While working remotely in Florida during my newsletter preparation, I acquired a new pet colleague. I’d like to introduce you to Phineas, the inquisitive kitten. He thinks coffee is fascinating (I think it is life-giving.) He and I have had several strategy sessions on chasing a ball, what’s under the blanket, and how to talk so people will listen.

My regular pet colleague would approve of this new acquaintance and invite him to a lively game of “chase the kitten until he squeaks.” Of course, I was sad to leave my little furry feline friend to return home to Colorado, but he’s well on his way to a career in entertainment and stealth home security.

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.

Sponsored by: Blast Your Resume

What Happened on Social Media for NRWA Pros in June
by Amanda Brandon – NRWA Newsletter Editor

We had a great month of collaboration on Facebook. It was kind of hard to choose featured conversations because they were all so good. Here’s a recap of what you may have missed:

  • What do you do when you may not make a deadline? This conversation gives some strategies for responding to this potential business threat and some mitigation techniques to use in the future.
  • How do you get tire kickers to stop wasting your precious writing time? We’ve all been there. We get a client who is unclear on their need for a resume writer. They have a million questions. While that’s great, we have a business to run. This post has some terrific strategies for getting your potential clients off the fence and on the books.
  • What do you do when a company is using your company name for Search Engine Optimization purposes? In this post, our members discuss the why of this practice and how to rectify the situation.

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

    I had to go out of town unexpectedly this month for a family funeral. However, I could’ve used a message template like the tip I found from Deidre Rock on our awesome Facebook forum. This would’ve saved me so much time!

    She wrote, “Please use my online scheduling option to book a complimentary consultation. This can be accessed on my website or directly on my scheduling app. If you are in urgent need of a professional resume writer, I highly recommend you check out the National Resume Writers’ Association member database to consult with a writer who may be able to assist you."

    She then linked to Kudos, Deidre! What a great way to share the load and to promote our organization.

    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: Resources for Career Center Professionals 
    by Brandi Muñoz, NCOPE, PHR, SHRM-CP, CPRW, CMCS and Gabrielle Thomas, CPRW

    Editor’s Note: The following is a brief snapshot of Brandi and Gabrielle’s upcoming presentation at the NRWA 2021 Conference— “Resources for Career Center Professionals.”

    We are finally beginning to see hints of the post-pandemic hiring boom everyone had hoped for. But the recruiting process is likely to keep several rituals gained during the past year: virtual interviews, continued emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and (from the job seeker’s perspective) exploitation of their personal network for referrals.

    Brandi Muñoz

    Gabrielle Thomas

    Here is what we know:

    • Many employers will likely keep virtual recruiting as a cost-effective method for selecting candidates.
    • Virtual recruiting and remote work can enable greater opportunities for diversity.
    • Referrals are the leading source of superior candidates for 88% of employers.

    Career center professionals are expected to help job seekers navigate these hiring trends and position them for success. But resources available to career coaches often vary, which is why we seek to provide universal strategies and affordable resources that empower job seekers to take ownership of their search.

    The Role of Career Coaching Professionals: The public is putting more pressure on universities to increase the job placement rate of its graduates. As tuition rates continue to rise, career centers are quickly becoming a necessity. But only as recently as the early 2000s have advising practitioners attempted to intentionally clarify and convey the role of advising as a profession. As it stands, there is no standard set of resources, tools, or platforms available to advisors.

    During our conference presentation, we will be leveraging techniques learned from their time working at several top-tier universities to share best practices related to in-house/external job boards, virtual recruiting, student/alumni engagement program ideas, alumni network cultivation, and research-informed advising approaches.

    Click here to read the full article.

    Perspective: Should You Disclose a Disability on a Resume? 
    by Norine Dagliano, NCRW, NCOPE

    The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990—finally affording similar protections to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act did in outlawing discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics 26 years earlier. Simply put, with the passage of ADA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against a qualified applicant because of their disability.

    Norine Dagliano

    The June issue of The Watercooler featured an insightful article on avoiding bias in resumes and job search communications written by Eustacia Campbell. In that article, Eustacia advised against “hiding things in one’s resume/wearing a mask to get the job.” But what does one do when it comes to revealing a disability?

    A quick Google search turned up numerous articles that address the question, “Should you disclose a disability on your resume/during your job search?” Depending on when the article was written, you’ll get different advice, with articles from 10+ years ago strongly advising against disclosing this information and more recent articles, such as this one from 2019, that offers several considerations. As is often the case when writing resumes, the answer to what one should and shouldn’t do is “it depends."

    Click here to read the full article.

    Member Spotlight: Your Membership Committee – We’re Here to Help You Feel Connected 
    by Paul Raworth Bennett, NCOPE, CPRW & Director of Member Support (New Business Owners, Western Region)

    The breadth and depth of NRWA education and resources are vast and invaluable. In myriad ways, the NRWA can help you develop thorough, strategic, long-lasting skills in the craft of resumes and online profiles, and it can help you learn the skills normally required to run a career services business.

    Paul Bennett

    Paul Raworth Bennett

    But since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, for most of us, our work life has been anything but "normal." The greatest cost we've borne has been interpersonal; as social creatures, all of us humans have become a little hungrier for connectedness.

    Many professional organizations offer you access to online resources and education – but beyond that, there's not much in the way of networking or the interpersonal realm. However, the NRWA is different because of all we do for our valued members, and your Membership Committee helps make these things happen.

    NRWA Membership Committee - Annette, Kiersten, Paul, Tom, Dawn, Brandi, Caitlin

    Who exactly is the Membership Committee?
    We’re a group of seven NRWA board members that exist to ensure every NRWA member feels welcomed, valued, informed, and invited to participate in our great organization. Headed by Annette Richmond, our 2021 Membership Chair, the Committee also has six Directors of Members Support (DoMS):

    • Kiersten Troutman (DoMS for New Business Owners, Eastern Region)
    • Paul Bennett (DoMS for New Business Owners, Western Region)
    • Tom Powner (DoMS for Experienced Business Owners, Eastern Region)
    • Dawn Rasmussen (DoMS for Experienced Business Owners, Western Region)
    • Brandi Muñoz (DoMS for College Career Centers)
    • Caitlin Outen (DoMS for Military & Workforce Career Centers)

    You can read the Membership Committee member's profiles at this link.

    Click here to read the full article.

    The NCRW Corner: The New & Improved NCRW Study Guide 
    by Kathy Keshemberg, NCRW, NCOPE NCRW Certification Chair

    Have you read the NCRW Study Guide recently? I’ve been involved in revising this important document for the past two years, which means I carefully read each section multiple times! I was pleasantly surprised by how many tips I picked up that I could apply to strengthen and polish my clients’ resumes.

    Kathy Keshemberg

    Kathy Keshemberg

    Based on my experience, I encourage all NRWA members to download this new version (updated in June 2021) and take the time to read it. I know, it’s long! But choose a section a week, and you’ll be through it by the end of summer!

    If you are wondering what changed and why, let me share.

    Because the graders use this document when reviewing sample submissions and exams, they regularly identify sentences that could be clearer, ideas that are no longer current, or best practices that should be added. We maintain a list which we review and discuss.

    Some items on the list result in changes to the Study Guide; others we decide are fine as written. The process is ongoing; in fact, even though this version has been posted for just two weeks, we have several items on the “next time” list already.

    New & Renewing Members 

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

    By the numbers for the month of June:

    • 13 new members.
    • 36 renewing members
    • 2 new members from Pennsylvania.
    • 4 renewing members from California.
    • 1 new member who joined by registering for the Summer 2021 NCOPE course
    • 5 renewing members who have made presentations at past NRWA Conferences.

    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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