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

April 2022

by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends! I had the hardest time finishing this issue—countless interruptions—a client who didn’t get the resume process, small children asking to light things on fire, and a dog colleague who didn’t get to go to work with her dad (big sighs). However, it is ready for you, and I love our focus this month—overcoming obstacles—just like I had to do.

Eustacia English is completing a two-part series on overcoming bias in the hiring process. Dr. Cheryl Minnick is discussing how to avoid bias in recommendation letters. And I’m so excited about featuring our Business Growth Lab duo – Kyle Elliott and Ruth Pankratz – and their thoughts on how to overcome obstacles in your business through their new course. Finally, Anne Anderson interviewed Crystal Johnson for our member spotlight on her goals of helping jobseekers overcome the challenges of moving from entry-level to strategic career positions.

Amanda Brandon

Amanda Brandon

NRWA - National Resume Writers Association

I’m always looking for members to feature in our Member Spotlight, so if you want to share your business or career, please email me at

Have a great April! Thanks for reading!

In This Issue:

What’s Saving My Life This Month? Procrastination Busters! 
by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

If you struggle with the procrastination bug, as I do sometimes (like a day of 65° and sunny weather), you’ll love this month’s lifesaving tips I gathered from our Facebook group.

1. Buy an iced latte and reward yourself with a sip each time you write a sentence.

2. Take a long walk to brainstorm and consider the project notes.

3. Complete just one easy step – headings, company names, locations, dates – to get the work going.

4. Set a timer and commit to working for just 25-30 minutes.

5. Take a few hours off to focus on something else.

Have a “What’s Saving My Life…” tip? Email us at

Feature Article: What to Expect in the Business Growth Lab 
by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

When I heard about this course, I thought it would be valuable to get feedback from our instructors—Kyle Elliott and Ruth Pankratz—on how this new course will impact resume writing and career coaches. This course starts TONIGHT, Tuesday, April 5th, so you need to register here stat if you want in.

Amanda Brandon

Amanda Brandon

Why does a resume writer or career coach need Business Growth Lab?

Kyle: Between identifying your ideal client, marketing your services, and deciding how much to charge, running a business can be overwhelming. Whether new in business or an industry veteran, Business Growth Lab will provide participants with a welcoming, supportive, and inspiring environment to take their business to the next level.

Ruth: The Business Growth Lab is more than a business course. It’s a supportive four-week program with mentoring and actionable business takeaways. The course size is limited to focus on each participant’s unique business.

How can a resume writer or career coach benefit from this course?

Ruth: You will gain business perspectives, set goals, learn how to improve your business, enhance customer engagements, boost your confidence, reveal potential business blind spots, and empower yourself to elevate your business revenue, customer engagement, and operational efficiency.

Kyle: You will learn how to nimbly improve your customer experience, enhance your business marketing and sales skills, and increase your revenue. We combine live group coaching, peer connections, and individual activities to ensure you are geared for long-term success. You’re also getting feedback from two instructors with distinct perspectives and experiences.

What makes you excited about leading this “lab”?

Kyle: I began my business on Fiverr, charging $5 for resume reviews and LinkedIn profiles. I now run a multi-six-figure practice while working the fewest hours ever in my career. I am eager for fellow resume writers and career service providers to see that their wildest dreams can come true.

Ruth: I’m excited to share my 12+ years of business knowledge to help NRWA colleagues thrive. I’ve owned five businesses, and three have been in the careers industry. I may have a few helpful tips to share.

More About Business Growth Lab

Rather than telling you how to run a “successful business” as defined by someone else, Kyle and Ruth will guide you through a framework of best practices and show you how to apply them to your business.

In this four-week course, with six hours of hands-on instruction time, you’ll:

  • Define your business why.
  • Map your customers’ journey.
  • Develop SMART business goals.
  • Learn how your network can ignite your business — and how you can return the favor.
  • Implement tactics that can positively impact your business immediately.
  • Receive accountability and ongoing support by connecting between sessions with industry peers.
  • Engage with award-winning instructors who have been there and who get it.

About the Instructors

Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, is the founder and career coach behind Kyle never imagined his college side hustle – charging five dollars for resume reviews and LinkedIn profile summaries on Fiverr – would transform into a multi-six-figure coaching practice serving senior managers and executives in Silicon Valley and high tech. A trusted career expert, his words have been featured in CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune, Glassdoor, The Must, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications and media outlets. He is an official member of the invitation-only Forbes Coaches Council and an active member of the Gay Coaches Alliance. When not coaching Silicon Valley’s top talent, you will likely find Kyle at Starbucks or Disneyland; he is a proud Disneyland Magic Key Holder.

Ruth Pankratz, MBA, NCRW, is the founder of Gabby Communications LLC, providing expertise in career advising and writing services. Her 12+ years in business have been focused on marketing professionals, helping each person achieve their unique career goals. Before starting Gabby Communications, Ruth held various corporate leadership positions at Konica Minolta, Hewlett Packard, and other companies. Ruth holds an MBA from Colorado State University and a BS in Communications from Kennesaw State University. She serves as a resume subject matter expert and career advisor at Lee Hecht Harrison International CEO Team in New York. When not working, Ruth practices yoga or enjoys family time.

Perspective: Preventing Bias in the Hiring Process 
by Eustacia A. English NRWA DEI Columnist

In November 2021, we discussed The Hiring Process: What Bias Looks Like. We discussed the challenges of unconscious bias, which could be intentional or unintentional, and also touched on 13 different types of unconscious bias in hiring.

Recruiting diverse talent is a challenge for many organizations. The focus is usually on finding new talent pools rather than addressing other barriers to building a more inclusive hiring environment. Today, we will bring the topic full circle and discuss ways to develop a more inclusive hiring process for diversity recruiting efforts.

Increasing diversity hires and removing unconscious bias goes beyond just sourcing from more diverse pools. Candidates from underrepresented talent groups face barriers that may prevent them from successfully completing the hiring process.

Eustacia English

Eustacia English

diverse handprints

The hiring process must be reevaluated to address any hidden barriers and biases. Let’s discuss changes organizations can make to support inclusive hiring.

Click here to read the full article.

NRWA Member Spotlight:
Crystal Johnson

by Anne Anderson NRWA Staff Writer

Crystal Johnson is a welcome addition to the healthy contingent of members hailing from the Washington, DC, area. Although her family has roots in Omaha, NE, she grew up in Arlington, VA, and now lives in McLean, where she shares her home with her fiancé and two dogs, Kobe, a boxer-lab mix and Julius, a Jack Russell terrier.

As an undergraduate at George Mason University, Crystal studied psychology with a minor in criminology, law, and society and obtained a master’s degree in criminology, law, and society with a focus on policy and practice. Her particular interest was research in advancing/fixing current policies within the criminal justice system. After serving in several internships, she landed a federal government internship with the Pathways Internship Program, which allows graduate students to begin their federal careers while being a full-time student.

Anne Anderson

Anne Anderson

Crystal Johnson

Crystal Johnson

The NCRW Corner: How to Write Letters of Recommendation without Bias 
by Dr. Cheryl Minnick, NRCW, NCOPE, NRWA Certification Committee Member

Editor’s Note: This is not our typical content for the NCRW Corner, but we thought it was such an important topic that applies to resume writing; we’re featuring it here. This will be helpful to all NRWA members and those seeking the NCRW certification.

College career professionals are often asked to write students a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, internship, or graduate/professional school. To avoid writing a letter of minimal assurance, four content areas should be covered:

1. Describe your relationship to the applicant.
2. Define their focus and success (academic, research, work, teaching, and/or service).
3. Evaluate their accomplishments.
4. Share personal traits only to the extent they predict growth or performance.

New & Renewing Members 

Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of March 2022! 
Click here to view the full list.

By the numbers for the month of February:

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!


electronic learning

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 

NCRW - Nationally Certified Resume Writer
NCOPE - Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert

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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