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

May 2022

by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends! I’m so happy to see you here this month! In this issue, we’re talking about an important topic – what happens in the margins of our days and how this helps us improve as professionals.

I got the idea to theme this issue around margins from our May NCRW Corner. The author discusses why white space is so important, and it’s a great metaphor for how we can approach our work and life balance.

I took a 40-day break from Facebook between March and April, and I realized something – I had more time to do something I love – read! I wasn’t scrolling through the very entertaining debates over our local school board, city council, and neighborhood news. I was reading real books and finding time just to relax. I took up running again and created some new business ideas during this time in the margins.

Amanda Brandon

Amanda Brandon

NRWA - National Resume Writers Association

If you’re on the verge of burnout, I can’t recommend a better practice than taking a break from that thing that distracts you the most. Eustacia English brings us an essential read on this topic. She provides some actionable items on how to protect your mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month.

I’m also really excited about our Member Spotlight for this month. We’re featuring our President-Elect and Ethics Chair – Rob Rosales. His background story is so interesting.

Finally, I’m running a little empty on features and spotlights. I want to hear your business strategies, work hacks, and client stories for future issues. If you want to share your ideas and business, please email me at

Don’t forget to check out our updated Conference Page for some exciting updates on our in-person event coming to the Big Easy on September 18-20. Have a great month!

In This Issue:

Unveiling Strategies for Success - The 2022 NRWA Annual Conference - September 18-20, 2022, New Orleans - 25th Anniversary  Registration open - Click here for details!

What’s Saving My Life This Month? WAP Wednesdays on the Facebook Group! 
by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

If you, like me, have a hard time with Facebook restraint, you know that it can be a sinking rabbit hole. We have introduced a new feature in our main networking space—WAP Wednesdays. It’s a Weekly Advice Post to drop your questions into instead of making a separate post that may get lost in the feed. I love it! What a timesaver! Now, I can save my questions for Wednesdays and learn something new in one social media engagement instead of that silly rabbit hole.

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

Perspective: Protect & Prioritize Your Mental Health 
by Eustacia A. English NRWA DEI Columnist

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues. It’s also a time for us to do our part to help reduce the stigma that so many people experience. Protecting and prioritizing our mental health is vital, especially in the workplace. After all, we spend more of our time at work, whether working remotely, in-office, or on a hybrid schedule.

    According to, “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” While working, it’s imperative to recognize the causes of burnout, the correlation to our mental health, and the ways to reduce it.

    The top five causes of burnout are as follows:

    Eustacia English

    Eustacia English

    diverse handprints

    1. Unfair treatment at work. All kinds of workplace issues exist, from bias to favoritism to mistreatment by coworkers to inconsistent compensation to corporate policies. All of these issues can cause burnout. When employees don’t trust their manager, teammates, or executives to treat them fairly, the psychological bond that makes work meaningful breaks.

    2. Unmanageable workload. When work feels burdensome, difficult to do well, or endless, you can feel suffocated, regardless of how many or few hours you work.

    3. Unclear communication from managers. When a manager’s performance expectations and accountabilities are inconsistent or unclear, the employee doesn’t have the necessary information to do their job effectively. As a result, work becomes difficult and frustrating.

    4. Lack of manager support. Manager support provides a psychological buffer, so employees know that their manager has their back even when challenges arise, or something goes wrong. A negligent, absent, or condescending manager leaves employees feeling uninformed, alone, and defensive.

    5. Unreasonable time pressure. Unreasonable deadlines and pressure can create a snowball effect. When employees miss one overly aggressive deadline, they fall behind on the next major tasks.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated the definition of burnout: “the syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Changing the definition of burnout can help dismantle the misbelief that it’s “nothing serious” because burnout can lead to anxiety and depression. Reducing burnout should take priority to protect your mental health.

    Here are a few ways to help you manage burnout:

    • Set clear boundaries between work and home. I know, easier said than done. This is a learned behavior that takes practice.
    • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise. If you are pressed for time, a 10-minute walk can make a difference. When we are experiencing burnout, it’s easy to reach for a sugary snack or fast food. However, these types of unhealthy foods may have a negative effect on our mood.
    • Take breaks during the day. Working eight hours straight without a break is not healthy. Schedule your breaks if you have to.
    • Take time to relax and unwind. Find time to have fun outside of work to relax your mind.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to colleagues, your manager, or even a professional. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of genius.
    • Find out what works for you. Be sure to think about burnout remedies that work for your particular situation.

    It’s hard to believe that in 2022, there’s still a stigma around mental health. That’s why it is important, now more than ever, to know the signs and find ways to protect and prioritize YOU. Prioritizing your mental health is not selfish. Take moments for your own well-being. As always, wishing you all continued peace, love, happiness, and blessings.


    Eustacia English writes the Perspective column, which examines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in resume writing and career strategy. She is a 20-year HR and talent acquisition veteran and started Resumes on Demand last year. She also writes on DEI for The Black in HR e-zine. She lives with her husband and two children in Cherry Hill, NJ. Find her online at

    NRWA Member Spotlight:
    Rob Rosales, EZ Resume Services

    by Anne Anderson NRWA Staff Writer

    Many NRWA members are very familiar with Rob Rosales, especially because of his considerable work on our conference and social media. We not only count on him as past marketing chair; he is president-elect and ethics chair, scheduled to begin his term in the new fiscal year, and already deeply involved in the planning process.

    Rob first became involved with the NRWA in 2015 when he left the corporate world and started his business, EZ Resume Services. He says he joined two organizations but found his roots here, where everyone was so helpful and engaging. As he puts it, “This is where I’ve grown up as a resume writer.”

    He has recently become a Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW), noting that the achievement is a great confidence booster. He found the feedback very helpful and appreciates the support he received throughout the process from Norine Dagliano’s Writing Excellence program and the conference session on certification. Rob says, “I feel validated by the experience and my skill and the value I give to my clients.”

    Anne Anderson

    Anne Anderson

    Rob Rosales

    Rob Rosales

    Rob’s professional background focused on retail sales management, with his early experience at Kmart and San Francisco-based McWhorter’s Stationers, which grew to about 32 locations. He was recruited to join Goodwill of Silicon Valley as a store manager. He became a “fanatic” champion of its mission, earning promotions to district manager and then director, leading the retail division. Now, in addition to running his own business, he is a subcontractor for RiseSmart, an HR and outplacement firm.

    Rob’s experience at Goodwill helping people build their skill levels, develop careers, and improve their lives helped shape his decision to become a resume writer and career coach. He primarily serves mid-career to senior-level clients who are business professionals in services, operations, distribution, supply chain, and finance.

    Rob especially enjoys working with recent college graduates, helping them build a solid foundation. He says that in the nonprofit world, he learned that we’re all people and have challenges, and how we can pull together to help each other is heartwarming and motivating for him. He finds that philosophy is foundational for the NRWA and draws him to the organization.

    Rob sees the NRWA as being at a critical juncture because of the changes job seekers and service providers are facing today. In parallel with his experience at Goodwill, he will be able to apply his strategic leadership skills to this organization – understanding what drives our business, knowing who are customers are, identifying their needs, and building strategies to meet those needs.

    He understands this to be a long-term journey, one in which he can help us set our course and one that will meet the needs of the diverse membership. He hopes to continue developing ways for more members to engage as volunteers by carving up the work needed into smaller, digestible bits.

    Rob and his wife and three children live in central California’s San Joaquin Valley, relocating after spending several decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact Rob at or


    Anne Anderson is an HR Manager at Charter Spectrum and a professional resume writer. She has been a member of NRWA since 2013. Find Anne online at LinkedIn.

    The NCRW Corner: Resume Readability, The Importance of White Space 
    by NRWA Certification Committee Member

    Does this sound familiar? It’s time to wrap up a resume writing project, but several lines of text are spilling onto a new page. To correct the content overflow, you change the line spacing and margins to move the information back to the previous page. There’s even an MS Word command that conveniently shrinks the information to fit on the page.

    This strategy works when there’s already sufficient white space on the page. But go too far, and the results can be—well, not attractive and not reader-friendly.

    What is white space?

    White space is the blank areas of the page where no content or graphic elements exist. It’s the space between lines, paragraphs, bullets, sections, and margins where there’s nothing to consume but white space itself.

    Why white space?

    For a design element that is by definition “nothing,” it’s surprising that white space is one of the most important aspects of a resume’s design. It can:

    • Improve readability
    • Increase reading comprehension
    • Guide the reader to focus on key points
    • Clarify relationships between information
    • Create a sense of balance and elegance

    Nine Tips for Optimizing Resume White Space

    While there are no rules on how to incorporate white space into our resume designs, we can’t ignore the power of white space. Here are a few tips:

    1. Add paragraph spacing between bullets instead of using single hard returns.

    2. Increase space between job description paragraphs and lists of accomplishments.

    3. Increase space between headers, so sections don’t appear squished together.

    4. Break up long narrative sections. If a qualifications summary starts to read like the Magna Carta, break it into smaller paragraphs.

    5. Edit content. Sometimes there’s just too much information, and there’s nothing wrong with making cuts to improve the reader experience.

    6. Adjust margins, so there’s breathing room on all sides of the page.

    7. Be careful when surrounding certain information with white space, which could draw the eye. For example, offsetting dates in a sea of white space may emphasize a spotty work history.

    8. Be consistent. If paragraph spacing is set to 9 points between one job’s bullets, the format should carry over to other job bullets.

    9. Refer to the NCRW Study Guide, which has a section that explains how to create white space between lines of text.

    Strategically using white space on resumes can improve readability. However, avoid overdoing it, which could result in an amateurish look. Experiment with white space settings to create the perfect balance that works for your documents.

    New & Renewing Members 

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

    By the numbers for the month of April:

    • 11 new members.
    • 33 renewing members.
    • 5 new members who took advantage of on-demand webinars after they joined.
    • 1 renewing Past President.
    • 1 renewing ROAR Award recipient
    • 5 renewing members from Massachusetts.
    • 3 new members from Florida.
    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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