April 2023

by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends!

Welcome to April! We just had a major forest fire near my new home, and it made me very aware of why preparation matters in emergencies and careers. I was up late last Thursday evening gathering clothes, documents, and essential office equipment in case we had to evacuate. (We were just outside the pre-evacuation line and thankfully got to stay put.)

Amanda Brandon

Amanda Brandon

This spurred the idea to equip our readers with some ideas on how to help with layoffs. Preparation matters when your world gets flipped upside down. My friend and five-time layoff survivor shared some great resources on how we can help when layoffs happen in “What’s Saving My Life This Month?”

Our amazing NCRW Certification Commission continues their review of the steps to NCRW certification success. This month, they focus on how to position education for maximum impact.

Our newest NCRW is also one of my buddies. Heather Halldin and I collaborate on LinkedIn several days a week and have worked on some fun projects together. I’m excited to introduce you to her in this month’s Member Spotlight.

Finally, I need some help! We’re looking for at least two versatile writers for features, member profiles, and DEI topics. Be sure to take a look at the Perspective job description I put together in lieu of a DEI column for this month. If you’re interested, please reach out to me at newsletter@thenrwa.org.

As always, if you have ideas or want to be added to the Member Spotlight list, please drop me a line at newsletter@thenrwa.org.

Thanks for reading!

In This Issue:

What's Saving My Life This Month? How to Help with Layoffs:  

Editor’s Note: As you’ve seen everywhere, layoffs are hitting many sectors and people we all know. It’s disheartening and frustrating for our clients, friends, and colleagues. However, we have a chance to shine a light for those who feel out of place and unsure of what to do next.

Eustacia English

Claire Davis

I sat down with Claire Davis of Traction Resume to discuss how we can be a resource to those going through layoffs. She’s been laid off five times and has built a voice around this topic on LinkedIn. I hope this article helps you identify some “help for layoffs” strategies for your personal and business network.

NRWA: What can career services professionals do to support people going through layoffs?

CD: Our biggest “help” during a layoff is to be a sounding board for those going through it. I’ve been laid off five times, and support is the No. 1 need I had each time.

Here are a few tips on how we can help without being pushy.

  1. Offer to listen. Listening can give someone the space to process what they need to puzzle out. When we listen well, we can better connect the dots between what they need and what we can offer them.
  2. Encourage authenticity, brevity, and lessons learned. When we meet with clients, we discuss what goes on the resume and what doesn’t. This is one of those “doesn’t go on the resume items.” It’s what you talk about when you’re asked. And my best advice is to keep it short and sweet and discuss what it taught you and what it’s prepared you to do next.
  3. Be supportive on LinkedIn and in other networking spaces. Want to spur more goodwill in a terrible situation? Be the supportive, authentic professional. Like their LinkedIn posts, recommend them for posted jobs, and introduce them to someone who could benefit from their experience.
  4. Reciprocity and authenticity rule the day. We’re not here for ourselves, we’re here to help. Be supportive, sincere, and lean into gratitude.

Do you have a tip that other career service professionals can use to boost sales, build networks, or solve business challenges? We’re always looking for ideas that build connections and conversations. Submit your tip to newsletter@thenrwa.org.

Perspective: What Makes a Great DEI Columnist
By Amanda Brandon, NRWA Newsletter Editor 

Our long-time DEI columnist Eustacia English is taking a step back, and while we’re sad to see her step out of
this role, it creates an opportunity for a new voice or voices to amplify our position on this essential topic.

Here’s a list of qualifications I put together for this important part of our signature publication.

Amanda Brandon

Amanda Brandon

  • A volunteer or group of volunteers who can take on this monthly commitment.
  • A volunteer/volunteers who actively invest in training and thought leadership on DEI topics.
  • A volunteer who can apply DEI to writing resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and career branding topics.
  • A punctual, dedicated writer. No publication experience is required. If you’ve never written a column before, don’t be afraid to submit your name. I’ve been working with up-and-coming columnists for 20 years. I can help you polish your writing for a publication audience. My greatest need is interest, content, and dedication.
  • Open to feedback. Putting together a newsletter for a niche audience requires continuous improvement on my part and the writers’ part. Even as an editor, my team of proofreaders helps me sharpen my writing and understand our organization’s take on topics. You must be open to constructive feedback to be successful in this role.

If you are interested in working on our DEI column on a semimonthly or monthly basis, please email me at newsletter@thenrwa.org. I’m looking forward to your responses.

The NCRW Corner: How to Position Education for the Most Resume Impact 

Tips from the NCRW Certification Commission

Editor’s Note: We will review essential sections from the NCRW Study Guide for the next several months. Members can access this guide for free at this link.

Last month, we looked at the cornerstone of a strong resume: accomplishments and contributions. In this month’s NCRW Study Guide review, we dive into Section IV: Additional Sections a) Education.

Positioning Education for the Most Impact

When deciding where to place education, consider the client’s job target and experience and place it based on critical value and relevance. For a seasoned professional whose top qualifier is experience, education will be the last section. For a new college graduate whose top qualifier is academics, it will be near the top. For some industries, such as academia (teachers) and healthcare (nurses), education and certifications are top qualifiers and therefore placed near the top regardless of years of employment experience.

Punctuating & Presenting Degrees

  • Omit periods (BS) or use a period after each element without internal space (B.S.), and for professional designations, omit periods (CPA, MBA).
  • A degree awarded with honors may include the designation: cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude without italics, capitalization, or underlining (Gregg Reference Manual, 287).
  • When noting a degree, specify the degree type (A.A.S., B.S., Associate of Arts). The words “Associate,” “Bachelor,” and “Master” are not plural (Masters) nor possessive (Master’s). 
  • Include the major (Biology) and minor (Media Arts) if relevant (BS in Biology with Media Arts minor), or if irrelevant, omit both (BS). 
  • Include the university name, location (City, ST), and graduation month/year (May 2022), not attendance years (2018-2022) nor season (spring). Consider omitting a graduation year if the date invites age discrimination. 

How & Why to Elaborate on Education

Resumes are written with the reader’s needs in mind. To sell a new graduate’s qualifications, consider including coursework, scholarships, and experiential learning (internships, projects, laboratory work, research, independent study, service, practicum, and fieldwork) if relevant.

For each academic qualifier, consider including an accomplishment statement peppered with occupation-targeted keywords/keyword phrases sought by a hiring manager. Strategically place academic qualifiers in either the Education or Experience section.

If a client has a relevant, unfinished college degree, note it as “in progress” or as credits earned (42:50 credits completed). Use “first-year student” to avoid “freshman,” a term dropped to promote inclusivity, celebrate diversity, and halt sexist stereotypes in education. (Gregg Reference Manual, 354b)

For more information on how to present education in a resume, please review Section IV Additional Sections of the NCRW Study Guide. You can also access more training on this topic in the free-for-NRWA members Resume 101 Self-Module 7: New College Graduate Resumes.

NRWA Member Spotlight: Heather Halldin 
By Amanda Brandon, NRWA Newsletter Editor

Editor’s Note:  Heather Halldin, NCRW, NCOPE, just received the NCRW certification. I hope you enjoy this Q&A with Heather. 

Heather Halldin

NRWA: How did you get started in resume writing?

In 2008, after 16 years in IT, I made the move to IT services proposal management to accommodate my family life and take advantage of my English degree. Proposals for consulting services require resumes/profiles for contracted/proposed consulting teams. I gradually became the resume/profile resource and resume lead, supervising junior writers for my proposal teams.

In 2016, I was approached to head a resume team for the recruiting and consulting departments for Leidos Health, an IT healthcare consulting firm. In 2020, I started writing resumes and LinkedIn profiles part-time for LHH–and there was no turning back!

Helping people in career transitions greatly impacted my love for my work. Doing this really helped change their lives and improve how they felt about themselves and their careers. I left the corporate world and committed to becoming a full-time resume writer, LinkedIn writer, and career coach in 2022. It was time for me to forge my own path and make my own decisions about my career, after years of guiding other to make changes in their lives.

NRWA: What is your current business focus? Where do you see yourself growing?

HH: My current business focus is realizing a business model that supports my desire to help people improve their careers and lives and supports my family full-time through a combination of solo work and subcontracting. Subcontracting for multiple coaches and services provides a variety of clients and plays to my strengths so I can focus my time and energy on working with people.  

NRWA: What educational opportunities have you explored to help you grow?

HH: I am committed to providing the best quality documents and services to the clients who trust me with this important element of their lives. This commitment includes expanding my professional development beyond “on-the-job” training to secure resume writing and LinkedIn profile certifications. I obtained NCOPE certification in November 2022 and NCRW certification in March 2023. I’d like to pursue a coaching certification later this year. I also participate in industry online forums to learn from others in our field and read a lot to learn more.

NRWA: Why did you join the NRWA?

HH: In 2022, after six months of subcontracting with an amazing career coach and mentor, I joined the NRWA. I think it’s important to belong to and participate in industry organizations—interacting with your peers is critical from a growth standpoint and from a social and networking perspective. I’ve worked remotely since 2008 and appreciate the value of networking with and getting to know others in my industry.

I participate in other industry organizations, but NRWA’s reputation and membership are a step above. I like that it’s not as large—it feels more like a community—and the members seem to interact more with each other and engage in pursuing excellence in our field. Members help each other by sharing referrals, advice, and ups and downs. I feel proud to be a member.

NRWA: What did you gain from your NCRW experience?

HH: My mentor supported my passion to improve and encouraged me to take the Writing Excellence Certification Preparation Program. I took the course in the Fall of 2022 and became ignited by how much I was learning and my instructor’s knowledge and experience. The class stretched my writing, thinking, and editing abilities. It’s deeply satisfying to immediately implement what you’ve learned in class with your clients.

The instructor was wonderfully supportive—her weekly personal feedback and help were invaluable. I was floored and grateful by how available she made herself for our learning process in and outside the classroom. It was great that the class supported the sample submission process. I followed immediately with NCOPE training and certification. In early March 2023, I submitted and passed my NCRW certification. I’ve never felt so proud of myself. I felt the sample submission phase was critical—it focused and refined my efforts and gave me the confidence to complete the process.

The certification process—well, I agonized over it. I wanted to get it just right. The information included for the exam’s fictitious client was comprehensive and straightforward. And I was able to reference the comments on my sample submission for reminders about format and best practices. Receiving an updated certification study guide also helped. I referenced it to double-check technical and strategic elements of my submission.

I often use the NCRW Study Guide as a reference in my work. I couldn’t wait to announce I’d passed and add my new credentials to my signature and profiles. The overwhelming support I received before and after the news further cemented why I’m a member of NRWA.

Heather Halldin, NCRW, NCOPE, is a resume writer and LinkedIn strategist based in Philadelphia, PA.She supports clients across industries as a contractor for multiple firms, including Madelyn Mackie & Associates and Jasmine Escalera Coaching. Passionate about creative careers, Heather consults with musicians/artists beyond resumes and LinkedIn profiles. She is adept at developing career profiles and online bios for niche platforms. She has a Bachelor of English degree from Lehigh University. Connect with her at LinkedIn.com/in/heatherhalldin.

New & Renewing Members 

Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of March 2023! 
Click here to view the full list.

By the numbers for the month of February:

  • 34 new members.
  • 6 new members from Texas. 
  • 38 renewing members.
  • 17 renewing Members from the East Coast. 
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!

Professional Development 

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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