June 2023

by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends!

Can you believe we’re halfway through this year already? I need time to stand still for a few minutes. However, I’m so excited about summer’s arrival. It’s been a slow start in my mountain town because we’ve had record rainfall. I’ll take it over wildfire weather any day.

Amanda Brandon

Amanda Brandon

Grab a cool beverage and sit back for our monthly recap on what’s happening with your NRWA colleagues. I love this issue because we’ve made some big changes.

A few things you’ll see:

  • NRWA DEI Awareness & Response: We haven’t lined up a columnist, so we are going to ensure that we focus on how we can acknowledge and support our clients and peers in DEI recognitions and job search strategies. Take a look at what Norine and Tom put together this month. I think you’ll gain some takeaways from their Pride Month response article.
  • Tech Talk is here to stay. Lisa Dupras is an amazing resource on all things AI and tech. Her focus is to help us do our jobs better with emerging tools. This month, she’s talking prompts for timesaving activities in some of the leading tools.
  • The Book Nook: Norine started this column, but we want it to be a regular feature from many members. She’s reviewing a book we can all use to improve our writing. If you wish to contribute, see her note about how at the end of the article.

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:

The NRWA Book Nook: A Book to Make You a Better Writer 
By Norine Dagliano, NCRW, NCOPE, NRWA Written Communication Chair

As Director of Written Communications for the NRWA and proofreader/copy editor for a handful of colleagues, I spend hours each week correcting grammatical errors and recommending content edits. Some might view this as tedious work¾I actually will drop whatever I am doing when I am sent a document to proofread and find great joy in finding things I can correct (I’m strange like that!).

I think I have a pretty firm grasp of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, but there are things I miss, things I never learned, and “fossilized errors” I revert to. For these reasons, I have multiple resources that never leave my side: The Gregg Reference Manual, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Roget’s College Thesaurus, and an ever-expanding electronic file of “Daily Writing Tips.”

Recently, another resource was brought to my attention: Correct Your Own English: How to Use Better and Fewer Words in Your Writing and Speaking, but David F. Noble. This ebook, available on Amazon for $3.99 and downloadable to different devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops), is a handy, on-the-spot reference for choosing better words in resumes, cover letters, and other written communications. It is also a useful tool for anyone who wants to have better communication skills in interviews, public speaking, and corporate training.

This concise guide presents in one volume a collection of common mistakes in English writing and speaking, gathered by the author during almost 40 years of experience in university teaching (English language and literature, technical report writing, business communications, professional editing, and desktop publishing) and book publishing (as an editorial director of a leading computer book publisher and senior editor of a publisher of job-search books).

The three main parts of this ebook discuss common mistakes in the choice of words (usage), unnecessary words (wordiness), and the unintentional doubling of an idea (redundancy). The entries in each part of the ebook are arranged alphabetically for easy lookup, making this ebook a useful reference work. 

Several years ago, David wrote a regular column for the NRWA newsletter in which he shared resume writing tips and grammar rules in an engaging narrative format. I printed and saved many of those articles in a three-ring binder, referring to them often. And his contributions to the industry go far beyond this. Books by David Franklin Noble, Ph.D., include Gallery of Best Cover Letters (4 Editions); Gallery of Best Resumes (5 Editions); Gallery of Best Resumes for People Without a Four-Year Degree (Editions 2-4); Gallery of Best Resumes for Two-Year Degree Graduates (1st Edition of the preceding title).

His Gallery of Best Cover Letters is still my “go-to” for cover letter content and strategies. If you’re looking to expand your bookshelf (or ebook collection), I highly recommend checking out David Noble’s newest publication on Amazon.com as well as his earlier books.

If you have a book you’d like to recommend to help colleagues improve their writing skills or grow their business, please submit your book review to newsletter@thenrwa.org  for inclusion in an upcoming issue of the NRWA Watercooler. Also, check out the recommended books for aspiring and renewing NCRWs to read and review as an option for meeting CEU requirements: https://thenrwa.org/recommendedbooks.

Tech Talk: Embracing AI in Resume Writing & Career Coaching

By Lisa Dupras, NCOPE, CPH

Editor’s Note: With all of the talk about AI and tech tools I see on our Facebook group, I realized that we need to cover technology topics more often in our newsletter. Lisa Dupras stepped up to take on this exciting and sometimes overwhelming topic. I invite you to share your questions on all things tech with her. Send your questions to newsletter@thenrwa.org.

Keeping up with rapidly advancing technology while running a business can be challenging. By leveraging artificial intelligence, we can continue to improve and transform our industry. This article aims to evaluate ChatGPT and its competitors, highlight the significance of well-crafted prompts, and introduce additional AI tools that can enhance our professional effectiveness. Through the strategic use of AI, we can become more efficient, gain a competitive edge, and continue providing the personalized guidance our clients' value.

Your choice of AI tool depends on a few factors:

As a writer and career coach, you can use these tools to accentuate your writing and communications. Crafting well-defined and detailed prompts will give you the best responses. Here are some prompts to help you leverage these tools:

A well-written prompt takes practice! A few notes about working with ChatGPT or Bard:

  • Divide complicated instructions into sections. 
  • Start over if the tool gets confused.
  • Don’t ever enter any confidential information.
  • Sometimes you need a Google search!

By utilizing prompts effectively, AI applications and tools can help us reduce our research time, write document drafts, and run our businesses more efficiently.  

Following are a few topics that I have researched using ChatGPT: understanding career assessments, researching client career moves, how to optimize my website, writing draft cover letters, generating writing topic ideas, and newsletter research.

You can use Bard to help with your style questions! Just type out your question and refer to the available guides below in the following prompt format. “What does The AP Stylebook 2023 edition say about acceptable salutations for a letter to a prospective employer? Output the text and referring section."

In summary, AI is not a replacement for resume writers and career coaches but a valuable tool that can complement our knowledge, amplify our skills and save us valuable time. By embracing AI, we can adapt to the evolving landscape and continue to excel in our profession. Let us embark on this learning journey together.

Lisa Dupras is a resume writer, career coach, and owner of Elev8 Resumes and Coaching in Lanoka Harbor, NJ. She specializes in helping folks pivot into IT careers. She is NCOPE-certified and offers job search coaching and interview preparation services. Connect with her at LinkedIn.com/in/dupraselev8coaching.

NRWA DEI Awareness & Response: LGBTQ+ Pride Month

By Norine Dagliano, NCRW, NCOPE, NRWA DEI Committee Member
Tom Powner, NCOPE, NRWA Director of Member Support for Experienced Business Owners

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month, celebrated each June, commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan—a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. LGBTQ Pride Month focuses on political awareness, activism and fundraising, with multiple events planned that attract millions of participants around the world. 

As career services professionals, we join the world in recognizing the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had locally, nationally, and internationally, while also acknowledging that job seekers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer still experience unique challenges in the areas of career preparation and job search. Employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity has a long history in the United States. Although much progress has been made, it’s essential that we not overlook some important facts and how they impact many of our clients/customers.

The Legal Landscape

According to the Out & Legal 2019 Workplace Equality Fact Sheet:  

  • One in four LGTBTQ+ employees reports experiencing employment discrimination in the last five years.
  • 46% of LGBTQ workers report being “closeted” at work, while 71% of senior managers are much more likely to be out compared to 28% of their closeted counterparts.
  • Nearly one in 10 LGBTQ+ employees have left a job because the environment was unwelcoming.
  • 52.8 percent of LGBTQ+ employees report that discrimination negatively affected their work environment.

Currently, no federal law bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. State laws vary widely, and many states are considered “at risk” for rolling back progress made in this area. To date, 33 states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity by statute.

For job seekers and employees in the remaining 17 states, the decision to disclose one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity during the interview or onboarding process is legitimate cause for concern. College students, as well as professionals who belong to community LGBTQ-organizations, may seek to omit these experiences from their resume to avoid potential bias, forfeiting an opportunity to highlight their interpersonal strengths, leadership skills, and intercultural fluency.

Being aware of the issues and knowing how to respond is essential to our role as career services professionals. By being intentional in our efforts, we can provide LGBTQ+ job seekers with support and guidance to help them achieve their career goals.

How Can We Help?

  • Stay current on state and federal laws governing employment nondiscrimination, workplace access and harassment, and identify documentation. Bookmark the Human Rights Campaign website to follow workplace laws and legislation. Additionally, reach out to your government officials and make your voice heard.
  • If you work in a college career center or workforce development center, advocate for training and professional development that ensures all staff are prepared to create an equitable and affirming environment for LGBTQ students and clients.
  • Respect and support your client’s autonomy. Let them decide what to include on the resume, disclose in an interview, or share during the onboarding process. Discuss the various scenarios and possible outcomes along with benefits and risks associated with each choice and offer support and encouragement as they arrive at a decision.
  • Familiarize yourself with the use of gender pronouns. For many members of the LGBTQ+ community, choosing preferred gender pronouns is an important part of their identifies. Talk with clients about how they might convey their gender pronouns on job applications, resumes, cover letters, email signatures, and LinkedIn profiles and again, support whatever choices they make.
  • Provide them with information and resources to help them connect with LGBTQ-friendly employers. Today, 92% of Fortune 500 companies welcome lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees with policies that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Join, and encourage your clients to join the myGwork business community, a global networking hub and job board for LGBTQ+ professionals and students. Learn how specific companies, municipalities, and healthcare facilities support their LGBTQ+ workers by accessing information through the Human Rights Campaign database.

Pride Month is a celebration, but it’s also a reminder that the fight for equality is not over (even losing ground in some places), and we still have far to go. Awareness is key – as well as empowering ourselves and our clients with the information, tools, and resources to address the employment challenges unique to the LGBTQ+ community.

NRWA Member Spotlight: Melissa Orpen-Tuz
By Amanda Brandon, NRWA Newsletter Editor

Editor’s Note: Melissa Orpen-Tuz’s story is an excellent acknowledgment of the many paths we can use to get into resume writing and career services. I hope you enjoy her vivid storytelling in sharing her journey to success.

Melissa Orpen-Tuz

NRWA: How did you get started in resume writing?

Melissa: It’s a long and twisty tale. Well, that may be overstating it, but I fell into professional resume writing by accident, like so many. Earlier in my career, I managed job readiness and workforce development programs for at-risk youth and ex-offenders, and I helped them create their resumes. After a layoff, I stumbled upon a resume-writing gig, which ultimately turned out to be one of those resume mills for abysmally low pay. But it got me started! I then parlayed my increasing level of skill into better-paid opportunities with boutique resume-writing firms.

Based on that experience, I’ve developed my own process, which includes custom-designed resumes, executive bios, e-notes, and LinkedIn profiles as well as an intensive information-gathering session via phone.

Getting two samples published in Expert Resumes and LinkedIn Profiles for Managers and Executives—4th Edition and winning second place in Career Director International’s Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) awards’ classic executive category in both 2021 and 2022 gave me the boost I needed to fully devote myself to this work. As did getting mentored by some incredible writers who also have mastered the business development side of things.

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

Melissa: Over the past couple of years, I’ve found my sweet spot as a trusted partner to career coaches who don’t want to or don’t have the time to create documents for their clients. I love the synergy with this—I am a writer first and foremost and do not currently offer career coaching, so working closely with coaches who do has enabled me to be a key player in a total solution tailored to each client’s needs.

Last October, I finally launched my own business—Vivid Career Services—and have loved the range of clients I’ve worked with, although my focus area is senior and very senior clientele. Despite the proliferation of AI-enabled tools and DIY guidance for resume writing, I still believe there is a robust niche for people who want a bespoke, high-touch experience.

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

Melissa: I’ve done it all—advanced certifications, one-off webinars, and multi-day conferences. I most enjoy hearing from other practitioners and sharing experiences, as working alone with my laptop and phone can sometimes feel isolating. And pursuing educational opportunities related to resume writing helps me keep things fresh, gives me new ideas, and ensures that I am in touch with the best practices of today and tomorrow, not just five years ago.

NRWA: Why did you join the NRWA?

Melissa: Joining the NRWA was part of my professional development plan in 2022, and it was such a great decision. I really appreciate the rigor and discipline of the NRWA’s approach to resume writing coupled with the wealth of resources on building one’s own business.

Have you attended the NRWA conference before? What other events? What value did you receive?

Melissa: As a new member, I’ve yet to attend an NRWA conference, but I am AMPED about meeting colleagues in Colorado Springs this year. I’ve bookmarked a couple of additional webinars that I’d like to attend, and I really appreciate the diversity of offerings—from enhancing the craft of resume writing (what I love) to strengthening business acumen (what I need).

Melissa owns Vivid Career Services and resides near Providence, RI. She is an ACRW-certified writer through the Resume Writing Academy and earned the CPRW certification early in her career. Connect with her at LinkedIn.com/in/melissaorpentuz.

New & Renewing Members 

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

By the numbers for the month of May:

  • 31 new members.
  • 8 new members from the Northwest Lineman College 
  • 51 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!

We’ve done land, we’ve done sea, and we’ve gone virtual. In response to popular demand, this year the NRWA is going hybrid! We invite you to join us as we Ascend to New Heights in Colorado Springs, CO.

Taking on our biggest challenge yet, the National Résumé Writers Association will be hosting a variety of educational programming, both in person and virtually. As always, join us live for the best experience, which includes in-depth workshops, featured presentations, and extensive opportunities for networking. For those who are unable to join us in person, we will be live streaming selected presentations featuring our most popular topics and trending discussions.  

Highlights to this years’ conference include our keynote, featured speaker, and preconference presentation. Additionally, we are bringing our conference to life by joining our in-person and hybrid audiences together through an event app that will promote engagement and networking to a larger audience.


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.


Affiliate Partners

Platinum Level: Distinctive Resume Templates, WriteSea; Silver Level: Indeed, Profiling Pro, Resume Products, Web Pages That Sell

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