February 2024

by Ruth Sternberg, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hello again! We are back with another issue of your member newsletter.

I hope you all are enjoying an inspirational year so far. There is so much going on right now in the career industry, and in coming issues, we will delve into some of the technological and promotional aspects that are critical to our and our clients’ success.

Each month, you will see one or two features relevant to your work, accompanied by NRWA news and reminders.

Ruth Sternberg 

This time, we have for you Part 2 of some important considerations when you are thinking of publishing a book. It’s a heavy lift, but if you are thinking of writing one, we strongly encourage you! You have plenty of support available from among your NRWA peers.

We also have lots of organizational news to share. Keep reading to find out about our refreshed website, another newly minted NCRW (you can do it, too!), and ways you can fully participate in and appreciate Black History Month. Its place in our yearly list of collective national commemorations is becoming more important in this political climate.

We also introduce you to our new NRWA president, Brenda Mariah, who took the helm of our board in January, succeeding Robert Rosales. If you don’t know Brenda and Rob, I invite you to reach out to them and introduce yourself! (Better yet, come to our annual conference and meet them in person!)

Enjoy reading!

As always, if you are interested in writing for this newsletter, email me at ruth@confidentcareersearch.com.

NRWA’s New Website Brings Our Mission to Life

By Bernice Moldanado, NRWA Marketing Chair

We are thrilled to bring you an exciting gift. Click here, to “unwrap” it!

NRWA’s new website is not just a digital upgrade; it's a leap into the future, designed to enhance your experience and provide easy access to the wealth of information and opportunities the NRWA has to offer. The team put a lot of time and effort into the transformation, and visitors can expect to see and feel the following:

  • Modern Design for an Improved Experience: The centerpiece of our new website is its modern and sleek design. We understand the importance of staying current and visually appealing in the digital age. Our design team has meticulously crafted a layout that reflects the dynamic nature of our association. The aesthetic is not just pleasing to the eye but also ensures that visitors are met with a fresh, contemporary feel, setting the tone for an engaging online experience.
  • Effortless Navigation: One of the key features of our new website is its user-friendly navigation. We have reimagined the website's architecture to make it easier for you to find the information you need. Whether you are a long-time member seeking specific resources or a prospective member exploring what we have to offer, our intuitive navigation ensures that you can effortlessly explore the website, discovering relevant content with just a few clicks.
  • Responsive Layout for Seamless Access: In today's fast-paced world, we recognize the importance of accessibility. Our new website offers a responsive layout that adapts to various devices and screen sizes, ensuring a seamless experience whether you're browsing from a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Now, you can stay connected and informed, no matter where you are or what device you're using.
  • Efficient Search Functionality: We understand that time is of the essence, and finding information quickly is crucial. Our revamped website features an enhanced search function, making it easier than ever to locate specific articles, events, or resources. The search bar is prominently placed, and the algorithms behind it have been fine-tuned to deliver accurate and relevant results, saving you valuable time and effort.
  • Accessible Design and Color Choices: Our design team has carefully chosen a palette that aligns with our association's values and brand identity. The thoughtful combination of colors not only enhances the visual appeal but also creates a cohesive and memorable brand experience. From the moment you land on our website, you'll be immersed in an environment that reflects the professionalism and vibrancy of our association.
  • Engaging On-Brand Images: A picture is worth a thousand words, and we believe in the power of visual storytelling. Our new website has an improved visual experience with captivating, on-brand images that bring our mission and values to life. These images aren't just aesthetically pleasing; they are carefully curated to resonate with our audience, making the online journey more engaging and memorable.

Our new website is not just a digital space; it's a gateway to a world of opportunities, knowledge, and community. As we usher in this exciting chapter, we invite you to explore, engage, and experience the future of our association. The launch of our website is a testament to our commitment to innovation, user satisfaction, and providing a platform that truly serves our members.

Get ready to embark on a seamless, visually stunning journey with us. The future is now, and we can't wait for you to be a part of it. Stay tuned for the official launch, and let's embrace the digital evolution together!

Bernice Maldonado, owner of Catalyst Era, is an organizational consultant advising organizations on implementing inclusive change- and talent-management practices. She also volunteers helping first-gen professionals and students with resume advice. Connect with her at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bernicemaldonado/ 

Meet the NRWA's New President, Brenda Mariah

How long have you been an NRWA member?

I have been a member of the NRWA since 2012, and I attended my first conference that same year. 

When did you become a board member and what was your goal in joining the board? 

If my memory serves, I first became a board member in 2013 but rejoined the board in 2023. 

Brenda Mariah

NRWA President

What drove you to run for board president?

Honestly, the biggest driver was being asked! Being president of the NRWA is not something I was expecting or even felt qualified to become. It was Mary Jo King's belief in me and Donna Tucker's support that gave me the confidence to say yes. Since then, so many have expressed their trust in me, and it keeps me wanting to bring my very best in support of the greatest association!

What are some of your goals as NRWA's leader? 

Beyond continuing the long-standing tradition of creating excellent member experiences, I am excited to work with our conference team to bring a re-igniting conference event and to truly understand our identity as an organization. I want to continue to deliver the right educational topics, programs, and our new credentials to meet the needs of our growing membership, increase visibility for our profession/members, and host our first board retreat so that we can get to work overhauling systems and processes to run our association. Another top priority is to increase the number of our members who become certified. I believe we owe it to our clients to provide the best possible service and stand behind our work!

Tell us about your business.

My business is Push Career Management, LLC, and I started resume writing in 2006. My business focus has been working with professionals in transition, while change is on the horizon to do more coaching and speaking to help professionals navigate the minefields of career advancement. 

Tell us about your family and what you like to do besides serving clients and the NRWA. 

I live in Phoenix, Ariz., with my two adult children (Miles, 20, and Nacol, 18) and my Yorkie, Blue. I have recently fallen in love with golf, and Phoenix is the perfect place to learn such a mind-engaging sport. I love taking walks, dancing in my truck, taking road trips, and having dance parties with my kids in the kitchen. I have a whiteboard where I leave special requests for my kids, so we can dance to whatever song is on my heart that day. I love family, and I'm finally learning to cook at age 45. Pray for me and all who have to endure my learning process. 

Congratulations to Amber Fernandez, NCRW

Amber Fernandez, NCRW

We are pleased to introduce our newest Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW), Amber Fernandez. Here is the story of her certification journey.

Tell us a little about you. 

After ghostwriting a lot of SEO articles through the freelancing site Upwork, I realized that just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it’s what you’re meant to do! In early 2020, I abandoned content writing and joined the NRWA to pursue resume writing, something I’d always enjoyed doing for friends and family since high school.

This is a side business for me. I have the privilege of taking on no more than four clients per month, which allows me the emotional and mental calories to invest in each job seeker and follow up with them long after the resume is done.

Why did you decide to pursue an NCRW certification? 

I think the spark was lit when Norine Dagliano recruited me to help with the NRWA’s monthly newsletter. I had the pleasure of interviewing several amazing members. As I became more involved by    attending webinars and online mixers, I rubbed shoulders with people who awed me with their ability to help job seekers. Many of them were NCRWs. I wanted to learn the same skills and give my clients the same results. And I wanted those letters by my name to prove it.

When did you start pursuing the NCRW? 

I started pursuing the NCRW in late 2021. I submitted a sample submission package and was given a “not ready.” I’m sad to say that in my disappointment and ego crash, I let my membership lapse and stopped resume writing altogether.

In August of this year, my husband encouraged me to answer a request in a local group for a professional resume writer. Writing that man’s resume and hearing that he received interview offers within hours rebuilt my confidence. I brushed up my LinkedIn profile, read the NCRW Study Guide daily, and got back in the game.

What are your recommendations for colleagues who want to pursue the NCRW certification or those who may be hesitant?

  1. Print out the Study Guide and read a section every day as if it’s your holy book!
  2. Invest in the Gregg Reference Manual, 11th edition.
  3. Make connections with NCRWs through the Facebook group, LinkedIn page, online mixers, and webinars. Many are willing to offer feedback to help you decide whether you should brush up on your skills with Boot Camp before submitting your sample.

My thanks to Cheryl Minnick, Norine Dagliano, and Kathy Keshemberg for reviewing my work and giving me the confidence to go for it! Thanks also to Michelle Dumas, whose templateI purchased and modified. I could not have done this without the support and resources from all of you.

We Need Your Input

Check your email inbox for a survey in the coming week.

The NRWA board wants to know your thoughts about how the organization can serve you better. The target survey date is Feb. 9.

This is part of the NRWA’s comprehensive strategic planning process, begun in 2022. The goal is to better define our audience, whom it serves, and what it needs to be successful. The few minutes you spend answering the survey questions will be your opportunity to share your opinion and shape the future of our association.

Your responses will lead to future design of services, training, and education that increase the value for your business and better address your clients’ needs. The board also wants to give you more opportunities to get involved with the NRWA. There are lots of committees that need your expertise, and involvement is the way you expand your collegial network and grow your business.  

We have not surveyed our members in this way since 2014, so it’s time. It’s also time to listen more often. You will be seeing more of these surveys throughout 2024 and beyond, an effort to keep in step with evolving member needs and industry trends. Results will be shared at the annual NRWA conferences.

Thanks to our survey task force, Eustacia English, Marni Holtzman Vyn, David Barnes, Vincent Vitale, Rob Rosales, and Brenda Mariah, for your hard work!

How Do I Get That Book Done?

Congratulations! You have decided to write a book. Now you’ve got work ahead: You have to organize yourself to get the work done, stay motivated, and figure out how you will publish and distribute your finished product.

First of all, these days, there are many ways to get your book out there. Here are three popular methods:

Traditional:Working with a publisher, who will help with editing, design, and marketing with no upfront costs and pay you sale royalties.

Self-publishing:Controlling the entire process on your own, including paying your own editor and cover designer and conducting your own marketing. You keep your revenue.

Hybrid publishers:These companies provide editing, design, and marketing assistance but with upfront costs for these services.

Each has its pros and cons. For instance, a traditional publisher does the heavy lifting but will retain creative control of the product and will offer you limited income potential. When you self-publish, it’s all up to you but so is the marketing, and that can be daunting.

Here is what some of our NRWA-member published authors recommend to help you achieve success:

Brenda Bernstein, author of How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile (rev. 2022), How to Write a Stellar Executive Resume (2018), How to Write a Winning Resume (2013).

Map Your Concept, Then Create Space

Create a “mind map” of the book by using a whiteboard to brainstorm all the different components and ideas you want to discuss. This will help you start to see patterns and connections between the ideas. 

Then, formulate the book proposal. This is an excellent way for you to create cogent, more formalized thoughts about your book and establish the vision. This includes mapping out your chapters and discussion points, which is critical to keeping yourself connected to the original premise of your book. Without some kind of structure guiding you, the book will wander and in published form will lose the reader as well as the publisher. 

To help me focus on the writing, I put blocks of time on my calendar and was rigorous about sticking to them. The book itself was organized into the mistakes people were making and how to fix them, and working on bite-sized pieces helped with setting goals as I went. I wrote the bulk of the first draft while on “vacation” with my family in Austin. Being out of my regular environment helped, as I was able to focus almost exclusively on writing.

Dawn Rasmussen is the author of Forget Job Security: Build Your Marketability (2012).

The Proposal Is the Case

A great guide for formatting your ideas and flow of a book is to create a book proposal. There are a lot of templates online you can find that will provide an outline of what to include. 

For me, this has been a great way to organize thoughts and create a rational business case for the book’s existence. It also will help you make that critical decision as to whether you are going to self-publish or shop it around to publishers. Be clear about how you are going to market the book. It doesn’t sell by itself.

Amy L. Adler, NCOPE, wrote Courageous Career Change.

Check Guidelines and Get Creative with Marketing

Don't expect book distributors to pick up your book if you self-publish.

My self-published Amazon book became a recommended title for a graduate careers class at Northeastern University only because I collaborated with a faculty member who was redesigning the course, so the book was placed into their bookstore's catalog via a distributor (I was fairly surprised by this, to be honest).

Dan Shortridge, NCRW, authored several local-interest books, as well as DIY Public Relations: Telling Your Story on a Zero-Dollar Budget (Quill Driver Press, 2022).

Follow the Money and Stay Resilient

You don’t know how much money you might make from book sales. For this reason, I am not a fan of paying a publisher a large sum to produce your book. Smaller “vanity houses” will charge you to do the work, and you might not earn it back.

When you work with a traditional publisher, or do everything yourself, your costs may be much less. Self-publishing used to be frowned upon but is rapidly reinventing the business. The growth of online self-publishing platforms has dramatically lowered the entry point.

If you are committed to the “traditional route,” realize that signing a contract with a traditional publisher requires either a literary agent or an independent publishing house that accepts unsolicited queries. Both can be challenging to obtain. Review their guidelines, wish lists, and prior books or clients, and write your proposal like it’s the most important resume you’ve ever penned.

No matter how you publish, expect rejection. Don’t get dismayed if you’re ignored or ghosted. That appears to be the industry standard these days. Send it, forget it, and keep on writing.

Celebrating Black History in 2024: A Resilient Tribute Amidst Attempts to Erase

By, Eustacia A. English, NCOPE

The annual month celebrating the achievements of Black individuals powerfully meets the challenge of ensuring that their contributions stay within view as we celebrate human progress.

This is especially important as educational institutions face mounting challenges to remove this history from curricula. Here are some ways we can make sure to keep honoring this important facet of our collective past:


Attend virtual or in-person seminars, workshops, or lectures to delve into the achievements of Black leaders, innovators, and activists. Be vocal and encourage schools and institutions to incorporate diverse perspectives into their curricula.

Support the Arts

Attend cultural events that showcase the art, music, literature, and traditions of the Black community. This can include art exhibitions, live performances, and literature festivals featuring the works of Black artists and authors. Attend film screenings and discussions featuring documentaries highlighting pivotal moments and figures in Black history. Film has the power to evoke emotions and spark conversations, making it an effective medium for educating and inspiring audiences. If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, this would be the perfect time to visit the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Creating spaces that celebrate diversity and inclusivity will foster a sense of pride and unity.


Participate and engage in open and constructive dialogue within communities. Discuss the importance of preserving Black history and address the challenges faced in the present. These discussions can help build bridges, foster understanding, and create a collective commitment to preserving and sharing Black history.


One thing that I will do throughout the month is leverage the power of social media and other digital platforms to raise awareness and counteract attempts to erase Black history. I will share stories, achievements, and historical facts that highlight the diverse narratives within the Black community.


Contribute to the economic empowerment of the Black community by supporting Black-owned businesses. Explore local Black-owned shops, restaurants, and businesses, and encourage others to do the same. Economic empowerment is a tangible way to resist cancellation and contribute to the sustainability of Black history.


Participation in community service is not limited to one month each year. But during February, it can highlight social issues affecting segments of the Black community, such as access to education, healthcare, or housing. Channeling energy into positive and impactful actions helps build a stronger foundation for future generations.

Celebrating Black history in 2024 is an act of resistance against attempts to erase the rich and diverse tapestry that defines the Black experience. By fostering education, cultural appreciation, and community engagement, individuals can contribute to the preservation and celebration of Black history. In doing so, we not only honor the past but also lay the groundwork for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Eustacia A. English has been in the HR/recruiting profession for over 20 years. She is also the owner of Résumés on Demand in Cherry Hill, NJ, where she provides résumé writing and career coaching services for new graduates, nurses, and other HR professionals. Connect with her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/eustacia/

50 More Chances to Showcase Your Client with LinkedIn Featured Skills

LinkedIn is expanding candidates’ abilities to showcase their value. It has doubled the number of skills available for selection.

Why is this something you need to know? Tom Powner, the NRWA’s designer and teacher of Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert course, has shared this answer:

 Maintaining a relevant list of skills on your profile will help others understand your strengths and match you with the right opportunities.

It will significantly impact LinkedIn Recruiter searches. Last year, LinkedIn began allowing candidates to "share your resume data” simply by uploading a resume into LinkedIn’s “job seeking preferences” area. Now, you can tweak your client’s resumes even more effectively towards particular job postings using even more skills that you know are relevant to those jobs.

Recruiters and hiring managers don't necessarily read this list of 50 or 100 skills, but it's vital in the search algorithms. More people will get found based on profiles that contain a wider net of critical skills.

It’s great when you are among the first to know about a LinkedIn change and can help your clients get ahead of the candidate pack! You can ensure your ability to do that by enrolling in the next NCOPE certification course, which starts. Register here for one of two sessions, beginning Jan. 18 and April 18. The next 5-session course will focus on many important aspects of LinkedIn’s power, including crafting engaging profiles, how recruiters use the platform, and the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in today’s job search. Once you’re certified, you are part of an “insider” group that meets monthly to get updates on all the latest LinkedIn features.

Check the Midweek Memo for more information and details about the NRWA’s other educational opportunities.

Read your Memo and check the website for other upcoming opportunities you won’t want to miss. We’ve got lots of great webinars! Here are two:

Unleashing Your Creativity with Canva’s New Magical Features

Canva remains a favorite with many career pros for creating banners and other collateral. Have you seen the new features? Join Sara Timm on Feb. 6 to learn how to use some of these new tools, such as Magic Morph and Magic Animate by creating an engaging, animated Valentine’s Day card. The session is for both beginners and seasoned users.

Coaching Clients for Successful Career Pivots 

Do you want to work with clients who are changing careers but are not sure where to start? Are you concerned about targeting their resumes enough to make an impact? On March 8, Kristin McLaughlin is teaching a webinar that will help you with a framework for career change or transition coaching and helpful guidelines for staying on track during the “messy middle” of transitions.

Save the Date!

The NRWA's next conference will be October 8-10 in Providence, R.I.

Stay tuned for registration information.

Interested in speaking? Start gearing up! We will be asking!

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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