In This Issue

President's Message

Michelle Dumas, 2017 NRWA President

Greetings Colleagues,

As the NRWA’s 20th anniversary year of 2017 comes to a close, and I reflect on how far we have come as an industry and an organization since our founding in 1997, I am reminded that the difference between success and failure is a great team. The NRWA, an association made up of individuals, all of us coming together with a common vision of promoting industry excellence and visibility, is a GREAT team and has been since the day it was first envisioned and formed by our founders. 

This collegial spirit of teamwork and collaboration has been showcased in 2017, in the dedication of all our volunteers as they worked together to transform the NRWA’s foundational operations, preparing the organization for future growth and expansion. I want to express my deepest and sincerest gratitude to our extraordinary leadership team made up of our Board of Directors and all the NRWA volunteers. These hardworking, dedicated individuals are the lifeblood of the NRWA, and they work together collaboratively behind the scenes every day to deliver all the valuable programs and benefits enjoyed by all our members. Just a few of the many accomplishments produced by our volunteer team this year include:

As an NRWA member who has been fortunate enough to have been a member of the association since 1997, I have reaped the benefits of membership for two decades now. For me, it has always been the relationships and networking with my inspiring NRWA colleagues that has been most valuable. Spending time with all of you, learning from all of you, gaining motivation from my interactions with all of you has been a life-altering experience for me. I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it: my association with the NRWA has been the single most influential factor of my professional success these past 20 years.

So, as I conclude my term as NRWA president, I also want to take a moment to thank all of you, the members of the NRWA. Collectively, the members of NRWA are a great team—an AMAZING team—and working together, we can accomplish great changes for our industry while supporting the achievement of the goals of our individual members. 

Now, as we all begin to look toward 2018, the future, and the next 20 years, I remind all of you that the NRWA would not be the vibrant, thriving, collegial organization it is without the unique strengths and talents contributed by each member. If you have even just one extra hour per month to volunteer, I encourage you to reach out to a board member or our administrative team to see how you can be of service. Also, check our calendar of events and meetings to participate and get to know your colleagues better.  The more you get involved, the more you benefit and the more the entire association benefits.

It has been my honor to serve as your president in 2017. Onward to the future, and I promise you the NRWA has a bright one!  I am looking forward optimistically and eagerly to my next decade of association with all of you. Thank you

Michelle Dumas
2017 President, National Résumé Writers Association

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Volunteer of the Month - Donna Tucker

We are pleased to announce Donna Tucker as December’s Volunteer of the Month. Donna is wrapping up her role as Secretary for the board.

Donna has been a member of the NRWA for more than 10 years and as Secretary has been keeping the board in line with our bylaws and ensuring the minutes are well documented. She also stepped in to help curate historical documents and memorabilia to celebrate our 20th anniversary. And, if that didn’t keep her busy enough, she also volunteers to proofread much of the communication for the NRWA, including the newsletter!

Writing resumes since 1988, Donna bought her current business, CareerPRO, back in the early 1990s. At one time, she had four store-front offices with staff, but now she is grateful the internet has made the need for a physical office defunct.

How did you first get involved with the NRWA?

I think it was back in 2005 when my friend Kathy Sweeney was First Vice President (different organizational chart back then).  Although I had been a member for a number of years, she brought me onto the board where I served in various roles for about 5 years.  I stepped down for a number of years but came back in 2016 to run for Secretary.

What do you wish others knew about the benefits of getting involved with the NRWA?

There is so much to learn about this industry. How can anyone go it alone--without the support and expert advice of these amazing professionals? I don't need to research ATS systems, guess what recruiters are looking for, or develop a new practical business model when my NRWA colleagues have already done it for me—and are eager to share. I think continuing education is key to our success. There is way too much misinformation being disseminated out there.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

Oh, there is nothing surprising about me. Being forced to think deeply to answer these questions brings me the awareness that I pretty much live and breathe the job-search industry— except for time with my sweet, beautiful dog, a Maltipoo named Bailey. I most enjoy volunteering at St. Joseph the Worker, an organization that helps the homeless get back to work.

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Introducing Our Newest NCRW - Brittney Beck

Brittney Beck, a senior associate resume and LinkedIn profile writer at Vocamotive in Hinsdale, IL, is our newest NCRW.

Brittney has been with Vocamotive since 2015, when she started as a career development specialist. In 2016, she started transitioning into Vocamotive’s newly formed resume and LinkedIn division. Brittney works with recent grads to C-level executives, and her specialty is working with individuals making a career change. Besides her new NCRW designation, Brittney also is a Certified Career Enlightenment LinkedIn Profile Writer (CCELW).

When asked why she decided to pursue the NCRW certification, Brittney responded, “First of all because I wanted to be confident in my skill set and have a concrete way of communicating this skill set to clients. I also pursued it to further hone my skills and gain the valuable feedback that comes from the process.”

Brittney plans to use the certification not only to further grow Vocamotive’s resume and LinkedIn division, but also to gain recognition within the industry as a knowledgeable, trustworthy professional.

In reflecting about the certification process, Brittney expressed that it is intimidating and difficult but well worth it in the end. “Even if I had not gotten through the process successfully, I still would have found it to be incredibly worthwhile due to the feedback I received throughout the process.” The fact that the process is so rigorous makes earning the certification that much sweeter.

For those wishing to earn the certification, Brittney recommends submitting your sample, because you get such invaluable feedback that you can instantly use in your business and the NCRW process. Next, don’t embellish just to impress the graders. “I struggled with my sample submission, because I tried to turn a recent college graduate resume into a director-level resume, thinking that would impress the graders. I quickly learned that they’re not looking for something impressive, they’re looking for strong strategy, writing, and grammar. If you just focus on crafting a technically sound final product rather than an impressive document with flowery language, you will be more successful.”

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NRWA Flashback Facts No. 10

By Bridget (Weide) Brooks
Image Building Communications

This is the tenth and final article in a series celebrating the 20th anniversary of the NRWA. In each article, we look back at key moments in NRWA history as well as the résumé writing industry.

Forty Percent of Businesses Don’t Survive This

It’s been a wild year. Wildfires in California. Hurricanes in Florida. Flooding in Texas. Here in Nebraska, where I live, we get the occasional tornado — although it had been about 10 years since we had one in the Omaha area. That changed in mid-June this year, when a tornado damaged several homes and businesses just a few miles from me.

When a disaster strikes in your area — or you read about a disaster elsewhere — it’s a good reminder to take a look at your disaster planning efforts and backup systems.

The American Red Cross estimates that as many as 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster like a flood, tornado, or earthquake.

A summer of flooding in Omaha in 2011 prompted an article in the Summer 2011 issue of Résumé Writers’ Digest on how to plan and prepare your business for a disaster. The information on how to prepare for — and help your business survive  is as relevant today as it was then.

The first step is to determine the potential threats that may affect your business. These can include:

Once you’ve identified the possible issues you may face, you can work on solutions. These usually address three areas:

Technology continues to evolve, making it even easier to work remotely if you are evacuated. But you have to prepare in advance to make sure you have everything you need in case you’re required to leave on short notice. And these preparations can also help in the event of a less severe issue — like a squirrel chewing through wire insulation, causing a power loss. (Did you know that squirrels are the most frequent cause of power outages in the U.S., according to the American Public Power Association?)

The three biggest things to consider are: people, things, and business continuity.

What if your hard drive failed today? Do you have a backup? How would you continue to do business if you were without power for a week or more? What would you need to continue serving your customers?

Even if you don’t need your business records during an evacuation, they must be protected. Records are difficult to replace and may delay an insurance claim payment. Consider keeping a digital record of important receipts, property records, insurance policies, key contracts, and your income tax returns.

And, finally, develop and maintain a backup policy. Backup computer data regularly (daily or weekly). You need a copy of your critical electronic information — and it needs to be updated regularly. Also consider keeping an “offline” copy (on a flash drive), for example, at a different location than your primary work location.

How We Work Has Changed

Were you in business in 2002? Has where — and how — you work changed since then? How about since 2012?

A cover story in the January/February 2002 issue of Résumé Writers’ Digest was titled, “Building a Successful Long-Distance/Remote Résumé Writing Business.” At that time, in-person client consultations were the norm. The first-ever Résumé Writers’ Digest Industry Survey, conducted in 2001, found that only 13 percent of résumé writers were doing business only by phone, fax, and the internet. The majority of résumé writers at the time met with clients in person.

By 2012, the number of writers who only worked with clients virtually had increased to 28 percent. By March 2016, nearly 38 percent of résumé writers reported they only worked with clients virtually.

I’m actually surprised that number isn’t higher. It will be interesting to see how — and where — we’re working with clients by 2022.

Bridget (Weide) Brooks is the editor of the Résumé Writers’ Digest newsletter and the founder of Her NRWA membership dates back to 1999, the year she attended her first industry conference. Coincidentally, Bridget’s company, Image Building Communications, also celebrated 20 years in business in 2016. She and her now-husband, Jon, founded the business after their graduation from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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The NRWA Writing Excellence On-Demand Training

Are you interested in developing or refining your résumé and cover-letter writing skills?

Do you want to build your confidence in knowing you’re following industry best practices?

Would you like to make 2018 the year you become a Nationally Certified Résumé Writer (NCRW)?

Are you highly organized and like the self-paced format of on-demand training?

If you answered yes to any of the above, The NRWA Writing Excellence On-Demand Virtual Training is for you.

Register today to save and take the course now or in 2018! 

Save $50 if you register by December 31, 2017. 

Click here for registration and course details!!

Whether you are a novice résumé writer or an experienced writer who wants to enhance your skills and attain the NCRW credential, this program is for you! 

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2018 Conference Save The Date

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New and Renewing Members

Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of November!  Feel free to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself on our Facebook page or the elist

Be sure to take this opportunity to network via our LinkedIn Group with other members of The NRWA and nonmembers who are career professionals.

Find colleagues in your area by searching here.

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