In This Issue

Executive Greeting

Mary Jo King, President-Elect

I bring you excellent news from our 20th-Anniversary Conference held last month in Chicago. If you’ve ever been to an NRWA conference, you already know part of the story. Every year, conference goers experience—in a very personal way—the remarkable camaraderie that seems unique to our industry and to the NRWA in particular. Every year, each of us learns something from someone that changes the way we work or the way we think about work.

This year, the board of directors held its first official, long-range strategic planning meeting. Outgoing and incoming directors gathered in Chicago to compare the NRWA mission with current services and programs. Our goal was to identify ways we could progressively expand member value. Together, we built a two-year plan to enhance member resources and professional visibility.

Progress is already happening on a range of initiatives via the Public Image Committee. In the coming months, the committee will launch several programs to engage the job-seeking public and connect them with our members. Organizational leaders will ask for volunteers to work on other components of the strategic plan, so please watch this space for more information.

Thank you to the legion of volunteers, administrative staff, and presenters who brought us one of the most enlightening and singular conferences ever. Thank you to the founders and founding members who started all of this more than 20 years ago and allowed us to smother them with appreciation. Their vision for a national association made the NRWA a reality.

The National Résumé Writers’ Association remains the only national, nonprofit trade association for our industry. Our bylaws command, “The NRWA will expend all of its resources in furthering its benevolent goals.” We are focused on that mandate and inspired by all of you who collaborate in support of our mutual success. It’s an exciting time to be part of the NRWA!

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2017 ROAR Award Winners

Congratulations to the NRWA’s 2017 Award Winners!

Sandra Ingemansen: Experienced Creative Design

Arno Markus: Experienced Modern Classic Design

Lucie Yeomans: New Creative Design

Lucie Yeomans: New Modern Classic Design

Thank you to our ROAR Awards Committee: Steven Bouchard, Kimberly Schneiderman, Norine Dagliano, Cheryl Minnick, August Cohen, and Kevin Morris.

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2017 Industry Hero Award Recipient - Norine Dagliano

The 2017 Industry Hero award winner was chosen for her tireless dedication and continuous contributions to promoting excellence and raising industry standards.

Norine Dagliano has selflessly given countless hours to the industry. With an extraordinary commitment to excellence and professionalism, Norine does a great deal of essential work behind the scenes for the NRWA. However, it was her widely recognized and generously shared industry expertise that was recalled in the nomination by Charmaine Pocek, a student in the first Writing Excellence class.

Norine is known as an incredible teacher and mentor. Her training and mentoring has had a positive impact on countless NRWA members and other resume writers. She has played a key role on the NCRW Certification Commission and in keeping the NCRW Style Guide up to date and relevant and is also the creator and instructor of The NRWA’s top-notch writer training programs.

Charmaine Pocek nominated Norine for what she described as her priceless and confidence-building instruction and mentoring, a sentiment echoed by virtually all of her students.

Congratulations Norine Dagliano!

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2017 Vivian Belen Award Recipient - Jean Austin

Vivian Belen was one of the NRWA’s founders, an extraordinary volunteer devoted to building the NRWA, because she believed wholeheartedly in our mission as a nonprofit, member-driven resume writers organization. The winner of this award carries on Vivian Belen’s work.

To say our 2017 winner, Jean Austin, volunteered selflessly and tirelessly this year is an incredible understatement. It didn’t matter what obstacles were put in her way, no matter how many frustrating challenges she encountered, there was no stopping her!

When she was asked last year, to take on what is one of the most critical roles in the organization, Conference Program Chair, she hesitated only because she worried that she may not be up to the task. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Once Jean accepted the role, she dived in with the most remarkable enthusiasm and energy. Thanks to Jean’s extraordinary vision and creativity, the NRWA’s 20th anniversary conference was a resounding success.

I can’t even begin to thank Jean enough for all she has done this year.

Congratulations, Jean Austin!

Michelle Dumas, The NRWA President, 2017

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NRWA Flashback Facts No. 9

By Bridget (Weide) Brooks
Image Building Communications

This is the ninth 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 resume-writing industry.

One Trend From 2009 I’m Shocked Hasn’t Overtaken the Careers Industry

Recruiters help fill jobs. But we often must remind clients that recruiters don’t work for them. Recruiters—also called headhunters or executive search consultants—work for corporate clients (employers). But they are not outplacement specialists. They don’t work for job seekers.

Back in 2009, the concept of the “Executive Talent Agent” (ETA) was introduced. The idea was a careers-industry professional who serves much like an “agent” in the entertainment field or sports industry. Individual clients—not employers—pay the ETA directly for services that can include those as personal coach, mentor, representative, advocate, confidant, and scout. Services can also include preparing job search documents (resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, etc.). Agents would be paid hourly, by the project, or as a percentage of an executive client’s annual compensation (similar to the recruiter model).

An agent would provide objective advice and counsel to jobseekers, devoting their time and resources to their client’s career-management issues. A career-services professional may already be providing services beyond the resume and job search documents; however, an ETA would go beyond this by working with clients to develop job-search strategy, evaluate alternatives, analyze job offers, initiate introductions, and conduct follow-up activities.

Frankly, I’m surprised that the careers industry hasn’t progressed more towards this model, especially for executive clients. Maybe in another 10 years.

Results from a Recession Survey of Resume Writers

In August 2009, the National Resume Writer’s Association partnered with the Career Management Alliance (now Career Thought Leaders) and Résumé Writers’ Digest to conduct a survey to gauge the effect of the 2008 recession on the careers industry.

This first-of-its-kind collaborative industry survey showcased a significant gap between those who had recovered from the recession and those who had not. Approximately one in five respondents characterized their businesses as “significantly down” or “really struggling.” In contrast, 27 percent noted their businesses were doing “extremely well,” despite the recession.

Looking at the results eight years later, one of the most interesting parts of the survey addressed “Why Some Resume Writers Struggle.” Survey respondents were given the opportunity to contribute their comments in an open-ended question. Most responses fell clearly into five categories (a couple of them are contradictory):

  1. Competition from cheap and free online and offline sources, such as nonprofits, churches, government services, books, websites, start-up services launched by downsized individuals who believe they are job-search experts, and job seekers who believe they can write their own resumes.
  2. Inability/reluctance of jobseekers—especially the unemployed—to spend money on resume-writing services. (The implication was that—in better times—jobseekers have the discretionary income to buy resume services).
  3. Tendency for the unemployed to rarely buy resume-writing services (instead, some resume writers contend, only job-changers and career-changers buy resumes), combined with the fact that would-be job-changers and career-changers are staying put in their current jobs.
  4. Weak perception by jobseekers of the return-on-investment (value) of resume-writing services.
  5. Most surprisingly, ineffective marketing and business practices by resume writers.

The most common piece of advice for struggling resume writers was, “Hang in there.” Good advice then and now!

Next time in “Flashback Facts”: Did you know 40% of small businesses don’t re-open after this happens? (And it could happen to you this year). How we work has changed from 2002 to 2011 to 2017—see how things have changed.

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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Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month – Holly Genser, MA, CCTC

We are pleased to announce Holly Genser as November’s Volunteer of the Month. Holly currently helps out on the Marketing Committee, coordinating our content for the newsletter.

As a certified career transitions coach and branded-résumé and LinkedIn-profile writer, she helps professionals and leaders find fulfilling positions that allow them to use their highest skills and develop successful people and organizations. Holly’s practice spans across the fields of HR, learning and development, sales and marketing, nonprofit, information technology, and engineering. She also writes an email newsletter broadcasts and series for her business and clients.

How did you first get involved with the NRWA?

I first joined the NRWA in the late 90s. I had taught workshops at AT&T on career coaching for managers and career development for employees and developed workshops for Sprint on selection interviewing for supervisors and interviewing skills for employees. I was fascinated with career development, practiced with the NRWA Study Guide, and wrote résumés for several people. When I found an unexpected position that used most of my experience, I accepted it and let go of career coaching and resume writing for several years.

The next time I joined the NRWA was after becoming a Certified Career Transitions Coach. I wanted to have the latest information on resume writing. Soon I participated in a certification study group, where I made lots of friends who encouraged me to give three presentations, two on using Microsoft Word® for resume writing and one on using PowerPoint for presentations.

What prompted you to get involved with the Marketing Committee?

I joined the Marketing Committee because I have education and experience in online marketing, email marketing, and webpage writing, so it seemed to be a good fit.

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

As others have said, people in the NRWA are friendly, approachable, and willing to share. Members have encouraged me and helped me succeed. I work for three contractors I found either through the Yahoo! elist or through member referrals. I also sell “The Essential Microsoft Word® Manual for Professional Resume Writers” inspired by the first workshops I gave to the certification study group.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

First, I’ve written monthly emails for an online dog boutique for four years. I write an email series for my free website offers and Microsoft Word® Manual purchasers.

Second, I listen to music all the time and dance when I can. I love smooth jazz, the Doobie Brothers, Earth, Wind and Fire, and many others.

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Member News - Experienced Business Owners

Virginia Franco – Director of Industry, Experienced Business Owners

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is almost at a close. Where did the time go? Before the holiday craze is in full force, I’d like to thank each of you for your continued membership. I am constantly amazed by the accomplishments of this group–and am hugely appreciative of the collaboration, support, and camaraderie I’ve been privileged to experience.

Commemorating our organization’s 20th anniversary this year in Chicago was incredibly special–and made me all the more committed to start saving for next year’s conference in Seattle. 

It is clear The NRWA Experienced Business Owners were incredibly busy in 2017. I’d like to highlight a few of their accomplishments to date.

Louise Kursmark, Best Impression Career Services, Boston, MA, reported that since returning from the NRWA conference on a high from celebrating 20 years, sharing great ideas, and interacting with colleagues, she finished unpacking and settled into her new home in Plymouth, MA—where she has a beautiful office with built-in bookshelves, a huge closet, and a view out to peaceful woodlands.

In the next month, Louise will be speaking about “Modernizing Your Resume” to the 50+ Job Seekers Group and the Long-Term Unemployed Support Group in Massachusetts. Then she will be heading to Florida for a now-annual retreat (this is year #6), discussing business and life with a small, tight group of smart, savvy, fun friends/colleagues, and setting goals for the new year.

Louise has already booked her ticket for the CTL Conference in Madrid, Spain, next May, and has written the NRWA Conference in Seattle on her calendar in ink!

Nelly Grinfield, Top of the Stack Resume, Cincinnati, OH, conducted two major presentations in September: one to a local Job Search Focus group of 80 people, and one to a group of 60+ in the GenerationNOW Networking Event for Young Professionals. The topic of her presentation was “Write a Powerful Résumé and Ace the Interview.” 

Robin Schlinger, Robin’s Resumes, Atlanta, GA, recorded an introductory webinar “Helping Clients Secure a Federal Job” at CEUOneStop, which is geared towards professionals who want to write for federal jobs. Resume writers and coaches who want to learn more about federal resume writin, can access the webinar at

Anne Marie Segal, Segal Coaching, New York, NY, recently published her new book Know Yourself, Grow Your Career, available on Amazon, and just finished a Leadership Coaching Strategies professional development program at Harvard.

Laura Slawson, The Creative Edge, Fair Lawn, NJ, Laura became recertified as a Credentialed Career Manager, and in September was featured on The Creativity & Technology Solutions for Business and Life Show where she was interviewed on current resume writing trends. Laura also presented her very first webinar, "Helping You Craft Your Unique Career Success Story," as a Preferred Partner with the International Virtual Assistants Association. Laura is excited to launch a new product in 2018 titled, "The Creative Edge Executive Advantage Portfolio."

Sally McIntosh, Advantage Résumés, St. Louis, MO, was invited to Millikin University in Decatur, IL, to speak to graduating nontraditional students. Topics included ATS, formatting, and general resume questions. She discovered these “kids” could be any age and have a work history that may or may not relate to their degree. Most were female and single mothers–and Sally noted what a humbling experience it was to see how hard these students have worked to get through college and improve their lives and those of their children.

Brenda Bernstein, The Essay Expert, Madison, WI, published the 13th edition of How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile – updated for the new interface! See for details! In addition, she was recertified as a Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), and recently spoke to a group of Yale Alumni on “How to Make Resume Writing Fun,” and at the NRWA Conference on “The Incredible Disappearing LinkedIn Profile.”

Deborah L. Schuster, The Lettersmith Resume Service, Detroit, MI, recently won a resume writing contest sponsored by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, authors of Modernize your Resume.

Ruth Pankratz, Gabby Communications, Fort Collins, CO, reported that it has been a great business year for Gabby Communications! In addition to helping wonderful clients, Ruth was honored to present a workshop at the NRWA conference in October. Throughout 2017, she has presented resume workshops and workshops for businesses going through downsizing, recruiter networking meetings, sorority and fraternity organizations. She also presented before her target audience SQL, OpenSource, and IEEE associations. 

On a personal note, Ruth adopted a puppy in March, a move that helps her to take regular walks and frequent work breaks. In September, she hired a local assistant, who has been incredibly helpful. Ruth is looking forward to continuing to help clients and has plans to cofacilitate a virtual CTL Career Jam event in December.

Norine Dagliano, ekm Inspirations, Winchester, VA, was honored to be named this year's Industry Hero at the 2017 NRWA Conference in Lombard for her contributions to the industry and to The NRWA. She also presented a breakout session at the conference and hosted an “expert” table talk during the Thursday luncheon.

Norine finished developing the curriculum for the new "Writing Excellence On-Demand" program, which was announced at the 2017 NRWA Conference and will be launched in November 2017. This new, self-paced program is modeled after the live class, which is offered once per quarter; however, the on-demand program is available year-round to those resume writers who prefer setting their own training schedule and working at their own pace.

The fourth round of the instructor-led "Writing Excellence: Moving from Mediocre to Magnificent" began October 11 and will run through December 20, 2017. There are 11 participants in the class representing the college, workforce development, and business owner sectors, all sharing in Norine's mission of the NRWA resume writers setting the standard for writing excellence throughout the career services industry.

Rabbi Karpov, Bespoke Résumés and Career Coaching, Guthrie, OK, accepted The NRWA’s invitation to serve as 2018 Membership Chai. She also attended The NRWA 2017 conference for the first-time – helping to facilitate predictable, manageable costs for conference goers to and from the airport! Rabbi has expanded Bespoke Resumes and Career Coaching’s social media campaign including Alignable and Facebook, and intensified her availability for subcontracting and ghostwriting.

Her Interfaith pastoral contributions include participating in a rabbinic “LifeStraws” fundraising campaign to provide purified water across post-hurricane Puerto Rico and partnering with a black traditional Missionary Baptist Church as a speaker and co-preacher. Rabbi also attended Gideons Society’s county-wide annual Pastors Appreciation Banquet with Evangelicals.

Sandra Ingemansen, Résumé Strategies, Chicago, IL, was the winner of The NRWA’s ROAR award for Best Creative Résumé in the Experienced Business Owners category. She also earned 3 TORI award nominations for Best Finance, Best Sales and Best Graduate résumé. To help with business growth, Sandra joined CDI’s Fly Higher Tribe, and is taking a power-packed online Udemy class titled, “Writing with Impact: Writing that Persuades.”

Sandra recently volunteered to help community environmental organizations (including Groundwork and Canal & River Trust), as part of a group that collected 10 large bags of trash from the local river bank.

Debra Ann Matthews, Let Me Write It for You Resume and Career Services, Clarksville, TN, has been offering free résumé classes at her town’s local entrepreneur center, and has been asked to contribute her expertise on résumés for a video project sponsored by Global Tel for e-books and digital content. She has also been working with staff at the local America's Job Services Center, teaching soft skills to high school students, and participated in career fairs held by local private and alternative schools as a specialized career transition specialist.

Mill Montejo, The Talent Mill &, New York, NY, is excited to share that her business now offers several new services, including background checks for clients, DISC assessments and resources, and “We Apply For You” packages. These offerings complement nicely with what she has done for years with great success–leveraging her #JobSearchSuperhero tech skills to scan clients resumes against jobs they are targeting and manually inserting additional keywords.

As for me,
I’m delighted to continue in my role as a Director of Industry, representing Experienced Business Owners on the NRWA’s Board of Directors. I’m also excited to announce the launch of “Resume Storyteller with Virginia Franco,” a podcast whose guests include successful career changers and career industry experts.

Virginia Franco, Virginia Franco Resumes, Charlotte, NC

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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.

Registration is now open! Save $50 if you register by December 18, 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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Thank you to The NRWA 2017 Conference Sponsors

Founders’ Banquet Sponsor

For generations, people have been relying on Southworth® papers to provide greater impact to their ideas. In fact, President Lincoln chose Southworth paper to accept Stephen Douglas’s invitation to debate, documenting the seriousness and historic nature of the event. Your own milestones – a new job, an important proposal, a 50th anniversary – deserve nothing less. Put the feel of Southworth paper in people’s hands and make an instant impression. Timeless quality at first touch.

Lunch with the Experts Sponsor

Career Thought Leaders and Resume Writing Academy convene career service professionals to share best practices, deliver innovative educational and research programs, and promote the credibility, visibility, and professionalism of the careers industry. Our resources and leading-edge training supports your professional development–from staying on top of personal branding and job search trends to starting or growing your business and building coaching skills. CEO Marie Zimenoff is a Past President of The NRWA and dedicated to serving colleagues in the career industry. For resources and information on upcoming events–including Hidden Job Search Coach and Social Branding certifications visit

Coffee Break Sponsor

Career Directors International is a membership-based organization where resume writers and career coaches achieve six-figure-plus business success. Our members typically earn 2-3 times the rates of their colleagues. Membership includes: 

Visit CDI at

The Ultimate Job Interview Preparation Course is a comprehensive online course that helps job seekers prepare for interviews in a self-study format. Featuring 4+ hours of video content, 6 modules, 27 lessons, 20+ worksheets and handouts, a comprehensive question library, and animations to enhance learning. Course creator Nelly Grinfeld MBA, NCRW, CEIC, owner and head writer of Top of the Stack Resume in Cincinnati, is now offering affiliate partnerships to NRWA members. Add this course to your service offering and help your clients succeed at their next job interview!  For more information, please visit

For more information please visit

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New and Renewing Members

Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of September and October!  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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