November 2023

by Ruth Sternberg NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi, everyone!

For many of us, winter has arrived. But it’s also high season for many of our clients who are in a job search, especially if they are trying to get their materials out there before they start taking holiday breaks.

As always, the NRWA wants you to serve your clients in the best way possible, and we bring you another edition of the newsletter with information you can use.

In this issue, Lisa Dupras and Bernice Maldonado bring you advice about ways to boost your website traffic and how to improve your marketing by thinking about the audience you are serving.

Ruth Sternberg 

Meanwhile, we introduce you to one of our new board members, Eustacia A. English. She officially begins her service Jan. 1. Eustacia also has contributed an article with opportunities this month to learn more about the customs and history of some of our clients — Native Americans. 

Take a look at our upcoming webinars and courses listed in this issue as well. There is a lot going on and you don’t want to miss it!

NOTE: The Watercooler will be taking a break in December, and will resume publishing on the first Friday in January. This will be our new publication date each month.

If you would like to write for the Watercooler or help out in some other way, shoot me an email at

See you in January! 


Save the Date!

The NRWA recently sent an email announcing our “big reveal” of the 2024 conference location. In case you missed it, here’s the big announcement:

The conference will be October 8-10 in Providence, R.I.

The NRWA has a large member base in the northeast, and Providence is convenient. With Boston just one hour away and New York City only three, it can be perfect for those who like to vacation around the conference.

Founded in the 1600s, Providence is steeped in history. During the American Revolutionary War, it provided leadership and fighting strength, quartered troops, and supplied goods to residents by circumventing the blockade of Newport.

Today, Providence is home to a rich cultural and academic community that includes a performing arts center, world-famous Roger Williams Park and Zoo, Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, and the Rhode Island School of Design. The conference venue, Hotel Providence, is an arts and literature-themed hotel, centrally located downtown near many of these attractions. Like the fall leaves? This is the perfect place to be!

Stay tuned for registration information. Interested in speaking? Start gearing up! We will be asking!

MEET YOUR NEW 2024 NRWA BOARD MEMBERS: Eustacia A. English, NCOPE, Membership Chair

How long have you been a member of the NRWA and what have you found to be the greatest value? 

I joined in June 2020 and have enjoyed the education that the NRWA has to offer. Additionally, I have been able to connect with some pretty amazing colleagues in the business.

Eustacia A. English

What committees have you served on since joining?

DEI committee. I love to educate and writing for the perspective column has given me the opportunity to do so. 

Why did you decide to run for a board position?

I've always been in the business of serving others. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is, "You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace." Serving has been instilled in me from a young age, and I will always jump at the opportunity to help others. 

What are some of the things you'd like to help the NRWA accomplish during your board tenure?

The NRWA is a special organization, but it took me a while to find members who look like me. Together, we can help promote diversity and inclusion within the membership and leadership of the NRWA to ensure that the organization represents the interests of a broad range of members. Also, I want to continue the amazing work that Annette Richmond, our current membership chair, has done with attracting new members to the NRWA. We are always looking for members interested in supporting the NRWA mission. 

What is your business focus?

I love working with new graduates and those who are early to mid-career professionals. I remember the days when I was a new graduate, and I still remember the mentors who guided me. I do more than just write résumés; I'm also a career coach because, again, I love to teach. Once I complete my NCOPE certification this fall, I will add that service.  

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in New Jersey and currently reside in Cherry Hill. I'm a mom of two amazing children, ages six and 14. My 6-year-old founded Ken R.E.A.D. Books to encourage children to read and dream. The site features her own original books and a holiday book-donation drive in our community. (

I couldn't do everything that I do without the support of my loving husband. When I'm not working, I like to read, listen to podcasts, and exercise.

Tech Talk: Boost Your Website Traffic with an On-Page SEO Audit

By Lisa Dupras, NCOPE, CPH

In today's digital world, many potential clients search for career coaching and resume-writing services online. Imagine the customers you could gain if a potential client saw your business at the top of the Google search.

Now let’s take this a step further. What if that potential client clicked on your website link and your content was relevant, informative, engaging, and answered their specific questions?

On-page search engine optimization (SEO) is your chance to draw seekers to you. SEO is a tool that can improve your site’s visibility and ranking. It can help you:

  • Pinpoint your marketing message to your target client.

  • Convey social proof to build trust.

  • Improve the user experience of website visitors.

Potential clients will stay on your site longer, learn more about your services, and click for more information. Here are the actions you can take:

Keyword Research

Identify the terms people use when searching for content related to your industry or services. 

  • Start with a clear understanding of your niche, industry, target audience, and what content and services your ideal client is seeking.   
  • Brainstorm a list of broad keywords that describe your services and brand, such as “career coaching” or “job-search tips.”
  • Use tools such as Semrush to identify the number of searches that have relied on those keywords in the past month. Popular keywords are more difficult to rank for than more obscure ones. 
  • Create high-quality, informative articles, pages, blogs, and headlines centered on your new keywords to provide value to your target audience.
  • Valuable, relevant content will rank higher in searches, naturally bringing you more website visits from your ideal client.

Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Header Tags

A title tag is the official name of your webpage. It is visible as a clickable headline in Google search results.

A meta description is a summary that describes a web page.

Header tags (H1, H2, H3) logically structure your web-page content.

Google uses these three elements to locate a website page based on a user search.

Here is what you can do to activate these elements. An SEO expert can assist if you need help.

  • Review all title tags on your website to ensure they are SEO optimized for relevance, contain value-added content, and include target keywords.
  • Make sure each meta description stays within 160 characters. Each description should be clear, accurately describe the web page, and incorporate your target keywords.  
  • Confirm each web page has only one H1 header. Use H2 and H3 headers to organize content so it is easily readable.   

Internal and External Links

Internal links help establish the structure and hierarchy of your website. They help search engines understand which pages are most relevant. They can help a site visitor move around within your website easily.

External links validate the credibility of a website.

A backlink, also known as an "inbound link" or "incoming link," is a link from one website to another. Placing your backlink, or website URL, on another high-quality, relevant site will improve the authority of your page. Guest bloggers often give their backlinks so readers can visit their sites. You also can include backlinks to other, relevant blogs and gain some authority by association.

Actions to Take:

  • Confirm each web page has two or three internal links.

  • Include links within your blog post to two or three other relevant blogs.

  • Review external links to confirm they work and are from reputable sources.
  • Pursue backlinks with industry colleagues, social media sites, and associations. 

Optimizing the User Experience

Google has prioritized page-loading speed, responsive mobile design, web accessibility, and image quality as crucial to a browsing experience. Displaying high-quality, relevant, optimized images and videos can improve page ranking and site traffic.

Here’s what to do to improve the experience of visitors as they navigate your site:

  • Assess your site’s speed and performance with a tool such as Page Speed Insights.

  • Load your own website on desktop and mobile devices to check rendering speed.

If the site is loading too slowly, you can try this:

  • Reduce the size of images on your site. Each should be no larger than 250kb. There are tools such as that can help reduce the image size.
  • Link videos to YouTube or other third-party sites so pages will load faster.
  • Tag images with descriptive file names and alt text to make them more accessible to disabled individuals as a result. These descriptions explain what is pictured in the image for users who can't see it due to visual impairments or if the image fails to load. If you are unsure how to do this, your web developer can help.

By implementing the best practices described in this article, you can improve your website's visibility and ranking, attract potential clients, and grow your business.

    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 offers job search coaching and interview preparation services. Connect with her at

    The Riches Are in the Niches: A Marketing Strategy to Consider
    By Bernice Maldonado, NCOPE, NRWA Marketing Chair

    A niche is a little slice of a bigger market that you can potentially own.

    Identifying or being clear on your niche can be an incredibly powerful step in building or growing your business.

    Even if you have clientele today, it is still helpful to get clear about whom you want to serve, so that you can more effectively connect with your prospects and clients in your marketing.

    Why Develop a Niche?

    • Be known as the expert in your industry: When you devote your time and energy to a specialized area, you build credibility through opportunities to highlight your thought leadership in a special arena.

    • Build a loyal customer base: When you focus, you can provide more robust client support and create deeper connections that will add to the “know, like, and trust” factor.

    • Stand out from the competition: You will surface as the best choice because you’re able to talk directly to your niche market rather than generalizing your message.

    • Increase profit: People want to work with businesses that meet their unique needs. The ability to consistently deliver on a specific unmet need can lead to repeat sales, improved retention, and more referrals.

    Here is a five-step process to help you refine your niche:

    1. Identify what you’re passionate about: Your dedication and enthusiasm will show in your messaging and in the quality of service you provide. It will also help you better connect with your customers because you'll understand their problems, what they're going through, and how your business can help them. Start by thinking about your own problems and what you've done to solve them, or your skills and how those skills can help other people struggling with similar issues. 

    2. Identify your ideal client: Once you’ve identified what you’re passionate about, it is important to identify who needs what you’re offering. Who will benefit the most? With whom do you enjoy working? This step will help identify a specific audience that your business will appeal to so you can develop better marketing strategies.

    3. Identify your customers’ needs: This step will help figure out what your potential customers need and how your business can help them. When you identify problems that your customers may face, you can adjust your products or services to better serve them. One way to better understand customers’ needs is by doing market research. Join groups or forums where your customers hang out to help you see what questions they are asking. There are also many tools that can help you, such as Google Keyword Planner and Uber Suggest.

    4. Figure out your unique selling point: Try to find gaps in the marketplace or unmet needs that will make you different from your competitors. Examples can include providing free resources on your website or having special pricing options for individuals in transition. The goal is to think about something that other businesses in your industry don't have and incorporate that into your business to make you stand out.

    Smaller Can Be Better

    The size of your niche affects your positioning, and often, the smaller and more well-defined your niche is, the more positioning power and authority you can create. This can seem counterintuitive because it’s easy to think that you need a big audience with a lot of different people to bring in a lot of business. However, when you create a smaller, more defined niche, your marketing messages and copy can be more specific.

    As we’re coming up to the end of the year, this is a great time to take a look at whom you are serving and why. If you have never done this, now is a great time. You may discover new opportunities for growth. At the very least, you will understand your audience much better. In our competitive environment, this is always a good thing.

    Bernice Maldonado is an organizational change consultant and leads research on socioeconomic class impacts in the workplace. Through her consulting practice, Catalyst Era, she advises organizations on how to implement inclusive change and talent management practices. She volunteers helping first-gen professionals and students with resume advice. Connect with her at:

    NRWA DEI Awareness & Response: Honoring Native Americans By Eustacia A. English, NCOPE

    Did you know that our continent was once a place where more than 500 languages were spoken?

    You probably didn’t know that one of the oldest surviving democracies is also located here. In fact, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s constitution is believed to be a model for the U.S. Constitution.

    During Native American Heritage Month, federally designated as November, you can learn about the original communities who lived in what is now the United States, including those in Alaska and Hawaii. It is a time to recognize and honor people who have faced many challenges, including assimilation, discrimination, and genocide.

    There are important reasons why we as career professionals should take time to learn more about these communities and promote awareness of their contributions to American culture. Many from tribal communities face significant employment barriers including geographic isolation, lack of education, cultural differences, and biases. When we recognize this, we can:

    Be More Culturally Sensitive: Recognizing this month promotes an inclusive work environment and highlights people whose contributions to American culture were long overlooked.

    Provide Better Service: When we understand our clients’ backgrounds, this aids our success in interacting with and recognizing the unique qualifications they bring to their job searches.

    Debunk Stereotypes: When we know more about our neighbors, we can call out harmful and incorrect beliefs about them.

    There are many ways to learn about and support our country’s native communities:

    Learn, Educate, and Share: There are numerous publications, including books, documentaries, and websites, that are readily available. Here is a gateway to numerous sources:

    Encourage Indigenous Businesses: Invest in genuine Native American crafts, apparel, and other items. By doing this, you honor their special skills and contribute to their means of subsistence.

    Attend Virtual Activities: Seek out seminars, workshops, and online events pertaining to Native American history, culture, and contemporary challenges.

    Visit Museums and Cultural Centers: If you get the chance, take advantage of the opportunity to go to local Native American museums and cultural centers.

    Establish Connections with Indigenous Communities: Get in touch with your local indigenous communities and find out how you can help. This could be lending a hand with community initiatives, volunteering, or attending cultural events.

    Share on Social Media: Use your social media platforms to share knowledge about Native American ancestry by posting information and stories. To increase awareness and spread the word, use the official hashtag #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth to engage with others.

    Promote Indigenous Causes: Assist indigenous communities by volunteering or making donations to groups that deal with issues such as healthcare, education, and environmental preservation.

    Discover Native Food: Savor Native American food by checking out regional specialties or eating at establishments run by Native Americans. Foods, such as pole beans, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, and cassava, are examples of foods rich in Native American history.

    Indigenous Voices Matter: Read books written by indigenous authors, artists, and activists. You can also follow their blogs and social media pages. This contributes to elevating their voices and viewpoints.

    Celebrating and honoring Native American ancestry is something you can do year-round. Recognizing that we work with a great variety of people is always a start to improving the future for all of us.

    As the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma has said, “When you learn something from people, or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitment to preserve it and build on it.”

    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. She specializes in helping new graduates, nurses, and other HR professionals brand their careers. Connect with her at

    New & Renewing Members 

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

    By the numbers for the month of October:

    • 6 new members
    • 36 renewing members 
    • 12 renewing members that have been members for 10 years or more

      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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