On May 22, 2010, I celebrated the 23rd anniversary of initiating my resume writing business, The Write Resume.
It seems like just yesterday I began my quest to provide effective career documents for job seekers.
I have had the opportunity to serve thousands of wonderful clients over the years from more than 19 countries.
I am so grateful for the trust these individuals have placed in me to help further their careers.
The Best Job in the World!
I have the best job in the world! What I love most about my job is I get to learn about many different careers and work with fascinating clients. Basically, I get to "live their job" without ever having worked in their position.
But, working as a resume writer hasn't always been easy. I have had to overcome stereotypes, including people who view resume writers as "secretaries" or "typists."
This perception couldn't be further from the truth.
Professional resume writers are strategists. We have to determine what is unique about every client and translate that information into a "marketing document" which will capture the attention of the end-reader and result in interviews.
This is accomplished by asking poignant questions, having a great grasp of the "business world," staying abreast of "hiring practices," knowing how to conduct research when clients' can't articulate their career history, and participating in constant continuing education.
I take the responsibility to my clients very seriously because of impact I can have on their lives.
I have dedicated most of my adult life to perfecting my craft so I can help people attain their dream jobs! While there have been challenges, this journey has been more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined!
Stories of My Fantastic and Interesting Clients!
Even though my business now centers primarily around Management to C-level Executive clients, I have had the privilege of crafting some very interesting resumes.
I have learned over the years that no matter what positions people have held, there is always something that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Further, no matter how insignificant a position may first appear, every job has important components that contribute to the overall success of a company or organization.
All of my clients are special and have become part of my extended family (I have been invited to weddings and graduations of people I have never met). I have written resumes for entire families - sometimes three generations of individuals in one family.
However, there are some client projects that stand out as some of the most interesting assignments I have completed over the years.
Below are just a few of the client stories that come to mind.The CIA Agents
Ever heard the phrase, "I can tell you, but I'd have to kill you?" Well, I thought of that phrase when I decided to take on a new project.
In the early 1990's, a husband and wife came to me after they completed their 20-year careers with the CIA. They were Signal Intelligence Officers - they intercepted and interpreted coded messages from our "enemies" during The Cold War. When The Cold War ended, they moved on to the US's new adversaries.
When they came into my office, they brought with them information on their "duties."
On the sheets were blocks of text that were blacked out. When people leave agencies like the CIA, any information they want to include in a resume is reviewed before they leave their position.
Then, once the resume is written, it must be sent back to the CIA and is heavily scrutinized before it is given final approval for submission to employers.
During the consultation, I remember asking them what languages they spoke.
"We can't tell you because that would identify where we were stationed in the world and could put us in danger."
I can't even imagine having to consider whether putting a specific language on my resume might put me in harm's way.
Their consultation took me four hours to complete! Then, my work was reviewed by the CIA and I had to complete 3 revisions before it was approved. Talk about being careful with every word that is written!
What I loved most about these clients was their wonderful sense of humor and endless patience. They knew the task was going to be challenging, the process long, and my work would be put to the test by people I had never met. However, they trusted me, constantly encouraged me and I passed the "CIA Test."
The Tobacco Agronomist
About five years ago, I had a client come to me who was a Tobacco Agronomist. A what?!? I had never heard of this position.
A Tobacco Agronomist is involved in the breeding of different tobacco varieties, in addition to eradicating diseases / insects that effect crop yield, and introducing plans to sustain the industry. It is a heavily regulated industry and quality control is of paramount importance.
Aside from the "scientific" aspects of this person's job, he had a fascinating career. He had been involved in transitioning the tobacco production facilities in the former Soviet Block Countries from being "government-owned" to a "privatized" industry.
This was a huge challenge for him, as the people in these countries were now expected to be entrepreneurs, but had never been taught to "think-outside-the-box."
In addition, he was part of an effort to eliminate a "potato virus" that was threatening tobacco crops in Eastern Europe. Had he not been a part of this important project, the economies of several countries would have been deeply affected by the loss of the two most important cash crops.
In this resume, it was very difficult to include "quantifiable achievements," such as, "improved crop yield 34% in a one-year period," because it takes YEARS to develop a new variety or make substantive changes to an existing variety.
After we were finished, I had identified more than 30 "quantifiable achievements" throughout his career.
In addition, I had learned things about tobacco I never knew.
For instance, the nicotine in tobacco actually grows in the root of the plant. Prior to this project, I thought that the tobacco was just "cut up" and nicotine was "poured over it." Also, each tobacco plant produces more than 1 million seeds. To me, that fact was amazing!The Mine Surveyor
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to write a resume for a "Mine Surveyor." This gentleman worked in the Copper Mines here in Arizona.
I thought the resume would be pretty simple to write. What could be so hard about writing a resume for someone who looked at rocks all day utilizing "measuring instruments?"
Boy, was I wrong. This job is critical to the WHOLE mining operation. Not only does this job require forecasting production, calculating measurements, and removing waste, but the safety aspects are huge!
For instance, I never knew that "rock moves." So, as the miners are "digging" into the "face" of a cliff, the area has to be surveyed constantly to ensure the upper part of mountain does not collapse onto the workers below.
Bottom line: Collapsing cliffs = dead workers.
Prior to this project, I never realized the magnitude and responsibility of this job or any other job in the mining industry. From that moment on, I developed enormous respect for our miners.The American Express "Plastic Card Inserter"
Very early on in my business, I worked with a young woman who was a "Plastic Card Inserter" for American Express. Her job was to take the newly minted American Express cards and physically place them in the two little "slots" in the letter that is sent to new card holders.
The challenge here was to figure out what was unique and important about her position.
One of the "responsibilities" I uncovered was she had to ensure no American Express cards "left" the facility in the hands of another employee. If just one card got into the hands of an unscrupulous member of the team, the company could have lost huge sums of money since there is no "credit limit."
When I wrote her resume, I placed a great deal of importance on this fact. She was able to obtain a job in the security field.
A Woman's Journey - From the Israeli Army to Lawyer to Human Resources Manager
I had the opportunity recently to work with a woman who was the wife of one of my Chief Technology Officer clients.
She had spent the last nine years raising her children, had just completed a Human Resources Management degree, and was now ready to re-enter the workforce in that capacity.
Sometimes "career re-entry" resumes can be very challenging projects for resume writers - especially in this economy. But, her experience prior to having children positioned her to be successful in her job search.
In addition, I had the chance to learn about the culture and every day concerns of citizens in a country that was half a world away.
Although she was now living in the US, she had lived most of her life in Israel.
In Israel, the security of the country is very important, and every citizen must serve two years in the Israeli Defense Forces in some capacity. My client had served her time and then earned a law degree.
As a lawyer in Israel, she had worked on employment, adoption, and women's rights issues. She had also written a children's book! This woman truly amazed me, as she had accomplished so much in her 10-year career.Three-Way Phone Consult with a Japanese Client - Completed in One Hour with an Interpreter!
One of my clients, a Pharmacist, had a brother-in-law living in Japan who wanted to immigrate to the United States.
She and her husband wanted me to construct a resume to position him for a management-level job in the automotive industry. He was currently holding an important position with a major auto maker in Japan, so it wouldn't be a difficult transition for him.
So, what was the challenge? He only spoke Japanese!
I decided to take on the project and then wondered if I had lost my mind.
Well, the entire consult would have to be completed with my client's husband acting as a translator, I wondered if the questions I asked would solicit the correct answers, and I thought it would take about three hours just to get through the initial discussion.
But, since I am always up for a challenge, I put my doubts aside and set an appointment for the consult.
We arranged a three-way call from the US to Japan. I asked the questions in English, my client's husband translated them into Japanese, the brother-in-law would answer in Japanese, and then the information would come back to me in English.
To my amazement, we completed the entire consultation in one hour - despite every question / answer being translated back and forth between English and Japanese!
To put some perspective to this, most of the consultations I conduct with US-based, English-speaking clients take 1.5 to 2 hours.
After I completed the resume, I received the most wonderful note (translated into English by my original client's husband) from this customer. He was so grateful for my ability to ask the right questions and compose an accurate, value-focused resume. He landed a job within a few months here in the US.
What I thought would be a very challenging consult and resume-writing project was actually one of the most pleasant experiences I have had during my entrepreneurial career. I am so glad I put my doubts aside and took on this rewarding project.
Thanks For 23 Years of Memories!
In closing, I want to thank all of my clients for allowing me to live my dream for the last 23 years.
I have learned so much about numerous industries and positions. I have been blessed to help and form life-long bonds with fantastic clients.
I can't wait to work with more wonderful, talented clients and continue to make great friendships along the way!