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Launch Your Own Resume Writing Business

Oct 19, 2007
Some people want to start their own business, but are not in a financial position to take a risk. In this case, it is wise to keep your job and start slowly by working only in the evenings and on weekend.

As a home-based entrepreneur, you must feel comfortable bringing clients into your home. If you have small children and your home does not have a separate entrance, make sure someone is able to watch your children to avoid interruption.

Make sure your family is supportive and is willing to keep the house clean and quiet when you know you are expecting a client.

START UP COSTS / EARNINGS

To succeed as a resume writer does require a lot of determination and hard work, but it does not have to cost an unreasonable amount of money to get started.

Start up costs will vary depending on your investment. To begin, you will want to purchase a good computer or laptop with high speed Internet access and a good word processor such as MS Word or WordPerfect.

Ideally, you should have a wireless laptop so you can sit somewhere comfortably when you work or for when you want to take your computer on the road for whatever reason. You will also need a laser printer, a desktop or internal fax service, and a second telephone line if you live with people who use the phone a lot.

Supplies include toner and resume paper if you are providing resume prints to clients. Internet based clients are satisfied with the electronic version of their resume. Mailing clients hard prints of their resumes should be an added cost to the client since you must charge tax on a tangible item.

Good resume paper averages three to ten cents per sheet and postage costs depend on how many prints you are sending. It can be a lot if the resume is two pages and you are also creating a cover letter and references sheet.

The national salary average for a home based resume writer ranges from $25,000 to $100,000. This depends on how much marketing is done, how many clients are serviced, how much is charged. Other considerations include whether or not a resume writer is working alone, is in a business partnership, or employing subcontractors.

MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS

There are two sure fire ways to generate new business. If you are looking to start small, local advertising in the Yellow Pages is the best way to get started. At first you can begin with an in column print ad.

Simply having a commercial telephone number gives you a free line listing in the Yellow Pages under your business category, but will not generate as much business as an ad would. You can eventually graduate to display ads with color or large black print ads. Often, the charge goes directly on your monthly phone bill.

The other way is to launch a website. Unless you can do your own website, you will need to hire a web designer. Costs range from $200 and up for a basic website and will increase significantly depending on how much traffic you generate and the size of your website.

These variable affect your hosting costs. You will need to tell your web designer what you want the website to say and how you want it to look and work for you. So be sure to do your homework by looking at other websites to get a feel for content and design.

After you have a website developed, potential clients must be able to find you on the Internet. That involves Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. This effort determines where you will be found in Google, Yahoo, and MSN ranging from page 1, not all, or anywhere in between.

You can do Internet research on SEO strategies and teach yourself the necessary skills. Doing your own SEO is recommended for the small business owner or you can hire someone to do it for you. SEO costs can be as much as $3,000 to get started and as much as $1,000 a month to maintain and increase your page ranking.

Getting excellent page ranking can take up to a year. Once you get there, the job never ends. You must always maintain the website to ensure you continue to rank favorably. There is SEO software on the market that you can purchase to help you manage the process.

DEVELOPING YOUR SKILLS

Client relationships and the art of resume writing and cover letter writing are probably the hardest part of all. There are so many occupations out there that you must have a general understanding of most of them to engage in a good conversation with a jobseeker.

A potential client must be made to feel confident that you know what you are talking about and will be able to do their resume and cover letter. Writing a resume is not just about formatting and throwing fancy words around. It is important that you know what you are doing in order to develop a good resume.

Today's jobseeker is very savvy and is capable of writing a fairly decent resume using a vast array of free information available to them in resume sample books and on the Internet. They hire professional resume writers because they need someone to provide consultative advice and to write a resume and cover letter in way that they cannot.

You can visit many free Internet sites such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook or rent resume sample books from the library to study various job types, client situations, and wording. The best way to learn is working directly with clients. They will tell you what you need to know simply by answering your questions and telling you what they do, which should include their accomplishments.

A slow, but effective and affordable way to get started is to volunteer your free resume writing services. Who wouldn't take advantage of that, considering today's professional resume writer charges anywhere from $89 for a very basic resume to $1,500 for a comprehensive executive resume.

You can advertise your free services at your local community college, library, and homeless shelter, as well as help friends, family, and neighbors. Do not expect to generate new business this way. It could happen, but it is unlikely.

Once you have gained a working knowledge of various occupational areas and have mastered the art of interviewing clients, you will need to have very good word processing and document formatting skills so you can create an attractive looking resume. You will also need to have a knowledge of the resume writing process so you can lay the resume out on paper in the proper manner.

For example, you should know that the Education section for a new college graduate is the first section before work experience unless their work experience is extensive. In short, you need to know what will sell your client to a hiring company. This is why the resume is called a marketing tool.

When you are done creating the resume, the client will let you know if they are happy with the results and will work with you on revisions.

When it is finalized, it is recommended to only send an email version of the resume to clients because they need to learn how to modify their resumes if they want to ensure a successful job search campaign. This is the more affordable and efficient solution for both you and your clients because the hard prints quickly become obsolete.

You should never a hardcopy of the cover letter to your client because the cover letter must be personally addressed to the hiring manager. This should only be provided in electronic form such as email or CD.

Another very important form of the resume the client will need is a plain text version. You will need to learn how to convert and format the resume to plain text so the client can upload their resume to major job boards such as monster, hotjobs, and careerbuilder.

DEFINING YOUR BUSINESS

A resume writer falls into two categories -- a resume generalist or niche writer. A resume generalist writes for all occupational disciplines and a niche writer resume writer specializes in one occupation such as teachers, or a career level such college students.

When a resume writer specializes in one occupation, that area of specialization is considered a niche market. If you decide to target a niche market, you will be expected to have an expertise in this area.

So be sure to master everything you need to know in that occupational area. You might not get as much business as a generalist would in the beginning, but as the years progress you will grow your niche business if you work hard and smart.

WORK CONDITIONS

Some people are not comfortable with bringing clients into their homes. Reasons range from personal safety, personal privacy and local zoning issues. Whatever the reason, there are alternatives to get around this issue.

Many local libraries have lounge areas that serve as ideal meeting places. It is a quiet environment that allows for few interruptions, if any, and privacy.

As a resume writer, you can bring a laptop to the meeting to take notes and even conduct Internet research if you have access to a wireless network, assuming your laptop is wireless.

After the initial meeting and work session, communication can continue by way of telephone and email with a sense of confidence and trust in the client-writer relationship. Other places to meet include coffee shops, bookstores, and college campuses.

PROTECTION OF YOUR TIME & EXPERTISE

Often a resume writer provides more information in the way of career counseling beyond the immediate task of resume writing. This is a natural process that almost cannot be avoided.

It is important that a resume writer has a clear understanding of what the client is seeking to do with their career. As a result, the resume writer often coaches and makes suggestions that result in a client's career direction and facilitates the development of the resume.

Most people are honest in their intentions. However, once in a while a resume writer may run into a person whose intentions are not well meaning and are seeking to obtain information without having to pay for it. It is in the resume writer's best interest to obtain payment in the first fifteen minutes of meeting with a client. This sets the tone of a business meeting and makes the client's intentions honest and clear.

Without taking this initial step, they are setting themselves up to hear, "Okay, well thank you very much. I appreciate your time. I will speak with my wife tonight to see what she has to say." Of course, every customer has the prerogative to decline using a resume write's services. But a resume writer does not want to realize this after spending two hours coaching a client and learning about their background.

A reasonable commitment on the part of the potential customer to hire a resume writer should be confirmed by telephone after providing a consultation before meeting in person.

ESTABLISHING CREDIBILITY

Jobseekers need to know they can trust a resume writer before making payment. As a resume writer, one way to gain credibility is to establish yourself with resume writing organizations. These organizations include the National Resume Writers' Association, the Professional Association of Resume Writers, Career Masters Institute, and the Professional Resume Writers and Research Association.

Annual memberships range from $150 to $175. You will have the opportunity to network with other resume writers on an e-list, have access to monthly newsletters, attend annual conventions. Convention fees are generally a few hundred dollars to attend.

Other options include taking a tough test to get certified as a professional resume writer. Each organization has its own guidelines. Modest test taking fees average a couple of hundred dollars and the average first time pass rate is 50 percent with the opportunity to re-test without having to pay additional fees. After that, the wait time is generally six months to a year to test again for a fee.

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and accountant to set up your business structure, business registration, and taxes.
About the Author
Ann Baehr is a CPRW and President of Best Resumes of New York. For more information, visit Best Resumes of New York or Resume Samples
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