The First of My Top 3
Spare Time Biz Opps for 2010

Opportunity #1? Resume writing!

And, today AWAI's resident resume writing expert, Julien Sharp, is going to tell us

  • why this is such a great opportunity in our current economic climate (and beyond!)


  • how to get your resume business going right now.

STBS: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 10% unemployment right now in the United States, with many experts suggesting the real number is much higher. We're in the middle of a recession that's been called "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." Why is now a good time to become a resume writer?

Julien: It's a great time to be a resume writer because there has never been a greater need for folks facing layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, business closings, and similar situations to have a resume that sets them apart from the hundreds of thousands of other job seekers.

A professionally-written resume from a person skilled in this area is vital to standing out in today's market.

STBS: If someone gets started with resume writing now while the economy is in the shape it's in, will they be able to sustain the business even as the economy recovers? Or is this an “only-works-in-bad-times” type of opportunity?

Julien: Once a resume writer builds a solid book of business, the referrals start coming in. Even in a good economy, people are moving around job-wise.

As a resume writer myself for over 15 years, I get referrals from people who I've written for. For example, one person ended up sending me to her sister and that sister referred me to her two grown-up children, who referred me to their friends and spouses, making about 12 resumes over five years from that single first resume written.

These opportunities keep coming, in both good times and bad.

STBS: Can you describe a basic approach that is working right now to find clients for your resume-writing business?

Julien: Start with family and close friends. Offer to revamp their resumes for free or nominal cost. Then, in exchange for that favor, ask for testimonials, referrals in return, or ask to use their resumes (excluding their personal information) on your website. Visual "before and after" examples can be very powerful.

Make sure to post a profile on LinkedIn and get those same family and friends to post testimonials and recommendations on there. Have a website and make sure it is linked with LinkedIn. Visit temp and search firms and offer resume-writing services at a special price for their candidates. Speak at Rotary and Chamber of Commerce events about resumes.

Make it your goal to be consistently telling people about your resume-writing services and the clients will come.

STBS: With people trying to save everywhere they can, a good resume writer is going to face objections to paying for their services including: free how-to resume info online, software templates, and the friend, spouse, or favorite niece who can “write my resume for me.” What is the advantage to hiring a professional resume writer over these options?

Julien: I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. Of course, some people will choose that very inexpensive route, but at the end of the day, there are still plenty of clients who will see the value of hiring a professional. I focus on people in the higher-end job market, as they tend to better understand the value of this service.

STBS: If I have minimal or no experience writing resumes, how can I justify charging the fees you mention in your program, especially if I'm writing a resume for someone who's unemployed?

Julien: Those fees are what people writing resumes should aspire to. In any industry, the less experience you have, the less you can charge, but there is no way to get experience unless you start writing resumes. Hence my previous advice.

Once you get some experience and start to be seen as a "go-to" expert — with people who can testify that your resume got them in the door ahead of the hundreds of others who also sent in resumes — it becomes easy to justify the fees because you're getting these people in the door for new jobs and a whole new income.

STBS: How can I be effective doing this part-time, when I'm also committed to my full-time career?

Julien: It is a great service to offer on a part-time basis!

The principle is the same — start with family and friends, and then build the book of business to a level that you can handle while still working a full-time job.

Be mindful, however, that many clients, when they make the decision to "outsource" the service, want their resumes "yesterday." They wait sometimes till the last minute and realize they need help, and it's often when their "dream job" is already accepting applications and resumes, and they need it ASAP. Or, they knew they had a certain amount of time on their severance package, and thought they could do the resume themselves, but as the deadline looms for the end of any benefits (like severance pay, unemployment, etc.) they realize their self-written resume is not doing the trick.

So, be ready to burn the midnight oil for some clients — it will pay off in their loyalty and gratitude.

STBS: What are the best steps to get started with resume writing today?

Julien: Well, of course I must say that AWAI’s Pro Resume Writer is a great start. I’ve put everything I know about how to be a successful resume writer in it.

It’s important to learn how to write resumes in the most current industry standards, and we update the program very regularly. In fact, we just did an update in 2009 specifically to address the new economic and job climate, and how resumes writers can best set their clients apart whether in print or in digital formatted resumes.

STBS: Finally, what's the single most important thing I should do for maximum success starting or growing my resume-writing business in 2010?

Julien: Starting and growing are two different things, really.

To start, I think you need to learn the MOST RECENT trends in resume formatting, and become an expert in writing that way, using family members and friends. You can't be a resume writer unless you can write resumes that get results. So, if you are just starting and haven't done that, then that is top priority.

If you already know how to do this, and want to start or expand your business, then I would make sure you get your name "out" there in a way that works with your budget. Join a networking group or two, offer to speak at Chamber or Rotary, Kiwanis, and other community meetings. Also, make sure you have a website and that it is integrated with the most effective social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and others, because in today's market that's critical.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
Average: 3.8
Published: January 19, 2010

1 Response to “The First of My Top 3 Spare Time Biz Opps for 2010”

  1. hi; i am trying to locate your "90 day resume action plan"a friend told me about,could you help me locate this?

    Guest (bob)

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)