Here’s a business you can start for virtually nothing, parlay into a million-dollar enterprise in five years or less. Many established resume writing services in the large metropolitan areas are reporting annual incomes of $250,000 or more. Even the smaller operations, in towns as small as 15,000 are experiencing sales of $50,000 or more.
No special knowledge, education or experience is required for total success in this business. An awareness of the general format of the “modern resume,” and the ability to keep oneself up to date on refinements or new approaches to presenting resume material are about the only prerequisites to successfully operate a resume writing service.
Probably the most exciting and motivational aspects of this business idea are the low investment and risk factors involved and the growing demand for resume service. Up until the past couple of years, few if any Americans had to look for jobs. People, in general, have either forgotten how to look for a new job or never knew how in the first place.
Since the start of World War II, back in 1941, the American worker has been spoiled by an affluent society and an ideal market for the job seeker. Usually, all he had to do whenever he lost a job or wanted to change jobs was to report into the local branch of his local employment service office, check-in at his union office, look at the want ads in the Sunday paper, or call a few friends and ask about job openings.
But no more! Times have changed! There are fewer jobs and an increasing number of people applying for those jobs that are available. Just recently, the post office department in a large west coast city advertised that applications would be accepted on two days only, for 600 upcoming openings. Would you believe that twenty thousand applicants showed up to fill out applications? Can you imagine the post office personnel people reviewing all those applications, and then interviewing all those people, according to the fair employment practices act?
On another day, word got out that there was going to be an opening for a forklift driver at a local warehouse. Fifteen hundred men and women showed up even before the job was advertised!
Times are tough, and we’re moving ever deeper into the age of specialization. Employers are demanding to know more about the applicant – his work record, natural talents and personality traits. They want more information upon which to base their interview selections than just the cold facts on the application form. Personnel managers are placing a higher premium on their time, and delegating to others the job of “weeding out” the unqualified applicants from those whose backgrounds and goals come closest to fitting the needs of the company.
To get in to see the person doing the hiring nowadays, the job applicant has to “sell the short-stopper,” and that calls for a professionally written resume. More and more firms are demanding resumes. Industry estimates are that by the year 2000, most of the jobs worth having will require a written resume before even an initial interview is granted. And that’s where you can fit into the picture with your Professional Resume Writing Service. Probably 80 per cent of the people searching for jobs don’t have a resume. Of the 20 per cent who do have resumes, many are ineffective; they simply do not adequately present the applicant’s total qualifications.
Everyone – with or without a resume – is looking for this key: A professionally written resume, a sales presentation of their qualifications and experience that will get the job for them – the job they want. The job hunters are wound up in their specialities and problems. They don’t know-how, and they don’t have the time – AND they’re willing to pay you to put it all together for them. Just as you’re willing to pay a doctor, dentist or investment broker, those who need a resume are willing to pay you for this service. The market exists in every city and town in this country, and the demand for this service is growing daily. Your opportunity for success beyond your fondest dreams has never been greater! The brass ring is here! Grab it, and hold on!
You’ll need a modern, professional quality typewriter. You can begin, and perhaps get by for a month or so, with a top-quality portable, but do yourself and your business a favour: Arrange to rent, lease or buy on monthly payments if necessary, the best machine for the quality of work that will command top dollars for you.
Setting up and operating from your own home will be the most economical way to begin. In addition to your typewriter, you should have a typewriter stand, a typist’s chair, an adjustable long-arm lamp, and a file cabinet. However, just as you can make do with a portable typewriter for a month or so, you can get by for starters with a kitchen chair at your dining room table.
To prepare yourself properly, invest in a good book on how to write “job-winning” resumes. Select a book that discusses both the cover letter and the format of the body of the resume.
The most important part of any resume package is the cover letter the applicant sends as part of the resume. This letter states the specific job the applicant is applying for, explains why he believes he is qualified, and pointedly asks for an interview. In most cases, you’ll be able to provide an “all-purpose form letter” which your client can adapt to any position that interests him. More later about the actual writing of the resume and the cover letter.
The format and style of the body of the resume are the items you want to learn from your book. Resumes of today generally follow this outline:
3. City, state, zip.
4. Phone Number
5. Type of job or position wanted
6. Goals and/or desires in life
7. Job history, starting with current or last job held
8. Special courses, education or training completed
9. Military History
10. Formal Education
11. Activities while attending school: athletics,
12. Hobbies and special interests
13. Notation that names of business and personal
references will be furnished on request.
Once you’re organized with space and equipment, you’re ready for business. All that’s necessary from this point on will be advertising, client interview, and producing the final product.
Your advertising needs, in comparison with many other businesses, need not cost you an exorbitant amount of money. It should, however, be consistent and eye-catching.
You should contact your area’s most widely-read newspaper and arrange to run a one-column by a one-inch ad every day for the next six to twelve months. By purchasing your ad space on a daily insertion basis, and over at least six months, your rate will be much lower than the rate charged for shorter contracts.
Your newspaper ad might read something like this:
A Complete, Professional Service
MIDWEST RESUME SERVICE
Resumes – Letters – Portfolios
…that result in jobs!
Aside from an ad in the newspaper, and perhaps a similar one in your area shoppers’ papers, the only other advertising efforts you should worry about are those that don’t cost money – free bulletin board announcements, radio and television talk show interviews, and low-cost flyers, circulars or brochures that describe your services.
One method of gaining business exposure that is most often overlooked is the radio and television talk show interview. Call the broadcast stations in your area and get the names of the producers of these talk shows. Then write them a letter explaining your services, and how you believe an appearance on their program could be educational and beneficial to their audiences. Include a brochure with your letter. A couple of days after you’re sure they’ve received your letter, give them a call on the phone and ask them to consider an interview with you.
Another area to explore for free publicity is as a guest speaker for your civic clubs. For these, simply write out a speech emphasizing the need for a resume, and the proper way to write one that will result in a job for the job-seeker. Explain the growing trend of employers to use the resume as a screening device and the fact that a well-written resume can get a better job for someone when there are seemingly no openings.
Don’t be afraid to explain what goes into a professionally written resume. Many of the people listening to you – if you sell them on the idea of a resume – will come to you to have it written because they don’t have the time or know-how and because you’ll have the reputation of an “expert” after having spoken before their club. People are lazy in this respect, and would rather pay someone else to do something than to take the time to learn how and do it themselves. Once you spread the word that you’re in the business of preparing resumes for people looking for work or wanting better jobs, you’ll have no trouble at all keeping busy!
Your brochure can be as simple as a Z-folded 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. It should describe your services, emphasize your professionalism, fast service and reasonable cost. It would be best to have your story typeset and laid out in three columns down the width of the paper.
Most quick print shops can handle all this for you, at a nominal cost. Once you’ve had your brochures printed, leave off a supply with your area high school and college counsellors, vocational and trade school placement directors, and with as many private employment agencies as will take them.
When prospective clients call you, simply explain your services and prices, and set up an appointment for them to meet with you. For this it’s best to prepare a script, which might read like this:
YOU, answering the phone: Good morning! Midwest Resume Service. May I help you?
CLIENT: Yes, I’m calling about your ad in the paper.
YOU: Oh yes, and thank you for calling. Let me explain our services. We’re professional resume writers – we interview job – seekers such as yourself – learn the important features of their backgrounds as those features apply in helping us to write a resume that will land them the job they’re looking for. Then we assemble all this information into a winning presentation, type it out, give you the original plus 50 copies and a cover letter (which you can modify as necessary on your home typewriter and have copied each time you submit a resume). Your cost is only $50, and usually, we can have everything ready for you within three or four days. Now, does that sound like what you had in mind?
CLIENT: Yes! That’s just what I had in mind. When can we get together and start the ball rolling?
YOU: How about this afternoon at 3:15, or would tomorrow morning at say 9:45 be better for you? We’re located at 600 North Main Street. Are you familiar with the area?
CLIENT: Yes, I know the area, no problem. This afternoon at 3:15 will be fine.
YOU: Good! Now, let me have your name and phone number, please.
CLIENT: Gives you his name and phone number.
YOU: All right, Bob, we’ll look forward to seeing you this afternoon at 3:15.
You now have a client, and an appointment to interview him for background information to put together a resume that can result in a job for him. Be sure you’re prepared with a “researcher’s questionnaire,” to guide you in the questions to ask.
Type your resume format on a separate sheet of paper, numbering each question you want an answer to or subject you want to cover. This of course serves as a “master” which you duplicate and use as the researcher’s questionnaire guide.
For each interview, take one of these “interview guides” and an ordinary yellow legal tablet, and start asking questions. Identify each page of notes with many subject matter from the resume format, and use a separate page of the tablet for each subject and each job the client may have had.
The interview should be relaxed, with the client doing most of the talking. However, you should control the interview and take notes as the client gives you the information you need. Be confident, but friendly. Maintain your confidence and ask leading questions that elicit complete, revealing responses. Take your time, and “listen” to what the client isn’t telling you as well as what he is telling you. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to find out all there is to know about your client in twenty minutes or less.
Look ahead to the day when you have employees working for you. Develop your interviewing techniques to a state of maximum efficiency for your business, and then record three or four interviews for use in training your employees. You should also reproduce several examples of completed resumes and put them into an instruction book for study by new employees.
After the interview, you need to interpret your notes and type the information into a resume. This should be easy because you have gathered the details in sequence with your resume format. Familiarity with the format writing style makes the task of putting everything into finished form quite simple.
At the very least, a quick course in resume writing will be necessary. Check out a book on the subject from your public library. The important thing to remember is to drop the “I’s” and write in a kind of note-taking reportorial style:
“Hired as an entry-level shipping clerk. Recognized the need for organization on the loading dock to eliminate congestion. Suggested designated spaces for incoming and outgoing shipments. This program was adopted and immediately eliminated congestion of trucks and decreased overtime requirements, with an estimated savings of $700 per week for the company. Promoted to Line Expeditor after six months.”
Don’t put a time limit on the amount of time you devote to each client, but once you’re organized and established, the interview through the finished resume shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.
After you have the resume typed, call the client in to check it over and approve it. In almost every case, he’ll be very favourably impressed and ready to go with anything you suggest. The secret is in the quality of your work – a modern typewriter with good type, clean paper and error-free copy.
So, you explain to your client that his resume will make a more favourable impression on the prospective employer when it is printed on better quality paper. Suggest to him that you have it printed for him on coloured “offset” paper instead of an ordinary bond. Ivory, tan or blue shades are desirable. For the expensive-looking resume, suggest that it be printed on 11 x 17 paper, and then folded in half to make a kind of “book” about the client.
The charges for your service should be about $50 for the interview, original resume, 50 copies on white bond paper, and a universal cover letter. For coloured offset paper, or 11 x 17 sized sheets, check current prices at your print shop. You should pass those costs on to your client, plus a nominal service charge of $5 or so. Also explain to your client that you can update or add to his resume whenever the need arises, and for this service, you charge $10, plus the cost of printing as many copies as he requires.
Now for the cover letter – probably the most important part of any resume submitted for job consideration. The first thing you ask your client regarding the cover letter is if he intends to submit his resumes in answer to advertised positions, or if he intends to “shot-gun” them out to possible employers. According to his stated plan, you simply use one of the two general forms for cover letters.
And that’s it – the basics you need for starting your own highly profitable resume service. A couple of things to always bear in mind: Your success will be directly related to the quality of the finished product you put out. Learn to do it right, and then strive for perfection with every job you complete for a client.
Remember too that the image you project is the credibility rating you’ll carry with your customers. Shabby surroundings, a disorganized office and a less than professional appearance will doom you to failure. Be impressive! Keep your eyes open, and move into an office among professional people as soon as you can.
Finally, put some real planning into starting your business; get it well established and running smoothly; then hire other people to do the work. The object of a business of your own is not steady employment for you, but financial security and independence – to achieve and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Plan your business, nurture its growth and then hire other people to do the work while you guide, supervise and make bank deposits.
IN RESPONSE TO AN ADVERTISED OPENING
Your recent ad, expressing a need for an experienced stock clerk, has come to my attention. I’d like very much to get together with you at your earliest convenience to discuss my qualifications for this position.
With hopes for such a meeting in mind, I’m enclosing a copy of my resume for your information and consideration.
I assure you that I am experienced, learn very quickly, and am adaptable to new methods of operation. I have heard favourable comments about your company as the place for one with ambitions for growth and self-improvement.
I’m available to come in and meet with you at your convenience and can begin work immediately.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. A call from you will be most welcome and appreciated.
/s/ Your signature
Your Typed Name
COVER LETTER FOR THE SHOTGUN APPROACH WHERE NO KNOWN OPENING EXISTS
As a salesman, I have ambitions to improve my status in life.
Your company’s reputation as a leader in the publishing of educational materials impresses me, and I would like to explore the possibilities of becoming a part of your sales force.
I’m currently a top-producing salesman but feel stymied with my present employment. I think I could do much better with a company receptive to innovative ideas and energetic people such as myself.
Could we get together and discuss the possibilities of my joining your organization in some capacity that would utilize my abilities to a greater extent, and at the same time benefit your company?
I will be free from 10 o’clock, next Tuesday, the 27th. Please give me a call at (123) 456-7890.
Thank you! I am looking forward to meeting you.
/s/ Your signature
Your typed name
PS: Enclosed is a resume that will give you an in-depth look at my accomplishments, and an idea of my potential. I appreciate your time and consideration.