The Importance of Resume-Writing Credentials

Posted on September 17, 2009. Filed under: cover letter, Job Search Tips, Resumes | Tags: , , , , , |

Hiring practices have changed enormously over the last decade as employers gravitate to online postings, resume databases, and automated screening software. Combine these changes with the recent surge in unemployment, and job seekers face a complex and challenging task to create their marketing materials and manage their job search for best results.

Now, Stephen Van Vreede of No Stone Unturned and is better prepared than ever to provide job seekers with the powerful tools they need in today’s highly competitive job market. Stephen has completed a rigorous training program to earn the Academy Certified Resume Writer designation – a new, high-level certification that signifies mastery of best-in-class resume strategies.

Earning the ACRW indicates that a resume writer has successfully completed all components of The Resume Writing Academy, an intensive and comprehensive training program that teaches the following skills and concepts through classroom study, training assignments, independent learning projects, and intense individualized feedback:

* Resume Strategy & Client Positioning
* Resume Writing Styles, Trends & Techniques
* Cover Letter and Thank-You Letter Writing Styles, Trends & Techniques
* Personal Branding for Resumes
* Resume Formats, Designs & Structures
* English Language & Grammar

“My clients are facing steep challenges in the employment market these days,” says Stephen, “and even after 8 years in the career field, I wanted to be sure that I was preparing them with the very best strategies and documents. My investment in the Resume Writing Academy and the ACRW means that my clients can enter the job search with confidence, knowing that they have the very best, most powerful, and most up-to-date resumes to accelerate their search.”

In addition to the ACRW, Stephen has an MBA in Marketing from Villanova University and a dual B.S. degree in Finance & Logistics from the University of Maryland. He is a certified professional résumé writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). Stephen paid his dues in the corporate world eventually running a large-scale call center for a major truck rental company, and he has spent the past 8 years with No Stone Unturned, assisting job seekers in achieving their goals.

In February 2009, Stephen launched a new group job hunting networking site: It is absolutely FREE to join, and job seekers have access to everything on the site. Come check it out at NoddlePlace. You can also follow Stephen on Twitter.

The Resume Writing Academy ( is the first comprehensive, strategically focused resume training program that teaches writers of all experience levels how to develop resumes that get noticed and get results. Founded and led by industry leaders and multi-published authors Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, the Resume Writing Academy is recognized for its rigor, high standards, and accomplished graduates. Stephen joins an elite group of only 30 ACRWs nationwide.

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Interviewing: Practice Really Does Make Perfect

Posted on July 29, 2009. Filed under: Interviews, Job Search Tips | Tags: , , , , , , |

A few weeks ago, I introduced Sara, a recent college graduate, whom I asked to share her job search experience. I have now asked her to follow up on that article. Here is where Sara is today:

Well, I did it, I went on my first, real job interview! It was for a position I knew I was qualified for with a non-profit organization whose cause I was more than familiar with. I actually had given up hope on hearing anything, because they didn’t call me until more than a month after I applied. Imagine my surprise!

The surprise/euphoria quickly turned to dread when I realized I had never been on a “real” interview before. In the days before the big event, I spent much of my spare time reading every “this is how you interview for a job” article I could find. Most of them focused on how important it is to avoid the color red on an interview—apparently it’s a “power color”—or how wearing perfume is the equivalent of the kiss of death. I practiced answering all of the “staple” questions interviewers always ask according to these same articles, and I scoured the organization’s web site, trying to memorize everything it had done in the last six months. Everything I could think of to prepare for this thing, I did. And I think that is what tripped me up.

When the time came to sit down and actually begin the interview, I forgot everything. I was so focused on being the “promising young professional” laid out before me in all of those articles that told me what to wear, what to say, and how to act, that I couldn’t be myself. The interviewer asked me to tell him about myself, and that snappy, 30-second elevator speech I practiced for an hour the night before had flown out the window. All I could tell him were things he already knew, because all I could think of was all over the resume in front of him; I didn’t set myself apart.

Now, do I think the interview was a total disaster? No. But I do think it wasn’t my best work. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to show the interviewer my stellar, one-of-a-kind skills in a “pop quiz” of sorts rather than tell him about them, so all is not lost. Even if I’m not offered this position, I still gained some valuable insight into the art of interviewing. Although demeanor, appearance, and knowledge all are key parts of the process, the most important thing a person can do is try to relax and be genuine. After all, a genuine person goes much farther and is more unique any day than the every-day, job-searching, clone.

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Job Seekers on Edge – My Top 5

Posted on June 25, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips | Tags: , , , , , , |

With unemployment rates soaring and job seekers in abundance, is it just me or have we all started this year a little on edge? As a career services professional, I have come across more manic, depressed, and generally angry people over the last several months than I have ever experienced. And I have to say that I am starting to get very concerned.

Don’t get me wrong. I love working with job seekers. That is why I do what I do! Each year, I have the privilege of serving about 600 people. And it is very rewarding to know that I can play a part in assisting someone in finding their next job, be it through creating a resume, setting a job search strategy, or working on retainer as they go through their job search ups and downs.

Like any job that deals with the public directly, however, you always come across a few candidates who, let’s just say, have much deeper issues than needing a new job. It’s one of the challenges of my line of work. But starting back in October 2008, right about when the big bank bailout bash came to a head, I started noticing a disturbing trend. Clients were facing more strain and anxiety than ever before.

And with the freedom that e-mail seems to bring to people, they started coming out of the gate, swinging, not just at me but at anything they could get their hands on.

To give you an idea of the kinds of things I’ve seen, here are the top 5 e-mails I’ve received. (Keep in mind that in each of these cases, these conversations took place before any service was delivered. We were in the “getting to know you” phase.):

• Job Seeker #1: He had a unique request for his resume:

“I’ll give you bonus points if you use the word ‘beguile’ in my resume because that’s what I do, deceive prospective clients into buying whatever [expletive] I’m asked to sell.”

At first, I thought he was joking, but no, he insisted that beguile be used in the resume.

• Job Seeker #2: He sent me a breakdown of his employment history:

“2006-2007: RECOVERING FROM SELF-INFLICTED GUNSHOT WOUND. God IS CRUEL – why didn’t he take me?”

Sadly, he too was not kidding.

• Job Seeker #3: This client decided that the upfront approach was the best way to start out our relationship together:

“Let me be clear. I’m only doing this because my wife thinks it can’t hurt. I’ve been out of work for 4 months. I just gave you the grocery money, so my kids are now starving. I bet you think that is pretty funny, huh?”

Let’s just say that I promptly returned this gentleman’s money.

• Job Seeker #4: Apparently, this client was looking for converts:

“This may not help my efforts with you but: May you come to know the love of Satan. Best regards, Joe”

• Job Seeker #5: In response to a question that I posed regarding his goals:

“I love nuclear weapons. Maybe I will get to see one go off someday.”

And just for good measure, here is one more: Job Seeker #6, another one who wanted to let me know the terms upfront:

“I placed a curse on my last resume writer. I told him that when something terribly bad happens to him, he should think of me.” Of course, as with any form of e-mail correspondence, you never know how seriously to take these things, but unless I am just experiencing some kind of Twilight Zone moment in which I just happened to enter into the realm of craziness, I suspect that these correspondences (and other milder ones I’ve received) are just a reflection of the general frustration that has swept many people, job seekers in particular.

As a resume writer and job search coach, I’ve been through unemployment highs before. And they are always difficult, to say the least, but one thing I know for sure: bitterness, extreme anxiety, paranoia, rage…bad characteristics to bring into a job search, even if you are just speaking with your resume writer.

You know, maybe now more than ever is the time for job seekers to come together, to put into action some of that spirit of unity that was so highly talked about on during Inauguration Day. After all, group job hunting has consistently been touted as one of the most effective ways for job seekers to find out about job opportunities and to build their network. So why not channel that frustration into something productive?

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