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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Does Your Resume Make You Sound Like a Robot?

Posted on July 7, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips | Tags: , , , |

Just when I think perhaps I have heard everything, particularly when it comes to resume advice, someone has to go and put something out there that seems to come from left field. The flavor of the moment now seems to be: human-ness, making your resume sound more “human.”

And the pearls of wisdom that seem to go along with this concept are that you should incorporate “I” into your resume more often so that it seems less like a robot wrote it and more like a person, i.e., a human, wrote it.

On the surface, it sounds very nice. After all, we want to put a real person with this cold, hard document. And we want employers to see us on a human level. And, hey, full sentences are much more grammatically correct than the harsh sentence fragments utilized in resume documents today.

The problem is, however, once you start putting this into application, often you just end up with a jumbled mess of a document that says nothing more than “I” everywhere. And pretty soon, although you may very much be “human” on the page, you are also totally off course.


Most people fail when it comes to resume writing not because they haven’t cracked some magic code or produced the most amazing document ever written but because they have lost touch with their audience. They’ve made the document all about themselves and who they are. In other words, they have “I’d” it to death (sometimes even without using the word “I”, but just because it is implied with every statement).

Of course, the resume summarizes your work experience and helps shape your image for employers. But all that should be done with an eye not on you but on them. What interests the audience the most? What type of candidate are they looking for?

I’m quite certain that employers are well aware that humans are at the other end of a resume document. After all, they aren’t looking for robots to employ, and if they want you, they are going to call you in to meet you face to face. Furthermore, most employers/recruiters are spending so little time with your document (30 seconds or less) that writing a narrative is pretty much lost on them anyway (the HR pros who keep touting this human voice nonsense should be well aware of that fact!).

So if you want to be special, if you want to make that human connection, through your resume, it isn’t the voice or overuse of “I” that’s going to do it for you; instead, it is recognizing what your audience’s needs are and communicating how your background fulfills those needs.

Tell them what they need to hear most.

Bottom Line: People who spend so much time worrying about human-ness are spending way too much time thinking about themselves. Don’t play that game. When it comes to employment, you will lose every time.


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