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The Watercooler
Articles from the NRWA Newsletter

  • December 07, 2021 4:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Kathy Keshemberg, NCRW, NCOPE - NCRW Certification Chair

    digital bookAre you interested in gaining more confidence in your resume writing abilities? Could a differentiator between your services and the competition increase sales? Would you like to be recognized within our industry as one of the best?

    If you answered yes to any or all these questions, earning your NCRW should be on your goal list for 2022.

    Get a Free Prep Workshop

    Not sure where to start? Sara Timm & I presented a session at the NRWA conference in September and shared many tips and advice. You can listen to the recording here—for free!

    Get the Evaluation Sheets – Free!

    And, as a bonus, I included the actual documents the graders use to evaluate your sample and score your exam. If you review each section of these forms and study the corresponding sections of the NCRW Study Guide, you will greatly enhance your success in the NCRW process.

    Your NCRW Graders Are Here to Help

    Now, I’m not saying everyone is ready to be an NCRW, and probably at least half of the samples we see are deemed not ready on the first try. However, the bonus of starting the process is that you receive targeted advice on how to improve your writing. Your grader completes one to three pages of notes, calling out specific mistakes in strategy, grammar, punctuation, formatting, and much more. Plus, you have the opportunity to request a 15-minute consult with your grader to ask specific questions.

    Listen to the recorded webinar for complete instructions and advice on passing the sample submission step.

    Review “First Try Ready” Samples

    One thing I forgot to mention during the conference session was our newly updated sample page. These samples are actual submissions deemed ready prior to the writer passing the NCRW exam on their first try. To be transparent, we did make the changes suggested by the grader before we posted these samples. No one has ever submitted a “perfect” sample!

    I suggest reviewing the samples to get an idea of the type of candidate you should use for your sample. I see many submissions deemed “not ready” because the subject was a new college grad or career changer. Our graders can’t gauge your writing skills and strategy knowledge with these types of candidates.

    Questions About the Process?

    I challenge everyone to place earning their NCRW on the top of their 2022 goal list. It’s a challenging but rewarding venture. And the graders and I are here to help you along the way. Reach out to me at [email protected] if you have questions.


    Kathy began volunteering with the NRWA as a member of the initial board of directors and continued contributing in various capacities, culminating with accepting the role of Certification Chair in January 2021. For three-plus decades, she has operated A Career Advantage in Appleton, WI. Find her online at

  • December 07, 2021 3:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Eustacia A. English –  NRWA DEI Columnist

    It's the most wonderful time of the year. At least it is for me! I’m in an extremely happy mood from November to January and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Since I was a child, I have always loved Thanksgiving because of all the food. Who knew back then, I was a foodie at heart. I learned early on the meaning of giving thanks, being grateful for all you have, and why my household celebrated Thanksgiving.

    Christmas was my second favorite holiday. As kids, my brother and I were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. Growing up and going to Catholic school, I learned early on that Christmas was not about Santa Claus, the North Pole, and toys as I once thought.

    As I progressed in my career, celebrating holidays at work became hard. I didn’t know what to say to my colleagues. If I said, “Happy Holidays,” was I declaring war on Christmas? If I said, “Merry Christmas,” was I disrespecting my Muslim colleagues? Should we call the party a Christmas party, holiday party, or office party? I learned the safe bet is to call it a seasonal celebration and mention the various holidays celebrated during the season. In the diverse world that we live in, I don’t want to leave anyone out.

    In light of my column’s focus – celebrating diversity, equity, and inclusion, I thought it would be fun and relevant to bring awareness to the various holidays celebrated from late November through January.

    • November 27 – December 24:  Advent, a Christian season of celebration leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ.  
    • November 28 – December 6: Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah, or lamp.
    • November 28 – January 6: Nativity Fast, a period of abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus Christ.  
    • December 8: Bodhi Day, the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment.
    • December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a religious holiday in Mexico commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.
    • December 16 – 24: Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration in Mexico commemorating Mary and Joseph's trials during their journey to Bethlehem.
    • December 21: Yule Winter Solstice, a celebration by Pagans and Wiccans focusing on rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings.
    • December 25: Christmas Day, the day that many Christians associate with the birth of Jesus Christ.
    • December 26: Boxing Day, a secular holiday celebrated in the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Africa.
    • December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa, an African American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.
    • December 26: Feast of the Holy Family, a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus Christ, his mother, and his foster father, St. Joseph as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.
    • December 28: Feast of the Holy Innocents, a Christian feast in remembrance of the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant, Jesus Christ.
    • December 31: New Year’s Eve/Watch Night, a day for Christians to review the year that has passed, make confessions, and then prepare for the year ahead by praying and resolving.
    • January 1:  New Year’s Day, the first day of the year according to the modern Gregorian calendar, is celebrated in most Western countries.
    • January 1:  Feast Day of St. Basil, a holiday observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorating the death of Saint Basil the Great.
    • January 6:  Epiphany or Día de Los Reyes (Three Kings Day), a holiday observed by Eastern and Western Christians that recognizes the three wise men's visit to the baby Jesus twelve days after his birth.
    • January 6: Christmas, recognized on this day by Armenian Orthodox Christians, who celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany.
    • January 7: Christmas, recognized on this day by Eastern Orthodox Christians, who celebrate Christmas thirteen days later than other Christian churches.

    I hope that you find this helpful as you celebrate this season. Keep in mind that we should not assume everyone celebrates the same, nor should we assume that everyone celebrates holidays at all. As for me, ‘tis the season to be jolly, and I will rejoice and be glad in it. With all that has happened with the pandemic, I am looking forward to food, desserts, more desserts, singing my favorite Christmas carols, and making memories with family and friends. Whether you celebrate or not, I wish you all peace, love, happiness, and many blessings as we go into the new year.

    Eustacia English is a new volunteer for the NRWA and writes the Perspective column, which examines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in resume writing and career strategy. She is a 20-year veteran of HR and talent acquisition and started Resumes on Demand last year. She also writes on DEI for The Black in HR e-zine. She lives with her new husband and two children in Cherry Hill, NJ. Find her online at

  • December 07, 2021 2:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Paul Bennett, NCOPE – NRWA Director of Member Support, New Business Owners (West)

    Heads up from your keyboards, everyone!

    No matter where we fall on the introversion-extroversion scale, once in a while, we’ve all got to extricate ourselves from intense brainwork, come up for some air, and enjoy a bit of good old-fashioned socializing. Our happiness and mental health depend on it! And now that coronavirus has crashed the humanity party (in case you haven’t noticed), it’s more important than ever that we all simulate real-life gatherings until we can meet again in person.

    One of the many benefits of NRWA membership is that it plugs you into a vast network of potential friends and colleagues, and it’s easy to network through our private Facebook and LinkedIn groups. The problem is, our social media conversations tend toward more “serious” and business-related, and they don’t happen in real-time.

    So, how can we all have a little more fun? In an NRWA Member Mixer, of course! With a deliberately non-serious agenda, an NRWA Member Mixer is a great way to round off your afternoon. I’ve attended (some might say crashed) a few of our mixers over the past year or so, and I’ve always found them worthwhile.

    Here’s how the mixers play out: We all gather in a Zoom room for about five minutes of casual, popcorn-style conversation. Then our meeting organizer (Sara Timm, our incoming President, has filled this role well) comes up with an icebreaker topic and divides us into breakout rooms (each having between two and four people) for about five minutes of conversation. After our breakout sessions, we all return to the main room, chat a little more, and then rinse/repeat the cycle a few more times until an hour has passed.

    Icebreaker topics can be work-related, such as “What would you most like to get out of your NRWA membership?” or “What’s your biggest professional challenge?” In situations like this, the breakout discussions can yield plenty of ideas, solutions, and even mentoring (it’s wonderful how professional synergies can emerge from just a few minutes of focused conversation).

    Or perhaps the icebreaker will be more casual and fun, such as “What memories does Thanksgiving hold for you?” In this particular case, I described the time when a raccoon spilled a huge pot of homemade turkey soup all over my sundeck (it was a total loss), and I learned how my new NRWA friend salvaged their turkey dinner after an eighteen-hour, county-wide power failure that same morning (if you’re careful, you actually can cook a turkey over an open-pit fire).

    Most of the mixers are limited to NRWA members only, but sometimes—for example, for our next event—we’ll open them up to nonmember guests. And we’ve enjoyed spontaneous, surprise appearances by adorable pets (I’ve happily hoisted my little dog Bingo in front of the webcam) and talented children (Rosalinde Rosado’s son tickled the ivories for us recently)!

    The only hard-and-fast conversation rule is to be polite and respectful (and it’s probably a good idea to keep “politics and religion” to yourself), but aside from that, sticking to the icebreaker topics is optional!

    So, if you’ve long regretted never getting to star on Hollywood Squares or The Brady Bunch, now’s your chance to experience first-hand the fun of being boxed in on Zoom. Click here to sign up for our next Member Mixer and bring a friend (this mixer is open to everyone) on December 15 at 5:00 p.m., ET. See you there!

    (And watch this link for updates on new dates in 2022!)


    Paul Bennett has volunteered for the NRWA since 2018 and currently serves as a Director of Member Support for New Business Owners. When not helping job seekers excel in their career marketing activities, Paul enjoys creative writing, cycling, hiking, camping, anything outdoorsy, and chilling with Bingo (his Bichon Frise X miniature poodle). He’s Principal of NOVA Career Strategies in Vancouver, BC. Find him online at

  • December 07, 2021 1:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

    I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite perks of being an NRWA member is the effort our admin team puts into resources for job seekers and industry professionals. Between the education opportunities, networking events, and resources, we really do have the best industry organization.

    I’m so excited about a contact who found me through the member directory. I had recently updated my profile and received an email asking me if I could handle some contract work in the New Year. How cool is that?

    Our association with the NRWA helps us establish a professional reputation. I encourage you to link to your member profile in your email signature, add our banners to your website, and be sure to update your information regularly. It’s a free tool that can help you build your business and reputation.

  • November 02, 2021 6:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of October 2021!

    Feel free to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself via our members-only networking forums: the Member Forum on our website, Facebook group, and LinkedIn group.

    You can find colleagues in your area by searching here.


    • Sara Anderson in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    • Indira Banerjee in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    • Annette Bay in Iron River, Wisconsin
    • Elizabeth Ford - ONEHIRE in Virginia Beach, Virginia
    • Asia Forest - Unique Career Consulting in Spring, Texas
    • Beverly Foster - Where to Next Group in Chanhassen, Minnesota
    • Cynthia LeMonds - LeMonds Creative Consulting in Castro Valley,California
    • Nancy Lopez - NDL Leadership LLC in Webster, New York
    • Monica Manney - Compass Career & Development Services in Charlotte, North Carolina
    • Keandra Mercedes in Bronx, New York
    • Amy Parzych - Hult International Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • Veronica Peterson - Mastering the Job Search in Staten Island, New York
    • Santha Rathnam in Branford, Connecticut
    • Andres Ricardo in Miami Lakes, Florida
    • Katherine Roseth - Roseth Consulting in Minnetonka, Minnesota
    • Erica Steiner in Covington, Louisiana
    • Louisa Tatum - New York Public Library in Bronx, New York
    • Jessie West - Resume Rundown in Houston, Texas
    • Cherie Wilcox - Uncover Your Sunshine, LLC in Louisville, Colorado
    • Larisa Williams - Chic Resumes & Services in Round Rock, Texas
    • Jamison Willis in Cypress, Illinois


    • Elaine Basham - The Resume Group in Kansas City, Missouri
    • Bridget Batson - Houston Outplacement in Houston, Texas
    • Kim Batson - The CIO Coach in Sammamish, Washington
    • Lorraine Beaman - Interview2work LLC in Davis, California
    • Grace Beck - Nimble Careers in Park Ridge, Illinois
    • Eugena Bellamy-Green in Livermore, Colorado
    • Kimberly Ben - Top Resume Writing & Career Services in Huntsville, Alabama
    • Paul Bennett - NOVA Career Strategies in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    • Emily Christakis in Long Island City, New York
    • Paula Christensen - Strategic Career Coaches in Green Bay, Wisconsin
    • Kirstie Colin - New View Career Services in Atlanta, Georgia
    • Michele Coneys in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
    • Pat Criscito - ProType/ProWrite, Ltd. in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
    • Laura Fontenot - Masterwork Resumes in Frisco, Texas
    • Roberta Gamza - Career Ink in Broomfield, Colorado
    • Nelly Grinfeld - Top of the Stack Resume in Mason, Ohio
    • Beate Hait - Resumes Plus in Holliston, Massachusetts
    • Sandra Ingemansen - Resume Strategies Matteson, Illinois
    • Erin Kennedy - Professional Resume Services, Inc. in Lapeer, Michigan
    • Mary Jo Kiepper - My Career Services in Boston, Massachusetts
    • Peter Lavelle - Rez Builder in Hugo, Minnesota
    • Madelyn Mackie - Activate Your Career Dreams in Oakland, California
    • Nosheen Maqsood in Manassas Park, Virginia
    • Linda Matias - CareerStrides in Long Island, New York
    • Steven Provenzano - ECS: Executive Career Services & DTP, Inc. in Streamwood, Illinois
    • Dawn Rasmussen - Pathfinder Writing and Career Services LLC in The Dalles, Oregon
    • Kim Ribich - Kim Ribich Consulting in Crested Butte, Colorado

  • November 02, 2021 5:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Nelly Grinfeld, NCRW, NCOPE

    Is your next professional goal to start the NCRW certification process? If so, congratulations! To ensure a successful resume sample submission, make sure to closely follow the guidelines that have been outlined in detail in the NCRW Study Guide. Take your time to review all the Study Guide sections, and then plan your writing accordingly.

    As you begin the task of writing a client’s resume, the first thing to think about is what information should be included to support the client’s target position, company, and industry. Without this clear goal, you run the risk of creating a document that is too general and irrelevant. In fact, before you type a single word on the screen, you should have a clear picture of what information is actually relevant to your client’s career goal.

    For a District Sales Manager looking to switch industries from retail to consumer-packaged goods, is his prior experience as a food supply sales representative important? Discuss this with your client to clearly understand what skills their next employer is looking for and which of their skills are a match. Remember that the experience section does not need to include every aspect of all positions.

    The Study Guide also urges you to think of yourself as a ghostwriter. The client’s communication style (not your communication style) must be the basis for building the resume document. During your intake process, whether by phone or in written form, you must gather information that will help you set the resume tone. A quality assurance specialist will, most likely, communicate very differently from a VP of Human Resources. The words and phrases you include on the resume will likely set the tone for your client’s interview – make sure that your writing accurately reflects how your client speaks about themselves.

    This has been a brief overview of how to properly plan your writing strategy. As you craft your resume sample for review, make sure to thoroughly follow the Study Guide guidelines, and you will increase your chances of success!

    Nelly Grinfeld, NCRW, NCOPE has volunteered for the NRWA since 2018 and serves as a grader on the NCRW Certification Committee. She really values her NRWA membership for all the fantastic learning and growth opportunities offered. She owns Top of the Stack Resume LLC in Cincinnati, OH. You can find her online at

  • November 02, 2021 4:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Caitlin Gonzalez, NCRW – NRWA Staff Writer

    Nestled in the cozy mountain town of Crested Butte, CO, known for its winter skiing and spring wildflowers, you will find Kim Ribich diligently writing resumes and coaching clients to help them achieve purposeful, meaningful careers.

    Kim RibichMuch of this is new to Kim; she only recently moved into her Crested Butte home last weekend (at the time of writing this article), and she began her resume writing practice about one year ago. This "newness" symbolizes her adventurous and courageous spirit while also exhibiting how she seeks to maximize all that life offers. What a beautiful combination to gift job seekers as they navigate their journey towards intentional living!

    Kim brings skill in crafting life-changing resumes, a determined work ethic, and a community-centric approach to the NRWA. She "dove right in" to the career services industry in late 2020, and we are so fortunate to have her with us.

    A Passion for Solution-Focused Servant Leadership

    Interested in understanding more about how people think, feel, and behave, Kim achieved her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Alverno College in her home state of Wisconsin. She had intended to go into this field upon graduation but found she felt less suited to orient around problems and preferred to orient around solutions. While she did not become a practicing psychologist, she was spurred into helping professions throughout the nonprofit sector. Her education has remained relevant and helpful throughout her life and work.

    Kim served as a Program Director for Coalition for Children, Youth, and Families, where she pioneered a statewide program to connect and support families adopting children with special needs. Then, after moving across the country to Colorado, she worked on behalf of child and animal protection with the American Humane Association, eventually spearheading the grants program. Kim also worked as Office Manager for Adam's Camp, offering developmental therapy programs and family support to children with special needs.

    Later, an opportunity opened within The Colorado Health Foundation, and she went on to become their Events Manager overseeing all public-facing events, conferences, and training. One of her most significant accomplishments was steering their annual award-winning conference. She noticed many other nonprofits struggling with event coordination and management and was repeatedly asked to help guide external strategy and planning. A new professional challenge then emerged – entrepreneurship.

    The Dawn of Kim Ribich Consulting, LLC

    Kim Ribich Consulting, LLC was born in 2013 to help nonprofits seeking event management expertise. Being able to help more organizations was a fulfilling extension of her events management role at The Colorado Health Foundation. She was also reminded of her "roots" in working one-on-one with people in an advisory role.

    In 2020, she began contemplating a 180-degree career change to pursue individual coaching and resume writing. In June of 2021, she made the leap from full-time event consulting to full-time career service support. It was a natural extension, interlacing together her love of writing and helping others.

    As a resume writer and career coach, Kim guides clients to answer the inspirational and critical question posed by poet Mary Oliver, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" In response, she partners with clients to define a vision of what true success means to them with genuine care, positivity, and commitment to quality results. With this mission set in place, she coaches clients into the next chapter of their careers and helps them develop resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and job search packages.

    "I see myself as a 'theme weaver'—helping articulate someone's career story and unique contributions." Clients have called her a "beacon of hope" during and after this process.

    Kim became credentialed as a Certified Digital Career Strategist by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC) and a Certified Life Coach by Life Coach Training Systems.

    NRWA Involvement – "The NRWA is My People; You're My People!"

    Before launching her resume writing and career coaching services at Kim Ribich Consulting, she came to the NRWA's website to dip her toes in and test out the industry waters. She started by taking the self-directed Resume Writing 101: The Foundations course. "Oh my gosh, I really loved it; [resume writing] has the best of everything," she exclaimed. "It combines my love for writing and helping others." This realization and instant love for the industry left her motivated for more after finishing the initial training. "The rest was history; I was hook, line, and sinker! It has been a whirlwind."

    A whirlwind, indeed! Kim went on to take the Writing Excellence course in early January 2021 and was a certified NCRW by April 2021—no small feat!

    Shortly after, she was tapped on the shoulder for her expertise in event management and joined the Conference Committee to help with the 2021 NRWA Annual Conference. "No experiences or moments are wasted," she explained regarding the full-circle nature of serving with event management within her new industry. You will be seeing her name throughout the 2022 Annual Conference as she helps drive the planning efforts.

    Being in the NRWA has been instrumental in her journey as a resume writer. "Having an association or organization like the NRWA is so great. I don't hesitate to reach out to other members when I have questions, and I have been so instantly welcomed. Everybody has been so open and willing to help."

    Thank You, Kim!

    Kim gives job seekers the support they need when facing career changes and leads by example with her own career journey. She makes a positive impact not only with her words but with her actions. By pivoting careers and moving across state lines to cultivate a life she loves, she also influences others to make courageous choices.

    She also inspires us to get involved and not take this "one wild and precious life" for granted. Within months, Kim joined the NRWA, got certified, and joined the Conference Committee. This motivation is contagious!

    Kim, thank you for all you do for our organization and the clients that you serve!

    You can contact Kim at either [email protected] or

    Caitlin Gonzalez is a resume writer and the founder of Career Over Coffee, LLC in Raleigh-Durham, NC. She specializes in writing for technical professionals after seven years of hands-on IT experience in Corporate America. Find her online at

  • November 02, 2021 3:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Eustacia A. English –  NRWA DEI Columnist

    By day I’m a recruiter, and I enjoy what I do. I get much satisfaction when I can offer a candidate gainful employment and their dream career. In this profession, we face challenges such as a lack of qualified candidates, a lack of diversity in the candidate pool, candidates and/or hiring managers missing interviews, or candidates accepting competing offers (after completing the entire interview process). While these challenges make our jobs as recruiters difficult, I want to discuss an often-overlooked challenge – unconscious bias – in this month’s Perspective.

    Unconscious bias can and does occur during the hiring process. It happens when you form an opinion about a candidate based solely on your first impressions or personal opinions without regard for the candidate's skills or ability. Recruiters and/or hiring managers may make hiring decisions based on subconscious emotion, perception, and stereotypes.

    Did you know there are up to 18 common types of bias in the hiring process? Let’s dig a little deeper on 13 of them.

    1. Affinity bias: Also known as similarity bias, affinity bias can occur when a recruiter chooses a candidate because they share a similar background. We all tend to gravitate toward what and who is comfortable for us. However, hiring someone because they have a similar background or were in the same fraternity or sorority does not focus on the candidate’s skills and experience.
    2. Expectation anchor: You could be making bad hires when you narrow your judgment on a candidate to just a few areas on the resume to form your entire opinion about them.
    3. Confirmation bias: I am a firm believer that first impressions are everything. However, we should not judge a candidate solely based on first impressions, especially if it’s a negative opinion. One should not look for evidence to support your first impression of a person. Instead, focus on the skills and experience of the candidate.
    4. Affect heuristics: At times, our jobs can be repetitive with reviewing resumes and interviewing back-to-back candidates. In this industry, speed is everything. Affect heuristics is rushing to a conclusion about a candidate to narrow down resumes or interview candidates quickly. In doing so, you could potentially make a poor decision based on discriminatory prejudices such as name or background.
    5. Halo effect: If a candidate is strong in one qualification for the position, it doesn’t mean that they are strong in all areas.
    6. Horn effect: In contrast to the halo effect, if a candidate lacks skill in one area, it doesn’t mean that they are a bad candidate.
    7. Overconfidence bias: Great recruiters sometimes believe that they have great “recruiter intuition.” While that may be true some of the time, don’t be so overconfident in your ability that you don’t fully focus on the skills and experience of a candidate.
    8. Negative emphasis bias: Judging someone based on personal attributes is never a good thing. The American Psychological Association suggests that “someone who is 6 feet tall earns, on average, nearly $166,000 more during a 30-year career than someone who is 5 feet 5 inches.” This is irrelevant and holds no bearing on skills and experience to do the job.
    9. Beauty bias: We all know the saying; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Unless you are applying for a beauty pageant, beauty should not be a relevant factor during an interview. Studies have shown that attractive people are usually hired sooner, get promotions more quickly, and are paid more than their less-attractive coworkers.
    10. Conformity bias: Peer pressure during a panel interview is the main cause of conformity bias. Hearing the opinion of your peers can sometimes sway your opinion of a candidate.
    11. Contrast bias: You may have an early candidate that sets the bar high, and you may be compelled to compare every candidate you meet to that candidate. Judging someone based on the candidate that came before them is not a fair hiring practice.
    12. Nonverbal bias: This is judging a book by its cover. Nonverbal bias occurs when you use a candidate’s body language to build a story and jump to the wrong conclusion about them.
    13. First impression bias: Deciding on a candidate within the first few seconds of meeting them will never give them a fair chance because you have already made your mind up.

    Now that you have an idea of the unconscious bias that can happen during the interview process, stay tuned as we discuss prevention solutions in a future newsletter issue. As recruiters and hiring leaders, it’s important to focus on a candidate's skills and experience. The tricky part is that we risk unconscious bias when making decisions between successful and unsuccessful candidates. It’s important to remember that when we’re reviewing resumes and interviewing, we should always focus on the candidate’s skills and experience.

    Eustacia English is a new volunteer for the NRWA and writes the Perspective column, which examines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in resume writing and career strategy. She is a 20-year veteran of HR and talent acquisition and started Resumes on Demand last year. She also writes on DEI for The Black in HR e-zine. She lives with her new husband and two children in Cherry Hill, NJ. Find her online at

  • November 02, 2021 2:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Paul Bennett, NCOPE – NRWA Conference Committee

    It seems we just keep getting better and better at holding virtual conferences! Our 2020 event was excellent, and I found our 2021 experience to be even better. This year, more than 160 of us attended (a pretty good turnout), and in the future, given the size of our organization, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number goes much higher.

    Because so many of us couldn’t make it, as a member of the 2021 Conference Committee, I’d love for all of our members to realize what a fabulous gathering it was. So, here’s my personal experience and summary of the NRWA 2021 Virtual Conference’s “three fabulous Ps”: platform, program, and people.

    We used the Accelevents conferencing system this year (just like last year), and it performed well, with fewer technical glitches this time around and a smoother overall attendee experience. Personally, after just a few minutes of getting used to my surroundings, I felt right at home, and I’m guessing Stringfellow (meaning Addie, Robbie, and Jen) didn’t have to squash too many digital bugs.

    As I expected, the presentations were outstanding, with great breadth and depth of knowledge and a near-continual flow of “value bombs” that made the conference worth far more than the price of admission. Moreover, besides fortifying my skill in resumes and LinkedIn (my own two specialties), they broadened my knowledge of other essential career management areas. As a writer considering expanding his suite of offerings, I need to learn a lot more about the roles of other careers industry specialists such as coaches, recruiters, and career center personnel. Because these professionals are so closely involved in my resume clients’ success, I’m thankful that I gathered insight into what they do through the presentations I attended.

    If you couldn’t make it and would like to see the outstanding lineup of speakers and topics we featured this year, you can download the conference schedule at this link. Recordings will soon be available for purchase on our On-Demand Webinars page!

    Conferencing with one’s professional association is exciting, invigorating, and fun—a welcome respite from today’s world of ubiquitous screens, irritating bots, big data, and manipulative algorithms. And I think that’s true of conferences both in-person and virtual. This year’s vibe was great, with many people contributing to the learning by making insightful chat-stream comments and asking great questions.

    Kudos to several groups of people:

    • The conference committee—led for the third year in a row by Nancy Grant— who did a fabulous job, having started not much after last year’s conference! Nancy’s stepping down from the hot seat, but fortunately, we have another conference planning expert taking her place.
    • The Stringfellow Management Group—meaning Addie, Robbie, and Jen—who outperformed as well, handling countless administrative matters in the months leading up to the event and making sure, from behind the scenes, that the event ran like clockwork.
    • Door prize donors and vendors – They provided more than 30 great prizes this year, and as always, our vendors were a prominent part of the conference as well. Thank you, donors, and vendors.
    • Our attendees – Most importantly, thanks to everyone who attended for making it a memorable experience by bringing along their knowledge, enthusiasm, and sense of humor.

    Looking Ahead
    We’re hoping that next year we can all meet each other (for real) in The Big Easy (New Orleans). However, our two virtual conferences have gone so well that your NRWA leadership is exploring the possibility of having more virtual gigs, even after the pandemic releases us from its grasp. Regardless of whether we meet in person or online, the following glowing feedback and hot numbers should give you a sense of the great NRWA conference experiences awaiting you in 2022 and beyond:

    A few survey responses to “Please tell us about your favorite part of the 2021 conference”:

    • “I was impressed with the quality of speakers and their relevant content. Consistently excellent presentations. Great food for thought.”
    • “All the sessions I attended – they were wonderful!”
    • “All parts exceptional. Loved the extended networking time and topic-specific networking sessions.”
    • “You’re asking for just one? I believe that this year’s mix of presenters and social activities hit the right notes all around! Plus, I’ve made some new friends and potential referral partners!”
    • “I loved all of it.”

    Percentage of attendees who:

    • like the idea of alternating virtual conferences with in-person ones: 86%
    • found using the Accelevents platform to be easy: 92%
    • felt that this year’s conference was great for networking: 92%
    • were “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the overall experience: 98%

    Yes, you read that right; 98%!

    Hope to see you in New Orleans!


    Paul Bennett has volunteered for the NRWA since 2018 and currently serves as a Director of Member Support for New Business Owners. When not helping job seekers excel in their career marketing activities, Paul enjoys creative writing, cycling, hiking, camping, anything outdoorsy, and chilling with Bingo (his Bichon Frise X miniature poodle). He’s Principal of NOVA Career Strategies in Vancouver, BC. Find him online at

  • November 02, 2021 1:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

    Did you know that when you join the NRWA, you’re not just getting a network of professional resume writers? You’re also getting access to some amazing business building perks. Over the next few issues, I’m going to feature these perks in this space.

    This month’s benefit feature is Distinctive Resume Templates. This resource allows you to receive access to beautifully designed, ATS-friendly Microsoft Word templates for resumes, biographies, cover letters, and other career marketing documents.

    You can join the “Insiders” club at a discount for just $27 for the first month with no obligation. The subscription renews at $47/month after this, or you can cancel with no obligation. Each Insider receives access to four new template collections per month (bios, resumes, letterhead templates, and sometimes other documents too).

    I recently purchased a template package from Distinctive Resumes because I had a client who quickly needed something “executive.” I should have joined the club because I spent the same amount on the templates! I’m signing up for the Insiders perk this month—the templates saved me so much time!

    If you’re interested in learning more about this benefit or other membership benefits, head over to to learn more.

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