By Anne Anderson – NRWA Staff Writer
When you feel a fresh breeze blowing through the NRWA, it’s probably Sandra Allison stirring things up at a board meeting! Clearly a force of nature, Sandra currently serves on the NRWA Board of Directors as the Partnership Committee Chair.
Interior designer. Museum director. Tour guide. Tea shop owner. Avid gamer. Chigiri-e artist. Executive resume writer. Board member. SCORE advisor. Chamber of Commerce Legislative Director. Sandra calls her history “quirky,” but it seems pretty dazzling to me. Self-taught and self-made, she has repeatedly transformed little acorns of jobs into mighty oaks of careers. At 19, Sandra began working at JCPenney designing retail displays. This entry-level role developed into a high-end interior design career.
After starting as a tour guide, Sandra moved into the assistant director role at the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts in Cape May, NJ. She expanded the organization to be one of the largest employers in the area, with 120 employees and a $1.2 million budget.
Because Sandra joined the workforce before finishing college, she coaches clients that success is attainable despite perceived disadvantages (like not having a degree).
Figure 1: Morris flower, a sample of Sandra’s Chigiri-e art, made with layers of paper, creating a watercolor effect.
Seven years ago, after experiencing post-retirement job hunting rejection, Sandra turned her attention to resume writing, initially to improve her own documents. She came to see how her experience in recruiting and managing employees and advocating for disadvantaged people, combined with her creativity and her lifelong passion for writing came together in writing resumes.
Her early clients were typically entry- and mid-level professionals, but she drifted toward clients who are at a disadvantage for finding jobs, perhaps because of age, disability, or ethnicity. She tested the waters by working as a resume-writing contractor and then formed her own company. Today, she specializes primarily in executive and corporate board resumes.
Sandra credits LinkedIn for the growth of her business. Resume clients find her there, and she has been recruited by several firms, which helped both expand and focus her own business. In addition to her own clients, she writes for the Azuri Group and Women2Boards, an organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women on corporate boards.
Sandra joined the NRWA for outreach and learning opportunities. As a board member, she sees many possibilities for the NRWA’s future. She is sensitive to industry trends and wants to ensure that the organization adapts to the demands of digital media. She would like to see the membership double and an increase in volunteer activity. She is in a unique position to impact that goal because the Partnership Committee, in managing affiliate relationships and sponsors, can help grow these revenue sources with more offerings.
Sandra notes that she is impressed by the NRWA’s education, mentoring, and collaborative spirit. She says, “I am very grateful to the people I've met and worked with at the NRWA, including Lorraine Beaman, Pat Criscito, Nancy Grant, and, especially, Kathi Fuller – who gave me the opportunity to join the board in the first place. I know it takes a team to move forward, and I have learned A LOT from the hardworking volunteers I have had the honor to work with.”
A Pennsylvania native, Sandra lived and worked in Cape May for many years and is now based in Mechanicsburg, PA. Her husband of 40 years, Greg, is a contractor. They have a son, Tim, and two granddaughters, Claire and Emily, ages 7 and 9. Contact Sandra at [email protected].com or find her online at LinkedIn.com/in/sandra-allison-resume-writer.
Anne Anderson is an HR Manager at Charter Spectrum and a professional resume writer. She has been a member of NRWA since 2013. Contact Anne at [email protected].