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The Watercooler
Articles from the NRWA Newsletter

  • October 05, 2021 6:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of September 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.


    • Amber Barney in East Patchogue, New York
    • Maria Barroso in Coral Gables, Florida
    • Jeremy Bernstein - West to East Consulting in Lithia, Florida
    • Deborah Curry in Lanham, Maryland
    • Camille Ehlers in Dallas, Texas
    • Sharyn Grose in Sherman Oaks, California
    • Jennifer Grunwald - University of Connecticut in Hartford, Connecticut
    • Ashley Ifft in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
    • Julia Kaukinen - Kaukinen Consulting in Kauniainen, Finland
    • Pollyanna Latshaw - Know You Project in Omaha, Nebraska
    • Terry Leja in Chicago, Illinois
    • Timothy Lindner - Revisionary Writing and Editing, LLC in Colonia, New Jersey
    • Shauna Lizzi in Clovis, New Mexico
    • Kaitlin Luna in Westminster, Colorado
    • Ralph Marra in South Setauket, New York
    • Teah McClain in Dallas, Texas
    • Elizabeth Reilly in New Brunswick, New Jersey
    • Marel Stensgaard in Lacey, Washington
    • John Swet - Eagle Sales Resumes in New York, New York
    • Donnella Tilery in Raritan, New Jersey
    • Brittany Towns - The HELP Outreach Center in Randallstown, Maryland


    • Niya Allen-Vatel in New York, New York
    • Shoni Bell - Summit Resume Service in Henderson, Nevada
    • Mary Elizabeth Bradford in Boerne, Texas
    • Amanda Brandon - ProPolish in Divide, Colorado
    • Carol Camerino - Job Seekers Looking For The On Ramp in Chester, New Jersey
    • Fred Coon - Stewart, Cooper & Coon, Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona
    • Kristen Coria - Resume Innovators in Branford, Connecticut
    • Tyesha Davis in Fort Worth, Texas
    • Kelly Donovan - Kelly Donovan & Associates in Lake Isabella, California
    • Mir Garvy in Raleigh, North Carolina
    • Bree Gurin - Creative Resumes and Business Writing in Harwinton, Connecticut
    • Joyce Harold - Resumes By Joyce in Norcross, Georgia
    • Kelly Hood in Austin, Texas
    • Michele (McCann) Kelley - CareerPro, Inc. in Newark, Delaware
    • Kam Khare - CStarter LLC in Charlottesville, Virginia
    • Amanda Martin in Brookhaven, Georgia
    • Sari Neudorf - SDN CONSULTING in St. Louis, Missouri
    • Lisa Parker in Claxton, Georgia
    • Jennifer Reule - Precision Writing Services LLC in Orlando, Florida
    • Tifini Roberts - Compass Resumes LLC in Oregon City, Oregon
    • Kareem Rogers in Chicago, Illinois
    • Robert Rosales - EZ Resume Services in Kingsburg, California
    • Rachel Sirca - Fleet Resumes in Marysville, Ohio
    • Alison Smith - Radical Resumes, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama
    • Lydia Snyder - Morongo Tribal TANF in San Bernardino, California
    • Mindy Thomas - Thomas Career Consulting in Media, Pennsylvania
    • Rosa Elizabeth Vargas - Career Steering in Maitland, Florida
    • Amber Vecchio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    • Marni Vyn - Chosen Resumes, LLC in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    • Emily Warthman - Heiro Consulting LLC in Canal Winchester, Ohio
    • Chelsea Wiltse - Seasoned and Growing LLC in Charlotte, Michigan
  • October 05, 2021 5:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Dr. Cheryl Minnick, NCRW, NCOPE

    Want to present more confidence in your clients’ cover letters? Follow these two tips to grab attention and boost confidence in career accomplishments.

    Tip #1 Do Not Introduce Doubt
    The NCRW Study Guide (SG) states a cover letter’s “main purpose is to grab the reader’s attention and entice them to continue to the resume. If the resume is read first, the cover letter reinforces the client’s qualifications and adds a personal touch to make the reader want to arrange an interview.” A cover letter’s style and tone should be professional and assertively sell the client, not introduce doubt about their candidacy.

    Resume writers introduce subliminal doubt when we use the phrases “I think,” “I feel,” and “I believe” in cover letters. These phrases undermine the statements following them, positioning the candidate as insecure. It is better to omit these phrases to write more confidently. Rather than, “I believe my candidacy is strong,” a writer could state, “I am confident,” “I am convinced,” or “I am optimistic my candidacy is strong.”

    Tip #2 Grab Attention Confidently
    The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an exclamation point as a “mark used especially after an injection or exclamation to indicate forceful utterance or strong feeling.” The SG states that a cover letter should “exude confidence” and “give the client a competitive advantage.”

    Seen as an indicator of emotionality or excitability, research on exclamation marks (Waseleski, 2006) found 73% of exclamation marks are used by women (as a means of friendly interaction), compared to 27% by men. Tannen’s (1990; 2001) research found women communicate to express warmth and build rapport, while men communicate to report information, grab attention, and show power. She coined the phrase “Genderlect” to describe the difference in female and male communication styles … rapport versus report.

    As resume writers, we should limit exclamation marks to deliver a clear, confident message, report information, and grab attention in a professional manner and tone.

    Tanne, D., You just don't understand: Women and men in conversation. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1990, and Tannen, D., You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, 2001.

    Waseleski, C. Gender and the Use of Exclamation Points in Computer-Mediated Communication: An Analysis of Exclamations, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. P. 1012-1024, July 2006.

    Dr. Cheryl Minnick, NCRW, NCOPE, has been a member of the NRWA since 2005 and has served on the Certification Committee since 2013. For the past five years, she has ensured the NCRW Study Guide aligns with best practices and Gregg Reference Manual updates. She has also served on past committees for Member Support and ROAR Awards. She regularly presents at NRWA conferences on ATS, implicit bias, new grad resumes, and college career center services.

    A veteran of the higher education career development space, Cheryl works as the Senior Career Coach at the University of Montana-Missoula and provides executive career consultations and resume writing for executive career development firms as well as her own boutique business The Paper Trail. Find her online at

  • October 05, 2021 4:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Caitlin Gonzalez, NCRW – NRWA Staff Writer

    Introducing Eustacia English
    Simply put, Eustacia English does it all. She’s a business owner, resume writer, career coach, recruiter, talent acquisition leader, mom of two, and the upcoming published author of the children’s book, Kennedy Meets the President. She is also the NRWA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion columnist – check out her first featured article in this newsletter!

    Eustacia English

    Inspired and energized. That is how I felt after getting to know Eustacia for this month’s Member Spotlight. Read on, and you’ll quickly feel the same.

    A Human Resources Leader
    Eustacia has accumulated 20 years of accomplishments in human resources and talent acquisition. In addition to her hands-on experience, she leverages an MBA from the University of Phoenix and certification as a Contingent Workforce Professional to serve clients across various backgrounds, professional levels, and industries.

    “I just love it – helping people find employment,” she explains.

    Today, she is both a recruiter for The Black in HR and a talent acquisition lead at Accolade. At The Black in HR, she partners with companies hiring with intentionality to support diversity and inclusion. At Accolade, she improves the health care process by hiring the very best clinical professionals. For both, she delivers skillful networking, relationship building, mentorship, and job placement.

    A Resume Writer & Career Coach
    Eustacia has been writing resumes for as long as she can remember. From a young age, she wanted her family and friends to have the money they needed to do the things they loved, and this mindset has been with her throughout her whole career.

    In 2020, she launched Resumes On Demand to provide job seekers with a one-stop-shop for their career transition needs. Whether helping clients define their unique career requirements or navigating final salary negotiations, Eustacia delivers end-to-end support for her clients with her extensive HR background.

    Her favorite part of Resumes on Demand is helping people land the job offer of their dreams. “Especially working with women – they tend to lowball themselves – and I tell them, ‘We’re not doing that anymore,’” she says. “I’m so happy to be in a position to help people get the compensation they deserve by preparing them for interviews and giving them confidence with the right resume.”

    A DEI Champion
    Certified in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace, Eustacia advocates the importance of inclusive career services. She fosters awareness of people’s differences by writing to educate readers on critical topics. Her passion for this topic began with the death of George Floyd in May 2020. “People don’t know what they don’t know, and I want to raise that understanding,” she said. She serves as a volunteer writer for The Black in HR’s e-zine.

    The NRWA is excited to have her contribute to the new Perspective column – a timely kickoff, as October is Global Diversity Awareness Month. We can expect to see articles on important subjects, including mental health, LGBTQ+, and human rights.

    On A Personal Note
    In her free time, you can find Eustacia with her family in Cherry Hill, NJ, or jet-setting on a new adventure. Recently married (congratulations!) and a proud mom, she and her family explore local activities like skating or going to the zoo. She is looking forward to upcoming trips to both Costa Rica and Las Vegas!

    Kindness, Positivity, and Empowerment
    The accomplishments above are merely a snapshot of the impact Eustacia has on communities. Indeed, she is a change-maker in people’s lives, and her dedication equips people to land jobs confidently while also enlightening peers on inclusive, welcoming cultures.

    Her presence – filled with kindness, positivity, and empowerment – is a gift to not only job seekers and employers but to all of us within the NRWA. Thank you for all that you do, Eustacia!

    You can reach her on LinkedIn at

    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

  • October 05, 2021 3:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Eustacia A. English, NRWA DEI Columnist

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion! What comes to mind when you hear these words? Involvement, belonging, equality, variety, embodiment, and cultural differences are just some thoughts I’ve heard from people. For me, diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard. Inclusion is what makes diversity work.

    Why should we even care about diversity? “A diverse and inclusive workplace is the best way to increase performance and innovation. Aside from business benefits, diversity and inclusion are important to keep campaigning for in society as a whole,” as stated in Diversity in Tech based in the UK.

    Just imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same, believed in the same things, dressed the same way, or spoke the same way with no differences. Diversity fosters a different perspective because we all think differently and have had different life experiences.

    October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, and I can’t think of a better month to start this column. This month and this column are about celebrating and appreciating our differences. This recognition month promotes knowledge of and respect for different cultures.

    According to Alliant International University, “There are a lot of factors that play into diversity—some things are visible on the outside, but others are just a part of the way people were born. These distinctions are the grounds for how the four categories of diversity (internal, external, organization and worldview) were created.”

    One of our initiatives at the NRWA is to foster awareness and appreciation of diversity. I aim to educate and enhance awareness. Having diversity, equity, and inclusion will improve the balance of opinions and views in any setting. A well-balanced world will accept different opinions and cultures, and reduce fear surrounding our differences. This column will give you a shot of perspective and a direction to dig deeper. It’s about building spaces of belonging. Stay tuned for what’s to come.

    Aside: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
    September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Hispanic Heritage Week began with a Congressional declaration in 1968 and expanded to a month in 1988. The celebration starts in the middle rather than the beginning of September because it coincides with national independence days in several Latin American countries. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica celebrate theirs on September 15, followed by Mexico on September 16. Chile celebrates on September 18, and Belize on September 21. Think about some ways you can celebrate diversity this month. You can cook a cultural meal, attend a cultural art exhibit, play music from around the world, support minority-owned businesses, or be intentional about getting to know a colleague of another culture.

    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

  • October 05, 2021 2:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    By Rob Rosales, NCOPE – NRWA Marketing Chair

    Are you a new resume writer looking for ideas to market your services? Are you a more experienced writer looking to expand your business and attract new clients?

    As the only national nonprofit organization supporting professional resume writers, the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA) exists to help you!

    I am excited to share with you three ways the NRWA can help you market your business.

    Ask The Experts Blog

    The NRWA has a “Virtual Ask the Experts Portal” for members of the NRWA to share their expertise and answer questions from job seekers. The selected responses are published on our website blog page in addition to social media posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    How does this help you market your business?

    As a contributor, some of the perks of answering questions include:

    • A personalized URL to use for promotion on social media. Your URL includes your name so you can enhance your brand and marketing efforts. For example,
    • An avenue to drive traffic to your member profile, your website, and boost your SEO.
    • Exposure to potential clients who may find your advice impactful.
    • An opportunity to market yourself as a career expert.
    • A platform to build your credibility by providing valuable career-related advice to job seekers.
    • An Expert Contributor badge to display on your website, signature line, and other marketing materials.

    New questions are posted at the beginning of each month. Members have until the end of the month to create and submit their responses. Follow the link here to get started now!


    Starting in 2020, the NRWA began publishing a new e-book annually with a fresh collection of advice and insights for resume writers to use and pass on to their clients. All selected “Ask The Expert” contributors are listed in the e-book along with their contact information.

    Your NRWA Member Profile

    As a member of The NRWA, your name and contact information are added to our online database so that potential clients can find you. Job seekers can search our database by state, name, or specialty. Your member profile displays your email address and website URL so potential clients can easily contact you. Clients can even send you an email directly from your profile!

    To increase your chances of getting contacted by clients, you should:

    • Update and optimize your profile to show your value.
    • Include a professional photograph (think LinkedIn).
    • Speak to your target audience and describe your unique qualities.
    • Start here to update your profile now!

    Future Marketing Initiatives

    As the only national nonprofit organization supporting professional resume writers, the NRWA is committed to you! We are currently developing several national marketing initiatives to increase your exposure nationally and become recognized as the go-to experts for job seekers.

    Stay tuned!

    Rob Rosales, NCOPE, has been a member of the NRWA since 2015 and has served on the Board as Marketing Chair since 2018. He provides resume writing, job search strategies, career marketing, and career transition coaching to clients nationwide, from college graduates to senior-level professionals. He owns EZ Resume Services in Kingsburg, CA. Find him online at

  • October 05, 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 This resource allows members to give their clients a DISC profile (a widely used hiring tool) that reveals their communication styles. As your client’s “ghostwriter,” you can confidently use appropriate keywords and descriptive phrases directly from this report.

    The DISC report is also helpful for your clients to identify answers to interview questions and better describe themselves in networking conversations.

    I recently added this service to my client intake process, which has improved my targeting and coaching! My clients love the visibility into their communication strengths. I’ve often used it to help clients identify new career paths after being in the same roles for 15-20 years.

    Here’s how this benefit works:

    1. You order the DISC profile at this link and input your client’s information.
    2. Your client automatically gets an email with a link to the assessment.
    3. You also enter your email to receive the results.
    4. When your client completes the assessment, you receive a notification with a PDF of the profile.
    5. You can also download a consultation worksheet to coach your clients through their results here.

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

  • September 07, 2021 6:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of August 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.


    • Linda Di Giacomo - Hudson County Schools of Technology in Secaucus, New Jersey
    • Denise Galluccio - County Prep High Schoo in Jersey City, New Jersey
    • Marlena Gibson - Independent Rehabilitation Services, Inc. in Youngsville, North Carolina
    • Devian Harris in Columbus, Mississippi
    • Beverly Hendley in Mobile, Alabama
    • Helen Horton- Thunder Resume in Kensington, Maryland
    • Scott Kraun - Scott Kraun Healthcare Consulting, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia
    • Laura Krueger - ELK Solutions in Fulshear, Texas
    • Elizabeth Magrini in Temple Terrace, Florida
    • Kirstin Olsen in Carlsbad, California
    • Monica O'Neill in Algonquin, Illinois
    • Vincia Phillip - Office Of Career and Professional Development in Albany, New York
    • Carol Pitz - Carol Pitz Consulting LLC in Chanhassen, Massachusetts
    • Raynisha Robinson in Siloam Springs, Arkansas
    • Vithrel Searchwell in Carson, California
    • Towanda Wall-Palmer in Coach for New Life LLC in New York, New York


    • Andrea Adamski - Write for You Resumes in Lee's Summit, Missouri
    • Cathy Alfandre - Catherine A. Alfandre, LLC in Easton, Connecticut
    • Nickquolette Barrett - iRock Development Solutions, LLC in Allen, Texas
    • Karen Bartell - Best-in-Class Resumes in Massapequa Park, New York
    • Denisha Bonds - Career and Résumé Designs in Port St. Lucie, Florida
    • Eric Brass - Federal Prose in Charlottesville, Virginia
    • Kathleen Brogan - Brogan Communications in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • Melissa Carvalho in Kenilworth, New Jersey
    • Matilda Cole - CareerBIO, LLC in Littleton, Colorado
    • Danielle Davis - Liberated Development in Alexandria, Virginia
    • Denise Edwards - New Leaf Career Solutions, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia
    • Cliff Eischen - Eischen's Professional Resume Service in Fresno, California
    • Amber Fernandez - Auburn, Washington
    • Jennifer Fishberg - Career Karma Resume Development & Career Services in Highland Park, New Jersey
    • Margo Flore - Writing With A Flair, LLC in Middleburg, Virginia
    • Katie Gaskill in Elgin, Illinois
    • Wendy Gelberg - JVS in Boston, Massachusetts
    • Bevley Green - University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama
    • Tiffany Hardy in Prescott, Arizona
    • Phil Hurd - Catalyst Resumes LLC in Lexington, Massachusetts
    • Jeremy Johnson - Opened Door Career Services LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina
    • Emily Kapit - ReFresh Your Step in Miami, Florida
    • Charnelle Lewis in Clarkston, Georgia
    • Stephanie McKenzie - Sidney & Graham Professional Development LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina
    • Ruth Pankratz - Gabby Communications in Fort Collins, Colorado
    • Gianna Petan - Vocamotive in Shorewood, Illinois
    • Thomas Powner - Career Thinker Inc. in Rego Park, New York
    • Christina Scott in San Francisco, California
    • Paula Scott Gross in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Michelle Swanson in Edwardsville, Illinois
    • Sarah Vallieu in Tukwila, Washington
    • Paloma Valverde - Paloma Valverde Consulting LLC in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
    • Charlotte Weeks - Weeks Career Services, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois

  • September 07, 2021 5:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

    NCRW Certification Commission Grader

    Writing a targeted resume is about capturing our client’s value proposition as it relates to the job they’re interested in. The hiring manager should immediately see our client as a perfect fit for the job in multiple areas—from skills and experience to an alignment with the employer’s core values, mission, and goals. Ultimately, a targeted resume speaks directly to an employer’s needs and increases the client’s chance of securing an interview.

    So why are generic, “one-size-fits-all” resumes still being produced?

    While valid justifications do exist, inexperienced or busy writers may not be putting in the time to dissect the client’s brand and figure out what would excite employers the most.

    Tailoring the resume to the career goal is important because it’s the first topic covered in the NCRW Study Guide (SG). Here are the fundamental tenets outlined in the SG:

    • Prepare a well-rounded picture of the candidate. The resume and cover letter must demonstrate that the client’s experience, education, and accomplishments meet or exceed position requirements.
    • Focus first on the audience instead of the client’s experience. Begin by understanding the target audience (the industry, company, and hiring manager) and the job/occupation requirements.
    • Look for reoccurring themes throughout the client’s career. What types of problems do they solve? What value is brought to each position? What was accomplished? What was the result?
    • Prepare documents that match the client’s themes, skills, and accomplishments related to the job. Your documents should show how the client’s skills and experiences meet the industry, company, and position needs.

    To do the above, we trade in our resume writer hats for detective hats, gathering evidence and facts before any writing occurs. Planning and strategy take center stage:

    • Research. Learn all about the employer, career field, and job requirements. Armed with information on what the employer is looking for, dig deep into the client’s career to find matching qualifications.
    • Think strategically. Instead of rehashing everything the client did in their career, pick and choose what will resonate with hiring managers.
    • Build targeted versions. Clients with more than one career goal may need targeted versions, each one geared to a different goal.
    • Pinpoint a job target. Clients who don’t know what they want to do should be referred for career coaching so they can gain clarity. It’s impossible to write a targeted resume without a clear goal.

    In the NCRW sample submission process (and later the exam), we recommend that you submit a targeted resume. If a writer submits a sample resume that screams “retail sales,” but the accompanying job posting is for a software engineer, graders are going to question the writer’s readiness to sit for the exam.

    In our resume writing practices, developing a targeted resume takes time, but the approach is worth it. We’re sending clients out into the world with compelling, targeted resumes that are sure to get noticed. The best part? Clients will tell everyone how successful their resumes were. Now, we can sit back and watch the referrals roll in.

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

    By Caitlin Gonzalez, NCRW - NRWA Staff Writer

    Are you thinking about becoming the next Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)? Unsure of where to begin? Having gone through the process myself, I understand that it can be somewhat nerve-wracking. You want to put your best foot forward, but how? That’s why I wrote this article—to empower and motivate you on your journey towards certification. In this article, I’ll break down the process step by step and share advice from both a successful NCRW, Ashley Watkins, and a NCRW exam grader, Kim Isaacs.

    About the NCRW

    The NCRW is the National Resume Writers’ Association’s credential signifying the highest level of resume excellence. Those who obtain this distinction produce “quality-oriented and visually appealing” career documents that market job seekers in a “sales-focused, succinct” format.

    To begin the certification process, you need to be a current member of the NRWA.

    Steps to Certification

    Let’s roll up our sleeves and get started! Here is what you need to know to begin your journey towards certification:

    1. Obtain a minimum of 10 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

    You can earn CEUs each time you participate in a training program or webinar that is hosted by the NRWA and focuses on a writing topic. The beauty of it is that the more you continuously educate yourself, the higher your quality of writing will be in alignment with NCRW standards. 

    Pro Tip: By attending the upcoming 2021 annual conference, you will receive 10 CEUs (and lots of exam-boosting knowledge). To learn more about CEUs, click here.

    2. Study, study, study! 

    Your exam will be graded based on the standards detailed within the NCRW Study Guide and The Gregg Reference Manual. These are your lifelines for writing a resume that will knock the socks off your exam grader. If you are an NRWA member, you can download the study guide here.

    Additionally, here is a list of books that are highly recommended. I happened to pick up Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired earlier in my resume writing career, and I still use it as a reference today.

    3. Register to begin the first part of the certification process.

    You will be asked to complete an open-book Study Guide quiz and submit a sample resume and cover letter.

    For your sample, remember that the exam graders are looking for writers with a strong command of English, the ability to strategically execute document formats with consistent value, and the skill to “sell” job seekers with relevant, front-loaded accomplishments.

    The purpose of the sample is to assess your current writing level—either you will get a green light to move on to the exam or a yellow light asking you to pause and continue upskilling. You will also need to receive a 100% on the Study Guide quiz. Don’t worry—you can always retake the quiz and resubmit a sample if you are told you may not be “ready.” You’ve got this! To learn more about the quiz and how to prepare the sample, click here

    4. Register for the exam.

    You’ve earned the 10 CEUs, studied, aced the quiz, and got a stamp of approval on the sample submission. It’s “Go” time!

    After you schedule your exam, you’ll receive a fictional client profile. The test is to create a resume and cover letter using only the information provided. You have five days to complete the project. I recommend carving out ample time to focus. For example, I scheduled my exam so that my five-day period would include two weekend days. You’ll be grateful for the extra head space. Two graders will review your exam and provide results within four weeks. To learn more about exam registration, click here.

    Advice from Ashley Watkins, NCRW, NCOPE

    Ashley Watkins, founder of Write Step Resume, LLC, started her journey towards certification by attending NRWA webinars and reading Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired. This book inspired her, similarly as it did for me, to “step it up” and learn more about how to craft the highest quality resumes.

    She signed up for the NRWA’s Writing Excellence Program, a 9-week course that accelerates industry-leading resume writing expertise. Ashley explains that “From day one, Norine Dagliano, Writing Excellence Instructor and NCRW Grader, offered tons of information on grammar, clarity, and concise writing.” Norine also suggested each writer secure a mentor. Ashley connected with Melanie L. Denny-Salomon who helped her perfect her client branding skills, which are “extremely important for the exam.”

    Ashley says that she achieved certification on her first try in large part because of relationships and continuous education. “I would urge anyone interested in obtaining the NCRW to enroll in the Writing Excellence program first. Even now, I refer to the course material, The Gregg Reference Manual, and the NCRW Study Guide to tighten up my writing. The road to certification was not easy, but it is certainly doable for anyone willing to put in the work.”

    Advice from Kim Isaacs, NCRW, NCOPE, CPRW, and NCRW Exam Grader

    Kim Isaacs, founder of ResumePower, has been on the grading panel for more than 20 years and wants people to know that the process is like taking a test in school—“performance is tied to preparation.”

    “The first step is to read the NCRW Study Guide. And then reread it. While it’s not meant to be a comprehensive resume writing how-to guide, it outlines tenets of resume writing best practices. Even veteran writers can learn from the NCRW Study Guide.”

    Additionally, tap into the NRWA’s robust learning resources. “The gold standard is the Writing Excellence Program led by Norine Dagliano. The program is an investment, but the 1-on-1 instruction and personal attention from Norine will pay off—participants have a high passing rate.”

    The NRWA “also has free and lower-cost resources for members, including a library of webinars and Resume Writing 101, a self-paced learning tool.”

    Kim also wants you to know that every single grader wants you to pass! There are no tricks, and she doesn’t expect perfection; submissions can have some errors and still pass. However, give it your best to showcase your mastery.

    “The NCRW is not a certification mill where you pay the fee, make a minimal effort, and get certified. Quite the opposite—the program is designed to recognize excellence and a continued commitment to the craft. You can expect some hard work going in, but the work will only make you a better writer. In turn, you’ll have happier clients, repeat business, and lots of referrals.”

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

    By Amanda Brandon, NRWA Newsletter Editor

    WriteSea – the Order Management System Just for Resume Writers

    As part of our 2021 NRWA Conference focus, in this issue we wanted to tell you about a tool that is changing resume writer operations management for the better – WriteSea. WriteSea is our CyberSpace sponsor for the upcoming conference.

    I've been a WriteSea customer for about six months, and I'm so excited to tell you about the Order Management System (OMS) that's designed just for writers.

    What is WriteSea?

    WriteSea is a SaaS technology that concentrates on short-term writing projects that involve customer feedback. You can expect a simple solution that will increase your efficiency and offer unparalleled transparency to your clients.

    The software gives you a system for managing ALL of your client communications, documents, and orders from one dashboard. That's one of the main reasons I bought this tool. It helps me see everything in one place.

    Watch their explainer video here.

    Who is Behind WriteSea?

    I've worked in the startup technology world since 2009, and I believe it's important to know WHO is bringing new solutions to market. Brandon Mitchell, founder and CEO of WriteSea, started his career as a resume writer and has worked with thousands of job seekers from all walks of life and industries. When I learned this, I was intrigued. I think user experience is essential in software design, and who better to build a solution than a resume writer.

    Another person I want to mention is Adrianne Burnikel, sales executive and customer success manager for WriteSea. She loves educating customers on how to use WriteSea and helps you every step of the way. She has lots of ideas for making this product work for YOUR business. Plus, her checklists are perfect.

    What Does WriteSea Cost?

    I think it's essential to address this topic. WriteSea is not an off-the-shelf project management tool. It's a tool that's customized to your business. It does cost more than most order management systems, but it replaces many other systems. The company charges "by the seat" for this service. I personally pay for the entry-level pricing ($199/month), which gives me access to the entire feature set and allows me to add one writer to my team. (I plan to add a freelancer in the next couple of months, so this is a scalable solution for me.)

    I suggest you speak with Mitchel Roe, WriteSea's product owner and customer success associate, on how this OMS makes your life easier and how it can save you money. He and I did a deep dive into all my "systems," and WriteSea replaced four tools, which equaled about half of my WriteSea subscription fee. Also, the time savings is significant.

    WriteSea estimates that their platform saves you 40 minutes per client.

    What does WriteSea do for the small team?

    Adrianne and I sat down for a chat last week, and she shared some of the key features that make this such an attractive tool for team management.

    1. You can proofread your writer's drafts before they go to the client. If you manage a team, it's easy to lose track of drafts. WriteSea allows you to see drafts and versions before your client receives them.
    2. Clients can chat with their writer in real-time. This was another feature that sold me on WriteSea. You can chat with your clients right inside the app or the web portal. Keeping all the communication in one place puts this OMS above others.
    3. Your clients can add many types of files. I don't know about you, but I have clients who send me PDFs, JPGs (of awards and certifications), Word docs, and more. I constantly have to clear up space in my email because of attachments. You don't have to do this with the WriteSea OMS. They upload the documents right to the client portal.
    4. Get ahead of customer service issues. When a client reviews their files, they're asked to review their documents with a star system. Anything three stars or below alerts the WriteSea admin and the writer. This can help you clear up misunderstandings and problem-solve in real-time.
    5. See your financials on one dashboard. I love that I can see all of my projects and financials in one place. This is especially helpful for the small team. The dashboard can give you a picture of who is producing the most sales, where you are on financial goals, and more.

    What are some unique WriteSea features?

    • Tipping feature. Currently, WriteSea uses the Stripe payment system in the OMS. With this payment portal, clients can add "tips" to their orders. If this doesn't align with your business, you can simply turn it off or ask clients to donate to a "fellowship fund" for people who can't afford resume writing services.
    • Vetted contractors. WriteSea has a backup service for you if you get overwhelmed or go on vacation. They can provide resume writers via a staffing agreement for your clients while you’re away or if you want to offboard some work. The writer staffing service is an additional fee for WriteSea customers.
    • Free training on setup and hang-ups. I mentioned this before, but I do think it is the best part of WriteSea. The team goes out of their way to make your business successful.

    What's next for WriteSea?

    September is a big month for WriteSea. They are launching two major programs – an accelerated startup program for new resume writers and the addition of coaching-specific features to the platform, like notetaking and more.

    Let's start with the accelerated startup program. This program is aimed at the new resume writer and features a reduced service fee for the first six months. It also includes an on-demand sales and marketing training series. Contact Adrianne at [email protected] if you want more details on this service.

    Lastly, WriteSea is gearing up for fundraising in Q4 2021 and beyond, so if you’re interested in learning more about investment opportunities, please contact Adrianne. WriteSea could be the next unicorn!

    Meet the WriteSea Team

    Brandon Mitchell is the Founder and CEO at WriteSea, one of the fastest-growing business management platforms for writers and coaches in the career services industry. Brandon started his career as a resume writer and has worked with thousands of job seekers from all walks of life and industries. Before launching WriteSea, Brandon worked as a technology consultant for PwC, a global accounting and advisory powerhouse. He has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Earn Your Leisure, The Squeeze, and Blapitalist for his insights. Find him online at

    Adrianne Burnikel is a sales executive and customer success manager for WriteSea. She assists career services businesses around the world with improving, upskilling, and streamlining their operations. She's had the luxury of working with some of the most prominent firms in the industry and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Find her online at

    Mitchel Roe is a product owner and customer success associate for WriteSea. He assists clients with mind mapping our platform to their business needs and solving complex feature and UX/UI problems. Mitchel is a trusted partner for all things tech, features, and systems. Find him online at

    Want more info on the OMS made for resume writers? Contact WriteSea at [email protected] or visit

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