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The biggest mistake people make on their résumés

Kim Mohiuddin is a nationally certified résumé writer, president of both MovinOnUpResumes.com and Authentic Executive Careers, and Certification Chair for the National Résumé Writers’ Association.

Why don’t you start by telling me exactly what you do.

Career communications. So, this means anything written that a person needs to manage their career, including résumés, cover letters, biographies, social networking profiles, etc. This sometimes includes coaching.

How did you get started in this line of work?

I always had success with the résumés I wrote for myself (and I’ve had just under a million jobs in my life). I remember seeing a list of professional résumé writers in a book I had bought. That was an “aha” moment for me when I realized that people made a living doing this.

I’m guessing you see a lot of amateur résumés. What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when they do their own?

Talking about their duties instead of how their work benefited the company. Anyone interested in hiring, say, an accountant knows the tasks they perform. What you need to tell them is how much money you saved, how you improved customer satisfaction, how you got the only 100% audit score.

OK, so let’s say someone asks you to start or redo their résumé. What’s the first step?

I find out what their current target is. What field, industry, and even companies they’re after. It’s important to always write to the target audience.

And then what?

We go through their work history to uncover differentiating examples, like the specific successes I mentioned before, and to get a clear idea of who the client is. I am a ghost writer. I make it a point to get to know my clients so that the voice of their résumé or profile is theirs–not mine. I work hard to portray each client at his or her very best.

How much do you charge for a basic package, say, a résumé and cover letter?

I guide a team of highly trained writers, and the range starts at $395 and up for a résumé and cover letter. I work one-on-one with select executive clients on extensive career portfolios that run in the 4-figure range.

How do you know when your résumés have been successful? Do your clients inform you when they land jobs or promotions or whatever they were hoping for?

I think the most telling fact about my clients’ success is that more than 50% of my business is repeat and referral.

What does it take to do what you do? Let’s say someone is a decent writer. Is that enough?

You have to like people, be able to earn their trust so you can uncover the real “gold” they have to offer their next employer. A good understanding of business is also a must.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is intent on doing their own résumé?

Don’t copy someone else’s résumé. Get a good résumé book or look at samples online to get ideas, but make sure the content and tone are yours, or it will get lost in the pile.

And what would you say to someone interested in being a résumé writer? For instance, what are the best and worst parts of the job?

The best part is living vicariously through my clients. I feel like I’ve been a call center manager, CEO, marketing manager, Iraq-based medic, and more. The tough part is managing your time with a creative product in a deadline-driven industry.

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Kim Mohiuddin is a nationally certified résumé writer, president of both MovinOnUpResumes.com and Authentic Executive Careers, and Certification Chair for the National Résumé Writers’ Association.

Why don’t you start by telling me exactly what you do.

Career communications. So, this means anything written that a person needs to manage their career, including résumés, cover letters, biographies, social networking profiles, etc. This sometimes includes coaching.

How did you get started in this line of work?

I always had success with the résumés I wrote for myself (and I’ve had just under a million jobs in my life). I remember seeing a list of professional résumé writers in a book I had bought. That was an “aha” moment for me when I realized that people made a living doing this.

I’m guessing you see a lot of amateur résumés. What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when they do their own?

Talking about their duties instead of how their work benefited the company. Anyone interested in hiring, say, an accountant knows the tasks they perform. What you need to tell them is how much money you saved, how you improved customer satisfaction, how you got the only 100% audit score.

OK, so let’s say someone asks you to start or redo their résumé. What’s the first step?

I find out what their current target is. What field, industry, and even companies they’re after. It’s important to always write to the target audience.

And then what?

We go through their work history to uncover differentiating examples, like the specific successes I mentioned before, and to get a clear idea of who the client is. I am a ghost writer. I make it a point to get to know my clients so that the voice of their résumé or profile is theirs–not mine. I work hard to portray each client at his or her very best.

How much do you charge for a basic package, say, a résumé and cover letter?

I guide a team of highly trained writers, and the range starts at $395 and up for a résumé and cover letter. I work one-on-one with select executive clients on extensive career portfolios that run in the 4-figure range.

How do you know when your résumés have been successful? Do your clients inform you when they land jobs or promotions or whatever they were hoping for?

I think the most telling fact about my clients’ success is that more than 50% of my business is repeat and referral.

What does it take to do what you do? Let’s say someone is a decent writer. Is that enough?

You have to like people, be able to earn their trust so you can uncover the real “gold” they have to offer their next employer. A good understanding of business is also a must.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is intent on doing their own résumé?

Don’t copy someone else’s résumé. Get a good résumé book or look at samples online to get ideas, but make sure the content and tone are yours, or it will get lost in the pile.

And what would you say to someone interested in being a résumé writer? For instance, what are the best and worst parts of the job?

The best part is living vicariously through my clients. I feel like I’ve been a call center manager, CEO, marketing manager, Iraq-based medic, and more. The tough part is managing your time with a creative product in a deadline-driven industry.

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