There were times when I didn’t love my job, mostly because I felt stifled as promotions were few and far between, and I knew I had so much more to offer. One day I took a leap of faith and landed into teaching and resume writing, then career coaching.
Most of my clients these days come from referrals. This not only makes it easy on my marketing, but it’s third-party validation of the work that I do.
A couple of months ago, I received an enquiry email from an HR Manager who was looking for a resume suitable for a Board appointment; a LinkedIn Profile and another resume in readiness for another opportunity, notwithstanding she had just been promoted a month earlier. In the email, she mentioned she was referred by a one of my clients. While I always aim to autograph my work with excellence, when it’s a referral, I double down, literally.
We met in my office and she explained what her needs were. I reviewed the documents she brought then asked for additional information including past performance appraisals. Within four weeks she had received her career marketing documents and was on her way.
After several weeks I followed up with her, as is customary. While listening to her feedback I asked if she could put some of what she was saying (about working with me) in writing. This is what she wrote. Am blushing even though you wouldn’t notice:
“I too am thankful to Gladys for connecting us. She told me you were amazing and extremely helpful but I don’t think I realized at the time just how much of a return on investment would come my way when I first reached out to you.
In working with you, I found that the process of resume development should be pursued with thoughtfulness and consideration. Taking the time to focus in on the accomplishments of my past and quantifying my value in each role has been one of the greatest practical skills I have learned from you. One of the first things I did at work was to quantify the mediation work I performed into legal/arbitrations savings for my Director. She was wowed by that information and immediately wanted to show it to her boss.
I was extremely impressed with the extra efforts you took to assist me with my moderator assignment – helping me craft a biography and even building on my speaker’s notes. The rave reviews I received for that initiative was definitely attributable to your encouragement, support and assistance. You’re coaching skills are outstanding. Ever since you recommended ways to build upon my personal brand, I have been journaling my work accomplishments and projects every week so that I have something to look back upon for ease of application and retrieval.
Daisy, you’re a consummate professional. You’re passionate about your work and ensuring that your client puts their best foot forward. You helped me identify and promote myself through an eye catching marketable resume and cover letter. I even marveled at my accomplishments after reading your work.
I hope that we can continue to work with each other in the future. You will be the first person I call for coaching and interviewing tips when the time comes. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you. Thank you very much for all that you’ve done to help me in this next phase of my career.”
The other client was a star employee for a couple of well-known technology brands. She was not a referral but found me through Google. As an entrepreneur for more than 10 years, she has reached the stage where she wants to do work that she enjoys rather than “chasing the money”. We spent many hours strategizing on what skills to highlight, and what to say if she’s asked why she’s targeting lower-level jobs – yes, lower-level, but interesting positions. I get hot behind my ears when I have to ask for a testimonial, but when I listen to what some people say about my services, I sometimes sheepishly ask them if they mind putting it in writing. Here’s what this client wrote:
“Daisy is a powerhouse of knowledge and compassion. She has helped me to reposition myself and my resume so that it reflects more of who I truly am. Through working with her I can now approach prospective employers with greater confidence and ease. It is such a pleasure to not only work with Daisy but to experience her knowledge, care and support that goes well above and beyond!”
While writing this post, I received an email from another client. He hasn’t announced his new position publicly as yet, but his note reads:
“Before I publicly announce it via LinkedIn I wanted to let you know I’ve accepted a role at (Big Name Company) as a Director in Technical Sales. I am making a huge leap forward financially and in terms of responsibility. Thank you for helping me to understand my unique value proposition. I’d love to write you up an official recommendation if you like.”
It’s a given that not everyone who contacts me will be a good fit. I have had to turn away clients and some have had to turn me away, but in all cases it has worked out well for me, and I hope for them. I have learned in the process to narrow my niche to individuals in mid to senior-level management, and those on the cusp of management – who recognize that it takes time to understand who they are, what their goals are, and develop career marketing documents that focus on those goals. They understand that price plays a role, but value is more important than price. They are also willing to accept my advice, believe in themselves, and stretch beyond what they thought possible.
Having said that, am I giving up on other potential clients because they don’t fit the above profile? No, because many of my clients are not in that niche but we have built such a relationship that we’re stuck with each other. Others I have volunteered to work with on a pro bono basis after assessing their needs, and am equally happy to continue helping them.
These are the reasons I love my job, and I am grateful to work with the calibre of clients that I have.