I’ve been asked why I do free resume writing workshops and seminars. Some people wonder if I am not experienced enough to charge for my time. Other (usually more well-meaning) people are concerned that as a micro-entrepreneur, aka sole proprietor, I am giving away the keys to the kingdom by providing workshops for the very thing I charge money for. And then there are other questions that don’t fit into either sphere, but are just as valid. They are all legitimate questions, but I will answer the main two here.
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
SHORT ANSWER: YES. I served nine years in the U.S. Air Force. After that I made a smooth transition to a DoD civilian position for an additional nine years.
I joined the Air Force at 20 years old. I was four years out of High School and went straight to UCLA, then dropped out after three years. I was a born and raised Navy brat, and after getting a lot of things out of my system, realized the military was the best way of achieving my goals. (Those four years were my own Rumspringa of sorts). Four years into the military, I became a supervisor, responsible for the not only the health and well-being of my Airmen, but for their promotion documents as well. I had been a writer and English major at UCLA. In my new role, I took particular interest in crafting the accomplishments of my subordinates in ways that our supervisors would recognize as worthy of promotion. I kept that up for the next four years.
After I was honorably discharged from the Air Force, I transitioned to a DoD civilian position. Same job, same desk, better dress code. I worked my way up from team member to team leader to team chief and then finally deputy branch chief. Throughout this time I gained and maintained a position reviewing resumes. One of my main duties was to provide first line feedback to people seeking to submit their resumes for classification review. I was trained on what is allowed and not allowed, what was classified and what was not. Let me be clear, classification review was NOT my entire job. That belongs to a whole other set of professionals. I was only tasked to review the document and highlight any areas that might contain classified information before it was sent to the classification professionals. In that way, I could provide lowest-level feedback and allow people to make the requisite changes before final submission. That led me to learning more about resume writing in general, the do’s and don’ts. It was all so fascinating!
I resigned from my DoD position in 2013. There was a lot going on with me personally, but professionally it became a situation where the sacrifices were not worth the benefits. I have not looked back and am thankful e-v-e-r-y-day that I had the opportunity to do so (close to 20 years of retirement savings to cash out, children at home from HS age to infants and a supportive spouse). I launched Paradise Writing soon after. I provide professional and personal writing services on demand. I have worked for domestic and international clients doing things from product reviews, product descriptions, and blog entries to letters of protest or strongly worded editorials.
ENOUGH ABOUT THAT, WHY DO YOU TELL PEOPLE HOW TO DO WHAT YOU DO FOR MONEY?
This one is really simple. I provide a service. Like dog walking or lawn care or hairdressing or manicures, it is indeed a service. I am skilled at and willing to do something that most people do not want to do for themselves, but still need to have done. Yes, you can find tutorials and YouTube videos for anything you want or need for free. You can watch hundreds or thousands of hours of them. Only a few people will take that knowledge and run to do it themselves. Of those, some will find an unknown talent or at least get the job done. Most will end up hiring a professional after all. That is why I don’t mind giving free workshops. I give everyone who attends everything they need to craft a viable and effective resume. What they do with that knowledge is up to them. I spell out everything step by step, provide templates, and even help with individual wording.
I admit, I recently fell into a tutorial spiral on YouTube myself, where I watched over 100 hours of hair, nail and makeup tutorials. However, I was not able to recreate their success at home on my own. I still go to my hairdresser, go to my nail salon, and can’t resist a Sephora or Mac store with helpful artists. It is still beneficial to produce and see those tutorials because at the very least, the viewer will be a more informed client. The idea is, if you give it away with good intentions, it will come back to you.