resume help

Starting My Own Business: 10-Months In!

Greg Balloons

Dear Mom... and whoever else decides to read this blog <3

Ten months ago today, I launched Greg Langstaff - Resume Writer & Interview Coach! Believe it or not, I'm still standing :) 

Since January 8th, I have served 43 clients (plus five currently in process) and I owe a great deal of that success to all of you who supported me. Thank you to anyone who passed my name onto some who needed help, or shared my promotional content online, or simply asked me how the business was going. Without you, I am but a lonely man posting memes on his Facebook page.

For all those following along the journey, here's how the first ten months have gone :)

The Money

I don’t think enough people share the cold hard numbers when they talk about their businesses, but like a good resume, I want to show you my specific and measurable accomplishments.

My initial goal was to make a modest $1,000 this year. I went onto hit that in February so I set a new goal of $5,000. I've honestly stopped keeping track of how much money I've made exactly (I guess I'll have to figure that out before tax season), but I can tell you that I'm somewhere north of $6,000. 


The Commitment

At the six month-mark (after some eye-opening spring travelling with Ariana), I decided that I liked running this business enough that it was time to commit. Here's a quick summary of what committing looks like for me: 


July: I registered as a Sole Proprietor with the Government of Ontario. 

August: I applied for and was accepted to the Futurpreneur Mentorship program for young entrepreneurs. I now have a great mentor who is helping me expand my business. 

September: Record-high month in revenue generation at roughly $1,200. 

October: I became a card-carrying member of the Career Professionals of Canada. 

November: I am studying for my Certified Resume Strategist designation which I hope to have by the end of this year. 


Lessons Learned

The first ten months have definitely dropped some knowledge into my lap. I've done my best to categorize those lessons for you. 


Marketing: You can get it for free, and you can pay for it too. 

I've had great success in posting useful content in my social media just to generate awareness in my business and tossing out the occasional sales pitch. To be honest, the content generation does get challenging, and I've been guilty of disappearing for weeks on end. It's a lot of work and I also worry about over-saturating my newsfeed and wearing out my welcome. 

I'm also starting to dabble in paid marketing (this is where it's great to have an experienced mentor). I’ve done a bit of Facebook and now I’m messing around with Google Ads a bit, which has proven to be fairly successful so far.


Service Excellence: I’ve also found that the best way to find new clients is to do a damn good job with the ones you have! About 20% of my clients have been referred by other satisfied clients. That's not a bad ROI for just doing your job with a smile... also it's nice to genuinely help people, but that’s not as measurable ;) 


People are Amazing: There are a lot of really great people out there. I'm so lucky to get to spend a hour on the phone with each of my clients, hearing all about their incredible lives. I have learned so much about so many different professions that I would have never learned if I hadn't started this business. Talking to people has been my absolute favourite part. 


What's Next?

Here's a quick taste of some upcoming initiatives for my business.

Certification: As mentioned above, I'm currently studying to become a Certified Resume Strategist. Just reading the textbook as already validated a lot of my earlier work and given me more confidence in my ability to help my clients. 

More Succinct Marketing Plan: Some of you may have heard that I recently moved in with my beloved, Ariana. And you may know that she is a digital marketing professional. So between Ariana and my mentor, I feel great about the direction my marketing strategy is heading in. 

Video Course: I've been talking about this for a long time now, but I swear I'm going to do it!


Thanks for reading! If you're thinking about starting a business or you recently started one and you want to talk, hit me up!


Lessons Learned from a 150-page Resume Textbook

Canadian Resume Strategist Textbook Cover

I recently became a member of the Career Professionals of Canada organization and as a new member, I am eligible to pursue my Certified Resume Strategists designation.

The first step in pursuing this designation is reading a 150-page textbook on writing great resumes. I’m almost done reading the book and I wanted to share some useful tidbits that I picked up along the way.

 

1. Think of your Resume as a Marketing Tool. In marketing, the object is to identify the potential buyer’s needs and cater your messaging towards them. For resume writers, that means carefully researching the target company, industry, and job duties in order to highlight the most relevant skills and accomplishments on the resume.

The book differentiates this from using the resume as a sales tool, wherein you might be tempted to just list all the best things about yourself regardless of what the employer needs.


2. Build your Resume around your Unique Value Proposition. Decide what makes you uniquely qualified for the position to which you are applying (i.e. Pilot Project Specialist, Software Solutions Sales Expert, Progressive Team-Builder, Innovative Problem-Solver) and use that as sort of a thesis statement which you back up throughout the resume.

Implementing this would mean using a headline or summary statement at the top of your resume such as “Safety-Focused Warehouse Manager” and following up with accomplishments like “Designed and implemented enhanced safety protocol company-wide; resulting in a 125% decrease in workplace injuries.”


3. Under work experience, emphasize accomplishments over job duties. Use SMART statements (Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Results-Oriented, Time-Bound) to highlight things you accomplished in previous roles, rather than simply listing job duties.

Bad example: “Entered customer profile information in database”

Good example: “Generated 50-75 customer profiles per week using the ABC Software company database, utilized by account management team to increase customer retention by 15% in 2017”

4. Some random, yet specific tips. The tips above are very conceptual. Here are some very specific tips for you from the textbook.

  • Objective statements are out of style (“I would like to acquire employment at blah, blah, blah”) and that space can be used more effectively with a headline (example in point 2).

  • There is no set rule about page limit but lengthy resumes (over two pages) can be off-putting to recruiters unless you have a great reason to take up so much space.

  • Leave plenty of white space on your resume. An overly busy resume is tough to read and could reduce recruiter interest.

  • Avoid photos, logos, and graphics. Unless you are a creative professional or a model, just stick with good-old reliable “words”.

There were lots of other interesting tips and guidelines in the textbook, but I know my audience and that is probably enough information for this instalment.

If you need any help with your resume, I’m getting pretty darn good at writing them, so please reach out!

Thanks for reading!