Kelly Donovan, CPRW, NCOPE, CHJMC, CICNC
Executive Resume Writer, LinkedIn Profile Writer, Job Search Coach
I started my business in 2007 after helping friends and family members with their resumes and realizing that I was good at helping them, and also enjoyed doing it. After gaining some momentum, I left my day job to be self-employed full time in 2008, and I never looked back (and haven’t had a W2 job since then)!
Since then, I’ve gained substantial training in career development topics through four industry groups, and I’ve continued to improve the value I offer my clients. My business has evolved as the job market has evolved, and staying on the leading edge has always been a major differentiator from my competitors.
I joined LinkedIn in 2006, prior to starting my business, and began recommending it to my clients at a time when few of them had heard of it. I started learning as much as I could about LinkedIn and soon began to include LinkedIn profile writing and training as a complement to my resume writing services.
After observing how many of my clients struggled with using new and existing relationships to get their foot in the door at target companies, I earned my certification in job search coaching through the Career Thought Leaders Consortium. This program added more tools to my toolkit for helping job seekers.
In addition to working one-on-one with executive job seekers, I also offer outplacement services for companies that are downsizing. This can take the form of workshops, online programs, or one-on-one services to help the employees who are exiting a company.
My Background Before My Business
My prior career history has been helpful for working with clients. After earning my B.A. in journalism, I worked as an award-winning daily newspaper reporter, which helped me develop strong interviewing and writing abilities that now come in handy for interviewing clients and writing compelling content for them.
After three years in journalism, I made a slight career change and went to work at a small public relations and marketing firm, where I became its manager. This gave me a taste of the hiring process, helping me understand the challenges and perspectives of employers.
While working in marketing and PR, I also began broadening my writing skills beyond journalistic writing, learning how to create content that sells. Ultimately, I blended the two writing styles together to form my style for writing executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles that impress readers without seeming to brag.
My Team Members
As the business has evolved over the years, I’ve experimented quite a bit and adapted based on what works best.
Ultimately, I found that I prefer to be a writer rather than being an editor fixing other writers’ work—that’s why I don’t currently use resume writing sub-contractors (unlike many of the companies in my industry).
I do, however, have talented associates who are able to assist with outplacement projects for corporate clients, and I also have top-notch coaches who are able to coach clients when they have specific needs for specialized coaching that is outside of my “zone of genius.”
My business has been featured on Face the Truth, a CBS talk show televised throughout the U.S., and I’ve been quoted in articles appearing in/on Forbes, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Money Magazine, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, MarketWatch, WIRED, New York Post, Glassdoor, and many others. See media coverage and contributions here.
My work and career advice has been featured in popular career books available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other booksellers:
- Resumes for Dummies, 8th Ed. (Wiley, 2019) and 7th ed. (Wiley, 2015) by Laura DeCarlo
- Modernize Your Job Search Letters: Get Noticed … Get Hired (Emerald Career Publishing, 2016) by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark
- Gallery of Best Cover Letters, 4th ed. (JIST, 2012) by David F. Noble
- Career Tips for Job Search Success Vol. 1, e-book (2020) by the National Resume Writers Association
- 101 Great Ways to Compete in Today’s Job Market, e-book (Self Improvement Online Inc., 2013) by Michelle A. Riklan and David Riklan
- Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE). This is a certification in LinkedIn strategy and profile writing through the National Resume Writers’ Association. Although I was already well-versed on LinkedIn profile best practices, I wanted to demonstrate this competence and make sure I stay at the top of my game. I completed an extensive training program in 2020 and received 100% on my final exam. I renew it annually to ensure that I’m always up to date on the latest LinkedIn developments.
- Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). I received this credential from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC) in 2011 after passing a multi-part exam that tests knowledge of hiring topics and resume writing ability.
- Certified Hidden Job Market Coach (CHJMC). I earned this credential through the Career Thought Leaders Consortium in 2017-2018 after completing an extensive live course covering job search strategies, coaching approaches, and structuring of services to help candidates land faster.
- Certified Interview & Compensation Negotiation Coach (CICNC). I earned this from the Career Thought Leaders Consortium in 2023 after completing an extensive live course covering best practices in interviewing and salary negotiation, as well as best practices in preparing clients for interviews.
Professional Affiliations / Memberships
- Member of Career Directors International (CDI)
- Member of the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA)
- Member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC)
Education and Training
- B.A. in journalism from the University of North Florida.
- Ongoing professional development:
> National conferences, webinars, teleseminars, conference calls, and virtual round-tables from the National Resume Writers’ Association, Career Directors International, the Career Thought Leaders Consortium, and Resume Writing Academy.
> Extensive reading, including relevant blogs and news, as well as 60+ books related to job search, LinkedIn, resumes, interviewing, personal brand, and other career topics.
I’ve spent $15K+ and 350+ hours on relevant training (LinkedIn, resumes, job search, personal brand, and more)–saving you the time of this research.
My work was nominated for an international resume writing award in 2013. A resume I wrote garnered a nomination in the “Re-Entry” category of the prestigious Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) competition sponsored by Career Directors International. The competition draws entries from the top resume writers worldwide and is judged by distinguished industry veterans and past winners.
Previously, as a newspaper reporter, I received eight awards and honors from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists Inland Pro Chapter in California.
Past Community & Professional Involvement
- Past Chair of the Ambassador Committee – Redlands Chamber of Commerce (Redlands, CA)
- Past Board Member, National Association of Women Business Owners – Inland Empire (Corona, CA)
- Past Board Member, American Marketing Association – Inland Empire (Riverside, CA)
- Past Board Member, Public Relations Society of America – CA Inland Empire Chapter (Riverside, CA)
- Past President, Soroptimist International of Redlands (Redlands, CA)
- Former Volunteer, the Youth Action Project – San Bernardino, CA
A world traveler, I’ve lived in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. I’m originally from the Washington, D.C. area and am currently based in Southern California. My global exposure helps me relate to executives from around the world and clients of all cultures and nationalities.
DON’T hire an executive resume writer or LinkedIn profile writer without first asking these questions.