Kelly’s Answers

To Questions for an Executive Resume Writer and LinkedIn Profile Writer

By Kelly Donovan – Principal of Kelly Donovan & Associates

1. What type of business are you?
This is a career services firm that provides executive resume writing, LinkedIn profile writing, LinkedIn consulting, and other services to help you land your ideal role.

Kelly head shot

Kelly Donovan, CPRW, CHJMC, NCOPE

2. Are you certified by a reputable career industry organization?
I’m a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) through the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). Read on to learn more about my LinkedIn and job search certifications from other organizations.

3. Do you provide assistance with LinkedIn strategy and LinkedIn profiles?
Yes! This is a huge aspect of my business. I write LinkedIn profiles, provide live one-on-one LinkedIn training for clients, and have a series of LinkedIn training videos I’ve created. Many clients hire me for LinkedIn assistance only.

I’m certified as a Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE), a designation that involves extensive LinkedIn training and a comprehensive exam (I passed with 100%). This is renewed annually after completion of training on the latest LinkedIn developments from the past year.

4. Is this a side business? In other words, do you have a day job, or do you run your business full time?
The last time I had a W2 job was in 2008, and this is my full-time business.

5. Are you involved with any professional associations for career/resume services?
I’m a member of the four major industry groups: the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA), Career Directors International (CDI), the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC), and the Career Thought Leaders Consortium (CTL). I’ve received extensive training through these organizations. I’m committed to the profession and stay up to date on trends in resumes, job searching, and LinkedIn.

6. Do you have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field?
Yes. I have a bachelor’s degree in print journalism with a minor in English from the University of North Florida.

7. Do you provide help with job search strategy and interview preparation?
Yes. I provide one-on-one job search coaching, and periodically I provide a Job Search Strategy Session via conference call for small groups of clients (typically 2-6 clients). The session goes over job search DOs and DON’Ts, networking secrets, and any specific questions or challenges you might have. I’m a Certified Hidden Job Market Coach (CHJMC) through the Career Thought Leaders Consortium. Additionally, I have an outstanding coach with a recruiting background who can get you ready for the most demanding interviews.

8. How many years of business experience do you have? Do you have hiring experience?

My two decades of professional experience includes working as an award-winning daily newspaper reporter (three years), working as a manager at a marketing and PR firm (three years), and owning this business (15 years and counting).

During my time at the marketing and PR firm, I interviewed and hired employees and contractors. As the owner of my business, I have interviewed and hired contractors over the years (although I do not use any writing contractors at this time).

One of the contractors I kept on my team for many years was a seasoned executive recruiter who provided consulting for clients and advised me on executive resumes and nuances of executive job search. I continue to benefit from everything I learned, and the knowledge I gained bolstered my understanding of what recruiters do, above and beyond what I’ve learned from recruiters at career industry conferences.

8. Are there any “hidden charges” I should know about?

No. You will be aware of all fees before we start on your project; unlike some firms, I don’t charge exorbitant fees for simple things like file conversions.

9. What sort of recognition or accolades have you earned?

My work has been published in four books: Resumes for Dummies, the 7th Ed. and 8th Ed. (Wiley, 2015 and 2019), Gallery of Best Cover Letters (JIST, 2012), and Modernize Your Job Search Letters (Emerald Career Publishing, 2016).

A resume I wrote was nominated for an international resume writing award in the prestigious 2013 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.

Additionally, during my newspaper writing career, I received eight awards and honors from regional and statewide contests for professional journalists over a three-year period.

My career advice has been quoted by Forbes, Money Magazine, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Entrepreneur, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Detroit Free Press, The Palm Beach Post, and other major websites and media outlets. My business was also featured on the CBS television show “Face the Truth.”

10. How long, on average, do you spend on a resume for someone?
That depends on several variables, of course, but my projects typically range from 8 to 11 hours for the executive resume writing process alone (this isn’t including time for crafting LinkedIn content, cover letter, bio, etc.). The total time for a package can be more than 20 hours.

11. How much do you charge?
Typical investment levels in my strategic, high-ROI career packages vary based on services included and complexity. Each project is unique and entails a custom quote. You can learn more on my Services and Pricing page.

You’ll find that my rates reflect the sizable amount of time and effort that goes into my services, as well as the expertise I offer based on my experience and training, and the exceptional results that my clients routinely achieve. Keep in mind that a cheap resume isn’t cheap if you’re losing money every month because of being underpaid or on unemployment.

11. Who will handle my project?
You’ll be working with me (the owner) from start to finish, and you’ll get highly personalized attention. No outsourcing, no factory-style process.

12. Are there any hidden charges I should know about?
I won’t hit you with surprise fees for file conversions, and your investment will include up to three rounds of revisions (most companies include only two rounds). Less than 3% of my clients have required more than three rounds.

13. Do you have expertise in incorporating keywords into resumes, and optimizing resumes for employers’ software?
Yes. I have gained extensive knowledge from working closely with a software company specializing in applicant tracking systems.

I do have software I use for keyword optimization, and I can teach you the ins and outs of keyword optimization–but most of my executive clients aren’t applying for advertised openings “cold” through a company’s website (they’re often working with a recruiter or being referred by a professional contact).

For some job seekers, keywords matter quite a bit; but at an executive level, the more important thing is usually that your resume contains the appropriate industry buzzwords to sway a human reader.

14. How does the process work?
I’ll give you some homework, then we’ll have a detailed info gathering and strategy session (or series of calls), and then I’ll write the resume and make any revisions you want. After that, I’ll tackle the LinkedIn profile and any other documents in your package.

15. Will the content of my resume and LinkedIn profile be original?
Everything I write is a custom job, and I don’t use pre-written templates or resume writing software.

16. Do you specialize in my industry or profession?
I specialize in resume writing (and related services/products) for senior executives in most industries, as well as sales, healthcare, media, and the business side of technology. However, I’ve also helped clients land jobs in many other fields over the years, and I have written job-winning resumes for fields that I previously had no knowledge of. If your project is outside of my wheel house, I will let you know and refer you to a trusted industry colleague (ie., competitor).

17. Will you be there for me for the long haul?
Yes. As you begin looking for a job, I’d like us to stay in touch. You can always contact me with any questions along the way. After you land your new job, let me know, and I can help you with wording to update your LinkedIn profile. And then we can reconvene every year or two to update your resume with your latest accomplishments, keeping you ready at all times.

18. What do past clients have to say, and what results have they achieved?
I’ve helped clients land new positions, make more money, re-enter the workforce, and change careers. You can read recommendations that clients have written for me on my LinkedIn profile (you’ll need to be logged into your account), and I’ve also included many of these recommendations from LinkedIn on my Success Stories page, too.

Read my explanations of these questions and what to look for in an executive resume writer and LinkedIn profile writer.