Power Up

2. Resume Preparation Service

If you enjoy helping other people put their best foot forward, consider starting a resume preparation service. A resume expert creates well-designed, well-written resumes that help professionals set themselves apart from other applicants. A resume company is like a personal advertising agency for job-seekers.

A few years ago, the resume industry focused on the unemployed. But today, thanks to a strong economy and job market, a much broader demand for resume services has emerged, as people with jobs want better ones. "[Until recently,] people who had jobs tended to hold on to them, rather than investigate whether there was a better [position open]. They were glad to have any job-even one without raises or promotions," says Frank Fox, executive director of the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW) in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Now, all [those people with] pent-up frustrations and disappointments are going job-shopping."

Resume preparers often have experience in copywriting or human resources, says Fox, but there are exceptions. René Hart, 29, worked in clerical and executive support jobs for 10 years before starting First Impressions Resume and Career Development Services in Lakeland, Florida, in 1993. She not only prepares resumes for specific career paths and particular positions, but also helps clients disseminate their resumes to potential employers. "Beyond developing the resume, [my services] encompass everything from mailing, faxing and e-mail distribution to posting the resume on the Internet," Hart says.

Joining PARW was an early decision for Hart, who became a certified professional resume writer through the association. Last year, she generated nearly $20,000 in revenues by working only 20 hours a week.

Most of Hart's clients find her company in the local Yellow Pages, but she's recently broadened her geographical reach by setting up a Web site. Fox agrees the Yellow Pages works well for resume preparers seeking leads. He also suggests such low-cost marketing strategies as sending press releases to the media and speaking in front of local groups and at public libraries.

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This article was originally published in the December 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Power Up.

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