What's the first thing a person needs (besides persistence and thick skin) when they go job-hunting? A really good resume. That, plus a good cover letter, is what separates the wheat from the chaff when prospective employers pore through paper piles of hopeful applicants. Unfortunately, most people have no idea how to write a winning resume. If you have a flair for the written word and a way with people, you can come to the rescue with a resume service. You'll interview your clients to find out where they've been, what they've done and where their talents lie, then design and write a resume that showcases them from both business and personal viewpoints. In addition to resume writing, you can add other services like writing cover letters, providing career counseling or interview rehearsals. The advantages to this business are that you can work at home, you can start part time, you meet lots of interesting people in all avenues of life, and you get the satisfaction of helping people better themselves and their lives. You'll need a solid knowledge of what makes a good resume in terms of both format and content--and then a copywriter's creativity for making each one stand out from the crowd. You must have excellent grammar, punctuation and spelling skills and tiptop people talents. (One reason people have a hard time writing their own resumes is that they can't see what's special in their own backgrounds--drawing this out will be your job.) Understand that you'll have your clients' career and financial future, at least in part, in your hands; with this business comes a lot of responsibility.
Your clients can be just anybody who wants a job, whether or not they're currently employed or in what capacity. College students are a terrific target market--when they near graduation, they have to go to work somewhere--and those at the sophomore and junior level need resumes to land internships. Graduate students also make good sources of business. Beyond the student zone, you can target mid- and upper-level management and professional types as well as empty-nest or suddenly single moms. Target the college market by placing fliers on bulletin boards all over campus or by mailing brochures to lists you can rent from the school. Offer a finder's fee to clients who refer other business. Nab business clients by networking in local professional and civic organizations, introducing yourself to the staff at local business incubators, unemployment offices and disability retraining facilities. Post fliers on public library bulletin boards and at copy centers. Give seminars and workshops--always a good source of clients--and place ads in the Yellow Pages and in local newspapers.
You'll need a computer with a laser printer, a fax machine, a copier and word-processing software. Because you'll be interviewing clients you should also have a comfortable setting in which to work with them, either in your home or in a public setting.