Career Warrior Podcast #302) What’s It Like Working With a Resume Writer? | Katy McElroy, LEG Managing Editor
Today I brought on Katy McElroy, Managing Editor of Let’s Eat, Grandma.
In today’s episode, we’re privileged to tap into Katy’s wealth of knowledge and experience as we explore what it truly means to work with a professional resume writer. From the concept of teaming up with a professional – to demystifying the intricacies of resume editing, Katy will guide us through the resume writing process as well as how to make the decision of whether or not to work with a professional.
So, whether you’re a job seeker aiming to revamp your resume or a professional seeking insights into the world of content editing and project management, this episode promises to be an exciting journey. Join me as we sit down with the brilliant Katy McElroy to give some character, color, and voice behind the resume writing process.
Katy McElroy 0:00
I think the biggest mistake is just not like thinking that it doesn’t matter and not really filling out all the fields kind of like phoning it in maybe copy pasting like a couple sentences from their resume summary into their about section.
Chris Villanueva 0:23
LinkedIn presents. Welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast.
And welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast. This is an episode about what it’s like to work with a professional resume writer, oh my gosh, I’ve been wanting to do this episode for a while because I know we have a lot of prospective clients who are interested in working with a resume writer, but they haven’t done so before. And I know we also have clients who want to maximize the actual process and make sure that their resume turns out in the best shape possible. So I’m doing this episode for those folks and I really want to make sure to give a real holistic view of the actual process and working with a resume writing company.
I brought on somebody who I should have brought on a long time ago for the podcast, her name is Katy McElroy. She is the Managing Editor for Let’s Eat, Grandma resume service. Katy has so much experience when it comes to looking at documents. She has a really awesome eye and she has really honed in and used her expertise in the world of resume writing for the last few years now. And so I’m really proud to have Katy on the show finally.
We’ll talk about the resume writing process as well as the decision of whether or not to work with a professional resume writer. And I know this is somewhat of a biased episode. Yes, it’s a podcast episode on whether to work with a writer and what the process is like from a resume writing company. I do acknowledge that wholeheartedly, but I do want to give a real honest big picture. Really, I want to zoom out and help you understand and to make that decision here. And so we’ll even talk about who the resumem who working with a professional resume writer is not right for I think that’s something good to address as well.
So, we’re gonna kick into this episode in just a few seconds here but I just cannot wait to get into it. Make sure you are subscribed because we have lots of exciting content coming out for jobseekers, LinkedIn, cover letters, the job search process, career coaches and things like that. You’re not going to want to miss an episode. So make sure again, you’re subscribed. And let’s kick right into Episode 302 of the Career Warrior Podcast. Katy, welcome to the show.
Katy McElroy 2:44
Hi, Chris. Thanks for having me.
Chris Villanueva 2:46
Like I said, it is a long time coming to have you on this podcast episode. So I’m so excited for us to have this conversation about the resume process. Why don’t you kick right into what you do as a Managing Editor for lLt’s Eat, Grandma, I’m sure folks are dying to know what it is exactly Managing Editor does for resume service.
Katy McElroy 3:06
Right? Yeah, it’s great to be on the podcast after listening to it all the time, and kind of obviously talking to you all the time at work. So as a Managing Editor at Let’s Eat, Grandma, I basically just help our writers, our team of resume writers, create all their documents for their clients. So I give them a sort of feedback on the documents as they are creating them or their first drafts. And I also answer any questions that come up before the consultation, whether if they’re wondering about how to write the position or what kind of questions to ask the clients in the consultation. And then I also I review their documents before they send them to their client so that they are exactly what they’re saying what they want them to say. Then, we also have some other reviewers that helped me and so I manage them, and kind of keep our style, guide current, and all that make sure that we’re all following the best practices for resume writing and we’re staying up to date.
Chris Villanueva 4:06
I love that. And one of the reasons why I really wanted to have you on the show. It’s like you’re not necessarily on like the sales or marketing sides. So like this is no by no means like a pitch for people to get a resume service. In fact, I would like to speak to the real reasons why people should not use a resume service. But I know you work on the blog, which is really solid, but like, the main thing that you do is you’re in charge of the standards and making sure that the resumes we put through for our job seekers are really high quality.
Katy McElroy 4:34
Yeah. I like to think of my job as basically setting the content standards for the company, and so what does that is reflected in the blog that we that we put out and then also the documents that we create for our clients. So I’m constantly researching about what’s happening in the resume writing world and the career services world and then using that knowledge to update our practices and our processes and update what we put out there for clients, and then also just for the general public on the blog.
Chris Villanueva 5:09
Well, thank you for everything you do. And what I wanted to do just like quite candidly is talk about, I think just opening directly up into like the decision on whether or not to work with a resume writer or to do the resume yourself. I think, just for me, personally, I always tell people that like both are perfectly good options. It’s just up to you to decide like whatever period you are in your life, whether the the time is right now to work on resume writer, or whether or not just like you might need the extra boost. So I just want to hear kind of like your opening thoughts on, like the decision making process, and perhaps some of the things that clients will ask like going into the process?
Katy McElroy 5:49
Yeah. So, I think the the biggest question to ask yourself, when deciding whether or not to work with a resume writing services, “do you have time to work on your resume, and update it not only write the resume itself, but to research what a modern resume should look like?” What the best practices are currently for resumes, you know, things change pretty quickly in the career world. And so, you know, like, 10 years ago, five years ago, people were writing objective statements on resumes. Now, you don’t want to do that. And so you need to make sure before you start updating your resume that you know what a good modern resume should look like. So that’s one part of it.
And then also, do you have time to sort of investigate your experience and your accomplishments and think about, well investigate your experience to find the accomplishments that you want to pull out on your resume? And then do you have time to actually sit down and write it all, and then proofread it and then write it all? And do you have somebody there that can, you know, read it again, for you and proofread it for you. So all of that takes kind of a lot of time. And it can be very stressful and a little bit like overwhelming if you’re doing it for yourself, some people will find it to be fun, you know, to kind of look through and if you have a journal of your career, you know, maybe that really want to do that. But I know from a lot of experience that a lot of people find it very painful to go back and kind of like try to figure out and what they’ve done and how best to present it.
Chris Villanueva 7:26
Yeah, I think first of all, like the time thing you said is so key, because some of the folks that we work with are just super busy people who they have these perhaps jobs that they’re currently working on, or they might have like a family to take care of on top of that, or other obligations. But I do want to circle back on something you said, which is the achievements thing and like thinking about what you’ve done in past jobs and stuff like that. Why is that so important when it comes to the resume writing process? Is that something that I guess like we integrate into the process? And just talking about, like, achievements, like, why did we hone in on that?
Katy McElroy 8:03
Yeah, so that’s pretty much the, I suppose, goals in writing a good resume is making sure that you’re not just listing out a bunch of tasks that you performed over the years. Basically, if you do that, you’re just writing a job description, and it’s not really going to be very memorable. And so you really want to look at what you’ve done in terms of what you’ve achieved, and what you’ve done for companies that you’ve worked for. And that’s can be a hard thing to do by yourself, because it can be awkward, think about what you’ve done and feel a little bit self conscious about what trying to, you know, brag about yourself. And, you know, that’s where a resume writer can really be helpful and kind of like, you say, Yeah, I lead this project. And they can be like, Well, what did that project accomplish? What, you know, what money would it you know, they know, the questions to ask to really look at those drill into those projects that you led, or, you know, assisted and figure out what you did that made an impact.
Chris Villanueva 9:04
There have been so many times when I think I know, my plan going forward, or I think I know how to come up with some sort of document or, you know, proposal. And I’m like my own echo chamber, I’ll kind of like toss out ideas that I think are good. I’m like, “oh, this definitely belongs in that document.” But it’s only after truly brainstorming with another person. And you know, you and I, we didn’t have meetings, you know, at work, you know, me and my Co-founder, you know, Matt, we’ve talked about things it’s like, those are going to have those real aha moments and understanding like, what I should really have on these sorts of documents. And so I think about the resume is the same thing. It’s like when you actually are speaking and connecting with another human that perhaps can be one of the best opportunities to like elicit and understand and just extract what should be on the resume. So I’m glad we really talked about that and opened up about it. And so when is a resume service not right for you? I want to ask that question too. And I know we have like the bias of being a resume service putting on a podcast episode about resume writers. But I really want to take the time to understand like, if the process or if working with a company is right for me, so who should not work with a resume writing company?
Katy McElroy 10:18
Yeah, that’s a good question. Because it does seem a little bit counterintuitive for us to be talking about that. But there are definitely people who a resume service wouldn’t be good for. So we mentioned if you’re too busy to write your resume, you should think about using a resume writing service. On the flip side, if you’re too busy to communicate with your resume writer during the process of creating your resume, then you probably should wait and get that resume writing service when you have time. Because I think that’s one of the biggest things. And it kind of goes back to what you’re saying before, but the best resumes that are written by resume writers are written with close collaboration with their clients. So you know, you don’t want a resume writer to just take your old resume and like rewrite what you wrote, you want them to take your old resume, and go deeper into it and find new things and come up with something new and more effective. So if you don’t have time to kind of, you know, answer the emails from your resume writer or have a detailed consultation with your resume writer to provide information to your resume writer to kind of like, look up, you know, if they ask you questions about metrics, or result, if you don’t have the time or interest in looking at that information, then maybe it’s not the right time for you to work with the resume writer.
Chris Villanueva 11:42
I love that just because like so much of what we do, I feel like hinges upon that phone consultation, or even just the collaboration between the writer and the job seeker. So like, you definitely have to put some time into the process, you can’t just like throw the money and just expect all of a sudden, like a great product to come from that. So that’s a really good point. And on the point of money, too, like I know, it’s oftentimes a concern for some people, or some people genuinely may not be able to afford perhaps at this point in time, like a resume service. That’s completely understandable. And that’s why like one reason we try to give folks resources, a lot of this podcast or the blog to be able to write their own resumes, if that’s the point that they’re at. But one caution I would give those people is beware of perhaps like spending money on a like a really inexpensive resume service that looks like okay, I can afford this. And then all of a sudden, you feel like the product that you get isn’t good, because there wasn’t a consultation, there wasn’t more of an in depth process that extracted good resumes, just like they took the content of my resume. And all of a sudden, it’s there’s a fancy template to it. So I would say, you know, again, we’re biased here, because like, we believe in what we do, and like we do things for a reason. But I truly do believe there’s a certain price point you should pay for a resume service, if not just do it yourself, because I think you’ll get just to get a product than some of those cheaper services.
Katy McElroy 13:11
I definitely see that, where a client will say, “Well, I went to this place before and basically, they just took my resume and kind of shuffled up the language that I had written, maybe like, polished it a little bit, maybe, you know, put a couple better verbs or synonyms in there, and then popped it into their new template, and then handed it back to me,” you know, and that’s better, I guess, than what you had before. But it’s not really worth much and you could have just gotten a template on line. And, you know, and it’s more time to your job search to.
Chris Villanueva 13:39
So yeah, I love it. I’d love to dive into the like actual steps from beginning to end and working with a resume writer, what’s typically the first thing that I will do when I work with a professional, and then just go ahead and take me through that process, Katy.
Katy McElroy 13:57
Yes, I’ll just go down like the ledger grout process, because that’s one of the most familiar with a lot of different. Like I said, they have different ones all over like different services have different processes. But for ours, you have schedule your consultation, you fill out an intake form, so that your writer knows a little bit more about you so they can prepare for the consultation. And you provide them with your old resume, if you don’t have a resume that we have a form that you fill out that is similar to your resume. So just gets like a little bit of a idea of your background, when also job descriptions that you’re want to apply for which is, you know, obviously very important. A lot of times people don’t know what you know, they have a very, like nebulous idea about what kind of job they want to apply for. And that’s going to make your resume writing process a little bit harder if you can’t hone in on what kind of job you’d like to apply for. And then you have a consultation with your writer and so that in that consultation, the writer will just go through your old resume go through your intake. And really, like I said before, like kind of drill down on those accomplishments, and find out what metrics are related to those accomplishments, what results you’ve attained with the work. And then they they’ll take all that information after their consultation and create your resume over the next seven days,
Chris Villanueva 15:20
I’ll cut in and just ask a specific question that some job seekers asked about the process. But what if is my writer going to be within the industry that I’m a part of? Or is there a way to somewhat match that? Because I come from the perspective of somebody who may I have like more of like a heavy technical background, and might be concerned that my writer just might not get it? What do you think?
Katy McElroy 15:43
Yeah, that’s a question that we do get sometimes. And, you know, well, our writers reference so many resumes for people and so many different industries. So it’s very, very likely that if you purchase a resume from resume writing service, your writer will have some familiarity with your industry, maybe not your exact job title, but right, most likely, they’ll have familiarity with your industry that said, if they don’t have familiarity with your specific job title, or you know it, there’s so many jobs out there. So it’s very hard to say that they would have familiar with that for sure. And or that we could match clients to writers based on that, that would be pretty difficult.
Chris Villanueva 16:24
Like, do you have a resume writer, that’s been a marketing analyst for the milk industry, like something very specific, exactly happened.
Katy McElroy 16:30
And you know, sometimes we get those happy coincidences where that works, you know, but a lot of times, we don’t match that way. And what I always say is, it doesn’t really matter, because a resume writer has a very specific skill set that is in writing resumes, and it’s irrespective of what industry you’re in. So they know how to approach a new industry or a new job title, they know the right research to do they know all applicant tracking system best practices, they know what questions to ask about your accomplishments to get to the heart of them, regardless of what industry you’re in, or what your job was. And you know, you’re there and this is where collaboration comes in as well, because you’re there to kind of like, answer their questions and give them a little bit of background. I mean, your circumstance may be complicated, but it’s unlikely it’s too complicated for the resume writer to understand because they’re used to exactly what they do every day.
Chris Villanueva 17:40
And I’ll tell you, like, when I was writing resumes for us, I just remember like those, you know, I just want to put it out there, I’ve learned a thing or two about those it resumes and what XYZ programming languages mean, because there are so many different ones out there. And so we really do our research in order to understand what makes sense for folks. So continue on with the process. So you talked about the intake process, the consultation and like, how does like the back and forth work, I know, we have a lot of folks who are like worried about kind of just putting their resume out there and not being able to, I guess, like have any sort of influence. But what does the collaboration look like in the middle of the process?
Katy McElroy 18:20
Good question. So like, basically, as the writer is writing the first draft of the resume, they may ask you for a little bit of clarification. But this is pretty much something they’ll do on their own with collaboration with lots of grammar, that’s with the reviewers and with me. So they’ll write the resume, and then like, it’ll be reviewed by a reviewer, or by me, and then once they send it to you, once they send you the first drafts, then that’s when you can take a look. And you have a couple rounds of revision with your writer. And so you’re able to just kind of respond directly on the file or just with a list with an email. And just kind of tell them everything that you love, everything that you think should be a little different everything concerns you’d have, maybe you’ve decided that you want to highlight something else, maybe you’d remembered something else that you want to highlight, you know, so you have a lot of time, and you’re encouraged to, you know, kind of really work on those documents until you get them right, because we don’t want to just send you something and be like this is it. I gotta wait a bit, you know.
Chris Villanueva 19:33
Yeah, but how long is the process? Because I know times can definitely vary depending on the client, but like, typically speaking, like how long is this going to be going on for?
Katy McElroy 19:43
So we try to keep the process 14 days from the consultation day. So an easy kind of seven days to first drafts and then seven days to final drafts. So we try to keep it to that we never go over that because of the writers keep it to that but of course they’ll grant an extension, if you have something come up and you need a couple extra days, then it can be extended.
Chris Villanueva 20:06
Make sense. So I love the deep dive into the process. I love the fact that we’ve hopefully given people like more of an objective overview on like, how to make the decision to work with the writer. The thing I actually would like to round this episode, like the actual value that we’re providing our clients like on the resume itself, it’s like, what are we actually doing to effect change in the resume? And of course, like, the thing that you mentioned was like achievements and getting like the actual calling the brag sheet for our writers, but like, what are we doing to actually improve and change the resume itself? And you can talk about LinkedIn to uncover I don’t want to forget, like the other supplemental things there.
Katy McElroy 20:49
Yeah, so as far as the resume goes, I would say the main thing, so we’re modernizing your format. Generally, if you’re buying a resume writing service, you haven’t written a resume in a long time. And I can guarantee that your format is not going to look like what a modern resume format looks like. And so we’re going to make it look totally professional. And exactly like what a modern hiring manager wants to see. The applicant tracking systems (ATS) are a huge part of applying to companies these days, and so we make sure that your resume has the right keywords to match the job descriptions that you’re trying to apply for, we make sure that you have all the keywords and the right format, so that you won’t get any sticky points with the applicant tracking systems. We just make sure that language is really clearly identifying accomplishments, it’s not just reading like a job description, it’s not just making sure that you stand out from everybody else that does the same job that you do. Because I can guarantee that a hiring manager is going to see if they’re hiring for a specific position, they’re going to see a bunch of resumes that say just the same tasks, the same thing is like “I do this, I do this, I do this,” what will stand out is I’ve done this for US companies,”I’ve done this,” you want somebody reading your resume to be like, “Wow, they did that for that company. Maybe they could do that for my company.”
Hey, so we know how to make that happen. Our resumes, our writers know how to make that happen. And so then yeah, with a cover letter, we also, you know, write cover letters. And I think that the cover letters are really fun part of the application. And it’s still very relevant. And I mean, when I’m hiring for Let’s Eat, Grandma, I read every single cover letter. And I think that if you don’t apply with a cover letter, sometimes you go a little bit to the like bottom of the pile, because I want to hear your story, I want to hear a little more about you. I want to know what the story is behind those accomplishments on the resume. Because the resume just has you know, the list of what you’ve done, and then I want to hear like how you did it and how that made you feel and what challenges happened along the way. The cover letter is another good one that we like to do. And with LinkedIn, we basically just make sure that you’re using that platform to the full potential because there’s a lot of room for tweaking that to make it so that you’re more visible for recruiters. It also presents you when you are applying for a job and your potential employer looks at your LinkedIn they see that you’re a professional who is ready to do the job.
Chris Villanueva 23:34
Love that. And a second to last for like your that’s my famous tattoo question for job seekers and career warriors. But the few very quick lightning round questions in which I kind of have guests answer in like a minute or less here. So I’ll throw them at the top of my head right here. Or I’ll kind of like pull them right here. You weren’t expecting these questions. So I like to keep it spontaneous. But number one, what is the biggest mistake that you think jobseekers are making with their LinkedIn profiles?
Katy McElroy 24:04
I think the biggest mistake is just not like thinking that it doesn’t matter and not really filling out all the fields kind of like phoning it in maybe copy pasting like a couple sentences from their resume summary into their about section. Maybe like not using the skills section, you know, actually profiles with one to five skills or something and you can put 50 in there and those show up in recruiter searches. So that’s very important. So yeah, just basically just not using the platform for what in a way that it can help you.
Chris Villanueva 24:38
I love that too. My favorite part of the job. How about that one?
Katy McElroy 24:44
Well, oh boy there’s so many interesting just really elaborate on this because I need to know ya’ know, I read I really love working with my writers. I feel like we have such an Interesting team, I meet so many awesome people working at Let’s Eat, Grandma and just to talking with them every day and kind of like helping them. And they all care about their clients so much like genuinely are trying to make these documents just like the best they can be. And I love seeing that kind of energy and kind of bouncing ideas off of them. And sort of like, sometimes resume writing can be like a puzzle, sometimes where you have all this information, and you’re trying to like, figure out the best way to put it on the page, so that it’s most effective for your client. And I love kind of solving that puzzle with the writers.
Chris Villanueva 25:38
I love that. And third, and I don’t even know how I would answer this one. But what is your craziest or funniest resume writing story?
Katy McElroy 25:47
Oh, gosh, I’d have to say the funniest ones. This is just a general sort of funniest ones is the people that are very, very and this is not talking about European conventions that require this, but some people put very large headshots, on their resumes with lots of color. And then like designs, and maybe like crazy fonts. And that’s their original resume, maybe I saw one, like a six page resume that was all black, like the page was black, and the font was all white. And then it just had all these no neon, it was just like it was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. And the first page was half of it was a headshot, like a very, like a yeah, very interesting looking not a professional headshot at all. And this client was it took a lot of convincing that like, you know, that wasn’t the way to go.
Chris Villanueva 26:47
Yeah, it’s one thing to stand out. And I kudos to that person for I guess wanting to stand out or finding ways, but it has to be for like, the content in the resume. Right?
Katy McElroy 26:58
Yeah, that was that was gonna be kept coming back to that he was like, Well, this is, you know, this is gonna catch their attention. I was like, yeah, they’re gonna laugh a little bit and then kind of move on to that. I was like, I don’t even know how to tell what you’ve done in the past. I don’t know where your provisional experience is on this thing.
Chris Villanueva 27:17
I love that good job with the lightning round. I feel like you really gave some good answers there. So cool. I will round out in a second or just conclude this episode, hearing your final thoughts and words of encouragement for job seekers, folks who are looking to take their careers up another level. But first of all, how can people find out more about you? And if you are hiring, which Yes, I know, this is a project that you help out with? How can people apply to our company? As a resume writer?
Katy McElroy 27:45
Yeah, so you can find me on LinkedIn. Just type in Katy McElroy after the LinkedIn slash and then you can find me. Yeah, we are hiring are always looking for great resume writers. So you can contact us at [email protected].
Chris Villanueva 28:05
And for listeners, you know what I do? I will include a Katy’s LinkedIn profile for you to check that out and connect or follow her if you’d like. And yes, if you are very talented in the area, I know we have a lot of folks who are certified resume writers are folks who already are resume writing who listen to this podcast, please, please, please, please encourage you to reach out through that email address. So Katy, thanks so much. You are fabulous guest I’m glad we finally had you on the show. Go ahead and let me know. If I’m a job seeker. And I might feel like I’m struggling in the job search. What words of advice would you give? And I always ask this in terms of like the tattoo question like if you were to tattoo one piece of advice, or something for every career warrior, looking to transition, what would that be?
Katy McElroy 28:49
So I’m kind of piggybacking on a, I heard another one of your podcast guests, I can’t remember what her name was now. But she talks about owning your expertise. And I thought that was such a great, just a great kind of motto for your career journey. But I would tweak it a little a little bit in the resume writing world and say “own your achievements.” So I just think it’s a real mindset shift in for people for job seekers to really look at your job or look at your career, not as, like a succession or look at your career as a succession of accomplishments for different companies, rather than just what you’ve done for your employers like what you did every day. Like what you know, just going to work every day and just the tasks that you performed, but instead just looking back over your career as what you have done to change things for your employers. And I think that kind of helps you communicate the importance of like rising above your daily drudgery of your work and just like your tasks and just kind of like answer your emails, you know, like working on your reports and more kind of celebrating what you’ve actually gotten done and what you’ve all that you’ve achieved because if you You’ve been working, you’ve achieved things.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai