Tag: mary elizabeth bradford (page 1 of 2)

Executive Resume Writing Firms & Professional Industry Associations

The importance of association partnerships for resume writers including tips and strategies to discern the legitimacy, competency and quality of executive resume writing firms

When looking to hire a top executive resume writing firm or solo practitioner executive resume writer, you may be wondering how imperative it is that the firm be involved in an industry association. This article explores the different resume writing industry associations, how they help and support their members (resume writers), and, why involvement in associations is so critical to vetting a firm’s credibility.

The cornerstone of this important topic is that the career services industry is unregulated. Because the career services industry lacks both regulatory compliance measures and licenses in order to be a practitioner, association membership(s) become a very important indicator of a resume writing firm’s  quality and industry reputation.

Reviews and review boards do not replace this credibility. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to self-appoint ‘great’ reviews through overseas contractors – especially on B-tier review boards. In the same manner, bad ‘fake’ reviews can be written about competitors with relative ease and has become a recent problem for reputable resume writers. Consistent ‘glowing’ reviews over a period of weeks or months, systematically generated every other day or every few days, can be an indicator that said reviews are being procured through unscrupulous methods. Be prepared to use a wider set of indicators than online reviews when working to discern an executive resume writing firm’s overall credibility.

Most career-related associations have guidelines that professionals must agree to uphold in order to obtain membership (among these are good business practices like ethical and honest consumer marketing). The standards established to extend membership are therefore a solid indication that the executive resume writer or firm is committed to following criteria or guidelines in concert with accepted ethical business dealings and industry best practices.

Furthermore, most career-related associations offer opportunities for executive resume writers or firm representatives to serve on boards and committees, attend informative conferences, obtain advanced certifications in a niche or market (C-level executive resumes or military transition resume writers), and submit their work for award contests and recognition  where a panel of their peers judges their level of competency.

This provides exceptional opportunities for the executive resume writing firm or solo practitioner to learn, grow, advance and network with other industry leaders and career-services professionals.

In an ever-evolving market such as executive resume writing, staying current on best practices and market trends is crucial. I have made sure that my writing team and I are not only members of multiple associations, but also certified and actively involved in  them. In addition, many of us are multi-award winners for our executive resumes (more detail on this below).

This is an investment of time, effort and money, but I consider it a wise investment for any writer or firm wanting to truly reach and stay at the top of their game.  More specifically, we participate out of a commitment to our clients and our quality standards; to stay current on industry standards and market trends; to uphold our thought leadership in the industry; and to give back to our professional community by sharing knowledge, ideas and information that enhance our entire niche. This is why, if you call multiple practitioners, you may begin to get the feeling that we do not see each other as competition but rather as admired and respected colleagues. This is one of the many positive aspects of the resume writing and career coaching industry.

As you search for an executive resume writing firm, you may have stumbled upon a top-10 list in a niche, geography or industry. Here are a couple of points to consider when seeking to discern the validity of these lists:

  1. Who wrote the list? The author should be clearly stated on the article. Did the author appoint him or herself or someone related to his or her company as #1 on the list or anywhere in the ranking? If so, then the list you are reading is primarily marketing material for said company or person. Reputable third-party reviews or top-100 lists like FORBES do NOT self-appoint their team as winners and can therefore  offer you a higher level of objectivity.
  1. What authority do top-10 list authors have for producing the ranking? Are they a professional journalist, industry veteran, book author, retired partner from a top retained executive recruiting firm such as Kornferry or past or present association director? If not, what is their objective for compiling the list and with what authority and criteria have they established their ranking?
  1. How long has the author been in the careers industry? Are they a reputable thought leader and industry expert?
  1. What credentials, awards or recognition does the author have? Are the awards or recognitions self-appointed or did he or she earn them through a recognized third party or industry association?

The takeaway: discerning fact from marketing hyperbole or sometimes straight up deceitful marketing practices and/or scams (I wrote about that here) takes a little digging but it can be done. The good news is associations can help you filter information to establish who and what companies are truly committed to their industry, their clients and  best practices.

Resume Writer / Executive Writing Firm Checklist

When you are vetting resume writers, here are some things to look for that establish credibility….*

  • Years in the industry:
  • Price point (the best writers and firms usually command a premium):
  • Association memberships:
  • Association certifications:
  • Association awards:
  • Association board member:
  • Association committee member:
  • Price transparency (listed on website?):
  • Resume samples on their site (that you like):
  • Training in graphics or marketing:
  • Professional training in your industry or niche:
  • Major media mentions:
  • Keynote speaker/speaking engagements:
  • Book author/publisher:
  • Careers expert for (LinkedIn/podcasts/career related entity):

*Nothing 100% ensures a perfect partnership in any service industry, but these general guidelines can increase your chances of success.

Now for a quick look at the primary resume writing associations:

  • Career Thought Leaders (CTL): A think tank of careers industry leaders learning and collaborating to advance and promote the careers industry. Offers membership and certification. CTL is home to many of the top executive resume writers and career coaches in the world.
  • Career Directors International (CDI): A membership-based organization for resume writers, career coaches, recruiters and HR related professionals. Often considered the gold standard in the industry, CDI offers, membership, conferences, multiple resume writing and coaching certifications and is home to the famous TORI awards, held by the majority of the top resume writers in the world. (TORI: Toast of the Resume Industry).
  • The National Résumé Writers Association (NRWA): The mission of the National Résumé Writers’ Association, a nonprofit trade association for professional resume writers, is to increase the visibility of the industry, encourage ethical practices, promote excellence, and raise industry standards through peer marketing and training. The NRWA offers memberships, conferences, certifications and educational resources.
  • The Professional Association of Résumé Writers (PARW): Our first industry association, The Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches was founded in January of 1990. Today, those who display the association’s logo affirm their dedication to excellence in meeting client career goals. In addition, many members then choose to seek certification to further affirm their expertise as career professionals. PARW has over 1,700 members including independent business owners, as well as non-profit career centers such as colleges and universities, military bases, workforce development offices, and state Departments of Labor in North America. Additionally, the organization has members throughout the world. PARW offers membership, certification and conference opportunities for their members.

In closing, association memberships, awards and certifications are critical to give job seekers peace of mind that the executive resume writing firm or executive resume writer cares about the quality of their product, service and client. It is the job seekers insurance policy—in an unregulated industry—that the writing firm is following industry standard guidelines, truly committed to their craft, and has obtained some peer reviewed positive feedback.

Here is another top executive resume writer’s perspective on Associations from Wendy Weiner of The Writing Guru.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford, CARW, MCDMary Elizabeth Bradford is honored to be a member in good standing of Career Directors International, Career Thought Leaders, The Professional Association of Resume Writers and The National Resume Writers Association.

For Career Directors International (CDI), she has obtained the following certifications: Certified Executive Resume Master (CERM), Internationally Certified Master Resume Writer (CMRW), Certified Master Career Director (MCD) and Certified International Advanced Resume Writer (CARW).

She has earned the following CDI recognitions: 4 CDI TORI Nominations and 2 TORI Awards, Career Directors International Career Innovator Awards: Nominee & Winner for The Job Search Success System, CDI Lifetime Achievement Award (The Highest CDI Award given).

Finally, for CDI, Mary Elizabeth has sat on multiple committees and has served as a past and current top tier judge for the TORI Awards (2017, 2018 and 2019). *Please note award winners are judged by a team of 15+ judges and work is submitted anonymously by entry number.

Maryelizabethbradford.com has been awarded the FORBES Top 100 Websites For Your Career.

The majority of writing team members for maryelizabethbradford.com  are both multi-certified and multi-award-winners.

To book a discovery call to discuss your next executive transition, working with Mary Elizabeth or her team, contact us here: https://www.maryelizabethbradford.com/.

Executive Job Search In December? YES – You Can!

CIO just released an interesting article on what I have been saying for

years – which is December is a great time to conduct a job search! The

article gives some nice quick tips for using LinkedIn to do this. I would

add learning how to tap the hidden job market is a fantastic way to make

valuable connections and land interviews and offers during the holidays.

Read the article here.




You Don’t Need a Kindle to Read My E-Book

Hi everyone! I recently blogged that my e-book, Interview Follow Up Guide, is FREE to download on Amazon right now – until tomorrow, Tuesday the 27th. Here is the link again just in case:


I received several emails asking if one must have a kindle reading device to read this e-book and the answer is – NO!

You can read amazon e-books on your computer or smartphone. Just download their free apps from the box directly under the “buy now” button and you can read Amazon e-books using the following:

Kindle Cloud Reader: Read instantly in your browser

Smartphones: iPhone & iPod touch / Android / Windows Phone 7 / BlackBerry

Computers: Mac /Windows 8 /Windows 7, XP & Vista

Tablets: iPad / Android Tablet / Windows 8

And by the way – reviews are appreciated if you like this e-book!

Need Job Interview Thank You Letter & Follow Up Help? I’ve Got it!

 Beginning tomorrow, Saturday November 23rd through Tuesday, November 26th my eBook, The  Career Artisan Series – Interview Follow Up Guide For The Perplexed (With Custom Letter Templates)   will be FREE

Here is a blurb about the book:

Are you getting initial interviews and interest–only to hear nothing back? Finally, secrets from a top job search coach that will increase employers’ interest in you: phone scripts and letter templates for following up after sending a resume, post-interview follow ups, following up on networking leads, with recruiters, what to say in your post interview follow-up thank-you letters, and much more! These follow up tips are proven to impress, will make following up easy and much less stressful, and will ultimately aid in increasing employers’ interest so you can win more job offers!

Download your free copy (starting Saturday) here.

Are you one of those generous people who follow the golden rule? Great! Then if you like this book and would like to support my efforts to advocate for job seekers everywhere, here are a few things you can do: 😀

  • Share this book with those you love and care about and want to help
  • Write me an email explaining how this book helped you

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

-Mary Elizabeth

Free Job Search Teleseminar: How to Brand & Market Yourself for Today’s Job Search


I am so excited to share with you that brand new for 2012, I am personally

hosting a f-r-e-e monthly teleseminar series on various job search topics.

*all topics were directly selected by you, my e-zine subscribers!

My first info-packed teleseminar is THIS Saturday and it is titled:

How to Brand & Market Yourself to Compete in Today’s Job Market

You can sign up here:http://www.job-searchsystem.com/teleseminar.html

BUT there IS a catch:

these calls will NOT be recorded

and there are only 250 seats on the bridge line.

That means if this call is for you, you must act fast.

Get the call details and grab your seat now:



Inspiring your success,


Mary Elizabeth Bradford, CERW, MCD

The Career Artisan


Professional Networking Secrets: “Here is Your Insult . . . Would You Like a Slap in the Face with That?”

I truly understand that in today’s world of instant information it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and maybe a little callous. Kind of like giving a hard time to telemarketers that call our homes around dinner time. It is easy to forget it is a human being just trying to make a living on the other end of the line. Perhaps someone’s son or daughter trying to pay their way through college.

A long time ago I decided I was going to do everything I could to be NICE—REALLY nice, to everyone I spoke with—no matter what the circumstances and whether I knew them or not.

Because in my career, I have been on the other end of the stick many times.

And something that just happened to me this morning REMINDED me of my commitment and how important it is for us all to be gracious when we network.

But first let’s go waaayyy back to my days as an executive recruiter. As a job seeker, you will bend over backward to have a good conversation with a recruiter right? Well as a recruiter who continuously had to cold call and have conversations with employed executives—sometimes my call would elicit hostility. Executives would tell me “DON’T CALL ME AGAIN!” or would grill me “HOW DID YOU GET MY NUMBER?!” or, “I AM NOT INTERESTED IN ANY OF YOUR JOBS!!”

It always amazed me. And often a year or two later many of those executives would call me for help because they found themselves in a job search. You can imagine how “eager” I was to help place them with one of my beloved client companies.

Which leads me to this morning’s incident. Interestingly, a recruiter had requested to connect with me on LinkedIn—which I accepted. I always send follow up email to my new connections to thank them for reaching out to connect and I invite them to sign up for my free newsletter. This particular recruiter emailed me back and said “TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST IMMEDIATELY!” I decided to personally email her back and explain she was a connection, and I had simply invited her to sign up for my e-zine with a link.

Here is what my new LinkedIn connection wrote back: “LET ME REPHRASE: DON’T SEND ME ANY MORE EMAILS!!”

I promptly removed this recruiter from my LinkedIn connections.

This is a PERFECT example of what we should never, ever do. As we network, we simply can’t afford to be rude or mean. So . . . here are some networking tips I have found very useful that I would like to share with you:

  1. In your career, strive to be nice to EVERYBODY no matter their station or basis of relationship. You just never know when the tables may turn and who wants to spread bad energy around?
  2. If you must say NO to somebody, do so as graciously and professionally as possible.
  3. If someone or something around you is negative, cut off communication, if possible. Leaders and professionals who are serious about their careers protect their inner circle and filter the information they “let in.”
  4. When networking, think: “How can I help?” If you will always lead with thinking about the other person, you will be showing them honor and respect and they will repay you naturally in kind. Long term, this is the true core of networking. It doesn’t matter if your connection is in person, on LinkedIn, Facebook, or phone . . . strive for consistency in all you do.
  5. If someone you are talking to is rude or negative—do not get defensive. This includes all the things that can potentially happen to you in a job search such as someone promising they will call you, or invite you back for an interview, but never do.
  6. Find a mentor who holds a high visibility position—one whose personality you admire—and then emulate them. If you are lucky enough to know several executive mentors, you will start to see a pattern. Leaders/Mentors generally have a certain likeability . . . a charisma, if you will, for various reasons—some are attractive because they are fair and do the right thing, others because they want to foster the potential in you, and still others because they are warm and kind.
  7. Whomever you are speaking to, try to find a positive thing about that person that you can complement him or her on. Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to someone new, I LOVE figuring out what that one thing is that I can compliment them on. Sometimes it is their photo, other times it is something about their voice, their personality, or their career. This becomes a good habit and you will find yourself focusing on the positive more versus the negative in your daily dealings with others.
  8. If you make a practice of focusing on and helping others, at some point you may feel used or that you have not gotten back what you have put in. This goes with the territory. Don’t let it deter you from your course to develop a good reputation, overall virtue, and will ultimately make you a better person.

I feel fortunate that I have been humbled by the above types of experiences over the years because it gives me an excuse to take a bad thing and turn it around to reflect something positive. I hope you can take one thing from the list above and share the love.

CDI / 2011 Career Innovators Award

I am so excited to announce that my bestselling program, The Job Search Success System, has just won the 2011 Career Innovator Award through Career Directors International!

I would like to thank Career Directors International for acknowledging this powerful online home study course that has helped so many job seekers take control of their job search by tapping into the hidden job market in both good and bad market climates!

To celebrate, if you sign up to access the Job Search Success System before Friday (tomorrow) I will personally critique your resume as part of the package to make sure you are looking good there!

P.S We are currently sold out of the VIP packages for the Job Search Success System but you can still get the home study course ($97 package) here.

Changing Industries: Advice For Legal Professionals In A Job Search

There is a multitude of job options for the attorney who no longer wishes to work in a law firm environment.

If you are considering an industry change, the following valuable tips will help you take action:

Make a Plan

First comes the soul-searching. What do you want to do?

Do you like research and dislike litigating? Are you drawn towards conflict resolution? Love rain-making and billable hours? (I was just seeing if you are paying attention!) In other words, what motivates you? Know yourself — write down your strengths and begin to crystallize your core competencies.

Have you evaluated your law-related career options? Did you know that many lawyers make very successful transitions into roles such as:

• Alternative dispute resolution specialist

• Association executive

• Human resources manager

• (Legal) executive recruiter

• Risk manager

• Bar association professional

• International trade and investment consultant

• Social legislation analyst

• Acquisitions/divestitures professional

• Economic development specialist.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Put the Plan into Action

Once you have your goals clear, develop a strategic plan to discover opportunities to move your dreams to reality.

Uncover the jobs both in advertised and unadvertised markets. The best jobs are not necessarily easily found, but the best career marketing approach that gives you the greatest marketing exposure is to use multiple strategies, simultaneously. For example, consider open positions (found on the Internet); somewhat hidden positions (recruiters/trade associations and networking); and unadvertised positions (identification of companies within your industry of choice that have indications of growth, which could expose a need for someone like you to fill).

There are many ways to do this. To do it well, the busy attorney often times needs help. But, if you choose to go it alone, here are some ideas to help you use your time wisely.

Respond to open jobs by having jobs come to you 24/7. Set up e-mail agents so the jobs come to your e-mail inbox through a job search engine. Resist the temptation to get lost on the Internet for hours, only to feel frustrated in the end..com.

Network with the right people. Activity is no substitute for progress. Most job searchers have heard the long-standing advice about the benefits of networking. There is an erroneous understanding that building contacts and networking with friends, family and associates reaps the greatest reward.

Make a positive first impression. Your resume and career marketing correspondence must be written to the target audience. Law resumes, CVs and business resumes have dramatically different elements. Here’s where a little consultation with a professional consultant might prove valuable, as he or she will likely know how to specifically-tailor your resume to showcase your best strengths, capabilities and transferable skills.

On a positive note, it may help you to know that most employers are always on the lookout for good people. They are appreciative of foresight and ingenuity. And most are willing to look in unconventional places (trade associations, referrals, etc.) before they “post an ad” for an open position.

With clear goals and a strategic plan, followed consistently, you will increase your chances of landing your dream job exponentially.

Career Change & Your Resume – Wall Street Journal FINS

Just wanted to share this article on FINS about resumes for career changers. I was quoted as well as several other industry professionals. (thanks WSJ!)

You can view all the tips here.

My Dad, Ford Trucks & What I Learned About Success

To commemorate the passing of my father I would like to invite you to read this post I wrote in memory of my father – successful entrepreneur and decorated war veteran, Robert C. Fike. May his Memory Be Eternal.

My dad was a self made millionaire. But when he died, he was driving an old beat up 1970’s Ford Truck.

I had never seen him drive a vehicle that wasn’t really nice.  He always bought a brand new SUV each year.

But right before he died he had a transformation.

He started wearing an old straw hat.

He listened to Johnny Cash.

And he started driving an old white Ford truck that he picked off of the used car lot that he owned at the time.

My dad found out just a few months before he died that he had pulmonary fibrosis.

A grim feature of this unfortunate diagnosis was the oxygen tanks he had to haul around with him.

He had a portable oxygen tank and also a larger one for the house.

I remember right before he died he wanted to go up to our cabin at the base of Yosemite Valley.

My family begged him not to go. The elevation was high and the population was sparse.

If there was a problem it would take an hour just to get him to the hospital. Too late for help when you need air.

But my dad didn’t seem to care.

In fact, he seemed defiant.

He was going to make the 3.5 hour drive up to the mountains with our without us.

So I went with him.

Just me and my dad.

For a week’s “vacation” in the mountains Northern / Central California.

I followed him up in my car.

He strapped the big oxygen tank to the back of his “new” old ford truck, put on his straw hat, inserted a  a Johnny Cash tape in the cassette deck and drove off into the sunset as I drove behind him.

Though it was 20 years ago, that picture will be etched in my memory forever.

My dad had a lot – but now he seemed to want to shed those material things he had and simplify his surroundings. In the end, it wasn’t money or things that were a reflection of my dad.  And somehow he needed to get in touch with that. He wanted to be surrounded with reflections of who he truly was. And he was, at his core, a simple man, who enjoyed simple pleasures. He loved God and loved the land.

And he loved the rugged, grounded simplicity of that old Ford truck.

And I, as the daughter of this pioneering entrepreneur, have followed in his entrepreneurial footsteps.

When I was a teenager, my dad used to talk to me a lot about owning businesses and the opportunities we have in as Americans – in this great Country – to work and be successful from the fruits of our labors.

But the greatest lesson he taught me about true success was one he wasn’t trying to teach. It was watching him “show” me right before he died – what was truly important in life.

I guess that is why in my business today – I have been called a contrarian …provocative…and a maverick.

When you work with jobseekers, people who have families to take care of, when you get to know their stories….little else besides getting them educated on the truth of what really works in today’s job market is important. At least to me.

And although people hire me for over $200 an hour – not everyone can afford that.

So I decided to write The Career Artisan Series eBooks and offer them for just a few dollars each on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Because in the end it’s not money that truly matters, is it?

So if you know someone who needs help in their job search and you want to help… you can share this link with them:


You know, my husband keeps telling me he wants to buy me a new vehicle.

But I really do prefer my old  Ford truck.

« Older posts

© 2020

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑