What did you want to be as you were growing up?
Honestly, I wanted to be a professional singer. I started playing the guitar and writing music when I was ten years old. I studied classical voice from the time I was 14 until I graduated from college. While in college, I met the love of my life and decided that having a normal career with a family is what I wanted to do. I gave up on the dream of being a professional singer and put my career in God’s hands. Truly though, I always wanted to use my music professionally as a teacher, performer, or as a church choir director.
Have you always lived in Maryland?
No, I’m a southern girl through and through and I drink sweet iced tea year-round. I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and graduated from Millsaps College. Maryland has been my home since 1994, but there are times when I miss the deep south.
How did you get into Career Management?
I truly have to say Career Management found me. I wasn’t seeking this as a career field. I didn’t even know it existed. I made a voluntary career change out of church ministry and really had no idea what my next move would be. I made a few phone calls, networked with friends and acquaintances, gathered a few leads, and set up a few informational interviews. Within 30 days I was working at a nonprofit career center as a Resource Specialist (organizational speak for Jack-of-all-Trades), learned the industry, and a year later was promoted to Career Consultant.
I learned that many of the counseling, teaching, and program management skills I used in the ministry were relevant to career management and I loved the variety of the people I interacted with daily. Helping people find their career calling, discover new skills, sign up for training classes, and write their resume was fulfilling. I truly felt like I was helping people and making a positive difference in individuals’ lives.
I loved the new challenges it provided every day and I excelled at it. I earned my first professional certification as a Certified Professional Resume Writer through the Professional Association of Resume Writers in the fall of 2003. In August of 2004, I decided to step out on my own and opened my own resume writing business. I also pursued advanced credentials.
Since entering into the careers industry in January of 2000, I’ve assisted more than 1200 job seekers from more than 30 industries and earned three additional advanced credentials. I love my chosen career path and my job!
How do you keep your skills current?
I attend annual conventions, webinars, and training programs offered through professional associations such as Career Directors International, The National Resume Writers Association, and Career Thought Leaders. Another organization, The Academies, offers advanced credentials, certifications, and training programs.
I’m required to earn a minimum number of continuing education units (I usually exceed the semi-annual requirements) and re-certify through Career Directors International and The Academies every two to three years in order to maintain my credentials.
What do you love about career management?
Never knowing whom I’m going to be emailing or talking to from one moment to next. It keeps me mentally challenged, allows me to be creative, and requires constant learning. I love learning about other people and their professions. I also am in a profession that makes amazing differences in people’s lives, and knowing that I’m helping people overcome personal and/or professional obstacles is extremely rewarding.
What do you dislike about career management?
Being asked how much I charge to write a resume or provide career-coaching services and hearing people say, “I just need my resume tweaked.” I wish every job seeker could realize that he/she has to invest in himself/herself in order to convince an employer to invest in him/her.
What’s the number one job search tip you would like to share with people?
Always keep your resume updated and stay in touch with former colleagues and supervisors.
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J.A.,Co-owner, Abercrombie & Associates, LLC