Voyage Baltimore- November 8, 2022
I work with two different types of clients. I work with people changing careers, providing career coaching and resume/cover letter writing. I also provide interview prep. In addition, I work with rising high school seniors. I provide coaching and essay editing as well as interview prep. Both of these needs have become quite elevated in the wake of the pandemic. A lot of my career-pivoting clients have realized that they don’t want to continue doing the same thing day after day. They are ready for something new and rewarding. And in terms of college applications–more than 80% of colleges are now test (SAT) optional. That means that the college essay is much more heavily-weighted in the application process. Parents used to hire someone for test-prep, now they are hiring me to coach their child on how to write the college essays. Working with both career-pivoters and college-bound students is incredibly rewarding as I see a great transformation as I work with them. And getting the “I got the job!” or “I got into my dream school!” emails makes it that much better. What sets me apart from others is my innate ability to connect with people on a personal level as well as many years in HR and management. I provide one-on-one, personalized coaching. You can’t get that from a Google template or software.
Full article can be found here
Have you requested an interview with the schools you are applying to? This is a great way to strengthen your application. Sometimes these interviews are done by people in Admissions, and sometimes they are done by alumni. Either way, I highly recommend them. It's another opportunity to make your application stand out.
One question that you will most likely be asked is, “Walk me through your resume,” or “Tell me about yourself.” If you haven’t practiced answering this interview question, you may wonder where to begin such an open-ended question. The key is to tell the interviewer about the highlights of your high school career. Think big picture while also sharing one or two things that really make your application stand out (think in terms of awards or accomplishments).
You will also likely be asked why you want to attend their college. Be very specific when answering this question. Make sure you have done your own homework, researching classes you would like to take, professors you would like to do research with, clubs that you would like to join, etc. Show them that you can picture yourself at their college and that you would be a good fit.
Whatever you do, prepare! Practice. Most teenagers haven’t had a lot of experience with interviewing, and this is something that can make you stand out in your college application.
For one-on-one interview prep, go to my website to reserve your spot.
What do you need to know as you begin writing your supplemental college application essays? First of all, the purpose is to really dive deeper into your interests and personality. Admissions committees will use these essays to form their freshman class. The admissions committees will narrow their search to qualified candidates, and within that pool they will start forming smaller groups. Perhaps their freshman class needs more people that have had internships in robotics. Perhaps their freshman class needs more people that have played in All County Orchestra. Perhaps their class needs more students that speak French fluently. You see, while all of those students are qualified on paper, the college wants to form a freshman class in a way that they think will best benefit the school as well as the students during college and beyond.
How does this impact how you write your supplemental essays? This is where you really need to let your personality shine. This is a chance to be creative and think outside the box (while still generally maintaining an academic tone).
Here is an example. One of Yale’s supplemental essay prompts is You are teaching a new Yale course. What is it called? When answering this question, don’t list a class that has already been taught at Yale. Think of a topic that you are passionate about, something that you could talk a lot about. Don’t be afraid of being very specific. If you have a love for gardening and an interest in medical school, perhaps you would teach The Impacts of Hydroponic Gardening in Long-term Care Facilities. Describe what you would teach about and why. I like this course title, because it shows the blending of the student’s interests, it demonstrates a love of learning and connecting two disciplines, and it illustrates an interest that probably wasn’t listed anywhere else on the application (gardening).
For more helpful tips, follow me on Instagram and Facebook. And if you are interested in one-on-one coaching, please send me an email at hello@ErinLyman.com.
Do you want to show off your personality in your resume? Maybe use some unique fonts? Well, your resume actually isn't the place to experiment with all of those fun fonts that you can download. At least not if your resume will be submitted through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). If you haven't heard of an ATS, it is a system that companies use to do the initial screening of resumes. It can make the hiring process easier for businesses, but it can be much harder for the job applicant to get noticed. The ATS will "search" your resume, looking for keywords that align with the job in which you are applying. The more keywords that you have on your resume (that are in the job description), the greater the match. The greater the match, the better the chance of moving through the hiring funnel.
Now, what about fonts? Here's the tricky thing. If you have some of the more fun, creative fonts on your resume, it will be less legible by the Applicant Tracking System. In fact, the ATS may not be able to read it at all. And that company will lose the opportunity of seeing what a great job candidate you are.
What fonts should you use on your resume? Serif fonts (like Times New Roman and Garamond) are typically viewed as being more conservative. These are the fonts that have a little tail on each letter. Sans serif fonts (like Verdana, Calibri, and Arial) are also popular. These fonts do not have the fancy tail on each letter, and they are typically viewed as more modern or contemporary. Serif and Sans serif fonts are easy to read, even by an ATS. Think about your audience. What type of company are you applying to work for? Is it a conservative insurance company or financial institution? Or is it a cutting-edge public relations firm? Think less about "showing off" your personality and more about appealing to the person, or people, that will be reading your resume (even if it is a robot!). The interview is where you will have the opportunity to let your personality shine.
When it comes to the best font for resumes, the easier it is to read, the better.
The parts of a winning resume
It's finally here! The parts of a winning resume! I have wanted to do this for a while, but I contemplated what information I should share, how in-depth, and on what platform. I get asked a lot of the same questions, so that helped me to put my thoughts together. I know how paralyzing it can be to update your resume or even start from scratch. Where do you begin? What information should you include?
My resume checklist highlights the 5 main sections of a resume: contact information, purpose/profile, education, career experience, and volunteer experience/awards. I have listed out what should be in each section, making it clear and concise. My hope is that this checklist will get you started on your WINNING resume!
You can download my free resume checklist here.
December 05th, 2018
The First Year of Business
If you had asked me a year ago what it was like to own my own business, my description would have been very different from how I would describe it today. I would have told you all of the ins and outs of setting up the business, creating a website, hiring a graphic artist to design my logo, and nailing down who my target market was. I have discovered that when you own your own business, the learning never stops. It seems as though the more I learn, the less I know. But the more I learn about my business, the more I learn about myself. As a business owner, I often find myself coming back to the question, “why?” When you first start your business, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the new challenge. I found myself working around the clock. My mind was constantly thinking of new ideas, new strategies. Let me tell you what I have learned over the last year about starting my own business.
My “Why.” I have been blessed with a discerning eye. Typos and spelling errors tend to jump out at me. And when I noticed these errors on a business or doctor’s website, my trust in them immediately went down. I thought of them as less credible. The unfortunate truth is that these mistakes are becoming far too common. Are people not seeing them? Or do they simply not care? I made it my mission to help companies and sole proprietors fix these errors. I knew, as I know with even more conviction today, that correcting typos before the client sees them has an incredible impact. Businesses shouldn’t risk losing a customer based on typos on their website or marketing material. That’s my “why.” I want to have an impact on businesses. I want to help them be their best.
What have I learned in the last year? Excellent customer service can set you apart from everyone else. In fact, most people expect it these days. I know that I compete with computer programs that claim to edit your documents for spelling and grammar. But a computer program can’t write in your desired tone. A computer program can’t make suggestions based on your target audience. A computer program can’t build a lasting relationship with its clients. I can. And I have.
Smile when you’re on the phone. Even if you’re having a rough day, you’re exhausted, or even unsure of what the conversation will lead to, smile. Trust me, the person on the other end can hear it. In fact, make sure you are smiling when you record your outgoing voicemail message. Make a positive impression.
Do it scared. I learned this from Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. Be confident in your abilities and skills. I tell my children that when they find themselves in a nervous situation, be brave. Even if they don’t feel brave, fake it. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never jump. Do you want to know a little secret? You can often fake being brave, and your mind will start to believe you. And then the possibilities are endless. Do it scared.
You won’t jive with every customer, and that’s okay. I had a new client complain that his marketing director didn’t like my writing. He went on to tell me in several paragraphs why he didn’t like it. Talk about a stab to the heart. After I got through the emotions, I took a step back and thought about this. All of my other clients were very pleased with my work. In fact, each of my clients has come to me with repeat business. I decided that as much as I would like to have another client, it wasn’t worth trying to force the relationship. The marketing director would never be happy with my work, and I would be under constant stress trying to meet his expectations. I picked up the phone and explained why we needed to cut ties. That was not an easy conversation to have. I did it scared.
Set realistic boundaries for yourself. You could literally work on or in your business 24/7. And when you work from home, like I do, work tends to follow you everywhere. Know when to close the laptop. Know that it’s okay to tell a client “no.” Be there for your family. Be there physically, and be there emotionally. Be present.
Be yourself. I have struggled with this a little bit. In my mind, I think that most people envision an editor older, hair up in a tight bun, glasses down on the end of her nose, and in a high-collared button-up blouse. I am none of those. Well, I do wear glasses when my contacts come out at night. But they aren’t at the end of my nose. As I have worked on establishing and perfecting my social media presence, I have had to fight with the thoughts of what people expect versus reality. Reality is that I am athletic, determined, an extroverted-introvert (there is such a thing), lover of nature, a mother and wife juggling more than you can imagine, and someone who loves a good laugh. You see, that doesn’t really sound like your typical editor. But I have decided to stick with reality and portray exactly who I am. I firmly believe that God has given me gifts and talents that only I can use in a particular way. They make up who I am. And there is only one me. Just because my hair isn’t up in a tight bun doesn’t mean I can’t compete with the best of ‘em.
Follow up with your clients on a regular basis. Nobody likes to be forgotten. If I find an article that I think a client would find interesting, I send it to them. If I see something on social media that I think would work for their business, I share it. I always send a thank you note after working on a large project with a client. This goes back to the excellent customer service. Remember your clients.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” to something out of your scope. When you are starting out, it’s hard to say “no” to potential clients. You are hungry for any sort of business. But don’t get caught in this trap. If the project is out of your scope, it won’t be good for either party. I had a client ask me to edit her 200 page family genealogy book. I was eager for the job and figured if I could edit five pages per night, I could get this done in a reasonable amount of time. Boy was I wrong. I learned that I am not a book editor. I swallowed my pride and decided that I would never accept a job like that in the future.
Never stop learning. My nightstand is piled high of marketing and business strategy books. My phone is full of podcasts that I subscribe to (I have my favorites). And I belong to a group of female entrepreneurs that meets monthly to talk strategy. You will never know it all. I believe you can learn something from every person you meet. Never stop learning.
Never stop networking. I taught a business workshop this year, and one of the key elements we worked on was developing your elevator pitch. You should have your elevator pitch memorized to the point that you can tailor it to any conversation you are having, with any person you meet. Be confident and be proud of the service you offer. After all, you are solving a problem.
Leave space for inspiration and creativity. For me this means getting outside. Running. Training for a race. This means turning off the podcast when I’m at the gym. This means taking the earbuds out to listen, really listen. This means reading a book for fun. I learned the hard way that when you dive too deep into the working and learning that there’s no longer space for creativity and inspiration. And these things are a requirement for owning a business. Stop and listen. You’ll be surprised at what you hear.
Get enough sleep. The amount of sleep is different for everyone. I am a nine hour person. I know, that probably seems absurd. But if I want a clear mind, I have to have my sleep. When I started my business, I was depriving myself of sleep. I felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day. I still feel like that, but I’ve learned that I can’t sacrifice sleep. With more sleep, I am actually able to accomplish more during the day. My mind is sharp. Get your sleep.
When you ask me a year from now what it’s like owning a business, it will probably look very different from today. I hope it does. I hope I continue to learn, change, and develop. I hope that I always remember my “why.” Because, after all, that’s why I started Erin’s Edits in the first place.
It started with just one. And one led to another. Pretty soon I couldn’t stop. You could even call me an addict. A podcast addict. I knew something needed to change when I turned on a podcast to listen to while I brushed my teeth. And even when my Sonicare beeped after two minutes, I would keep brushing, just so I could keep listening. I listened on the treadmill, while washing dishes, folding clothes, and in the car. I couldn’t get enough. How does someone get to this point? It’s simple. When you have a hunger for knowledge, and it’s being offered to you through a fire hose, you don’t know when to quit.
My addiction started with Christy Wright’s Business Boutique podcast. It is excellent, to put it modestly. I have listened to every single episode, some of them more than once. Her expertise on starting and managing a business, coupled with an outpouring of love and motivation, is incredibly encouraging. And Christy is so fun to listen to! Well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon I was listening to Christy Wright’s podcast guests. Donald Miller has become another all-time favorite. I have listened to every single episode of the Storybrand podcast. I found myself listening, stopping the treadmill to make some notes in my phone, and restarting. There was so much to learn. There were so many directions to go. There were so many podcasts I was following. I was so motivated.
But then, something happened. Burn out. My creative juices had run dry. I was exhausted, I mean, really exhausted. My level of overwhelm had reached a new high. I felt like the more I learned, the more I didn’t know. I became paralyzed with decision making.
And then I realized that I needed to change something. I realized that podcasts had taken over my creative space. They had invaded the gym, they invaded my trail runs, they stole my meditation time. Running is where I gain inspiration. Constantly gorging my brain with valuable knowledge had masked my inspiration.
I made two simple changes. First, I turned off the podcasts at the gym and during my runs. Instead, I turned on a Top Dance station, and I let myself get lost in the beat. I let my mind wander where it wanted. Now I run as hard as I can, letting those endorphins pump thoughts into my brain. And sure enough, it has come back. My creativity and motivation is back. I’m back.
The second simple change? I’ve limited myself to only two podcasts (thank you, Christy Wright and Donald Miller). It’s the right balance for me at this point in my life. It’s enough to keep me motivated and to feed my hunger for knowledge. But what’s most important is that I have created space. I’ve created space for reflection and introspection. I’ve created space to breathe.
My name is Erin Lyman. And I am a recovering podcast addict.
You're Driving Me Crazy-Why You Could Be Driving Customers Away Without Even Knowing It
I sat at the quaint, kitchen table staring at the exposed-brick wall and then back at my waffles. There was an awkward silence. Chewing, cutting, a drop of the fork. My roommate, Betsy, sat across from me. She put her napkin down and broke the silence, “I’m just going to say it. Erin, when you shower, will you please rinse the soap scum off of the shower curtain? It is driving me crazy!” I was so caught off guard! I turned red. And then I laughed. “I am so sorry! I had no idea. You see, I take my contacts out when I shower. Without them in, I am literally almost blind,” I pleaded. I vowed to never to do it again and to pay more attention.
How many times in our life are we simply unaware of something we are doing? Or not doing? We continue on our path that, unfortunately, bothers someone else. Because they do see it. Think of the newsletters that you send out to clients, or your website that you haven’t carefully looked at in a while. Time after time, typos get missed. You simply don’t see them. You don’t want them in there, you know they shouldn’t be. But you stop seeing them. The problem is that someone else does see them. That someone could have been a potential client. Unlike Betsy, they may not say anything. They may just walk away.
Having your materials professionally edited is like wearing your contacts in the shower. Typos or misprints are found and corrected. Your documents are clean and typo-free after the hassle-free process. You can go on building your business and presenting yourself confidently and professionally.
As my girls’ soccer season comes to an end, I find myself feeling a sense of sadness , a sense of longing to be with the team. As parents, we’ve spent months together, sitting on the sidelines at practice, sharing snacks, talking about school and the weather, trying to keep little siblings occupied. Then at the games, cheering, screaming for our team. Jumping up and down with excitement when one of our girls scores or has an amazing save. High-fiving each other. And then at the end, declaring “good game” no matter if we won or lost. Then there was the championship game. The anticipation, the nerves. The screaming and cheering. The high-fives. And the “what a great season!” I will miss that. Why? To be honest, I don’t even know the names of the other parents. I don’t really know who they are. But we are connected by one common thread. We are a team. And when you spend that much time together fighting for a common purpose, being driven with dedication, you bond. You are strengthened.
Whether it is a soccer team or a work team, find your purpose. Fight for it. Say it out loud and cheer together. Be strengthened. And at the end, amongst high-fives, don’t forget to say, “good game.”
I'm Erin! I'm an MBA graduate with nearly 20 years of experience in HR, small business management, academia, and social media. I am an author, wife, mother, half marathon runner, and lover of the outdoors.