I was asked an awesome question today by a client who had been looking at some of my competitors’ website: “Why do you charge one rate for most resumes instead of charging based on experience level?”
This came in response to my prices being one way, and my competitor’s being, well, much higher, which might seem like an inefficient business move on my part. In fact, I probably could charge a lot more, particularly given the fact that 90% of my clients have 10+ years of work experience to reframe, rewrite, and redesign.
But there’s a very specific reason why, aside from junior level (i.e. less than 5 years) clients, I charge a consistently flat rate for all of my services. And it’s this:
Avoid Limiting Yourself with Overly Defined Labels
When you try to define someone by experience level alone, it can often be a blurry line when you categorize years of experience into specific buckets with labels such as “senior level”. In the world of recruiting and job descriptions, a candidate with 8 years of experience would likely be considered senior level, while a candidate with say, 7 years of experience, could easily fall into the mid-level category. How does one distinguish? When it comes down to pricing, it can be a very tricky subject.
Furthermore, many of my clients are aspiring career changers, which makes it challenging to price a resume, cover letter, or bio-based on years of experience alone. A small business owner with 15 years of entrepreneurial experience is a different story when the position they’re actually targeting is a mid-level design role to get their foot in the door with a really great company. Similarly, a VP-level executive in the financial services industry might be hesitant to refer to themselves as “senior level” when their focus is really on changing careers and moving into an operations role in a budding non-profit organization with limited hiring budget.
Pricing aside, there’s a bigger point to embrace here: sticking labels on your resume, or any other platform where you are marketing yourself in your search, can actually prove to limit your search. You’re not trying to fool anyone, and you won’t, but what you are doing is positioning yourself for the role in which you see yourself qualified to undertake.
Think about your summary statement, LinkedIn intro, or the bio/tagline for any of your social media profiles – are you describing yourself as one thing while searching for an opportunity in something else?
It’s not uncommon for people to be targeting a slightly more junior role than their current position in the interest of getting a foot into the door in a new industry or a company that interests them. Speak to what the hiring manager wants to hear.
Always be marketing yourself towards the role you wish to obtain. How you position yourself is critical.
If you’re concerned about describing yourself as “Senior-level”, “Executive”, or simply want to avoid the overused cliches like “Accomplished” or “Seasoned”, try describing your experience more in the sense of a full package of skills and experience you bring to the table:
Example 1 :
Instead Of: Senior Copywriter with 10 years of experience writing copy for web…
Try This: Combines over 10 years of expertise in digital content development, with experience writing copy, articles, blog posts, and product descriptions for brands in the consumer and healthcare space.
Example 2 :
Instead Of: Experienced human resources director who specializes in creating diversity and inclusion programs. Possesses a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology.
Try This: Expertise in developing corporate diversity and inclusion programs gained from extensive experience in human resources and masters-level training in Organizational Psychology.
Particularly in the second example, you’re avoiding pigeon-holing yourself into a specific position by citing your job title or label in your tagline or bio. While this person sounds well-qualified for a Human Resources Director role, it doesn’t speak to their interest in an opportunity as a Program Director focusing on diversity and inclusion programs at a Fortune 500.
While this method isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, experimenting with how you describe yourself online and on paper can make a huge impact on how potential employers perceive you.