If I had a nickel for every project I turn down, well, I would have a lot of nickels. Several times a day, I get phone calls from prospective clients who want me to write a cover letter or a LinkedIn profile for them, or provide them with interview preparation or career coaching services.
Unfortunately, these folks never become more than “prospective” clients. Why? Well, in plain English, their résumés are not good enough for me to take the time and effort to write them a compelling cover letter and / or LinkedIn profile. And since their résumés and cover letters are not good enough to generate worthwhile interviews, I see no sense in taking the time and effort to provide them with interview preparation and / or career coaching services. Likewise, why labor over a LinkedIn profile when the résumé doesn’t compliment it?
Am I being a lousy businesswoman by turning down their projects? Probably I am. In fact, I would bet (if I were a betting woman) that there are many résumé writers / career coaches who would assume their project and take their money, regardless of the obvious pitfalls of their résumé. But, I’ve been running my business like this (I call it, “ethically”) since I founded A Word’s Worth in 1989. My rationale? I sleep well at night, knowing that I have not done a disservice to an unsuspecting client.
In my defense, the résumés and cover letters of yesterday are not the documents of today. So, when people send me outdated résumés and they don’t want me to “dust them off” to make them competitive in today’s economy, I feel compelled to thank them kindly for the call and for emailing me their résumé for my perusal, then to explain my reasoning for turning down their project. Believe me, it’s nothing personal. In fact, it’s professional.
So, if you are one of those phone callers who I have turned down, I deeply apologize. Please do not take offense. Instead, realize that I am doing what is best for you, and in the long run, what is best for me. You see, at bedtime, my conscience is clear and I sleep like a champ!