Victor Williams knows what it’s like to be down on your luck and looking for a job. Faced with bankruptcy, divorce and a foreclosed home, he found himself in the same boat as millions of others in a bad economy. Far from seeing that as the end of the road, he saw it as an opportunity, “I noticed a lot of people looking for employment opportunities that were good at what they do but not so great in the interview process or with writing a resume. So I designed a couple formats I thought would make their resumes attractive, in addition to providing the content.” Resume Scribes has since evolved into a full-service, nationally-operated, career coaching company specializing in resume writing and interview preparation.

Below, Victor talks about the most important things employers look for in a resume and the satisfaction he gets from doing his job, “My philosophy, and the company’s philosophy, is that when something as important as employment is on the line, everyone deserves an opportunity to present themselves within the best light possible to get a job, because it’s so fundamental to existence.”

How did you come up with the idea to start Resume Scribes?

I’d been a recruiter for many years and had a lot of success running a recruiting company called Trinity Management Consultants. Originally, we’d redo a candidate’s resume free of charge. We ended up closing Trinity due to vendors going bankrupt when the economy turned, leaving us hanging with a substantial amount of money. And then I went through a bunch of personal things: divorce, living in my car and just everything everyone else was going through. I started noticing a lot of people looking for employment opportunities that were good at what they do but not so great in the interview process or with writing a resume. So I designed a couple formats I thought would make their resumes attractive, in addition to providing the content.

In this economy, when times are tough it costs companies money to make a bad hire. So they really have to go with what they think is right. The person who interviews well and has the nice resume has the leg up. That was really my focus, to help people get back to work. It’s tough, I mean, even if you have a good resume and you interview well, the sheer volume of people looking can prevent you from getting a good opportunity.

There are so many people who are very good at what they do and can flat-out get the job done, but they’re not people people or their writing skills are horrible. I don’t try to change them, because you are who you are. My job is to get them to tell their professional story.

Looking at your website, you offer quite a bit more than resume writing.

Yes. The thing that distinguishes us from everyone else, in addition to our expansive product, is the built-in career interview preparation component that goes into every resume we write. I need to talk not only about what you can do, but prepare you to tell your story in an interview. A lot of people will say, “Well, I interview pretty well,” but then I’ll say, “So, tell me about yourself,” and that ends it for people. They’re nervous. They don’t know where to begin or where to end. I tell them, “Look. Whenever you hear that question, that’s a time of excitement for you, because you get to tell your professional story.” And that’s where I really help them see the big picture and tie in their experiences. That’s the component I think everyone needs. We really try to prepare you for success in you career and in an interview.

We also designed this corporate product called “The Exit Strategy,” because people were getting laid off in droves. They’re getting terminated, even if they’ve worked with the company for 20 years. Normally, when you’re terminated or laid-off, you just get your final check and off to the unemployment depot. It puts a lot of pressure on families and professionals. I thought, look, why don’t we design this package for when a corporation lays you off or fires you, they pre-pay to get your resume done and some career coaching. It’s a nice way to say goodbye to someone, or at least a way to say, “Okay, you’re going to have a struggle, but we’re going to try and get you a leg up on the competition.” It’s a humane way to lay people off in a tough economic time.

As a resume expert, what would you say are the most common mistakes most people make on their resume?

The failure to tell the reader early on in the resume who you are and what you can do. That’s key. With a lot of resumes you read the first page, and you’re like, “Oh, okay, I’ve seen they’ve done accounting, they’ve done customer service…” You, as the reader, have to summarize what position you think they’d be good for, but each resume is only getting about, on average, five to ten seconds. What we try to do is give a strong summary, right up front. For example, if you’ve been in customer service, we’d say “Customer Service Rep/Customer Service Senior Manager looking for XYZ opportunity to…etc.” You’re letting the reader know right up front what you can do. A lot of resumes fail to do that. And if it doesn’t pop, it gets sent to the “maybe I’ll come back to you” pile. What’s important to a potential employer is that you know the job, you can do the job, and, in your current capacity, you can increase sales, save money or streamline the process. That’s the hallmark of our design, immediately you know what the person can do.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Helping. I still, to this day, get great satisfaction out of delivering someone’s resume. I always tell them, “I think the first thing you’re going to say is ‘Wow.’” And I would say 97-98% of the time, that’s what they say. It’s not that we embellish or exaggerate anything, it’s just clearly our style, our format and our ability to draw on our recruiting experiences. I think people have a hard time believing who they are can translate on paper. But I think we do a really good job of that.

My philosophy, and the company’s philosophy, is that when something as important as employment is on the line, everyone deserves an opportunity to present themselves within the best light possible to get a job, because it’s so fundamental to existence. We take a lot of pride in doing our part to help people, not just to get a job or perform well in an interview, but shed light on where their career is going. Whether it’s tweaking that plan or daring them to dream, we can show them the steps on how to get there. It’s helping all around. That’s just the bottom line for us.

To learn more about the services Resume Scribes has to offer, contact them toll-free at 866-497-5192 or visit their website at www.resume-scribes.com.