Friday, January 25, 2013

Does Your Client Belong to A "High-Risk" Category?

If you provide resume writing services, you most certainly will come across clients who are eager to ease their way into the workplace, but, due to certain reasons, are anxious about proving their worth to potential employers.

These people belong to a category that I would call "high risk," which means that when their applications are not handled properly, the probability of them getting rejected during interviews are high.

Let me just cite a few examples of these high-risk clients:

(1.) The applicant who's done too much "career jumping" within a relatively short period of time.

We've all heard of the individual who went through periods of uncertainty in his career, when he was still maturing and slowly making the transition into the corporate world. As a result, it left him discontented and unhappy with one job after another.

Give your client the feeling of reassurance that he can get a job once again, but remind him that now, more than ever, he would need to show consistency should he be accepted to work.

Start by evaluating his strongest points -- his core competencies. If he's held a lot of jobs, check to see any recurring tasks or projects that was assigned to him and build from them.

Next, draw up a list of any additional credentials that your client may have. He may have been to a series of seminars in his previous jobs, so if any of them are relevant to the position for which he's vying, be sure to write them down.

Don't neglect that in addition to his "hard skills," your client has "soft skills," or personality traits that are unique and, when applied on the job, could make your client more productive. As you start enumerating your client's strengths, consistently use action verbs as a way to showcase his capability. 

Stay tuned, because in my next few installments, I'll cite other categories of high risk job seekers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Run-Down on Resume Writers' Rates

Not too long ago, I did some research about how much money resume writers are making in the international market. It turned out that an experienced freelancer with the proper credentials could fetch as high as USD250.00 for every project.

That amount, when converted to our local currency, would be equivalent to roughly Php10,000.00. Since it's cheaper to establish a career in freelancing here in the Philippines, you would have to subtract at least several thousand pesos from your writers' fees, or local clients would find it ridiculous that you're charging horrendously high rates.

Now, understand that different resumes suit different types of job seekers. A new graduate with little to no job experience would mostly rely on his academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities, and maybe a few internships or part-time jobs here and there.

Should this be the case, you are free to determine and adjust your rates, depending on the type of industry to which your client hopes to land an entry-level position.

If he's spent several years in the workplace and is hoping to move up the career ladder by applying for a higher position, or one that pays better, you will tackle extra tasks like sifting through your client's experience and highlighting his core competencies.

Also, it is possible that your client have pursued continuing education by signing up for seminars to upgrade his skills or handling additional responsibilities on the job. You would have to consider citing those credentials, too.

However way you choose and how much you deem it fit to set your rates, don't settle for the losing end either for fear of overcharging.

Stay tuned, because in my next few article installments, I'll talk about the two categories of job seekers that should merit special attention from the resume writer. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

How to Adjust Your Rates for Each Freelance Project

If I were to think about one of the most outstanding traits that greatly differentiates professional freelance workers from employees under a company's payroll, it would be this: freelance worker's fees are flexible, which means no two task-based projects will require the same amount from the client.

Freelancing is an industry that hardly follows a strict set of guidelines, so I'm writing this article just to give you a few ideas on setting your rates.

If you accept assignments to proofread a variety of documents, like book-length manuscripts or company manuals, it would be better to charge by the number of pages. Before the year 2005 rolled around, each double-spaced page would cost USD2.00, which, when converted to Philippine pesos, would be slightly above Php80.00.

A lot has changed in this industry since then, and you most certainly can ask your client for an amount higher than Php80.00 if you were to proofread documents.

Now, let's say you decided to ask for Php120.00 for every double-spaced page, and you're trying to determine your price quote by estimating the number of pages that would be taken up by the entire project. By estimating, you came up with a rough total of 125 pages.

Now, compute the number of pages by the amount per page: 

125 pages x Php120.00 = Php15,000.00 

Having been able to come up with Php15,000.00, compute 40 percent of that amount, and that is how much you should ask for a down payment.

Now, how should you set your rates if you offer resume writing services, since there is no one standard type of resume for every industry?

Stay tuned, because I'll talk about this further next time.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

How to Compute Flat Rates and Down Payments

We've talked about the importance of charging a flat rate and asking for a down payment for each project assigned to you. And yet, given the nature of this career, no freelance worker would ask his client for exactly the same amount, since freelance jobs vary in range and scope.

In this article, I'll let you in on a few insider's secrets to help you determine how much your "advanced fees" should be.

When it comes to flat rates, you have the following options:
  • Charge the same amount regardless of the nature of the project.
  • Come up with a rough estimate of the total amount that the project will incur, and then compute 10-15 percent of that amount. That will serve as your flat rate.
If you're just starting out, you may want to consider the first option, since you have yet to determine how frequently clients will come knocking at your door to outsource tasks to you.

If you've already had several years or more tucked under your belt, and you can offer your rare, exemplary skills, you can definitely charge more than the majority of workers in your field, provided that you can meet your deadlines. If you can do this, you may consider the second option.

When it comes to asking for a down payment, here's the deal. In countries like the United States, where freelancing is seen as a legitimate career and even a lucrative way to earn money, it's no longer unreasonable for a professional worker to ask for a fee that goes as high as 50 percent of the estimated total amount that the project will incur.

If you're just starting out, or you feel like you still have to prove you're capable given the credentials that you have, you can start by charging 30 to 40 percent.

In my next few article installments, I'll cite several examples on how these guidelines can be applied.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Should You Ask for a Flat Rate and a Down Payment?

In my last article, I have mentioned one of the standard procedures in the field of freelancing, which is asking your client for a flat rate and a down payment.

If you're reading this and you're thinking about hiring, or outsourcing jobs to a freelance professional, you must understand that the reason you would need to pay such fees is mostly to ensure coverage for the initial amount of effort coming from the part of the freelance worker.

If you're the one who's freelancing, take it from someone like me who's had almost ten years of experience working professionally. 

Over time, I've grown more and more aware that there will always be plenty of unscrupulous individuals who will pose as clients, discuss the possibility of hiring me for a project, and then, when everything has been agreed upon and  the task is half-finished, the so-called "client" would attempt to bail out on me without giving a valid reason.

That sort of incidence happened only once, and I dealt with it by creating a new (and stricter) set of guidelines before accepting projects in the future. 

Now, I don't know if I had just been very, very lucky, because I've heard about some freelance professionals who do graphic design and photography for weddings, and whose works had been "stolen," meaning their client used whatever they have done and submitted for their own agenda (e.g. took a photo from their websites and had the image enlarged and transferred to a tarpaulin for a bridal event), even if the client had not paid them the total amount that they charged before proceeding with the project.

And since these "crooks" would not hesitate to change phone numbers and evade notices sent through email, it would be very hard for freelancers to track them down.

This could cause unwanted stress to the professional worker, and may even mean a slight reduction in his cash flow.

So, in some ways, the initial amounts paid could also cover for the moral damages incurred by the unscrupulous client.

Now, if you'd been thinking of hiring a freelance worker, you may argue that you have an impeccable reputation and you wouldn't think of cutting corners just to save a few bucks, so you consider the possibility of getting the freelance worker to start the job, and offer to pay only after the finished project has been dispatched to you.

Let me just warn you, no self-respecting freelance professional would compromise just to land a job. Experienced freelancers know that anything could come up within the time frame you've allotted for the job to be completed, and should you decide to cancel and you gave a flat rate and down payment, you wouldn't be held accountable for not coughing up a fee for their efforts.

Now, if you're the freelance worker, you may be thinking, how much money would be a reasonable amount to charge as my flat rate, and how much more should I ask for a down payment?

Since freelancer's fees vary according to industry, there is no one answer that would settle this question. So stay tuned, because I'll talk about this further in my next article installments.