Can you meet my deadline to develop a resume for a job I'm applying for?
Our packages take a lot of time and a lot of effort to get right. We give your project everything we've got and while we're working for you, your project receives our complete and undivided attention. We leave no stone unturned in unearthing information that builds a compelling case for your services from start-to-finish, and we give you the time you need to remember your career in detail. This takes time. (Generally about four weeks for basic packages and up to six weeks for our full multi-service packages). Communicating your unique promise of value is our aim. Every word, every phrase and every strategy counts towards your career success; no shortcuts, no compromises. Just like a finely-tailored suit or a custom-made car, your resume will fit seamlessly between where you are now, and where you're going. Creating anything less is simply inconceivable.
Our long list of projects at any one time, leaves no time for urgent projects. Your next career move needs to be well thought-out, strategically planned and prepared. The most successful jobseekers are those who plan their career moves strategically and carefully.
Generally, this is the way things run:
- Week 1: Order is received. Administration is carried out. We set you up on our project collaboration area. You return the first survey questions as a "getting to know you"
- Week 2: Gayle reviews all information sent. Reviews what is missing and develops a series of questions (often 10 to 15 pages) to bring out your personal brand and best achievements.
- Week 3: Client returns answers to the questions.
- Week 4/5: Gayle places project on the writing schedule and writes the documents; second drafts and the client signs off.
- Week 5/6: Anything else you have purchased, such as Interview Coaching, Job Loss Coaching, DISC profiles, LinkedIn profiles.
Are we a match? Will I be a good 'fit' as a client of Top Margin (and Gayle Howard)?
You will get the most value from working with Gayle if:
- You are open to new ideas about resumes, personal branding, and the job search
- You are comfortable in allowing Gayle 'do her stuff'. That is, you are used to allowing experienced professionals recommend strategies and deliver outcomes.
- You can find your way around a computer without stress. That is, you can open a Word document, save it, download items from a link and find your downloads.
- You are committed to getting it done right in the time it takes to do it right.
- You are collaborative and ready to contribute. You really get a buzz out of being asked questions and it challenges and excites you to think about your career in-depth.
- You are comfortable communicating via the internet (email, elists, forums, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn).
- You are in, or aspire to be in, a leadership role (any industry) or you are a leader of tomorrow (graduate).
We recommend you pursue other services if:
- You have no idea what you want to do next in your career. That is, you could equally be a child-care worker, a florist, a truck driver or a marketing manager.
- You want to meet personally or chat on the phone regularly.
- You want a "general" resume so that you can apply for any type of position... from truck driver, to engineer, to CEO.
- You have very strong opinions about resume 'rules' and you consider those rules unbreakable. (example: numbers of pages, style types, formatting ideas).
- You want us to work differently and change the way we do things.
- You cannot use a computer or you don't have access to a computer regularly.
- You're not interested in expending a great deal of effort.
- You have a deadline for submitting an application that is fewer than 4 weeks away.
How do I go about getting you to write for me? How does your service work?
First, you can email your existing resume to us, or (you can request we send our information gatherer form to you complete it and send it to us).
Next, you select and pay for the package that best suits your needs. We take all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX or Diners). If you would like to pay via PayPal or direct credit into our account, please email us for details.
(Sorry, no cheque payments accepted).
Next we scurry around to make you welcome. We find a comfy place for you in our executive collaboration area online so we can share files and information, and message each other virtually. Probing questions are developed following the review of the information you've entrusted us with, and we are single-minded in our ambition to portray you as the best and only candidate worthy of consideration.
As we proudly present the results of our hard work to you, you will know instantly that these documents are pristine; a faithful representation of the unique career of an unrivalled candidate. You simply review the documents, marvel at their flawless presentation, tweak a few words here and there if you feel the need, and sign-off officially.
How much does it cost to have an award-winning resume writer and published author write for me? Do I have to sell my first born?
We think you'll find that our prices are entirely appropriate for the hours devoted to presenting you as the unbeatable candidate. Cheap services are a dime-a-dozen; we're confident you wouldn't want to settle for less. Our prices and packages are here
There's a resume firm who charges $39.95 for a resume. What do you do that is different?
You know, there's a place for everything and everyone in this world. We're not about to disparage anyone for making a business choice that suits them and the clients they serve. Templates, pre-written content and off-the-shelf cut-and-paste information is generally what you can expect with a "keep it cheap and keep it turning over" model.
Top Margin is different. We invest hours examining your career, probing forgotten achievements, exploring your talents, strategising how to present you, and analysing what you have to offer. This rigorous, exhaustive questioning, planning and development work sets us apart from our competitors. Your presentation is authentic and unique, reinforcing your promise of value.
Despite the intensity of the behind-the-scenes work, all communications are virtual. We know you need time to think away from the workplace and we offer you that freedom. Take the time you need to respond.
What about I offer you a deal? When I get a job, I'll pay you double! Or I'll send four people to you if you give me a discount!
We love to receive referrals thanks! But we have our own rewards programs for our loyal customers, so let's go with that. As for discounts, when you purchase resume or coaching services, it's not like buying a washing machine or TV. There's no middle man or wholesale-to-retail mark-ups to be discounted. Writing and coaching is a specialist service that has taken almost two decades and countless training hours to hone and refine. Please don't ask us to take less. Our guess is you wouldn't be happy to arrive at the pay office and have the payroll officer trying to discount your pay!
I'm an executive lion tamer with a background in creating widgets. Have you written for my occupation before?
We've been in business since 1990 and we've written close to twelve thousand resumes. It's pretty much "Been there, done that, have the t-shirt". From programmers to executives, from marketing managers to sound engineers and all points in between, it would be a rare job that hasn't passed our desks. Today we've settled comfortably in the management and executive arena, across a wide range of industries from IT to sales and marketing, events management, retail, logistics, and more. With a global network of specialists at our disposal, in-depth insight is never further than an email away.
I'm tearing my hair out trying to complete Key Selection Criteria for Government Applications. Can you help?
Key selection criteria can be frustrating, hair-pulling and challenging! One thing they always are is time-intensive whether you choose to create them yourself, or whether you choose a professional firm to create them for you. To get your foot in the door you need to be specifically qualified in all the key areas and you need to articulate your strengths succinctly by using specific examples of your expertise. Due to the time it takes to complete these applications we have decided to discontinue this service. We can however refer you to an expert so contact us please contact us here
if you would like a referral. Before you invest your considerable time and money, look carefully at the criteria in relation to your skills and experience. They must be a match!
I hear a lot about Applicant Tracking Systems and I'm concerned about formatting and being found
A scannable resume or an ATS resume, meant for automated tracking systems, is needed when a job applicant is applying online or when that type of resume is requested. Professional resume writers advise their clients to first have a visual resume -- one that combines visual impact, spacial segmentation of content for readability, and strategic branding to tease out the job seeker's unique value. To complement this resume, a scannable version is often needed. Depending on the method of job search this may be an ATS resume which is customized for each position or it might simply be an ASCII resume. Both of these require "dumbing down" the format by stripping out the elements that make it friendly for a human while ensuring the key words are needed to match the job ad. When opportunities emerge for a job seeker where there is limited certainty on what version to use, it is a good idea to send both. A simple line in the cover letter stating, "For your convenience I have also included an ATS-friendly resume" will suffice. Special thanks to Career Directors International for the use of this content.
If I don't get an interview, it's all your fault. Right?
Some services provide an interview guarantee. It's marketing. The only problem is some services say they'll write it again if you don't get an interview! Write it again? Inconvenience you while they think of a better strategy? No way, that's not for us at all. We do it right the first time! What we cannot do, is step in and stop you applying for a job outside the scope of the resume, or spelling the search consultant's name incorrectly, or applying for jobs where there are hundreds or thousands of applicants, or stopping you making changes to your beautiful document that look amateurish or that damage a document's format. We simply cannot guarantee what we cannot control. We can, however, control the development process and ensure that the documents are the best they can be to represent you. We'll work with you on the part we can control until we are sure you're over-the-moon with the outcome.
Web Resumes--Mr Executive, Meet the Future.
Imagine getting a call from a recruiter and you're right in the middle of a busy day. You're being headhunted but you're really too busy to send an email and attach your resume right now. Imagine saying "Feel free to visit my website at johnwsmith.com; you can download my resume there and have a look around". Bingo. You're free to get on with your day and the recruiter doesn't have to wait. A web resume and an executive. It's a match made in heaven. Your web resume can elevate your personal brand, be found on Google, can be referred to during networking, meetings, interviews and throughout the job offer phase. Get your website URL in front of potential employers, clients, recruiters and interviewers so it can be viewed on your smart phone, an iPad, or desktop in any office, at any location in the world.
Commonsense Limits: What won't it do? Having your web resume online won't generate leads for you by itself; it will not magically draw leads to you from cyberspace and will not open doors without your input. Your website can help solidify a recruiter's initial interest into a telephone interview, but your credentials themselves must ignite the initial curiosity.
I am a people person. I like looking deep into the eyes of a resume writer. I want to see in your eyes that you understand the real me, so when and where do we meet?
We love people too. In fact, we work with people right around the world---from Australia to Venezuela, from London to California, Spain to Thailand, China to France. There has not yet been one client who felt that their resume was in anyway compromised by not hopping on a jet to spend time with us personally. Once you experience virtual collaborations you'll be amazed at how immediate, individualised and convenient these type of communications are. Time zones are not an issue, you don't need to take the time out of your busy day to meet with us and wrack your brains to come up with examples of achievements before the meeting draws to a close. Seriously, you have better things to do with your time. Trust us, our system works astonishingly well.
I see you have DISC profiles. How do they help me?
DISC profiles are amazingly insightful and when used as a tool in conjunction with coaching, can be an intelligent and profound aid in helping you understand more about the way you work, your communication style and how others perceive you. Can you imagine being given a key to someone else's perceptions of you and knowing that this will be the catalyst to presenting yourself at interviews or making your day more enjoyable? It's almost a gift isn't it? All you need to do is respond truthfully to 25 questions; it takes around 10 to 15 minutes to complete online and the report is sent to you in PDF format. Your coaching afterwards, brings the report to life.
Telecoaching. What is it?
Telecoaching is coaching via telephone. Prior to your coaching session, we survey you to find out what you'd like to cover in your session, what your fears and concerns are, and your session will address these topics. It could be anything from job hopping to redundancies, difficult relationship issues, behavioural interview techniques and more. Annemarie Cross, an expert in interviewing, NLP Practitioner, and author of Ace that Interview, will be your coach. You couldn't be in better, more experienced hands.
Job Loss Recovery Program. How can I find more about that?
This groundbreaking program is set to transform your job search through stress relief, letting go of the past and creating a visualisation of a successful interview. Read about it here
There's a secretarial service down the road from me and she creates resumes. Why would I choose Top Margin?
Top Margin is committed to setting benchmarks for quality in both product and customer service. We fully back our promises and services and we have aligned with industry professionals with similar objectives. We represent a handful of professional resume writers worldwide who have reached the pinnacle of our craft through certification as Master Resume Writer, Certified Expert Resume Writer, and a host of other qualifications. See here.
We have been published internationally in more than 25 books. Gayle has won 27 TORI Awards for resume excellence in nine years (51 nominations, 19 first place, 4 second place, 4 third place). Internationally recognised for her writing craftsmanship, Gayle Howard our founder, is the most decorated and consistently nominated writer in the history of Career Directors International.
How do I pay for my resume? Is this a secure site?
We commence work upon receipt of your payment in full. Our payment gateway is managed on a secure server by one of Australia's largest banks and encrypted to the highest levels legally allowable. You can safely enter all personal information together with your credit card details. Top Margin accepts Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express. You may also take advantage of your Internet banking system to transfer funds directly into our account or pay via PayPal. Sorry—no cheques, money orders, or bank cheques.
Some of the words on this website are spelled incorrectly!
Well-meaning people raise this issue from time-to-time. Mostly we receive such comments from our North American visitors who believe that words such as centre (center), organised (organized), specialise (specialize), recognise (recognize), colour (color), licence (license), defence (defense), and so on are not spelled correctly. Top Margin is an Australian company. Australians adopt the UK English spelling style. Americans have adopted the American/English spelling style. As we are primarily talking to our Australian audiences, we use the spelling adopted by our country. However, we are also experts in writing for the North American market, so please be assured that that when we create a resume for you, we’ll spell it your way!
Do you give refunds if I change my mind or get a job in the meantime?
No. Top Margin is not selling a refrigerator, TV or washing machine. We are developing documents specifically for you based on your experience, training, and career desires. We can't resell this service to anyone else if you change your mind. However, we are relentless in ensuring you are entirely happy with the package you purchase. You will be asked to sign off on the document(s) only when they are complete and you are satisfied.
I cancelled my order before we had started because I changed my mind/got a better offer/couldn't be bothered. What is this administration charge?
It is one thing to click on submit twice and incur a double charge by mistake. That happens and we're not about to penalize you for it. We're all human and we've all had this happen at one time or another. Clearly we're not going to charge for a mistake and we'll refund your payment promptly. It is another thing to order a resume, have us raise an invoice in our accounting software, send you welcome emails, provide information on how things are going to work, set up your file, place your project on the writing schedule, send you documents, create a collaboration area for you, and do all of that, only for you to say... "hmmm, I just saw another service that I like better", or "I decided I really don't like working on computers" or "I didn't realize I actually had to participate in this" or "On reflection, I think I'll stay where I am". That's all well and good but we've just spent an hour devoted entirely to you. An hour that we could have been helping someone else. It really is only fair that if you change your mind, you put matters right. After all, we didn't change our minds! We are serious about your successful job search and keen to get started. Don't worry, we are fair and it is only a minimal fee; a small token that to be honest, doesn't come close to the effort we expended. We're like you. All we ask is to be paid for the work we do for you. Nothing more, nothing less.
Are hard copies (paper) included?
Very few job seekers print and send their applications by mail these days and even if they do, the most inexpensive printers produce almost laser-like results. Most job seekers today are used to uploading resumes to job sites or attaching to an email. It's quick, easy and convenient. Paper copies and folders tend to be of a different, slower era. Today, you want to be first off the line and be seen. Top Margin is also acutely aware of resources and we take pride in using a minimum amount of paper, toners and ink as we have become close to the utopia of a "paperless" office.
Could you look at my resume and critique it? I'm curious what you think.
Sure. Our fee for a resume review is here.
We review your current resume and return the document to you with comments and tracked changes in MS Word. We will also provide you with a one-page summary that provides a rationale for the recommendations we have made. It is up to you whether you want to adopt some, none or all of the recommendations. To provide you with a guide to see, understand and act on our suggestions better, we include in the price, a bonus! The ebook version of Gayle's published book, PS… You Need a Resume! No generic reports for us! This is YOUR resume and the recommendations are personalised for you.
What is a MRW, CERW, CJLRC MCD, MRWLAA, CERW, CWPP, and CCM?
These acronyms represent our training and examinations over 20 years. The CMRW (Certified Master Resume Writer) is an elite credential held by just a handful of professionals worldwide and delegated by Career Directors International. Our other equally respected industry credentials can be reviewed and verified at Career Directors International
I would like to start my own resume writing business or create a new revenue stream to complement my recruiting work. Can you help?
Of course! As a mentor of up-and-coming talent, Gayle Howard has helped many people enter the world of resume writing and boost their potential to generate an income with proven tools and techniques. Resume writing can be an amazing career for the right people and Gayle can help you save time and money by providing you with the knowledge she's gained as a top tier resume writer for more than twenty years. Gayle's training and mentorship is essentially, a "Business in a Box" and training starts from an entry-level online course*, through supervised feedback on assignments and quizzes, to her ultimate mentorship program incorporating monthly discussions, bonus learning materials and screencasts for VIP members. Graduating VIP members can become an integral part of Gayle's elite team of personally trained writers. We also have access to a coach who can help you enrich your business, love what you do and make more money in the process.
* Gayle's self-paced e-course for professional resume writers entitled “PS...You’re a Resume Expert” is perfect for people wanting to enter the industry. You can find out more about it here PS...You’re a Resume Expert.
Why all the awards? Isn’t this just self-gratification?
In just about every walk of life and every career profession there is someone who excels. Someone who stands up, elevates the reputation of the industry and achieves recognition from his or her peers. The Nobel Peace Prize recognises individuals who excel in making our world a better place; the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys acknowledge superior acting and musical performances; the Pulitzer Prize rewards contemporary writing; and the Archibald, artistic merit. The list of industries that publicly acknowledge professional excellence that in turn, inspires others to strive for similar success, is endless.
The ultimate beneficiaries of our expertise, our clients, are our greatest personal reward for the efforts we expend in pursuing excellence and maximising our skills. But it is not just about personal rewards. It is about elevating the profile of the industry and raising the bar for others to aspire. The resume-writing industry is strengthened by people invested in surpassing clients’ expectations. Not just anyone can excel in the art of resume writing. The fast turnover of fly-by-night businesses run by stay-at-home-mums and students armed with templates and computers will tell you that. Recognition is about separating the talented from the run of the mill and inspiring professionals to reach for the sky.
Self-promotion? Hardly! Certification and professional affiliation are about giving back to the industry in a tangible way so that you, the client, can benefit through the knowledge and quality of the person who serves you.