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Reflecting on 5 Years!


Reflecting on 5 Years!

Franklin Buchanan |

I'll be the first person to admit - this hasn't been easy. But with that admission comes another - it has been fun.

I always had incredibly high standards as a recruiter and when selling recruiting services around the candidate presentation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term "candidate presentation," it's essentially showing the client the resumes of the prospective candidates you have recruited for them.

Messing up candidate presentation can make or break a search. If you're not presenting a candidate in a way that makes the client want to talk to them, all of those resume screenings and interview sessions have been worthless.

Even if the candidate is perfect, if that perfection isn't reflected on the resume then it doesn't matter. And if the candidate can't articulate that perfection in the job interview, then it doesn't matter.

I never knew I could take those high standards and turn them into a business.

Because I was a recruiter, I always wrote resumes for family members and friends. Of course I'm going to help them with that.

Then my brother in law came to me as a teacher applying to be an assistant principal and asked for help with his resume. So I wrote him a dynamic resume that wowed the hiring committee. And he got the interview and the job. So he brought me a 6 pack of Sweetwater 420 to thank me for it (where do you think Careers and Beers stemmed from?).

But he told me about the career coach and resume writer he'd spoken with and just how turned off he was by impersonal the process was. 

So I created a profile on Thumbtack that night and got my 1st paid resume writing client. And I started writing resumes as a hobby.

I then did some freelance work for some of the "big box" resume companies. You can Google them. But those processes were also impersonal. Clients often wouldn't even know my last name and I certainly wasn't allowed to speak to them.

"How can I write a resume and tell your career story without a conversation," was the question I kept asking myself.

I did it for awhile - it was easy from a resume project perspective and I was very good at it. But I knew I could be better if I could just do it differently.

"Post Up Careers," is what my wife said to me at dinner in Hilton Head at the end of 2018. I wish I could have seen the look on my face. I was just trying to enjoy the Session IPA from Hilton Head Brewing Company. What was she talking about?

She was really tired of hearing me complain about how impersonal the process was and how I could do it better. She put her foot down. You either do this on your own or you stop doing it.

Of course I procrastinated in actually doing it. It took a little more prodding, but I finally went to the Small Business Development Center at USC Aiken for advice on starting a business and met with Brent Hoover. I knew Brent a little bit from growing up, but man that dude knew his stuff. I think I took 2 pages of notes.

I took Brent's advice on May 22 and filed all the necessary paperwork with all the necessary government agencies and Post Up Careers was officially official.

The next person I called was Tim Cameron, my old college roommate and one of my best friends. Tim is a digital wizard and specializes in digital media for political candidates. Tim gave me website advice and a referral to get that started and next thing I knew I had a logo, a website, and a brand.

How to grow it?

Intense client focus. Using my background in recruiting and understanding what clients want to see on a resume, what they want to hear in an interview, and how a job search actually works to deliver my clients world class resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and job search advice.

In 2021, the Good Lord blessed me with the best gift of all. The opportunity to do this full time. In all of His irony, May 4, 2021 was my last day in corporate life. May the 4th was with me! A new hope was born that day for what I could potentially do next.

I knew that I had to continue to be relentlessly focused on the success of my clients. I knew that I had to deliver world class resumes, engaging LinkedIn profiles, and advise my clients on how to utilize their network and nail their job interviews.

I also knew that I needed help and advice. I knew Kevin Williams from when he was at Cooper Tools and I was selling engineering recruiting services. Kevin was a successful CEO and I reached out to him and he graciously gave me time and advice. Kevin met with me for far longer than he should have, listened, and counselled on how I might grow.

I also called Lucy Rosen, a marketing consultant that I'd gotten to know as I had been preparing for diving into this full time. Lucy opened doors, connected me with Donna Drake, and set the foundation for marketing Post Up in ways that I would have never imagined.

I then connected with Mark Diamond, the CEO of Executive Coaching Solutions at the end of 2021. He had a recruiting background and had successfully started and sold multiple recruiting companies. I knew that my client service was outstanding, but the business needed strategic planning. Mark helped me stop thinking like a resume writer and career coach and started helping me think like an entrepreneur.

A conversation with Michelle Prue, an old colleague of mine turned into me checking into doing video advice. Thanks to the help of my cousin Madison Darling, a social media extraordinaire, the first ever Careers and Beers was filmed. Who would have thought that I could enjoy a beer and give resume and job search advice online?

Business grew.

In 2022, a conversation with a client turned into an introduction to Thad Westbrook, the Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee at my alma mater, the University of South Carolina. Candidate presentation to the Board of Trustees was paramount and I was brought in to turn the CVs of the finalists into executive summaries for Board Members. I love my Gamecocks, but "Forever To Thee" took on a whole knew meaning for me after finishing this project.

Business kept growing. But I'd become comfortable. My office garage is complete with its own A/C unit, beer fridge, autographed footballs from Steve Spurrier and Frank Beamer, basketballs from Frank Martin, Eddie Fogler, and Dawn Staley, an Xbox, and a lightsaber. It's comfy here and that was a problem.

I knew that I needed to step outside of that far too comfortable zone.

So I called Tim Guerinot, an old colleague of mine that had just started a lead generation company. I wanted to add outplacement services to my portfolio. We developed messaging and outreach strategies for HR executives to pitch outplacement services.

In 2023, I finally landed an outplacement client with a chemical manufacturer. Then I helped Cascades with the shutdown of their facility and outplacement has now become a much bigger factor in my business.

I also earned my "Top Voice" badge for Resume Writing and admission to the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council in 2023.

Business kept growing. But the comfort of a new Xbox in the office started to creep in. Then I met Angie Callen at then end of 2023. Angie is a fellow Career Coach and she's also very involved in the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC).

I was already a Certified Professional Career Coach and a Certified Veteran Career Strategist through PARWCC. But that was the extent of my involvement.

Angie and I hosted a joint Careers and Beers themed webinar, which led to me being a panelist on 2 panels during the "Job Search Summit," in January of 2024, and eventually bringing Careers and Beers live to the PARWCC Annual Conference in April of 2024. She got me back out of my comfort zone. I'd be remiss if I also didn't mention Mark Misiano and Stephanie Renk too. I'm proud to call them friends. Coming from the recruiting world where competition is cut-throat, it's fascinating to me to be in an industry where your "competitors" are actually collaborators and friends.

If you've gotten this far in the blog I want to thank you. I promise you, the resumes that I write for clients aren't this long.

But 5 years is a neat thing. It hasn't been easy, but it's been fun. I'm a world class resume writer and career coach. I know how to handle a layoff in a way that makes displaced employees feel valued and taken care of during their job search.

I know what hiring managers are looking for in a resume and what they want to hear in a job interview.

The business part - that's still a work in progress. It isn't easy, but it's fun.

To save the best for last, my wife Kendall, who pushes and prods me to be better every day, is the reason I'm here. Without her insistence that I do this on my own, I probably would have just stopped the freelance gig and been perfectly happy to continue in corporate world.

Without her understanding of the fact that operating a business requires nights, weekends, and vacations I would have given this up a long time ago. But she empowers me, encourages me, and is the best partner I could have ever asked for.

"Handle Me With Care," is one of my favorite songs by the Travelling Wilburys. It's why I deliver world class client service when writing resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters. It's why my clients wow hiring managers in interviews and why they get job offers at the top or higher than posted salary bands.





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