Create Your Own Special! (aka “Build-a-Bear” with CareerBranches’ Services)

April 11, 2011 | blog,Career | Written by: admin

At CareerBranches, we’re doing a professional version of “Build-a-Bear.”

But instead of creating your own snuggly plush creature, you get to come up with your personalized special for one – or several – of my services!

Meaning $ savings for you… now, if THAT doesn’t make you feel fuzzy…

But hurry – this round of collecting input for specials will close in 10 days – next Friday, April 22!

As you may know, we are celebrating CareerBranches’ 10-year anniversary this year and I’ve already created several specials for you!

The thing is: I like my specials to be inspired by real people and real situations.

For example; not infrequently, I receive inquiries from people who got burnt by another resume writer or resume-writing firm. One particular person really caught my attention and I decided to offer her a special deal as the first to receive my new “burnt by other writers” anniversary special. What you get is 20% off my resume-writing fees!! (for more details, email

Now tell me – what kind of special deal do you wish I’d offer? This is your chance!

The only thing I ask is that you come up with a twist, or a story, or something interesting. Of course, we all want everything we need for half off…no wait…why stop there…for free! Right?  ;  )

Ok, so be a little creative, and you’ll get my attention!

If your idea is selected, not only will YOU enjoy the special, but it will be instituted for anyone else – that is, anyone who meets the criteria you set forth.

And..I will get back to each and every one of you if you email me your idea. Promise!

So  what are you waiting for…do yourself a favor – as well as your friends, family, colleagues…and let me know what kind of anniversary special you think I should offer!

Remember: there is room for more specials, so you’re not necessarily competing with everyone else’s ideas!

Do it now – next Friday will be here before you know it – I don’t want you to miss the boat on this one!

Leave a comment here on my blog or email me at with your idea, ok?

I can’t wait to offer you your own special deal!

In excited anticipation…

P.S.: Remember: we have 3 active specials right now…email my assistant for the details and to secure your spot!

P.P.S.: To refresh your memory, here’s a current overview of my services:

    • Resume writing (as well as creation of cover letters, thank-you letters, follow-up letters, resume addenda)
    • Resume distribution
    • Company research (for use in your job search)
    • Bios
    • LinkedIn profiles
    • Social media strategies for career management
    • Online identity management
    • Renaissance Strategy Sessions (part of the current special! Now $175 instead of $247!)
    • Renaissance career coaching
    • Career Strategy Sessions (part of the current special! Now $175 instead of $247!)
    • Career Update Sessions
    • Career transition coaching
    • Job search coaching
    • Networking coaching
    • Interview coaching
    • Salary negotiation coaching


  1. Julie’s email address is bouncing.

    Comment by Kelly — April 13, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  2. I think this is a great idea. I like the offer that you will offer everyone the special that you come up with.

    I would like you to offer a special for 50 somethings that have been effected by reduction in force and have not been in the job market for over 10 years. Things have changed so much. I really feel my resume is not getting the attention that it deserves. Could you offer a special for someone that has this situation and just needs a little polishing and not a total rewrite of the resume?

    Nancy Conelley

    Comment by Nancy Conelley — April 14, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  3. Hi Kelly,

    How strange – I’ve been emailing with her back and forth all day. Sorry for the inconvenience! Feel free to email me instead:


    Comment by careerbranches — April 14, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  4. Hi Nancy!

    Thanks for stopping by here … great idea!

    I’m thinking 50+ people who are having a hard time getting back into the job market or who have otherwise been effected by job cuts definitely deserve a special.

    I’d like to make it bit less specific though as I’m not sure there are too many who have been out of work for 10+ years. But even 1 or 2 years off the job market is a challenge.

    You’re right – a LOT has changed, especially in the past few years.

    That’s why I’m very hesitant to offer just polishing/editing of resumes. From my experience, even people who are still employed with great skill sets, etc. need more than a little polishing to stand out in today’s job market.

    If someone has been out of work for a few years – leave alone 10 – I can guarantee you they will need all the help they can get, and that’s much more than some polishing.

    This is a topic I’ve been struggling with ever I started CareerBranches – 10 years ago.

    On one hand, I want to give people what they ask of me. On the other hand, I can’t do it if that means I’m giving them something I know isn’t really going to help them.

    In my 10 years in business have I rarely just edited an existing resume for this very reason.

    However, I hear your request, and I also realize not everyone can afford a full-fledged resume project.

    Let’s figure this out, shall we? I’d love to offer something that makes sense. So let me know your thoughts on what this special would entail exactly because you are definitely on to something! : )



    Comment by Ilona Vanderwoude — April 15, 2011 @ 4:33 am

  5. 50% off or a free cover Letter

    Comment by Ray — April 18, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

  6. Love the 50+ idea that was mentioned. Many of those may be starting a freelance biz with their expertise – I am. So perhaps a BUSINESS STARTUP PACKAGE that would include what you feel are the essentials from your line of services.

    On the FREE side: some worksheets or templates on helping RP’s get focused: career, home, hobby…

    Comment by Andra — April 18, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  7. Hi Ilona,
    Financially I can’t make a move on anything (catch 22).
    I think the 50+ idea is a good one, yet with me being just there, I’m still getting a fair amount of interest from perspective employers. What I’ve been seeing is that companies are asking for specialist with all the trimmings!
    We as RPs aren’t typically masters of one, most of us have resumes screaming schizophrinia. I have held positions in inside sales, engineering, and design.
    That’s not too bad, but then those titles are coupled with 3 different industries! That’s just a portion of my resume.
    Can 50+ers tie it together to sell themselves as the master with all the trimmings or will we always fall short as the Jack-of-all-Trades.
    Unfortunately, I cannot free up what I no longer have (money). But, if you can help some of the 50+ers tie up their experience in a neat bundle to sell to a perspective employer, that would be great to hear about. Thanks for prodding me to do this.
    Best wishes, Joe

    Comment by Joe Langdon — April 18, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  8. Hi Ilona-

    With all the career assessments I have taken, and career counselors I have met with, no one has actually guided me in exploring WHY I was interested in planning, organizing, numbers, etc. So I could get job after job involving those tasks, but until I figure out WHY those things interest me, I will not know the WHAT that will really grab me. For example, I had a job creating spreadsheets, reports, making schedules, which are tasks I enjoy at home, but realized the field I was performing that job in didn’t interest me. So perhaps offering your career guidance, along with partnering up with some sort of psychology counselor to explore those questions would be a great service.

    Comment by Karen G — April 18, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  9. I broke my back in 2004. I was told I may never walk again. Well its 2011. I’m working out every day and studying for my CCNA. I’ve been catching up on the IT field. Here’s my problem, I want to get a job and get off disability. Everyone thinks I’m nuts, but I’m going nuts really. What should I put on my resume about the time I wasn’t working? I really was working harder now than ever in my life. I was in bed for a whole year; I went from 200lbs. to 150 in 3 months. I had 5 different operations. The first four made me worse. My last one was for 15 hours. Now I was on pain meds for almost 6 years. The operation worked, I still was in pain, which went away. Last March, I just quit taking them. My back didn’t hurt anymore, that was a great feeling! Now more then ever I’m trying to get my life back. I’m at 200lbs with very little fat. Like I asked before how should I explain this to an employer?
    Thank you for your time and help,
    Michael Grotefend
    Ps I’m a single father whose son is going to college this summer. So I really need to get my life back! Thanks!

    Comment by Michael Grotefend — April 18, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

  10. Hi Ilona,
    What a great opportunity. For updating a resume would you consider resume and cover letter for 50% off and within the year a percentage off a service we purchase such as interviewing, coaching or salary negotiation services for customer loyalty.
    Also, if we refer additional people during the year who opt to purchase either the Renaissance Strategy, Resume writing or Career Strategy services then possibly offer 15% off another service?

    Thank you for all your help, it is a pleasure working with you.

    Kind regards

    Comment by Mary — April 19, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

  11. Hi Ray,

    Actually, you currently get more than 50% off a cover letter when you order it together with a resume – which is the only way I offer cover letters as it requires me to know you and your background. And the resume-construction process takes care of that.

    Cover letters ordered weeks or months after your resume has been finalized, run $175. When ordered together with a resume…$50.

    : )

    Comment by Ilona Vanderwoude — April 22, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  12. Andra, great idea!

    As this is not my area of expertise, I have been thinking of teaming up with someone else. This is definitely something I will work out in the future.

    About the free stuff: The current special is meant for existing services, but I like your ideas so I will store them for future use!

    Thanks for submitting your ideas!

    Comment by Ilona Vanderwoude — April 22, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  13. Michael,

    That’s quite a story – so sorry for your situation, but very good to hear you’re defying “common consensus” about what you should – and could – be doing!

    About your resume: the most commonly used method is to fill the gap with relevant stuff. So if you’ve been taking courses or done volunteering work, you can focus on that.

    Of course, if your medical situation is such that an employer would have to make adjustments for you, it’s best to be totally upfront about it.

    Of course, in your situation, if you have been out of work for 6 or 7 years, you need a solid strategy.

    Not knowing any more details about your situation, I would recommend using a combination of honesty – after all, there is no such thing as a 6-year sabbatical – and “padding” this section with anything relevant that you did, such as courses, training, or education you got.

    If you are no longer bothered by your past injury, you could mention that as well. Focus on the amazing story of “was told I’d never walk again” to being fully capable, and all the relevant things you did – and learned – along the way.

    Hope this helps…good luck to you! You deserve it…


    Comment by Ilona Vanderwoude — April 22, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  14. Hi Mary!

    Thanks for chiming in!

    I’m considering your ideas…so stay tunded!

    The ultimate selections will be announced when I return in the week of May 10.


    Comment by Ilona Vanderwoude — April 22, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  15. Hi Joe,

    Great “seeing” you here!

    Ah…the ultimate dilemma for the renaissance person..

    But there really are ways to deal with a background such as yours.

    The hard part of the answer to your question is that it all depends on the specifics of your situation and what it is you want to do next. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this.

    Of course, CareerBranches’ anniversary would mean nothing if it didn’t have a special for my RP folks!

    So stay tuned…in a few days, I will announce the new specials, including the one for renaissance personalities!

    Thanks for contributing Joe!

    : )

    Comment by careerbranches — May 12, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  16. Hi Karen!

    This may sound weird to you, but I believe you don’t need to know the why behind every interest. Sometimes you find a pattern, sometimes you don’t.

    Having said that, of course it’s good to be aware of the core aspect of something you’re excited about. Being aware of some key factors doesn’t hurt; the environment or organizational culture you like to work in, just like you mentioned, and whether you like doing something as a hobby or for pay. (Some people can cross over, others can’t – it all depends.)

    Often, it is indeed trial and error. You live and learn. You also got some insights by living it. That’s usually the best way to learn.

    Bottom line: I don’t think you need a psychologist. From my experience, I haven’t seen any assessment as truly helpful for the purpose you’re describing. And especially not if you’re a multi-talented renaissance personality.

    Do some thinking, some writing, some chatting with others, and try things. You can often try things out on a small scale so you’re not risking a lot.

    I have a feeling that if you get comfortable with the idea of not knowing everything and having all the answers upfront, you’ll do just fine.

    For years, I’ve been almost obsessed with analysis and tests and “knowing” myself. Got me nowhere. Analysis paralysis. : )
    I see the same with my clients…

    Hope this helps!

    P.S.: Long answer to basically say that’s why I don’t collaborate with psychological counselors and the like. Even though I truly respect their field, I just haven’t witnessed it being very helpful for people with dilemmas such as yours.

    : )

    Comment by careerbranches — May 12, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

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