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Ten Steps’ Best Steppingstones to Success

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I run a publishing company in Baltimore, Maryland, which specializes in books on Federal employment. The books are an outgrowth of my resume writing service, The Resume Place. Before Sept. 11th, most of my clients were Federal employees interested in getting other government jobs, or friends and relatives of theirs. But after Sept. 11th, because of the terrible economy and the desire on many people’s part to do something for America, my firm started receiving hundreds of calls from first-time Federal job applicants asking, “Where do I start?” So I began working on my sixth title Ten Steps to a Federal Job to help novice U.S. government jobseekers make it through the complex Federal hiring system. At the time, I had been working in this system for almost 30 years. I had also created a Federal-style resume format which has been widely accepted as the standard.

With the popularity of Federal employment increasing, I decided to take time for my own publishing career development by returning to PMA-U and BEA in New York in 2002 (I had attended both in 2001 in Chicago). When this article appears, I will have also gone to PMA-U and BEA in Los Angeles. I’m very happy to say that as a result of my attendance at PMA-U and BEA, I’ve become a “real” publisher with three award nominations, recognition as a niche market expert, and great book sales.

Here’s a list of things I learned at especially helpful PMA-U panels, or by attending BEA, which have contributed to my success:


About Libraries

I sought out the American Library Association booth at BEA because I was determined to improve my library sales through any means possible. There I met Wilda Williams of Library Journal who had a few minutes to talk. She recommended that I teach Federal resume writing at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore with a view toward becoming a speaker at an ALA convention. I did two presentations at the library and created additional training opportunities for my certified Federal job search trainers in libraries. Also, I wrote an article about this library experience that I used in my e-newsletter, Federal Career Corner, a publication which is available via my Web site www.resume-place.com. In addition, I received a quote from the career manager of the Enoch Pratt Free Library about my book that I plan to use in my next PMA library direct mailing.


About Book Covers

I took my draft back cover text to Robin Quinn and her PMA-U workshop panel on cover copy and told them that I planned to put the “Ten Steps” on the back of my book. They all said, “No! You have to whet their appetite with quotes, then let them buy the book for the Ten Steps.” I accepted this and their other recommendations and sold 6,000 books in six months!


About Tours

After listening to keynote speaker Greg Godek at a PMA-U luncheon talk about his successful book promotion bus tour across America, I decided to set up a book and speaking tour to military communities in Europe. I made two trips to Italy and Germany, visiting six bases in a total of three weeks. The career transition counselors on the military bases read my books and wanted more samples and copies of the book so that they could better assist exiting military people in getting government jobs. (Greg Godek’s speech also prompted me to give more copies away to people who could then buy lots of books.)


About Spin-Offs and Product Line Extensions

The message of the seminar on this subject was “create multiple products from one idea.” Although my book is for the Federal jobseeker, after attending this course, I identified a second market–career professionals who work in job and transition assistance centers, offices of colleges, one-stop unemployment offices, military bases, government outlets, and veterans services. I realized that they need to know more about the Federal job search, as they counsel people on this topic. I decided to produce a training guidebook and a workshop handout book and to make the handout book visible to career professionals as fast as possible–before they created their own classroom handouts by copying pages from the main Ten Steps book. I have also founded two credentialing services for career professionals in cooperation with two career organizations.


About Broadcast Bookings

Radio can sell books. Steve Harrison of Radio Television Interview Report and Laurel Horowitz from HotGuest, Inc. convinced me of that at one of the PMA-U workshops. So I’ve learned my message and how to deliver it easily on radio shows. I did more than a 100 radio interviews in 2002 (including an NPR interview), resulting in high Amazon listings and sales.


About Online Promotion

At a course about promoting books online, I learned that publishers should write newsletters that sell. From 1999 to 2000, I wrote a weekly column, Federal Career Corner, for www.govexec.com, and when I stopped writing the column for them, I decided to continue it as an e-newsletter on my own Web site. It is an amazing communication tool! My readers are about 9,000 people who are interested in Federal jobs. When I publish a new book or online service, they are interested, and they forward my e-mails to friends.


About Unconventional Book Sales

This seminar prompted a great idea. Since I do trainings in Federal job search techniques inside and outside of government, I decided that I could sell more books if more people were training through my program. So I wrote a curriculum and created a PowerPoint presentation based on my Ten Steps book, produced the workshop handout book mentioned earlier, and then formed a partnership with an established training organization. We created a train-the-trainer Certification Program for Certified Federal Job Search Trainers. By the end of the first year of training, I should have 100 trainers throughout the world at military bases, universities, vocational rehab offices, unemployment offices, and private outplacement firms. They will be using my materials in Federal job search training classes.


About Media Training

I learned that if I’m going to do radio and TV, I have to look good, have a short, strong, and meaningful message, and learn how to deliver my lines. So I traveled to New York City to meet with T.J. Walker(www.mediatrainingworldwide.com)in his studio and practiced six hours of role-playing for TV interviews. I fine-tuned my message, worked on my delivery, listed my strengths and weaknesses, and felt much more prepared for TV. I decided that I LOVE radio and I do not love TV–but I will go on MSNBC if they call!


Around the time this article goes to press, I will be attending PMA-U in Los Angeles. At the University, I will listen carefully because I want to learn new ways to market books, publicize my line of publications, create visibility, and come up with fresh strategies. I’m looking forward especially to the awards celebrations (my Ten Steps book was nominated for one Ben Franklin and two ForeWord Magazine awards this year). If I win an award, I’ll jump right into figuring out how to turn that into lots of book sales!


Kathryn Troutman has more than 30 years of experience in her specialized job market. The author and publisher of “Ten Steps to a Federal Job,” “The Federal Resume Guidebook” (new edition just published by Jist, Inc.), and the “Electronic Federal Resume Guidebook,” she appears regularly as a radio guest and speaker/trainer. To learn more, visit http://www.resume-place.com/.



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