Resume Writer & LinkedIn Certification:
Certified Career Storyteller
Here at CDI we don't think it's coincidence that our first three resume writers to earn the Certified Career Storyteller (CCST) credential, from Kimberly Robb Baker's inaugural class, all went on to win highly coveted Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) resume writing awards.
But this is much more than just a resume writing program.
When you participate in this program you will:
Gain a wealth of expertise in story-based branding while uncovering the unique brand map approach, which is like being handed career marketing gold.
Learn to successfully apply this branding approach to client information gathering, LinkedIn profiles, resumes, cover letters, and bios.
Gain access to Kim's creative winning resume design strategy, getting the very keys to her TORI resume kingdom with guidance on creative design and access to MS Word versions of her 2019 TORI entries and winners. (This is perfect if you've wanted to earn CDI's Certified Graphic Resume Architect and were looking for "more" training).
Launched in 2017 by TORI resume writing award dominator, Kimberly Robb Baker of This Little Brand, this writing course is unlike any other.
So why a career storyteller certification for resume writers?
Our brains are wired for story.
A well-told story engages more parts of the brain and allows for better memory retention.
When reading or listening to a story, we enter into a similar brain state with the story teller.
So what if your resumes and supplementing docs were releasing love and attachment hormones when employers are reading them?
With story-based branding you can truly let each client's light shine, paving the way for win-win success for them and you.
As Kim mentions in her free webinar, Story-Based Value Propositions: The Career Writer's Key to Remaining Relevant, there is nothing like having people lining up with their credit card to hand you 4-figures because they are pre-sold on the success this model elicits.
Through this branding, clients will internalize the value expressed in their resumes and collateral because it is based on their stories.
This is organic branding that clients can immediately take ownership of, giving them language to confidently express their brand in the most compelling way.
Also, the world of resumes is always changing, but this course gives you an edge.
The demise of the resume has been predicted and debated for years.
Whether the resume lives or dies, the core work you do, defining and communicating your clients’ value, will never go away. (It won't matter if your title is resume writer, career storyteller or marketing super genius; this program will give you the agility to fluidly adapt.)
The value proposition statement, then, is at the heart of your worth as a career communications writer. Your ability to write it well will ensure the success of your clients today and your ongoing relevance—no matter what happens to the resume.
Therefore, introducing business storytelling elements to your writing process will enable you to quickly and effectively get to the heart of your clients’ most compelling assets.
How is this career storyteller course different from other resume writing courses?
Kim refers to this course as a "resume writer MBA" with its focus on ensuring you understand enough about business to ask the questions that get to the heart of the story—important context and details that clients wouldn’t think to reveal without your guidance. This knowledge also enables you to take your intake notes and organize them to present a compelling, story-based value proposition. You are going to fall in love with the Story-based Brand Map and the intense ROI it offers to both you and your clients.
According to some of the inaugural students, this is THE course you wish you had available when you started writing resumes.
But it's not Resumes 101. If you are just starting out or looking to earn your first resume writing certification, we recommend our Resume Writing Mastery course with CARW certification.
It's an intensive course -- really, it's like a "boot camp" in resume writing (and it's been totally updated for 2020 and CDI's next offering). In fact, Kim even uses some of her TORI entries as examples in this version. Better yet, she gives you MS Word files of those resumes to play with!
What does this career storyteller course cover?
There are 17 total modules within the 6-part program. The content is VERY comprehensive and covers:
Part 1: Work with Story-Based Deliverables and Create a LinkedIn Profile (3 sessions)
This module is first because you will be able to use it in your practice right away, as it creates the perfect foundation for your introduction to the story-based brand map and resume.
You will work with provided story-based brand maps and resumes as source materials to see what a story-based LinkedIn profile looks like and actually create one from the provided materials.
In this part you will:
- Become familiar with story-based career marketing materials.
- Learn the fundamentals of LinkedIn search algorithm optimization and why it’s only 50% of what’s needed to make a LinkedIn profile effective.
- Discover how to “hook” readers with branded headlines and career summary openings.
- Understand how to build on readers’ interest with a summary body that tells a story, conveying important data in a memorable way.
- Uncover how to position career experience sections in support of the story—without “giving away the farm.”
- Gain “stealth” tools to optimize LinkedIn when clients must keep their job search confidential.
- Utilize a super simple technique for creating a branded cover photo for LinkedIn. (Humans are visual, and what we see is just as much a part of the story as the words we read).
- Get refresher coverage of how to create a story-based 30-second pitch. (Covered in detail in the free preview webinar, Story-Based Value Propositions: The Career Writer's Key to Remaining Relevant).
Part 2: Get a Resume Writer's Crash Course MBA & Job Search Understanding (3 sessions)
Lack of business understanding and job search landscape often prevents excellent writers from “hitting the mark” with their documents. What this means is that beautiful documents are delivered and writer and client feel great—until the client comes back months later to report they’re not getting any interviews.
In this part you will:
- Gain a basic understanding of which business concepts are important for a resume writer to master in order to ask the right questions and hone in on the most important aspects of client accomplishments, career stories, and brands.
- Learn how recruiters, hiring managers, network contacts, and computers view resumes and how to ensure your documents will be effective on all platforms. (This will be revisited after the resume is written as well, but a foundational discussion here will help you with strategy decisions).
- Learn common places to look for the heart of a career story for each major business function.
- Use learned business themes to create a frame (over-arching theme) for a career story with sub-stories (accomplishments with context) that support that broader theme.
Part 3: Build a Story-Based Brand Map (2 sessions)
The story-based brand map is where the gold is at guiding you through turning information gathered from a passive "intake" exercise to a collaborative brand coaching process that draws out the client and engages them in their own career story.
In this part you will:
- Understand how to frame your brand coaching session to properly set client expectations.
- Capture the tools to hold space for your client and be fully present so they feel safe, supported, and creative.
- Learn what to ask to draw stories out of your clients and get context for accomplishments so they are more meaningful.
- Gain skill to connect the dots, identifying themes across the client’s life and career and how to present them to the client for feedback/discussion.
- Perceive how to align the client’s brand assets with the needs of their desired market.
- Attain multiple ways to document the branding session for your use as you create deliverables.
- Uncover what a brand map is and how to use it as a valuable stand-alone client deliverable as well as a tool to unify your clients’ communications whether you are doing the writing or working with a subcontractor.
- Learn how to create a brand map, including target, communications strategy, brand description, brand-critical qualities backed by the client’s own accounts, and the possible inclusion of additional dynamic elements (quotes, drivers, favorite authors, etc.).
Part 4: Write the Resume (4 sessions)
What you've been waiting for: how the resume blossoms from all this story-telling magic. This is where you see that all come together.
In this part you will:
- Commit to a strategy and learn the benefits of a planned strategy in terms of time and quality. But also understand when it makes sense to remain flexible and how to address this with the client.
- Gain access to Kim’s resume samples in Word for use in practicing design, addressing strategic challenges, and as starting points for your own resumes. (These are the keys to her TORI kingdom!)
- Learn why you should write the body of the resume before the top summary and what notes to keep as you work so that writing the opening profile becomes a breeze and you have a head start on the LinkedIn profile and letters.
- Capture strategies for handling difficult situations: age discrimination, work gaps, career changes, scandalized former employer, etc.
- Write an opening profile and design a first page that concisely and compellingly presents the most important aspects of the client’s brand, career story, and supporting data. In other words, get readers to call the client in for interviews and read the rest of the resume.
- Understand when and how to add visual elements to the resume and how to do an aesthetic edit to ensure the look of the resume is inviting and on-brand. You'll access Kim’s techniques for making graphs and charts more impactful and how to visually indicate success when numbers from the client are vague.
- Learn how to create presentation resumes in Word and PDF and when aspects of more complex designs can cause challenges with applicant tracking systems (ATS).
- Watch Kim create story-based brand assets from branding session notes in real-time.
Will you really get design strategy and templates? The answer is YES!
The design aspect is the focus of one of the sessions and covers how to incorporate the career story visually, how to create white space and direct the reader to critical information, and how to achieve impactful visuals using only Word. There is also a bonus video in that segment showing how I make graphs more compelling and attractive. You also get several of my TORI entries in Word, which you are then welcome to use as templates in your business and play with and build on as your skills develop.
Part 5: Translate Skills to Additional Story-Based Deliverables (4 sessions)
With the brand mapped and the resume written, the heavy lifting is done! Now you will uncover how to translate this foundational work into other communications.
In this part you will:
- Learn to create a custom cover letter with a story-based, branded hook that will get people reading about and remembering your candidate.
- Create a stand-alone value proposition letter that will enable your clients to expand their network by introducing themselves to new people—and why this is best done without a resume.
- Write long-form and short-form bios that tell your client’s story.
- Learn how to write a board resume.
- Revisit LinkedIn learnings.
Part 6: Access Selling Tools to Boost Your Success
In typical CDI course fashion, we want to make sure you can sell this program to your prospects. Therefore, Kim has created this bonus session.
In this part you will:
- Learn how to incorporate story-based career communications and your new certification into your marketing materials and sales conversations so clients are calling you wondering how they can sign up to work with you.
- Listen to Kim host a live session with a client.
(No test on these concepts—but your financial planner will congratulate you on paying close attention here!)
What results can I expect if I complete this course?
This is an INTENSE, INTENSIVE course, designed for resume writers who want to seriously elevate their work and the types of clients they work with.
We think the graduate testimonials say everything about the high ROI you will receive.
If you want to ramp up your technical resume writing skill set with story-based brand mapping, double or triple your monthly income, and work deeply with clients who are excited to hire you, this is the program for you.
The takeaways for this program will allow you to:
- Elevate your practice from talented writer to expert story-based branding consultant—and allow you to be compensated as such, with four-figure pricing.
- Immediately give you tools to dramatically improve your clients’ job search outcomes.
- Get inside winning resume layouts with access to Word versions of Kim’s resumes, including TORI winners. You will be able to laser in on how she achieves these dynamic designs using only Word. (Use them as if they are royalty free, but don't enter a competition with them).
- Create a story-based brand map, a completely new approach to client branding that acts as a stand-alone resource for your clients and the cornerstone of your work together.
- Prepare clients for interviews without doing a single interview coaching session.
- Leverage transformational exercises for an engaging and collaborative brand-building process. Learn business concepts that underpin effective story-based career communications.
- Apply business storytelling methodologies that align all career documents behind a compelling message and authentic voice.
- Capitalize on Kim’s insider secrets and proven sales scripts to educate prospects and close 4-figure packages.
Remember, Kim charges and gets $3997-$4897 per client.
You can too.
You can more than earn back your investment in this course with your FIRST client.
How long will it take me to complete this course?
Polling former students, the feedback is that you will spend 1-2 hours a week reviewing materials and completing the lesson work. The total hours come in at 18-40 depending on your speed and learning style.
Since you are able to work through the materials at your own pace, you may choose to do more or less weekly or condense it all for rapid completion.
You will always have access to feedback and support via email as you progress through the course.
How do I earn the certification?
As you move through the program, you will complete lessons for each section and part (except for section six), and submit them for review, feedback, and credit. (As stated above, this averages 1-2 hours a week and 18-40 total for all work).
All submitted lessons must be approved before you submit your final story-based portfolio.
To do this you will grab a single client to tell their branded career story. (Who the client is and if/what they paid is totally up to you). Your story-based portfolio for submission will include:
o Recording and/or branding session notes
o Brand map
o Cover letter
o Value proposition letter
o LinkedIn profile
o Long-form bio
o Short-form bio
Our goal is to keep review to 3-4 weeks for the final portfolio.
Upon successful completion and approval of the materials you will be awarded the credential and provided with a logo and e-certificate for your use. The CCST will also be added to your searchable CDI listing. We will also announce your new credential across social media, tagging you as we can.
Can I get a sample of the course content?
If you haven't done so yet, please watch the free webinar, Story-Based Value Propositions: The Career Writer's Key to Remaining Relevant. In this presentation Kim shares:
- Description of the story-based value proposition statement.
- What this value proposition is, what it is not, and how your clients can use it.
- Demonstration of how Kim uses this tool to create client elevator pitches.
- Tips on incorporating the story-based value proposition to close resume writing clients.
- Information on the CCST course program.
While this is a longer single lesson, it is similar to the style of the course materials.
How much is my investment in the career storyteller course?
This deep-dive comprehensive course is normally $2997 but can be purchased this month for just $1997. That's 33% off at just $1997.
Discount shows in cart and is applied to both 1-pay and 3-pay options.
Get on the fast track to certification now and start learning what the top professionals know while nurturing your talents, boosting your confidence, and securing your place among the industry leaders.
Sign up below to begin learning the insider secrets and wisdom from a guru with 22 years at the top of the profession.
PS…to ensure you get personalized, quality coaching, we limit the number of clients we coach at any one time. Once the limit is reached, new clients are placed on a waiting list until we have space available. We will notate here if there is a current waiting list.
Sign up now to start on your journey to certification and more satisfied clients.
Not a Member of CDI? Membership is a prerequisite.
Non-member registration includes one year of individual membership ($347 value) to Career Directors International: Your Pathway to Success, rich with ongoing support, networking, and new information.
If you are not currently a CDI member, please select the Non-Member rate below as it includes mandatory membership.
For non-members who desire a 3-pay option, membership must be purchased first from the Member Benefits page. Afterwards, you can then select the 3-payment option above to purchase the course.
Does this credential require renewal or CEUs?
As of 2/14/2023 we have changed all our master-level certifications to renewal fee only.
We thought long and hard about this and ultimately decided that with the certification prerequisites that exist on our advanced credentials (CMRW, CERM, CGRA, CRS+X, and CCST) that once someone has attained this level they are not going to magically slip back. We feel confidence that upon certifying at this caliber of expertise that an individual will maintain this level of excellence going forward.
Therefore, the renewal requirement for this credential is a $75 maintenance fee due every three years following initial certification.
Update requirements and active membership are a prerequisite of retaining this credential. CDI reserves the right to revoke this credential if these requirements are not met and maintained.
Can my CCST credential be revoked once I have earned it?
All requirements of CCST certification, renewal, and CDI membership standards must be maintained in order to earn or retain a CDI credential. CDI reserves the right to revoke a CCST credential for any of the following: Renewal requirements are not maintained and completed within required timelines. Membership lapses due to non-renewal. Individual is found guilty in a court of law for a grievance within the industry (unprofessional, unethical, unlawful conduct and/or business practices).
For more information on the CCST credential, contact CDI at email@example.com.