The National Resume Writer’s Association
The NRWA started as a regional group of 11 people in 1996 and grew into the only nonprofit, member-driven resume writers’ organization in the world. Today, we stand at more than 400 members and continue to grow.
Those involved in starting and building The NRWA, and its predecessor the Northeast Resume Writers, credit Vivian Belen as being the true founder. Her indomitable spirit and zeal pushed us to form a local chapter of the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW), which evolved into the Northeast Resume Writers’ Association, a regional group catering to the needs of resume writers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The group’s first meeting was held at the Holiday Inn in Carteret, New Jersey, and continued to meet every six weeks either in New Jersey, Manhattan, or Westchester. The meetings centered around continuing education on an array of topics encompassing writing, business development, the growing importance of the Internet, and business management.
At the end of 1996, it was decided that there was a critical need for a member-driven organization, one that was not motivated by profits but one that met the needs of resume writers through education, training, mentoring, and networking. In November 1996, the group voted to go national and created a nonprofit professional trade association for resume writers – The National Resume Writers’ Association.
The formation of The NRWA was announced with plans of going national on January 1, 1997. Within four months, membership topped 100.
The Group of 11, those individuals who laid the groundwork, developed the mission, and authored the first code of ethics, was comprised of Marty Weitzman, the first president of The NRWA, Vivian Belen, Deb Dib, Doug Dib, Judy Friedler, Phyllis Shabad, John Thorn, Fran Kelley, Gerry Palmer, Rhoda Kopy, and Bev Baskin. This group of dedicated individuals is considered the co-founders of The NRWA.
Because The NRWA is a volunteer, member-driven organization, it was the first to have an elected Board of Directors comprised of a five-member Executive Board and six Regional Representatives. As The NRWA emerged from a small regional group, the original board knew that it was extremely important to form regions and have regional representation to ensure that members’ needs were met and voices heard. The idea of community was paramount, and creating such a structure would provide the support that self-employed individuals so desperately craved.
Under the leadership and tireless efforts of its first president, Marty Weitzman, The NRWA was a pioneer in the resume-writing industry and can boast many firsts.
In keeping with the mission of The NRWA, the focus was on creating the preeminent standard within the resume-writing community. Through the dedication of Pat Kendall and the Certification Commission, a multi-step certification process was developed. The Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) credential encompasses basic knowledge, writing, and strategy. Pat guided the program until becoming president in 1996. Sally McIntosh assumed the role of Certification Chair until 2008 and through the efforts of many Certification Commission volunteers the program continues to thrive, certifying the best resume writers in the industry.
The NRWA was the first resume writers’ organization to actively seek out member input in their annual conference planning, including program development, fee structures, and location selection. The first conference (Chicago, 1998) was chaired by Judy Friedler and Kathy Keshemberg and drew more than 80 people, at the time probably close to 40% of the membership. Over the years, due to the hard work of conference planning committees, The NRWA conference consistently has been the most affordable in the industry, time and again surpassing attendees' expectations and providing something of value to each and every attendee, whether they have been in business for one year or 20 years.
The NRWA was the first resume-writing organization to create a Web site, and the first to use its Web site not only as an external resource but an internal one as well, providing invaluable tools to the members, tools that addressed not only writing but business management resources, as well.
In addition to member development and support, one of The NRWA’s goals has been public education and awareness. This has been accomplished through various affiliate partnerships and alliances. The earliest and longest affiliation, still in effect today, is with Southworth Paper. The NRWA created a resume guide that is included with every package of Southworth’s line of resume papers, as well as information on The NRWA and the value of a properly written resume. Other strategic alliances have included JIST Publishing and the Wall Street Journal’s online paper, careerjournal.com, among others.
The NRWA continues to innovate, grow, and evolve because of thousands of volunteer hours donated by dedicated members who have selflessly committed to continuing the vision of the early members of The NRWA. Just looking at The NRWA Web site, it is abundantly clear the original mission of meeting the needs of resume writers through education, training, mentoring, and networking continues to be carried forth.
Conferences have been held in:
1998 Chicago, IL
1999 New Orleans, LA
2000 Las Vegas, NV
2001 San Antonio, TX
2002 Philadelphia, PA
2003 Seattle, WA
2004 Nashville, TN
2005 Stamford, CT
2006 Phoenix, AZ
2007 Savannah, GA
2008 San Diego, CA
2009 Annapolis, MD
2010 Ft. Worth, TX