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BizCast 48: Turning Resumes into Dreams with Phanat Lor

Episode 47

Turning Resumes into Dreams with Phanat Lor

About BizCast Greater La Crosse

We bring you news from the business community. From startups to experienced problem solvers, you’ll get in-depth insight on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Greater La Crosse. Our show is a collaboration between and BizNews Greater La Crosse ( ).


In this episode of BizCast Greater La Crosse, host Vicki Markussen interviews Phanat Lor, who started her own business as a side job to teaching in Onalaska. Lor is an English as a Second Language teacher and owner of Crafted Copy. They discuss how Phanat realized her gift of helping individuals recognize their strengths and tell it in a way that gets 95% of them to the interview stage with jobs. The experience is empowering. This interview serves both job-seekers and employers in understanding individual strengths and also how job seekers approach — or don’t approach — the applying for your jobs. 

Full Transcript [ generated by AI]

[00:00:00] Vicki Markussen: Welcome to BizCast Greater La Crosse, a weekly podcast from BizNews. We bring you news from the business community. I am your host and founder, Vicki Markussen. I have the pleasure today of talking with Pana Lohr. She is an English as a Second Language teacher in the Onalaska School District, but what caught my attention, and hence, We had coffee was you started your own business called create or crafted, crafted copy.

[00:00:28] Vicki Markussen: So you have ventured into writing. So talk about how an English as a second language teacher starts to write

[00:00:38] Phanat Lor: as a side job. Yeah. I have always loved writing, and I felt like when I was young, I needed to prove myself that I am capable, that I can do what everyone else around me does, and I needed to find my own voice, and I did that through writing when I was young, and so I continued to write, I majored in writing in college, and then became a teacher, and I was like, yep, That’s what I’m teaching.

[00:01:06] Phanat Lor: I love to write. I want to teach kids how to write because it’s it’s so free, like, when I write, I feel like I can be free and I can express myself. So I wanted to teach kids to be able to be free. And it’s not like math. There’s nothing wrong with math. But, there’s so many rules in math.

[00:01:23] Phanat Lor: And when I think about our second language learners, having all of those rules sometimes is hard for them to follow, but if we think of it at, from the perspective of, you can write about whatever you want you can talk about whatever you want, express your own opinions and your own feelings, it seems to engage them more.

[00:01:41] Phanat Lor: And I’ve really taken that and helped a lot of our second language students through the writing process. And it’s such a struggle, but then at the end they realize, oh, it’s such a good feeling to be able to say what I want to say. in the way I want to say it. Granted, there are boundaries that you have to meet as well in writing, but for them to be able to express themselves and say what they want to say, write their own story, there’s nothing more powerful than that.

[00:02:11] Phanat Lor: So really working with second language learners and teaching them the writing process and teaching them how to write freely has really ignited my love for writing. Because becoming a teacher is so hard, there’s so much to do all the time, but finding that fire is what kind of keeps me going.

[00:02:31] Phanat Lor: And then through that, it builds multiple perspectives. I’m working with students of all language levels and I’m working with their families and it creates like the sense of like different perspectives you have. to know you have to like really dig deep into them and understand what their needs are and then be able to find tools to help them succeed in that way.

[00:02:55] Phanat Lor: And with that, it comes a lot with collaboration and collaborating with other teachers and professionals in the building to be able to meet their needs. So I’ve really taken a lot of that and, started thinking about like I love what I do. But I’m finding like different pockets of time after work as my kids are getting older that I’m like I could do something more.

[00:03:18] Phanat Lor: I, I’m always a learner. So that’s where I’m like I need to find something that intersects my passions with my skill set. And that’s where it started. The writing piece, the passion for it, and then throughout my entire life also knowing that I love it and then being able to, help other people with their resumes and their writing and seeing them be successful and getting job interviews.

[00:03:49] Phanat Lor: That, I think all of those experiences led me to believing that there’s something more that I need to explore. So that’s how I got started with Crafted Copy.

[00:04:01] Vicki Markussen: And so some of your first work was with resumes?

[00:04:05] Phanat Lor: Yeah, so that’s really when I took a lot of my skills that I learned and practiced into action.

[00:04:15] Phanat Lor: So I, I wrote a lot of resumes and cover letters for especially family members and I found it to be very successful. So I would help write cover letters and resumes, and then they would get interviews. And after a while, I started seeing a pattern Yeah, they are getting calls back and then yeah, they are getting calls back and it’s that cycle and then I start thinking like there must be something that I’m doing while I’m helping them with their cover letter and resumes that really is working, that they’re getting all these calls back for interviews.

[00:04:50] Phanat Lor: And then that’s when I started to think and analyze my own writing because I’m very analytical in that way and started to realize, yeah, when I’m writing these, it’s about. It’s their story with a twist, their story telling in a way where they meet the expectations or meet the job requirements or somehow satisfy part of the job description to be able to get that interview call.

[00:05:17] Phanat Lor: So that to me was very powerful to be able to see that. What I’m writing is helping them.

[00:05:24] Vicki Markussen: before they started working with you, did they have a resume? Or were you helping them create the resume? And, or were you just tweaking what they had? What was the status of a lot of these individuals?

[00:05:34] Phanat Lor: A lot of them were from scratch.

[00:05:37] Phanat Lor: And then as we like went on, then it was a lot of tweaking and adjusting, because every cover letter and resume you write should be tailored to whatever specific job you’re applying for. It’s a lot of tweaking by that time. Even for my own resumes and cover letters that I write, I start from scratch.

[00:05:56] Phanat Lor: And then from there. And then you tweak it as I go. So

[00:06:01] Vicki Markussen: I wanted to get you on the podcast is because I see what you do, not just the resume part of it, but it’s really helping everyone who says, I shouldn’t apply for that job because I don’t think I’m qualified or really just. putting basic information down, not drawing out some of the assets that they bring to a position.

[00:06:23] Vicki Markussen: And so what is your process look like? How do you help people reach that next level through their resume?

[00:06:31] Phanat Lor: Yeah, throughout my time and doing this, I realize that there are some people who are so qualified for these jobs based on their past experiences, even though they don’t have the exact job title in the past.

[00:06:44] Phanat Lor: But they have the experience, whether that’s through volunteer work or whether that’s through education, whatever it is, they have gained very valuable skills. And some of them don’t see that as an asset. And my role when I’m helping them is to help them see what they’ve done in the past. And see what skill sets that comes with what they’ve done, and how does that match up with what the job description is looking for.

[00:07:13] Phanat Lor: Sometimes you don’t have the exact job title or the exact function of the job description. But if you’ve done something similar, It’s that’s all you need to say. Like you have to know what they’re looking for, and you have to draw your experiences and match that with it. And sometimes it’s not exact.

[00:07:34] Phanat Lor: And that is okay, because I think sometimes, especially for younger kids who are trying to get their first job or their second job, they get caught up in that job description and they start thinking I don’t have this and I didn’t meet that. And no, I don’t have that quality. That’s where they stop.

[00:07:52] Phanat Lor: And that’s the discouraging part for me because, I know that they’ve done things in the past that will apply to the job. It’s just a matter of how do you word that in a way that fits the job description. And I think that’s where, you word Do

[00:08:09] Vicki Markussen: you find that process of walking them through, okay, you did X, and here’s all the qualifications that job gives you to now go pursue position Y.

[00:08:22] Vicki Markussen: Do you find that walking them through that and them realizing, hey, I do have a lot of skills, does that help them heading into then a job interview, which is probably the next scary step for them. But do you find that process has helped them get into that job interview and feel confident?

[00:08:39] Phanat Lor: Yeah, I think that as we start talking about like their experiences and how that relates to the job, it starts to light like a lightbulb, and it starts to build that confidence.

[00:08:48] Phanat Lor: And they start to feel like. Yeah, I have done some of that. But I never thought of that. Or yeah, I did that. But I never thought of saying it that way, or I did that. And but I never thought of it meeting that requirement in that way. I think it gives them definitely a confidence booster. And then just to remind them that, hey, remember, you’ve done this and this in the past It’s not exact, but you know, it shows that you have some really good qualities that will help you in this job.

[00:09:15] Phanat Lor: I think that’s really powerful for them as they move on to the next step.

[00:09:18] Vicki Markussen: Absolutely. And there’s statistics out there that say particularly women will look at a job description and say, I don’t qualify for. three of those 10 things versus men say, I don’t qualify, but I’m going to apply and I’m going to learn them.

[00:09:32] Vicki Markussen: And then I can only imagine for English as a second language individuals that is even more intimidating. And so is there an empowerment? pieces you’ve been touching on it, but is there really a lack of confidence piece that is being

[00:09:49] Phanat Lor: built up? Yeah I think without knowing the workforce, especially if you’re younger, without knowing the workforce, I think it’s really hard to put yourself in that mindset to be able to write a cover letter that fits the needs of whatever You know, business is looking for and I think that deters a lot of young people from applying to jobs that they should be applying for, and then when you add in like a language barrier or a cultural barrier, it’s another layer to be able to peel off in order to get yourself to the stage where, you’re like I feel confident enough and I’m going to apply even if I don’t meet all the requirements,

[00:10:34] Vicki Markussen: So it is another layer when you add in a language barrier or a cultural barrier in trying to find a job.

[00:10:34] Vicki Markussen: And it’s interesting, and this is also why I wanted to bring you on the podcast, too, because you just provide insight that I hadn’t even thought of. So, a young person, we hear time and time again, people just don’t know, for example, what local businesses do. And so then you put a job description out there, they don’t know what the end product is, and they’re reading a job description and going, I have no idea how to, how my skills apply to creating a widget at the end, whether that’s service or a product or whatever.

[00:11:05] Vicki Markussen: And so does your service include here’s some information about the company and then therefore the job description probably looks like this type of work in that type of environment or how do you help them prepare for company knowledge?

[00:11:23] Phanat Lor: Yeah, I think that’s, I always encourage them to do research, like always research who is putting out that job.

[00:11:30] Phanat Lor: And first of all, who is it? And do you think you’re interested in working for this place? Because if you’re not, why would you apply anyway? If you want interview experience, great. But if it’s not interesting to you, if you don’t really want to work for that business, it’s great interview experience, but really that time and energy can be put towards a job that you really want to work for or people who you really want to work for.

[00:11:54] Phanat Lor: So I really encourage them to always research who. Who’s putting out that job posting and always research their mission, like what are they doing? What do they want to do as a business and if that resonates with you, then be sure to mention that. Mention that somewhere in your cover letter or mention that in your interview, because that shows that you are engaged.

[00:12:16] Phanat Lor: That shows that you want it. That shows that you know what the business is about and that’s a really good first step. Yeah, and

[00:12:23] Vicki Markussen: I’m thinking about this in from the reverse perspective, which is it is an employee market. There are far more job openings than people to fill them. And so you have a link, if you will, to people looking to looking for positions.

[00:12:42] Vicki Markussen: As you look at the companies in the job descriptions, is there something that companies should be doing different that could remove some of that? And intimidation, if you will,

[00:12:52] Phanat Lor: Yeah, I think for, in my personal opinion, I think just putting a little caveat in there that says, even if you feel like you don’t meet 100 percent of this job description, but you meet some of these job description requirements or preferences apply anyway I think that caveat.

[00:13:09] Phanat Lor: Will really lead to a lot more people who feel like they can apply but don’t really have all the skill set. Those people will probably apply more. And probably feel more encouraged to apply instead of looking at the job description and being like, Ah, I don’t meet this, and this. What’s the point?

[00:13:26] Phanat Lor: I’m not going to apply anyway, but having that caveat that says, even if you don’t meet all the expectations, but you have some of these requirements, please apply. I think that is a positive and encouraging comment to just have on the job description that I think, then you’re not losing me.

[00:13:43] Phanat Lor: People with very good work ethic or people who have similar experiences you’re drawing those people in with that caveat. So you

[00:13:51] Vicki Markussen: have individuals who you’re telling their story. You’re saying, what are these amazing traits that you have, these skills that you have? How do we match them to the jobs that you want?

[00:14:01] Vicki Markussen: want to have. Do you have situations where people are maybe striving too high? And what is what does that look like for people that really want a drastic change to say, I’m tired of doing this. I now want to go do this. And it’s a stretch.

[00:14:17] Phanat Lor: Yeah. So in those situations, it is really important to focus on your skill set and how can your skill set transfer to the job that you want to apply for.

[00:14:30] Phanat Lor: So for example, if, someone wants to apply to work in the banking industry, but they don’t exactly have banking experience, but they have customer service experience. So what skill set in your past history? That has to do with customer service or handling money or anything like that. Can you draw upon those experiences and apply those experiences to the banking industry?

[00:14:53] Phanat Lor: That’s how I look at it and that’s how I encourage people to look at it. What are your transferable skills that will help you in this new role? And then highlight that in your cover letter and highlight that in your resume. Because then. Your employer will see these are skills that we’re looking for, or these are skills that will help this person, learn a new skill set or learn a new industry.

[00:15:17] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. And it’s interesting too, because a lot of employers say we hire for the person and then we’ll train them for the position. Yeah. And so I’m guessing a lot of it too, is showing that they are. a continuous learner that they’ve adapted. Is that something that you try to spotlight

[00:15:36] Phanat Lor: as well? Yeah, especially if they’re moving into a different industry.

[00:15:40] Phanat Lor: It’s important to showcase your ability to keep learning your flexibility and adaptability because that’s what really will help you in a new role. If you’re too rigid and you can’t be flexible or if you feel like I’m at a state where I can’t learn anymore or learning is not for me right now And then it’s going to be hard to transition into a different industry because you have to be able to flux yourself in different ways and you have to be able to put a lot of effort into learning a new industry.

[00:16:09] Phanat Lor: So I think that employers will see the transferable skills and they would be more willing to take a risk and take a chance.

[00:16:17] Vicki Markussen: And then you have individuals, so you’ve helped them build their resume. They’ve gotten the interview, they’ve gotten the job offer, they show up. Do you have some that, that feel a little bit like imposter syndrome of, Oh, I said all of this stuff and now I have to put it into action.

[00:16:34] Vicki Markussen: And how do I do

[00:16:35] Phanat Lor: that? I think imposter syndrome is something everybody has. True. That is true. Yes. Even, every imposter syndrome, like how am I ever going to be able to get this student to where they need to be? But I think it’s a mindset thing being able to reflect upon yourself and your experiences and then know that the employee had confidence in you in order for them to hire you and give you a job offer or hire you vice versa.

[00:17:01] Phanat Lor: I think that’s really powerful just to keep that positive mindset try not to get the imposter syndrome out too much but being able to reflect and know that you have the skill set and that you can do the. The new job I think is really important.

[00:17:16] Vicki Markussen: And the piece that I’ve heard from businesses is it’s costly.

[00:17:20] Vicki Markussen: It’s costly to lose someone and it’s costly to train someone. And so first and foremost, if someone is struggling in that training mode, that’s important to communicate because the employer wants that person to succeed. They hired them, they’ve invested in them, and so anyone who is struggling, that is important to communicate.

[00:17:39] Vicki Markussen: communicate. And then it’s on the employer to say, okay, how can we teach us a different way? Because there’s something in that interview that caused that person to, to be the one that they selected.

[00:17:52] Phanat Lor: Yeah. I think communication is so important. Because that’s what will help you make it or break it in a new industry or in a new job.

[00:18:01] Phanat Lor: Even if you already are experienced in the industry. If you’re not asking questions, if you’re not communicating your concerns or not sharing what you’re thinking, or, that will really hurt you. But if you are open and you’re willing, and you put yourself out there to ask questions or, to offer more help so that you can gain more experience I think that’s really helpful that it can, that can only help you be more successful in any job.

[00:18:29] Phanat Lor: Absolutely.

[00:18:30] Vicki Markussen: You are writing resumes. Where do you want your company

[00:18:35] Phanat Lor: to go? I also consider myself a copywriter. Crafted Copy is actually a copywriting service. And within that copywriting service, it’s like a huge umbrella. Underneath that, I can write advertisements. I can write webpages. I can write landing pages, sales offers.

[00:18:53] Phanat Lor: Anything that a business needs to market and put messages out there for, I can do that as a copywriter. I’m trained to be able to be strategic in how I approach my messages and I’m trained to write it in a way that’s compelling, that will get people to convert or to click or to buy or whatever it is.

[00:19:13] Phanat Lor: I’m trained to be able to do that. And then also under that copywriting umbrella is content writing. So like I’ve done curriculum writing. I’ve also written blogs. And then also within that is also then the resume service, because, a lot of that is about knowing who your target audience is, which is the employer.

[00:19:32] Phanat Lor: And being able to speak to them in a compelling way. So all of it is very much copywriting. All of it is very much knowing who your audience is and being able to speak to them in a way that is compelling enough for them to be to the point where they want to take a risk. and the chance to hire you.

[00:19:50] Phanat Lor: So all of it is within copywriting. So not just resume writing, but any really any business messages out there. That’s what I’m trying to do as well as a copywriter. Yeah.

[00:20:00] Vicki Markussen: And I see the connection because a resume is really about selling a person and you’re identifying what are the great traits of these individuals, those skills and saying, Hey, employer, doesn’t this person look amazing to meet your.

[00:20:15] Vicki Markussen: So the employer has a need, they’ve identified what that need is, and you’re trying to sell them on the individual that you’re assisting.

[00:20:22] Phanat Lor: Very much yeah. Very much there’s, yeah, very much a parallel between writing business messages and writing resumes. I’m

[00:20:32] Vicki Markussen: going to ask you a question that maybe you don’t know the answer to, but that approach is, not usual for a teacher, I wouldn’t think.

[00:20:40] Vicki Markussen: So how do you think it is that you made that connection of, hey, I can teach a student, but this is, you really have a marketing mind to go, what is the need of the customer? And how do I connect this? person or product or whatever to that

[00:20:54] Phanat Lor: need. I, I don’t know that it is pretty traditional for a teacher to go down this route.

[00:21:00] Phanat Lor: But I felt a calling to be able to put my skill set and my passion to work for other people because all my life it’s always been about helping others. Like, how can I help my students be successful? How can I help teachers be successful in the classroom with their multilingual learners or with their students.

[00:21:18] Phanat Lor: So it’s always been from that mindset and that, that standpoint that then I carry everything that I do. And so when I was looking for something to fill up my time, as my kids got older, it was pretty natural for me to be like, yeah, let’s integrate all of these things that I love to do, like collaboration planning and strategy work and helping others.

[00:21:42] Phanat Lor: How can I? Put all those together and help others be successful. So copywriting for me is like teaching. I can put into practice my knowledge and my skills and still, will still help businesses strive and thrive and succeed. And in the end, I’m Actually helping the community as well because that’s benefiting our community members as well.

[00:22:04] Phanat Lor: So it all goes hand in hand It’s just different ways of looking at it. Mm hmm

[00:22:10] Vicki Markussen: And so you are passionate about teaching you’re passionate about this. What does that balance look like for you?

[00:22:17] Phanat Lor: a lot of late nights I love teaching, and I love the students and the people I work with, and I love that I’m making a difference for everyone that, that I see in schools.

[00:22:29] Phanat Lor: But, at the same time, there’s a bigger piece to that as well, and that’s, my passion of writing in a way that I can continue to help people. Being able to balance that can be, is tricky. I’m not, I’m going to be honest, it is tricky because it requires a lot of late nights. A lot of conversations and meetings.

[00:22:48] Phanat Lor: But somehow I find a way to make it all work. I come home and, I have a very supportive family so that really helps as well. But, I know what I need to do. I make a list of things that I need to do and I’m a doer, so I get things done, so that really helps good for you.

[00:23:05] Vicki Markussen: So my common closer question, which is always hard to say, is what makes you passionate about what you do?

[00:23:13] Vicki Markussen: And you can, you have two realms in that, right? You have teaching and writing, so take your pick. Yeah,

[00:23:18] Phanat Lor: What makes me passionate, I think it comes down to being able to help others be successful and that encompasses both realms, like the copywriting realm and the teaching side of it whatever I do.

[00:23:32] Phanat Lor: It’s with the best intention to be helpful to others, and if I can continue to do that’s what makes me happy. To be able to give back, to be able to help people in a positive way, to change their lives whatever have you. That’s what makes me happy. I’m happy and that’s what kind of keeps me going knowing that I’m making a positive impact on others.

[00:23:55] Phanat Lor: You

[00:23:55] Vicki Markussen: have the heart of a

[00:23:56] Phanat Lor: servant, that is for sure. You

[00:23:59] Vicki Markussen: have been listening to Pinnah Lore. This is Vicki Markussen and Biz News Greater La Crosse. We will catch you next week.



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