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Career Advantage

Mar 31, 2022

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Erin Wolfram
Business Contact Number
(785) 856-3802
Business Address

1510 N. 1050 Road
Lawrence, Kansas 66046
United States

What is your primary business activity?
Career Development and Job Search Services
How many employees do you have including yourself?
1 and 3 contractors

How long have you been in business?
Career Advantage began in 2003 in Lawrence, KS, initially as a human resource consulting firm. It eventually, naturally morphed into a career coaching business and added a targeted level of service with Career Advantage Golf, which focuses on providing career services to individuals in the golf course management industry. In July 2020, I purchased the online business and continue to deliver career services to those within the local area and beyond for professionals in all industries and levels.

What is your background?
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in education and taught high school English for three years before returning to earn my first Master of Science degree in counseling psychology. This led me to a career in career services, and I spent thirteen years in progressive positions at the University Career Center at The University of Kansas, where I also became a certified professional etiquette consultant. In 2013, I received another Master of Science degree; this time in educational technology. Over the course of my career, I have conducted career coaching, created and taught career development and job search courses, and supervised other career course instructors. After purchasing Career Advantage, I become a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and most recently earned the Women’s Business Enterprise designation.

What sets your business apart from your competitors?
More than anything, we want to help people feel more confident and prepared throughout the entire job search process and at a reasonable price. Our services are 100% customized to each individual, and we work collaboratively with them to tell their story and prove results that demonstrate their value to future employers. We are just as excited as our clients are when they land a new job! In addition to having expertise in typical career services such as resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile development; interviewing preparation; networking; and professional etiquette, we also create personal and business websites and portfolios and conduct dining etiquette training. Aside from working with individuals from all industries and levels, we also have a unique specialization working with professionals in the golf course management industry through Career Advantage Golf and often write career development articles for SportsField Management Magazine.

How is your business involved in your community?
I am a member of several Lawrence-based organizations including the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, in which I serve as an Envoy. We host ribbon cuttings and welcome new businesses to the community. I am also the Vice President of the Lawrence Women’s Network, am a 1 Million Cups Organizer, assist with communications and marketing for Engaging Leaders Lawrence Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association, and am active in the Jayhawk Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. In addition, I volunteer for Lawrence Junior Achievement and give pro bono professional and career development presentations to organizations throughout the community.

What is your business philosophy/mission statement?
We help job seekers rise above the competition.

Why should your business be included in the minority & women business spotlight?
Career Advantage has been owned and operated by a Lawrence, KS woman since its inception in 2003 and continues to be a valuable resource nearly twenty years later! In today’s tumultuous environment, I feel career services are necessary now more than ever. People are having to change jobs, often unexpectedly, and the competition is high. Engaging a career services professional to help prepare application materials and display one’s highest representation can expedite the job search process and help candidates make well-informed career decisions. This ultimately helps the Kansas workforce and economy, since we can assist people all across the state.

What do you like about doing business in Kansas?
I am a born and raised Kansan. Spending my early years in a small Northwest Kansas town, I have also lived throughout a majority of the state during my experience attending Barton County Community College and Kansas State University and teaching in Southwest Kansas before landing in Lawrence, where I have spent the last eighteen years. I love helping people achieve their career goals, and being able to assist my fellow Kansans is extremely rewarding.

What inspired you to start your business?
Prior to leaving The University of Kansas, I had considered starting my own career services business. I had been helping students and alumni with their career development for thirteen years and knew I had the passion and skills to help other professionals in a slightly different capacity. However, I knew that Career Advantage already existed in Lawrence, and I did not see the need for an additional service within the community. During the pandemic, while working for another organization outside of career services, I started rethinking my own career trajectory. Serendipitously, at this same time, through a mutual friend, I learned that the founder of Career Advantage was interested in selling the business if she could find the right person. Within two days, she and I had a meeting, and within three months I was the new owner! I am very grateful that she trusted me to carry on her business, and I have her full support.

What was the biggest “win” in your business’ history?
Although I was not involved, I think the biggest win in the business’ history was the addition of Career Advantage Golf. This drives a specific population of professionals to the business and allows us to focus on niche services. Since I took over in 2020, I would say the biggest win has been the start of the podcast A Year of Career: 52 practical answers to your questions. Each week I answer one job search, career, or professional development related question from the public and provide practical advice that can be implemented immediately. I just released my 32nd episode and have twenty left to wrap up the first season.

What’s one valuable lesson you’ve learned that you would share with other business owners?
I think the biggest lesson I have learned is that it takes time to see a return on your effort. It can be easy to get impatient and want to give up, but you have to keep pushing, and you will see growth and progress, often when you least expect it. Additionally, while it may seem most cost-effective and practical to try to do everything within the business yourself, there is huge value in seeking assistance from others. Not only do other people bring unique perspectives and skills, but by outsourcing certain tasks, it leaves you more time to focus on what you do best and on the most important elements of your business.

Tell us an interesting and fun fact about your business.
Career Advantage has three outdoor office cats who were all rescued from an unsafe environment and were brought to live out their days in the country just south of Lawrence. Their names all pay homage to the great Reba McEntire. Unfortunately, we lost Reba, but Fancy, Mac, and Georgia still keep us entertained!