Meet Madison!

Madison had an eclectic career of varied experiences from working in the court system to working with a media organization and most recently a law firm. Her goal was to leverage the commonalities of her experiences to position herself as an expert in select fields rather than as a Jill-of-all-trades.

Original Strategy...

Madison did have an existing résumé which was nicely organized into the following sections: Qualifications Summary, Endorsements, Professional Highlights, Community Service, and Education. Within each section, she had listed several bullet points with key aspects of her roles presented with some bullet points focusing on her responsibilities and other bullet points on her more impressive achievements. What was missing, however, was the sense of a common thread throughout her career-making her résumé and experience look a little choppy, given her four positions in eight years-especially since her titles had varied so much.

New Strategy...

Madison wanted to secure a higher-level role in operations or office management where she could play a key role in the coordination of processes, events, or activities. Through exploration of Madison's background, particularly expounding on her more recent position, I learned of Madison's consistent track record of developing first-time processes, coordinating entire process lifecycles, and generally managing operations including campaigns, events, and projects. With specific examples of her performance in these areas, spread throughout each of her positions, I was able to create a theme for her résumé which eliminated the choppy appearance her original résumé presented.

Starting Madison's résumé with a qualifications summary, I turned her original one-sentence summary into a brief paragraph with targeted content delivering a strategic message to her intended audience. Under the subheading of Operations & Office Management, Event Planning, & Community Relations came the summary which positioned Madison appropriately and served to differentiate her candidacy:

Recognized as eager to accept challenges, take ownership of projects, and coordinate large-scale campaigns and initiatives to generate unprecedented results. Provide creative and administrative leadership in the design and deployment of first-time and redesigned campaigns, creating the brand identity, content, and distribution strategies to maximize message penetration and market response. Cultivate strong working relationships with internal and external stakeholders, listening to and identifying needs and responding with helpful assistance. Known for executing functions with ethics and integrity, achieving high personal standards on all projects and tasks.

Next I presented select excerpts from Madison's letters of recommendation and performance reviews as these were important in providing the third-party validation of our claims that all hiring managers are seeking. Followed by the Experience & Key Contributions section, Madison's professional experience was presented to highlight the value she contributed versus the movement in her career.

Within each employment section, I first presented Madison's Key Actions & Results bordered and shaded with a subtle color to provide contrast and additional interest. In these sections, I essentially summarized the most important takeaways from each section, allowing for prioritization of information during the screening/scanning process. In addition, I added brief paragraph introductions of Madison's job responsibilities followed by much more expounded-upon accomplishments presented in easy-to-read bullet points.

Madison's new résumé was a much stronger presentation of the value she had contributed throughout her career which would facilitate her being viewed as a competitive candidate for the next step in her professional journey. In addition, through a revitalized format, strategic prioritization of content, and threading a common theme throughout each of her roles, Madison emerged as a candidate who had made deliberate career moves to refine her skill set and position herself for a management-level opportunity in one of her areas of expertise.

Madison's response...

Madison was very happy with her new résumé, being kind enough to email and say, I couldn't be more pleased with the professionalism and thoroughness of Ladybug Design; I was confident throughout the process that I was in very good hands and was never disappointed. I gave Samantha a MOUNTAIN of material to wade through for putting together my résumé, and she did so without complaint, finishing the résumé well within a reasonable timeframe, keeping me informed every step of the way. Changes that I requested to the first draft were made lightning fast. I'm now confident that I'm putting my best foot forward in this very tough job market!

As with any client, the best results emerge from a collaborative process where the client is willing and able to download any information possible to allow me to fully understand his/her background and current career target. From that downloading of information, I can then construct a targeted message that achieves our common goal of opening doors and securing offers of employment. I am thrilled Madison liked her new résumé and perhaps, more importantly, that it gave her the confidence she needed in today's job market.

View completed résumé on

Samantha Nolan is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service résumé-writing firm. Do you have a résumé or job search question for Dear Sam? Reach Samantha at For more about Sam's résumé writing services, visit or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).