Kelsey was a recent graduate from a speech and hearing sciences program and was seeking to enter the field in an administrative or customer service capacity while she figured out what the next step in her education/career would be. Kelsey explained that she wanted to keep her résumé fairly broad in nature and hadn't focused on her background in speech and hearing sciences as she wanted to keep as many of her options open as possible.
#1 Résumé Mistake...
Kelsey had unfortunately fallen into the trap of thinking that with a broader résumé would come more results, when in fact the opposite is typically true. With her unfocused résumé, Kelsey wasn't able to target any of the content, approach, or design to any one audience, leaving her with a bland and generic résumé that would yield little to no response. Instead of capitalizing on the uniqueness in her education and experiences and attempting to open doors in her choice field, she was positioning herself for anything and everything, leaving her competitors-with more targeted content on their résumés-to come out ahead in the competition for interviews.
Kelsey's original résumé summed a total of 127 words! While Kelsey's career was brief in nature, she has used only 62 words to present her 3 positions in her field of interest which included her objective statement and qualifications summary! Perhaps the briefest résumé I had ever seen, I knew I needed to gather numerous additional details during our consultation in order to create the attention-grabbing résumé Kelsey would need to gain entry to the field as a professional.
In full disclosure I should note that I have a personal connection to the field of speech and hearing sciences-a close family member of mine has hearing loss therefore I live and breathe speech and audiology on a daily basis-so working with Kelsey became a personal passion to help a candidate, who wanted to advocate for those with hearing loss, gain entry into the field.
For Kelsey's new résumé-which totaled 510 words versus her original 127-I really explored her background working in the medical field for a local university medical center, volunteering in an infant audiology department, and volunteering at an assisted living facility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Using this experience to demonstrate exposure to the field-exposure that her fellow graduates may not have when entering the local job market-was critical in differentiating Kelsey's candidacy. Through our consultation one of her most important positions on her résumé went from being explained as follows:
Designed and Developed a system to input infant data.
To being presented as a value-added summary of what Kelsey learned and experienced during her volunteer work:
Observed Universal Newborn Hearing Screenings (UNHS) and entered critical pass/refer data into the hospital system to generate the appropriate reports and information for new parents. Designed and maintained a streamlined system to input test data.
? Shadowed the Audiologist in conducting Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) tests and observed UNHS strategies to ensure the most accurate results possible; learned a great deal about the importance of early detection and intervention.
In addition, I paid attention to the unwritten message Kelsey's résumé would evoke and created a soft, aesthetically pleasing, and elegant presentation that promoted her caring, thoughtful, and respectful character.
I didn't realize how much work my résumé needed until Sam pointed it out to me, and now with my new and improved résumé I feel more confident in myself. I'm so blessed that Ladybug design took the time to help me bring out my interest and skills on paper. Thanks so much!
The Moral of the Story...
Presenting the value of your experience is a critical step in developing an effective résumé, and one Kelsey had not taken nor understood when crafting her original résumé. To her she thought that by making her résumé quite generic in nature that more hiring managers would be interested and could fit her into an open position, when in fact the opposite is true. In today's tough market, and in any leading edge résumé, you have to present the value of what you have done in the past and the transferability to your current career target, doing so with the content, design, and presentation and prioritization of information that engages your audience and prompts action.
View Kelsey's before and after résumé on www.ladybug-design.com/blog
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about Sam's résumé writing services, visit www.ladybug-design.com or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).