Claudia came to me with a one-page résumé void of any explanation of what she did in each of her roles. Her résumé was simply a listing of education, professional experience, and industry involvement. The problem with this however was that Claudia wanted to transition from teaching to counseling, so a listing of the teaching positions she held was not going to sell the transferability of her experiences.
1 - Understand the objective
In order to position Claudia, or any candidate for that matter, for a career change, I had to first understand where she wanted to take her career. Having recently returned to school to complete a counseling certification, Claudia had already taken steps to look more qualified on paper. With the related education my challenge was to dig deep and identify her transferable experiences.
2 - Identify and present transferable experiences
Through extensive review of her teaching engagements I yielded a significant amount of information on each of Claudia's teaching positions, paying particular attention to exploring her most recent 15-year position. From what was one line of text on her original résumé became almost a full page of information-475+ words-on her new résumé. Presenting her career position in depth was critical in positioning Claudia to embark on her career change as not only did we have to explore her transferable experiences, but we had to show she can excel in whatever she does. I used a two-column format to present her experiences, introducing each statement with a thematic subheading to better focus on how Claudia's experiences relate to a different environment. Two of Claudia's earlier positions were also presented to show increased diversity and to reinforce her passion for teaching and counseling.
3 - Craft an engaging, impactful qualifications summary
As this was a career transition résumé it was imperative to get the résumé started on the right tone. Through selective language, inclusion of related experiences and education, and development of a thematic tone-created through the related headline introducing the summary, a personal mission statement, and a symbolic image-the reader will be introduced to Claudia as a counselor, not a teacher. This is absolutely vital in ensuring the hiring manager sees the candidate for what he/she wants to do, not necessarily what he/she has done thus far in their career.
The best part of my job is reuniting candidates with their self-confidence. In today's job market I know it is so difficult to remain positive and to not take rejection personally, so I love when clients reads their résumé and realizes they are completely qualified for what they want to do-even in a career transition situation-and they just haven't had a tool to showcase their qualifications and get their foot in the door. Claudia was one of these candidates and responded to her résumé saying, I never knew that I 'looked' so good! It was hard to believe that the person in the resume was me....but it was!
Whether changing careers, seeking a promotion, or simply trying to secure a new position, think about what you can do to bolster your confidence. Start by redeveloping your résumé into a tool that showcases what you can do. Explore experiences, present accomplishments, and incorporate an engaging summary qualifying you for the positions of interest, then re-launch your search with a new-found confidence and positive outlook on the possibilities that now lie ahead.
View Claudia's new résumé at 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).