Candidate's Background:
Logan was a soon-to-be MBA graduate who had worked in his family-owned construction business for five years. While attending college-and acquiring two undergraduate degrees-he had been gaining hands-on experience in business management, project coordination, and customer service in the design/build firm his family had been operating on a part-time basis. Logan's goal was to utilize his undergraduate degrees, experience, and upcoming graduate degree to secure a position in the accounting or finance field.

Original Résumé:
Logan's original résumé did not position him for any particular field. Opening with an objective statement-which stated nothing about what he could do for potential employers-his résumé did little to secure and hold the interest of the target audience. Moving then to an education section, Logan attempted to differentiate himself solely on education, a strategy which is rarely successful. In the employment section, Logan positioned himself as an owner of the family-owned construction company and did not go into great detail about the projects he had worked on, the contributions he had made, or the transferable skills the experience provided to him. Logan's original résumé was two pages long with the second page including an additional skills section which presented some of his technical skills and ownership of some private rental properties.

New Résumé:
As a candidate with only five years of experience with one organization, I felt it was important to create a one-page résumé for Logan. Instead of opening with an objective statement-which would do nothing to tell a prospective employer what Logan could do for them-I used a qualifications summary to bring forward all of Logan's finance- and accounting-related training, education, and experience. To do this, I asked Logan to send me all of his coursework during undergraduate and graduate school so I could add important keywords in his field of interest. We also focused our consultation on discussing the related aspects of his work experience. The qualifications summary spans the first third of the page and will be vital in differentiating his candidacy.

In the summary, I highlighted Logan's education as I wanted to place his education section at the end of the résumé. I did this as rarely is education alone a candidate's key qualification-as many other candidates are likely to have similar degrees-so his education had to be combined with his experience to differentiate him from his competitors. The summary therefore mentions his educational credentials but focuses on the experience he has gained in the business world and as a property owner, and the applicability to his current career objective.

In the professional experience section, I removed the focus on Logan's ownership status-which may have presented him as being too entrepreneurial to become an employee-and instead positioned him as a business manager with functions in budgeting, accounting, project management, and client service. By doing this, the focus is paid to the areas in which he impacted, not simply the leadership role he held. I greatly expanded Logan's description of his experience with the family business, being sure to convey the level of contributions he had made throughout his tenure and the transferability of his experiences into a finance or an accounting role.

Last, Logan's education was presented to complete his full one-page résumé.

The look of Logan's résumé was important also. I transformed his résumé from an overused Word template to a clean, professional depiction of a junior-level candidate, ensuring the format was appealing to what would likely be a fairly conservative audience.

Candidate's Reaction:
Logan emailed my firm and stated, The new résumé and cover letter are great! They both exceeded my expectations. Thanks! Logan is well on his way to securing a position in his target field.

View before and after résumé on