For the next few weeks, as the job search season ramps up, I am going to introduce you to a candidate who likely struggled with some of the same issues you are finding troublesome in your job search. For this week, I'd like you to meet Julie...
Who is Julie?
Julie was a client of mine not too long ago who came to me in the hopes that I could take her diverse experience and recently completed education and position her for entry-level customer service jobs in a banking environment.
Why did Julie needed help?
Julie needed assistance with her résumé as she was finding it difficult to identify the transferability of her past experiences to what she now wanted to do. On her original résumé, she had listed 4 positions since 1999 including tenure as a data entry clerk, revenue recovery specialist, warehouse associate, and preschool teacher. Now, with the objective of securing a job as a teller in a banking branch, she did not know how to relate her past to her current goals. Julie had also recently completed a bachelor's degree and was pursuing her master's degree, which was making it even more difficult for her to position herself as qualified and not under-qualified by experience and over-qualified by education.
What did I do for Julie?
First, and the key to all good résumés, was to have an in-depth discussion with Julie to review her background in much greater detail. Knowing that her dream job was in a banking environment, I knew I needed to uncover and promote Julie's customer service, sales, relationship development, and administrative skills. Through our time together, we explored her background and I learned she had experience in two retail settings that she had not presented on her résumé. This information was vital in positioning her as qualified for her positions of choice.
On Julie's new résumé, I used a functional format-rarely used and to be avoided unless you do not think you can get your foot in the door using a more traditional format-as I needed to minimize several aspects of Julie's candidacy: (1) Julie was not entering the field with any previous banking experience; (2) Julie had changed positions several times in recent years and could possibly have been seen as a job-hopper; (3) Julie's experience would not immediately be viewed as transferable into a banking environment, especially given her most recent roles were as a preschool teacher and a warehouse associate; and (4) I needed to focus the reader's attention on her qualifications first, and her places of employment and titles, last.
As for the content of Julie's new résumé, I leveraged her past retail experience to showcase her sales and customer service strengths, along with her ability to lead stores to achieve #1 ranking. Julie provided me with some great additional information during our consultation that I was able to use to promote the transferability of her experiences into a banking role. This content was used to fuel the Highlights of Experience section on her résumé where I also focused the hiring manager's attention on the transferability of her experiences by introducing statements with functional keywords that related to her current goals.
As a recent graduate and current student, I positioned Julie's education immediately following the qualifications summary. Doing this provides for heightened focus on her strongest qualifications and moves her work history section-presenting employers, titles, and dates of tenure-to the very end of page one.
Julie's new résumé positions her as a very competitive candidate to join a bank in a retail-focused role and, just as important, promotes her value as a candidate. Julie's original résumé did little to differentiate her candidacy and instead expected a potential employer to figure out her value by assuming a lot about her experiences. Now, with Julie's new résumé, the 7-second screening process will be spent learning about how Julie is qualified for the job and not on her potential disqualifiers.
What did Julie think?
Julie was thrilled with her new résumé and wrote to me a day later stating, What else can I say other than WOW! I would never even have thought of writing my résumé the way you did. I am very impressed and I am really looking forward to sending this version of résumé out there to potential employers in the hopes of landing my career job. Thank you so much for your help and expertise, it meant a great deal to me.
If you would like to see specific case studies highlighted for this series, with candidates tackling issues you are facing, feel free to email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org