The Problem: Steven's original résumé did little to present him for his career of choice-historian or history teacher-and instead simply presented descriptions of tasks performed. Without a strategic presentation of the value he had contributed in his career thus far, he wasn't getting his foot in the door. While he thoroughly enjoyed his current role, his goal was to find a position as a government historian but had found it difficult to relate the transferability of his teaching roles to that field.
The Solution: Steven's résumé was attacked on both the content and design fronts. For content, we thoroughly explored not only the tasks he had performed but the value he had contributed. From a fragmented list of seven or so bullet points on his original résumé, I was able to discuss his positions with him at length and create a much more valuable picture on his new résumé-comprised of solid overview paragraphs presenting responsibilities, followed by several fully developed accomplishment statements.
For design, it was imperative, and appropriate, for Steven to have a creative look and feel to his résumé. To do this I developed a design that emulated that of a historical document, using brown hues and a symbolic image serving as the background to a list of core skills. Using a design that positions a candidate as how they want to be seen can be very effective in overcoming a lack of related experience. In Steven's case, the historical look and feel would make the reader see him as a historian before even reading a word-a critical strategy to reinforce his candidacy for what he wanted to do, not what he had done in the past.
Steven's education section was also relocated to the end of his résumé, something that proved very important in making sure the hiring manager knew that his education was not his key qualifier. Given that he was competing against many other candidates with similar educational backgrounds, education could not be used as a differentiating factor. Instead, his master's degree was highlighted in the qualifications summary-and after his name opening the résumé-and the transferability of his experiences were used to distinguish him from his competitors in this niche industry with limited opportunities and far more candidates than positions.
The Results: Steven was kind enough to share his success story with me: I submitted my completed résumé the day after I received it and was immediately called for an interview. I am completely certain that my new résumé will open many doors and career opportunities. I know that it makes me more visible and definitely stands out. I am very grateful, excited, and confident about my future prospects. Steven now enjoys his new position in his targeted field.