Averill came to me, as many candidates do, with the goal of differentiating her candidacy. She had recently returned to school to secure a medical billing and coding certificate after serving in the retail and restaurant industry for 10+ years. Given the steady stream of new graduates in her area, she had been applying for jobs she felt she was qualified for, but was not getting any hits.


As with any candidate, the goal is to differentiate his/her candidacy on paper. To do this you have to develop strong, targeted content packaged in an aesthetically pleasing design. For Averill, I spent time digging deep and getting her to open up about the experiences she gained in the professional and academic arenas.

Knowing Averill's career target was key in crafting a qualifications summary-replacing her outdated objective statement-which positioned her as a competitive candidate worthy of an interview. This summary encompassed the first third of her one-page résumé. The length and content of the summary was important as it ensured this was where the reader spent their screening time, leaving her lesser related early experience to appear at the bottom of the page to play a virtually insignificant role in the screening process.

As her education was her key qualification, we had to further differentiate why she was more qualified than the 100 others that graduated on the same day! To do this we fully explored her billing and coding program, included key highlights, presented the main aspects of her coursework, and showcased her externship experience. This section was placed directly beneath the summary to ensure the screening process would be spent reading related experience and qualifications.

In Averill's professional experience section I related her past positions to her current career interests, being sure to focus on the customer service and workflow management aspects. In addition, I made it clear that she held significant responsibility in terms of handling important transactions quickly and accurately.

To further engage the reader, I added a caduceus graphic to reinforce the medical tone of her résumé. I also incorporated a core skills list in a left column to pull the reader further in the résumé and facilitate the screening of the profile and education sections. The packaging, coupled with the strong content, will ensure Averill stands out among the hundreds of other qualified candidates.

Candidate's Thoughts

Averill wrote, This far exceeds what I could have imagined. I knew my résumé needed improvement but I didn't know where to start. I feel that my résumé will now be read instead of thrown into a 'just like the last one' pile.

Present larger image of AFTER résumé with tagline: A blend of strong content and design is of paramount importance in getting the interviews Averill know she deserves.

Present smaller image of BEFORE résumé with tagline: Doing nothing to differentiate her candidacy, Averill's original résumé was not yielding the results she desired.