Meet Peter!

Peter had a strong background in recruiting, sales, and marketing and came to me seeking help in facilitating a career change. While highly successful in his current field, he had decided to take the opportunity-based on some life-altering situations-to pursue positions that reflected his personal passions.

Original Résumé...

Peter's original résumé positioned him as a very successful recruiter which would have been perfect if that was indeed the type of position he was pursuing. He was uncertain however how to make his background work for his new areas of interest. Peter's résumé opened with an objective statement which reflected his new area of interest, stating his objective as To contribute to the greater good, help improve the lives of others, and work with a company that encourages creative, strategic, and leadership development. What was lacking however was the presentation of the transferability of Peter's prior career to his current career targets.

New Strategy...

When asking Peter about his current career targets it became clear that we would not be able to position him effectively for his areas of interest-music ministry and patient advocacy-in one résumé. Instead the most effective presentation strategy would be to develop one main body for his résumé and customize each qualifications summary to convey the right message to each target audience.

For both of Peter's new résumés, I focused on conveying the relevance of his recruiting career. To do this I developed a strong overview of his positions with quantified results serving as evidence of his ability to deliver on expectations, but followed with a functionally organized list of key contributions. In this section of his résumé I introduced some of Peter's key efforts by functional subheadings, a strategy which provides additional focus and clarity for the reviewer and allows Peter to communicate how his experiences as a recruiter align with the responsibilities of a music minister. To do this I introduced select statements with the subheadings of Best Practices Identification, Performance Management, Workflow Coordination, and Awareness & Communications, all skills that directly translated into his new fields of interest.

In addition, in Peter's music ministry résumé I added a music experience section which explored his tenure as an instructor and professional musician. Not relevant if we were creating a résumé for a recruiter, this section serves to reinforce Peter's interest in the field and his ability to perform in a somewhat unfamiliar role. Lastly, I created a unique design and used imagery to tell a story before one word would be read, branding Peter as what he wanted to be rather than what he had been.

When it came to developing Peter's second résumé, the main body of the résumé essentially stayed the same-with the omission of the music experience section however-but the qualifications summary differed and told more of his personal journey and the reason for his desire to enter the field of patient advocacy. While a résumé typically does not explore a candidate's personal journey, it was imperative to do so in Peter's case in order to convey one of his differentiating factors-that he has lived the journey of a patient and experienced the vital role a patient advocate can play.

As mentioned frequently in my column, creating a one-size-fits-all résumé is never the right approach and will always diminish the results of your search. Avoid diluting your candidacy but creating alternate versions of your main résumé-even if the body of the résumé remains the same-in order to communicate the right message to your target audience.

View Peter's before résumé and new résumés/summaries on

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 For more about Sam's résumé writing services, visit or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).