The challenge:
Amy, a seasoned administrative professional, had taken her career in a different direction over the last two years. She was afraid that this segue, in addition to her age, would impact the success of her search. To try and overcome this, she had created a functional résumé, presenting her experience in an Accomplishments section and leaving her work history to fall to the end of her résumé.

The solution:
Resorting to a functional résumé was not necessary in Amy's case. Instead, a combination résumé was more appropriate and effective. By presenting a Related Highlights section in addition to a fully developed Professional Experience section-giving hiring managers what they want to know in terms of where and when she performed each task-her candidacy would appear much stronger.

In the Qualifications Summary, I fully explored Amy's administrative skill set, pulling mostly from experiences prior to her more recent position. In the Select Professional Achievements section, I also focused on earlier positions, pulling forward information that would not appear until page two of Amy's résumé. This was absolutely vital in positioning Amy as an administrative professional and not as a property manager which was the last position she had held.

To introduce Amy's property manager position, instead of using her title, I presented the tasks she performed, allowing me to avoid using her unrelated employment title. Again, this was in an effort to reinforce the administrative nature of her experience, despite being given a non-administrative title.

Lastly, her Professional Experience section was dated back through 1992, not 1984 as in her original résumé. Her earlier experience was bylined to ensure we presented a complete picture of her experience with a certain agency, but the additional 8 years was not dated, so as to avoid unnecessarily aging her candidacy.

In addition, her résumé needed to have some personality. In the original format, it was void of any personality, not allowing her bubbly, energetic, and personable style to come through on paper. Based on some of the comments she had received from past supervisors, I coupled one of those comments-Amy blooms wherever she is planted-with a flower graphic to create Amy's brand. While using images on a résumé can sometimes be a leap of faith, it is a risk worth taking if you feel the audience will deem the image as appropriate. In Amy's case, given she really wanted to convey her friendly nature, and given she had a wonderful comment to partner with the image, it was entirely appropriate and I was sure it would lengthen her screening process.

The result:

The day Amy received her new résumé, she wrote, Wow! Is that me???? I'm overwhelmed with all of the information you's like you've known me for years! I'm so excited to begin mailing my résumé out. You cannot imagine what a morale booster this is.

When Amy landed her new job, she wrote, Wanting to reenter the workforce as a mature, semi-retired candidate, I was very concerned about being seen as old school and not relevant in today's work environment. I wanted my résumé to reflect who I am, not just what tasks I had done. I knew that I wanted to be in a caring, customer-centered profession; specifically somewhere in the medical field. My completed résumé was exactly what I wanted, and more. The résumé highlighted my skills and accomplishments, but more importantly my heart and passion and my brand as a prospective employee. For Ladybug Design to accomplish this without knowing me personally was nothing short of amazing. My confidence soared and I was ready for my new journey. Within weeks of sending out my new résumé, I had two interviews resulting in two job offers. I am happy to say that I am working in a physician's office as a medical secretary! During my first interview, the physician shared that my résumé stood out from the 100+ résumés he had received, projected a warm and caring professional, and that he could not wait to meet me.

View Amy's before and after résumé at