Paige came to me concerned that her existing résumés were not positioning her as the valuable asset others saw her as in the workplace. On review of Paige's existing résumés I could also see that no hiring manager would ever see the value she had contributed given her résumés were focused on responsibilities.

Paige's original résumés were different in design but similar in structure. They both opened with her contact details, flowed to an objective statement, continued with a professional experience section, and ended with her education. Let's take a look at each section and the opportunities for improvement.

Paige stated her objective as, To obtain a full time position utilizing my customer service skills in a professional service and team-oriented environment. The problem with this is two fold. First, it says nothing about what Paige can do for the company, and second, it wastes the most important real estate on the résumé. Instead of a self-serving objective statement Paige needed to open her résumé with a qualifications summary telling her audience why she was the most qualified candidate and validating her differentiating factors. Read her qualifications summary and see if you can better glean the value Paige has to offer.

The qualifications summary opens with the headline of Customer Service Professional which immediately positions her candidacy for readers. It then follows with a tagline of, Offer 10+ Years of Experience Advocating for Customer & Company Needs. Following the tagline are three core skills including, Business & Consumer Experience...Customer & Team-Centric...'Go-To' Resource for all Stakeholders. Next follows the actual summary, Skillfully manage customer service functions while processing inquiries, requests, and orders in fast-paced and high-volume settings. Serve as a 'go-to' person for internal and external customers, taking the time to listen to customers' needs, respond with actionable solutions, and develop productive relationships along the way. Display an uncommon work ethic and commitment to organizational objectives, always stepping up to accept heightened levels of responsibility and accountability. Identify and implement best practices in customer service.

By replacing the objective with the qualifications summary, not only does Paige now know how she is uniquely qualified for her career target, but employers also know how to differentiate her from hundreds of competitors.

Next, Paige's professional experience section had to be revamped. On Paige's original résumés she introduced her experiences with brief paragraphs, each starting with the phrase, duties included... This approach was far from engaging, and on Paige's new résumé I needed to make sure she was communicating in an engaging manner. To engage Paige's audience I included brief paragraph overviews of her jobs followed by bulleted sections of accomplishments. Achievements were completely missing from Paige's original résumé-being modest she really didn't feel comfortable telling someone how she went above and beyond-however after explaining the importance of highlighting how she contributed value to an employer Paige shared many accolades with me including those found on recent performance reviews. Read through Paige's new professional experience section and see if you get the feeling she has some value to add to her next employer!

Ending Paige's résumé with her education section, I made sure the information contained within the section was presented so it did not detract from her candidacy. To do this I focused on the positive aspects of her educational pursuits, not the fact that she had not yet completed a degree.

Lastly, as Paige had so many great performance reviews I selected to present excerpts from some of her reviews at the end of her résumé. To do this I simply selected five comments from her reviews and placed them in a Select Commendations section at the end of her résumé. This leaves a lasting impression of the value Paige has contributed, and therefore is positioned to offer her next employer.

On receiving her résumé Paige emailed saying, I have got my backbone back! It was a great confidence booster! My original résumé was in the t-ball league and Samantha has called me up to the Majors. I've got the golden ticket and I can't wait for the right company to pick it!

Armed now with a tool that accurately represents and differentiates her background, Paige is equipped to conduct the successful job search she was seeking.

Read Paige's résumé at

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).