Jaine came to me with an existing three-page résumé that served as a narration of her IT career. While that may have been effective if she was going to pursue a position in IT, she actually wasn't considering leaving her current role. Instead, as she had recently completed her master's degree, and taken an intense interest in social media, her goal was to build awareness of her social media services in the small business community.
Through a quick review of Jaine's résumé, I identified some key areas of concern:
Aesthetics & Formatting -
The problem: Jaine's existing résumé needed a total formatting makeover. Given she was seeking to generate awareness and interest in her marketing services, it was imperative for her to validate her ability to market herself.
The solution: I used Jaine's existing branding that she had created for her business and infused her résumé with color and personality to better reflect a piece of marketing collateral vs. a traditional résumé.
Qualifications Summary -
The problem: Jaine had not positioned herself on her résumé; instead. as she had not developed a qualifications summary, the reader (i.e., potential client) would have to wade through her background and figure out why her IT skill set was transferable to social media.
The solution: I took the time to explore Jaine's social media talents, training, and experience through our consultation, gathering the information I needed to sell why she was qualified for the job. In order to showcase that she knew how to market something, I knew that started with her potential clients seeing that she knew how to market herself. Understanding what her target market would be looking for was critical in being able to develop an engaging and compelling summary that put the rest of the résumé in the appropriate context for the reader.
Professional Experience -
The problem: There was considerable redundancy in Jaine's original résumé as she had held similar project-based roles throughout her career. There was also little prioritization to the information Jaine was presenting given everything appeared in bullet points.
The solution: I combined similar roles to eliminate redundancy, removing a lot of the technical jargon that just would not resonate with Jaine's target client base. I also presented overviews of each of Jaine's positions in a paragraph followed by bullet points presenting key projects or contributions. I removed the overly brief and fragmented statements that appeared on Jaine's original résumé, and instead included more robust comments on her functions and contributions. To do this, I simply asked Jaine to think about her experiences based on the value that the task or project contributed, allowing me to better explore the challenges, actions, and results of her roles.
Education & Training -
The problem: Jaine was incredibly educated; however, this section included nothing about her social media background which was critical to validating her expertise in this relatively new field.
The solution: I asked Jaine to provide me with her training in the social media arena and built her professional development section mostly based on self-study. Jaine was not aware she could present self-study, books read, blogs followed, etc. on a résumé; with the confidence to do so, she was able to provide me with a lengthy list of her self-directed professional development in the field.
The Bottom Line -
Jaine had what she needed to position herself for her current objective; however, it was hidden under a sea of lesser-related experiences. Through the exercise of working with my firm, Jaine gained the confidence to embody her qualifications, enjoying the realization that she truly was qualified to pursue her personal passion.
Jaine was kind enough to call me once she received and reviewed her new résumé to tell me how wonderful she now felt about her ability to confidently pursue her new business venture. She also sent a follow-up email which simply stated, Samantha, you are AWESOME...YOU ROCK!!! While I appreciated the kind words, I was thrilled to help Jaine realize her potential and live her qualifications...way to go, Jaine!
Read Jaine's before and after résumé at www.ladybug-design.com/blog
About the expert:
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 email@example.com. For more about Sam's résumé writing services, visit www.ladybug-design.com or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).