Title: Don't sell yourself short...rewrite, redesign, and re-launch your search

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


First impression...

Several areas of Simone's résumé required immediate attention. Simone's objective was to secure a permanent interior or graphic design position, and she planned to do this by leveraging her freelance engagements and educational pursuits to get her foot in the door. Her current résumé was not doing an effective job of showcasing her skills nor her vast design talents. Not only was the format lacking in appeal, but the content was sparse, inconsistently formatted, and unnecessarily aged her candidacy by going back to 1973.

Makeover strategies...

Through our consultation, I focused on gathering as much information as possible related to Simone's previous engagements in the design field. We also discussed and refined the types of opportunities she wanted to pursue so I could better identify the appropriate keywords and marketing messages that would attract the attention of the desired audience. It was also critical to define achievements for each of her past roles in order to predict the value she could bring to an organization.

In addition to incorporating a significant amount of content, the design was changed dramatically to present a more aesthetically pleasing image. Perhaps the most exciting change was the incorporation of a detailed and eye-catching qualifications summary. This summary serves as the main piece of information we wanted a hiring manager to read during the screening process and included: a professional title to brand her candidacy, taglines which market her core competencies, a paragraph summary detailing highlights of her related experience, a core skills list which provided for additional keyword opportunities and further expansion of related competencies, and a snapshot portfolio presenting a preview of her artistic talents. The snapshot portfolio was created based on some of her most unique work that helped position her as a talented artist whether working on interiors or graphics.

Simone had also presented salary requirements at the end of her original résumé, so I explained the impact this would have had on her search thus far and removed the reference from her new résumé. Lastly, experience was only presented back to 1993 so to avoid aging her candidacy, and focus was given to supporting information such as education, training, certifications, technical skills, and affiliations on page two of her résumé.

Simone's reaction...

"Samantha captured every aspect of my career experiences to form the résumé of my dreams. Excellent, impressive work and I would recommend her to anyone looking to change careers or just updating a current résumé."

Keys to success...

Simone knew that she wanted to transition into an interior or graphics design role and was able to articulate her experiences in a way that allowed me to expound on her professional experience, achievements, and core skills. She was open to a creative format and knew that her résumé needed a dramatic transformation to get the attention of hiring managers in very competitive industries. She had also laid the foundation for a solid career transition by pursuing related education and maintaining current technical skills.

For complete views of the before and after résumés, please visit the Dear Sam Archive on www.ladybug-design.com

Do you have a question for Dear Sam? Write to dearsam@semissourian.com. Samantha Nolan owns Ladybug Design, a résumé writing and interview coaching firm. For more information, call (888) 9-LADYBUG (888-952-3928) or visit www.ladybug-design.com.


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