Entry-level candidate enjoys job search success


Samantha Nolan is a Certified Professional Resume Writer with a graduate degree in Marketing and Communication, and owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume writing and interview coaching firm. For more information, call 1-888-9-LADYBUG or visit http://www.ladybug-design.com

Who is Jenny?
Jenny was a recent graduate with a degree in business administration and marketing, and since graduation, had worked outside of the marketing arena in more of a data entry role within a marketing organization. Her goal was to get out of the analytical side of marketing and into more of the creative arena and hopefully secure a marketing and communications role within a corporate environment.

What did I do for Jenny?
Jenny's existing resume did nothing to promote her marketing talents. Not only was her resume outdated in structure, it lacked any visual appeal which is vital when presenting yourself as someone who can "do" marketing! Her original resume started with an objective statement, which served no purpose other than to state the obvious and waste the most important real estate on her resume. It flowed into a profile section which promoted a plethora of soft skills. While "selling" soft skills—organization, listening, multi-tasking, problem solving, communication, etc.—is not a bad idea, they have to be complemented by experience- or academic-based qualifications. I say this as no other candidate on the market today will ever say they do not possess a certain amount of these "general" soft skills, so if you are using them to try to differentiate your candidacy, they are really doing anything but that on your resume. Jenny's resume concluded with her education, related courses, activities, awards, volunteer posts, and experience. Jenny actually had several versions of her resume, some chronological, others functional, but none presented her qualifications in a manner that would have attracted attention from the right audience.

On Jenny's new resume I created a unique design that "sold" her as a marketer. Think about it…if you are preaching that you are able to market, shouldn't you be marketing yourself as evidence of that skill set? Too few candidates realize the impact of their lack of focus and/or creativity on their resumes, and unfortunately blame other aspects of their background or search on the lackluster results they receive.

Through a great format that is sure to command attention, a fully developed qualifications summary, core skills list, education section presenting applicable honors, and a robust experience section exploring Jenny's experience-based differentiators, Jenny now looks like a qualified and marketable candidate.

In regards to the qualifications summary, this is an area in which I see a lot of candidates miss an opportunity to market themselves. Take Jenny's opening on her original resume:

"Objective: To pursue an entry level position in the field of marketing that allows me to expand my knowledge and experience while developing a rewarding and successful career."

Now read her new qualifications summary:

  • Offer a blend of creative and analytical strengths to fuel marketing and communication initiatives including pre- and post-campaign assessments, SWOT and market analysis, marketing research, and consumer behavior and economic trending.
  • Performed in-depth research during completion of a BBA in Marketing, looking into the marketing practices of such organizations as Boeing, GM, and Gillette to define target audiences, messaging strategies, customer loyalty, and campaign platforms.
  • Demonstrated strong multitasking, organizational, and communication skills while engaged in professional and student assignments; worked with cohorts as the VP of the Collegiate Marketing Club and planned the club's calendar and event agendas.

Which gets your attention and immediately "sells" how Jenny is different and aptly qualified for the roles she is seeking? Obviously the latter. See how it isn't just her skills that are "sold" and instead it is a balanced combination of experience, academics (even select school projects), and skills. Think about how the opening of your resume, and whether you write an objective statement vs. a qualifications summary, can truly make the wrong vs. right first impression. By taking the time to differentiate yourself and understand the uniqueness of your candidacy, you are helping your audience—and perhaps yourself—understand why you are a stronger candidate than one of your competitors.

What did Jenny Think?
Jenny wrote, "I love my new resume! I had to read it a few times to make sure it was really me. The wording is perfect. I now feel very confident about sending my resume out to companies and posting it on job boards." Jenny contacted me this spring to have me update her resume (after she had secured the role with the resume I wrote for her earlier), and shortly thereafter wrote, "Once again I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your help with my resume. I have received several compliments on it. I have been offered a Marketing and Business Development Assistant position with an amazing company and I could not be happier."

Samantha Nolan is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume-writing firm. Do you have a resume or job search question for Dear Sam? Reach Samantha at dearsam@ladybug-design.com. For more about Sam's resume writing services, visit www.ladybug-design.com or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).