Spring Makeover Series - Out with the “old” and in with the “new

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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

Out with the old…
Brian had not needed a resume in many years and was unfamiliar with the "new" approach to resume writing. Opening his resume with an objective statement, he demonstrated that he needed a little education on how to strategically position himself for entry into one of the toughest markets in recent history.

Brian's original resume read more like a job description, full of brief bullet points disseminating tasks and subtasks. He had taken some time to explore his accomplishments which he placed above the section titled Current Responsibilities; however, he had not understood the need to explore not only the results of some of his efforts, but the actions taken to achieve such results. Pages two and three of Brian's original resume served as a very long list of positions and promotions going back to 1973 when he served in an entry-level production capacity. Within each section, there was no white space to differentiate positions and a standard presentation approach presenting his title, the years he held the position, one highlight of the role, whom he reported to, and 2-3 one-line bullet points explaining his "job." Brian closed his resume with an Education/Training section presenting his high school diploma from 1973.

In with the new…
In order to position Brian for success in a very tough market, we elevated his presentation on paper and the value communicated in relation to his past experience and current candidacy. To do this, we focused on formatting and content.

For formatting, we created a unique design that felt "solid" and "powerful" in appearance to subconsciously position Brian in the correct light for readers. Eliminating the objective statement, Brian's qualifications summary succinctly yet comprehensively communicates the highlights of his candidacy, his current career target, and his key differentiating factors. The goal of this section, just as with any resume, is to provide readers with a few-second overview of the candidate to facilitate the screening process, secure interest, and glean additional screening time.

For the content of Brian's resume, we streamlined the presentation of his multiple positions with his last employer in order to create a much more aesthetically pleasing, focused, and succinct overview. By doing this, we eliminated the "list" look and feel and instead created the brevity needed to best engage readers. Boosting the effectiveness of Brian's resume are the items presented in his Key Achievements sections placed after each employer on his new resume. In these sections, bullet points are presented that explore the results his actions generated, providing readers with an overview of the value Brian was able to contribute throughout his career.

Brian had also presented two potentially disqualifying factors on his original resume: (1) his age and (2) his lack of a college education. To overcome these factors, we presented information only back to 1985 on his new resume—appropriate for a senior manager who is expected to possess a certain amount of experience in order to qualify for the role—and omitted his Education section, entirely replacing it with a much more impressive Professional Development section.

Brian's new resume, through the new formatting and content approach, was just 2 pages in length with 1,100 words as opposed to his original resume of 3 pages and 935 words, demonstrating the much more effective utilization of spacing, language, keywords, and prioritization.

Brian's success…
Brian emailed us to communicate how pleased he was with his new image, stating, "I could not have been happier with my experience and end product!"

View before and after resumes on www.ladybug-design.com/blog

Would you like ‘Dear Sam' to critique your resume? For a critique, send resume to her.

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).