Alexis has been a client of mine for several years. From her first résumé to her current need for an updated résumé, her career has skyrocketed from someone supporting event-planning functions to an executive-level leader. Alexis now works with major event-planning organizations to coordinate every facet of national conferences. She contacted me recently to ensure her résumé reflects the level of involvement she now holds in the industry.
The Need for an Update
Given it has been a few years since I updated her résumé, Alexis provided me with her own updated version, one filled with multiple bullet points of responsibilities and contributions. Her attempt at updating her résumé produced a four-page document with little prioritization of information, no aesthetic appeal, and perhaps most important, a document that did little to position her for the next level in her industry.
I turned Alexis’ résumé into a three-page, executive-level overview of the past 12 years of her career. Page three was reserved for education, affiliations and presentations. Essentially, her résumé was two pages of content reflective of the contributions she has made during her related professional engagements.
To open Alexis’ updated résumé, I incorporated a graphical representation of her credentials and industry involvement — an impressive at-a-glance strategy that is sure to differentiate her résumé from those of her competitors. The logos, which I sourced online, add interest and serve as a reader engagement tool.
Next, in the Qualifications Summary, I immediately positioned Alexis as she wants to be seen: a senior event manager. To the left and right of this professional title, I presented her key qualifiers based on her proven track record in the field. From the heading of the summary, I flowed into three statements that further introduce her candidacy and validate claims through examples of Alexis’ experience. Lastly, to the left of these statements, I listed related core skills again, serving as an at-a-glance reminder of how Alexis is qualified for the jobs to which she will be applying.
I turned Alexis’ most recent work experience — described by her in 470 words and 17 bullet points — into a more succinct 260-word presentation of her responsibilities and accomplishments. While prioritizing content, Alexis’ “job” is presented in paragraph form to provide the necessary context for her contributions. Given that accomplishments are the most important component of any candidate’s Professional Experience section, I focused on presenting well-rounded contributions with bullet points, narrowing down Alexis’ 17 bullet points to five well-constructed points. In this section, I presented the results of Alexis’ efforts, as well as some of the key actions taken to achieve those results to ensure prospective employers are given appropriate validation of her abilities.
I received such nice comments from Alexis once she reviewed her updated résumé: “Wow! I love my new résumé. In 2006, I hired Ladybug Design to write my résumé, and in 2012, I hired them to create an executive-level résumé! My résumé is a work of art, and one that will open many doors in my field of conference/trade show management. Thank you!”
Create Your Makeover
When presenting your candidacy on paper, be sure you (1) target your content to sell yourself in the way you want to be seen, (2) create aesthetic appeal and reader engagement, (3) prioritize content to facilitate ease of readability, (4) differentiate responsibilities from accomplishments and (5) emphasize your accomplishments. If you follow these steps, you will emerge with a stronger presentation of your candidacy and the ability to conduct a more effective search.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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).