Sally, a licensed social worker whose company was recently downsized, sought to return to a direct-care environment. After spending the past five years working with patients over the phone, she was eager to return to her roots in direct care. Sally wanted to focus her search on county and state positions, specifically working with seniors through the Area Agency on Aging.
Sally had an existing résumé that was designed and written in an antiquated manner. Not only did the content solely focus on day-to-day responsibilities, but also the format was less than appealing.
Sally opened her résumé with an Objective Statement, followed with fewer than 200 words describing eight years of experience, and ending with her education and volunteerism. In brief, her résumé was out of date and not effective.
Knowing that Sally wanted to return to her roots in direct care, and specifically target her job search to environments where she could work with an elder population, it was important to gather the related and transferable facts about her background during our phone consultation.
Being a modest person, Sally never thought of her positions in terms of the value she contributed; instead, she “was just doing her job.”
I explained to Sally, as I do with many of my clients, that a résumé has to speak to what you did that will differentiate you from other candidates. If she simply conveyed day-to-day functions and did not speak to the value she contributed, then she would look equal to her competitors and not get the interviews she wanted.
Fortunately, Sally did have functions she performed that were helpful in differentiating her candidacy, and even though some of them were not traditional accomplishments, they were still very effective in positioning her ahead of the competition.
Vitally important in the success of Sally’s new résumé was creating a great format, presenting Sally as a social worker dedicated to the aging population, and overcoming the fact that her last position was not in a direct-care setting. Through design of a soft and feminine résumé combined with strong content and a focus on the transferability of her last position, her résumé emerged as an effective tool in her search to secure a social work position in a direct-care and eldercare environment.
Sally e-mailed me to tell me of her job search success. “I just wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful job you did creating my résumé. It helped me land the job I have been looking for. I start (next month) and will be a case manager for the Area Agency on Aging. I will be working in their program which helps seniors age 60 and up, who are on Medicaid, stay independent in their own homes. Anyway, thank you so much for your help.”
Keys to Success
The best results always come from the combination of a great résumé marketing a great candidate. Sally had the experience; she just wasn’t able to “package” it to get her foot in the door.
I often find my clients are so stuck on the fact that their recent experience isn’t as related as they would like, they lose sight of the fact that they are still aptly qualified for what they want to do. It often takes just a little objectivity to figure out how to market the transferability of recent less-related experiences.
I’m thrilled Sally will enjoy her new position with her target employer.
View Sally’s before and after résumés at ladybug-design.com/blog.
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).