Brian was referred to Ladybug Design by his human resources department after the announcement that the plant where he worked would be closing.
Brian had worked for the manufacturing plant for 10-plus years and was serving as assistant vice president of operations. Regardless of the impending shutdown, Brian had made significant operational improvements and had played a key role in turning around the business and positioning it for profitable growth. Unfortunately, despite his and his co-workers’ efforts, the decision was made to close the business.
Brian had not needed a résumé for many years, so he was unfamiliar with the new approach to résumé writing. Having opened his résumé with an Objective Statement, he demonstrated that he needed help to strategically position himself for entry into one of the toughest markets in recent history.
Brian’s original résumé read more like a job description, full of brief bullet points disseminating tasks and subtasks. He had taken the time to explore his accomplishments and placed them above the section titled Current Responsibilities. However, he did not understand the need to explore not only the results of his efforts, but the actions taken to achieve such results.
Pages two and three served as a long list of positions and promotions dating back to 1973. Within each section, there was no white space to differentiate positions. He used a standard presentation approach presenting his title, the years he held the position, one highlight of the role, whom he reported to and two to three bullet points explaining his job.
His résumé closed with an Education/Training section presenting his high school diploma along with a “References available upon request” closing line.
In order to position Brian for success in a tough market, we elevated his presentation on paper and the value communicated in relation to his past experience and current candidacy. We did this by focusing on formatting and content.
We created a unique design that is solid and powerful in appearance to subconsciously position Brian in the correct light. The Objective Statement was replaced by a Qualifications Summary that succinctly yet comprehensively communicates the highlights of his candidacy, his current career target and his key differentiating factors. The goal of this section is to provide readers with a quick overview of the candidate to facilitate the screening process, secure interest and glean additional screening/evaluation time.
As for content, 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 of his background. By doing this, we eliminated the list look and created the brevity needed to engage readers and allow for increased focus on select actions and results.
To boost the effectiveness of Brian’s new résumé, items are presented in a Key Achievements sections following each employer. In these sections, bullet points present the results generated from his actions, providing readers with an overview of the value Brian contributed throughout his career.
Brian had also presented two potentially disqualifying factors on his original résumé: his age and his lack of a college education. To overcome these factors, we presented information only back to 1985 on his new résumé — 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 résumé, through the new formatting and content approach, was just two pages in length with 1,100 words as opposed to his original three-page résumé of 935 words. This demonstrates a more effective utilization of spacing, language, keywords and prioritization on his new résumé.
Brian e-mailed us to communicate how pleased he was with his new image, stating, “I could not be happier!”
View before and after résumés on 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 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).