John came to me seeking to position himself for both project management and business and financial analyst roles. Knowing that two completely different messages would be needed, we embarked on creating two résumés to promote the skills and experiences he possesses that are most applicable to each target hiring manager.
John’s original résumé appeared crowded, unfocused and disparate given he had transitioned from a 12-year career into a start-up organization. Having left his career in 2010, the image created by John’s original résumé seemed to be one of simply volunteering for a nonprofit organization in his free time, which was not the case.
John’s new résumé needed to reflect the robust nature of his involvement in his most recent role, while gearing the content toward how he wanted to position himself. Critical in an effective résumé, the story John needed to tell was more about what he wants to do in the future, rather than what he has done in the past.
Not only did John’s résumé need a makeover in terms of formatting and construction, but it also needed to tell two different stories. I open John’s résumés with Qualifications Summaries that showcase his involvement in the project management field, and the business and financial analyst arena. Opening with powerful statements, here’s a look at the differences between his old and new introductions:
• Old résumé — Results-oriented manager: experienced at planning, directing and executing diverse, detailed projects to satisfactory completion.
• New project management résumé — Plan and direct multimillion-dollar projects from concept to completion — Possess 10-plus years of project management and engineering experience, and the depth of knowledge to execute projects for optimal efficiency, quality and cost-effectiveness while coordinating internal and external stakeholders.
• New business/financial analyst résumé — Recent MBA grad preparing for CFA Level I exam in June, with 10-plus years of project and client relationship management experience and refined financial and business analysis, process design and problem-resolution skills.
The rest of the Qualifications Summaries present keywords and specific highlights of John’s career that best relate to his candidacy. When it came to John’s Professional Experience section, his most recent involvement with a nonprofit organization was cleaned up to ensure it conveys the feel of a professional and not a sporadic role. Highlights were pulled out, up front, on both of his résumés, allowing for an at-a-glance overview of his roles. When possible, content in his Professional Experience sections were tailored to reflect the core skills required in each of his target areas.
Thrilled with his new image on paper, John quickly e-mailed to say, “WOW! That is all I can say.”
Telling your story
The most effective résumés continue to be the most targeted résumés. If you are not getting the response you want in your job search, try to refine your message as opposed to broadening your target audience. Promoting who you are with precision is critical to the success of your search. If you are trying to market yourself as too many things in one document, you will weaken your candidacy on paper and take the chance of not appealing to anyone.
It is much wiser to develop a targeted résumé, apply for 10 positions each week and secure five interviews, versus keeping your options open, applying for 100 positions a week and getting one interview. Targeting pays off, and taking the time to tell your unique story is vital for your success.
View John’s project management and financial/business analyst résumés on www.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).