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Do you have the right formula? Targeting + Differentiation = Success

Christine came to me with the goal of securing a promotion to advance her career in the health care field.

She had worked as a nurse for 12 years in three different facilities and was seeking to take the next step in her career and become a clinical nurse manager in the intensive care unit.

Christine did not have an original resume to work from, and instead provided a list of the positions she had held and the related responsibilities and achievements.


Differentiating nursing professionals is often quite difficult, as I find my nursing clients struggle to delve deep into their experiences to identify the additional value they contributed over and above patient care.

However, as a resume writer, and perhaps more importantly, my client’s advocate, I take my job of differentiating my client’s candidacy very seriously. Christine and I spent time reviewing her background at length, discussing her contributions and uncovering what made her truly unique.

From my consultation with Christine, I was able to build an engaging presentation of her background.

By utilizing a softer font, a pleasing aesthetic and some light color on her resume, my goal was to further engage the hiring manager who would be spending a considerable amount of his/her day reading resumes from candidates who probably had very similar backgrounds.


Not long after Christine’s project was complete she was kind enough to write and say, “I got the job. [My husband] and I are thrilled. Thank you for the perfect resume. I received many compliments!”

When developing your resume, taking the time to understand how you are uniquely qualified is key. Serving as the foundation to your ability to do this is an understanding of where you are headed in your career and what that hiring audience is seeking. When you couple these two areas of knowledge together, the outcome will be a stronger, more targeted, and more effective resume.

— Samantha Nolan is a certified professional resume writer and owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume-writing firm. Email resume or job-search questions to To find out more about Nolan, visit

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