Sally, a licensed social worker who recently lost her job due to downsizing, sought to return to a direct-care environment. After spending 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 Agency on Aging.
Sally had a résumé, but it was designed and written in an out-of-date and ineffective way. Not only did the content solely focus on her day-to-day responsibilities, but the format was also less than appealing. The résumé opened with an objective statement, followed by less than 200 words describing seven years of experience and ending with an education and volunteerism section.
Knowing that Sally wanted to return to her roots in direct care — specifically working with older clients — I gathered related, transferable facts about her background during our phone consultation.
A modest person, Sally said she 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 clients, that her résumé needs to show any accomplishments that will differentiate her from other candidates. If we simply conveyed day-to-day functions and did not show the value she contributed, 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. Even though some of those functions 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 a soft, feminine design, combined with strong content and a focus on the transferability of her last position, Sally’s new résumé emerged as an effective tool in current job search.
Sally was kind enough to email 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. Thank you so much for your help.”
KEYS TO SUCCESS
The best results always come from a combination of a great résumé and a great candidate. Sally had the experience; she just wasn’t able to package it in a way that got her foot in the door.
I often find that my clients are stuck on the fact that their recent experience isn’t as related to their current goal as they would like. They lose sight of the fact that they are still qualified for what they want to do, and it often takes just a little objectivity to figure out how to market the transferability of recent less-related experiences.
— Samantha Nolan is a certified professional resume writer and the owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume-writing firm. Email resume or job-search questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Nolan, visit www.ladybug-design.com.