Madison had an eclectic career, from working in the court system to working with a media organization and, most recently, a law firm. Her goal was to position herself as an expert in select fields rather than as a Jill-of-all-trades.
Madison had a résumé that was nicely organized into the following sections: Qualifications Summary, Endorsements, Professional Highlights, Community Service and Education. Within each section, she highlighted key aspects of her roles, with some bullet points focusing on her responsibilities and others on her more impressive achievements.
What was missing, however, was the sense of a common thread throughout her career, making her résumé and experience look a little choppy — she had held four positions in eight years, and her job titles had varied greatly.
Madison wanted to secure a higher-level role in operations or office management, where she could play a key role in the coordination of processes, events or activities.
In visiting with Madison, I learned she had a consistent track record of developing first-time processes, coordinating entire process life cycles and generally managing operations, including campaigns, events and projects. Using specific examples of her performance in these areas, spread through each of her four positions, I was able to create a theme for her résumé, eliminating the choppy appearance of her original résumé.
I changed Madison’s one-sentence qualifications summary into a brief paragraph with targeted content delivering a strategic message. I then created a subheading of Operations & Office Management, Event Planning & Community Relations to position Madison appropriately and differentiate her candidacy with the following:
“Recognized as eager to accept challenges, take ownership of projects and coordinate large-scale campaigns and initiatives to generate unprecedented results. Provide creative and administrative leadership in the design and deployment of first-time and redesigned campaigns, creating the brand identity, content and distribution strategies to maximize message penetration and market response. Cultivate strong working relationships with internal and external stakeholders, listening to and identifying needs and responding with helpful assistance. Known for executing functions with ethics and integrity, achieving high personal standards on all projects and tasks.”
Next, I presented select excerpts from Madison’s letters of recommendation and performance reviews, as these were important in providing the third-party validation of claims that all hiring managers look for. Madison’s professional experience was presented to highlight the value she contributed versus the movement
in her career, followed by the Experience & Key Contributions section.
Within each employment section, I presented Madison’s key actions and results, bordered and shaded with a subtle color to provide contrast and additional interest. In these sections, I summarized the most important takeaways from each section, allowing for prioritization of information during the screening/scanning process. I also added brief introductions of Madison’s job responsibilities, followed by more expounded-upon accomplishments, presented in easy-to-read bullet points.
Madison’s new résumé was a much stronger presentation of the value she had contributed throughout her career, helping to that ensure she would be viewed as a competitive candidate for the next step in her professional journey.
In addition, through a revitalized format, strategic prioritization of content and creating a common theme to connect her roles, Madison emerged as a candidate who had made deliberate career moves to refine her skill set and position herself for a management-level opportunity in one of her areas of expertise.
Check out Madison’s revamped résumé below.
— 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 email@example.com. To find out more about Nolan, visit www.ladybug-design.com.