Katie came to me seeking to present her human resources credentials on paper in an organized and sensible fashion, downplaying her prior more administratively focused career prior to 2007. Katie’s existing résumé was three pages in length and extremely crowded with bullet point after bullet point of information, none of which jumped off the page as anything to engage the reader. In fact Katie’s original résumé, believe it or not, had 51 bullet points with no spacing in-between, no complete sentences, little prioritization of content based on importance or relevance, and a lack of visual appeal.
Katie’s new résumé was built using an aesthetically pleasing design, a serif font for ease of readability, and strategic prioritization of content to make sure only Katie’s recent HR experience would land on page one of her résumé. To do this, I opened Katie’s résumé with a qualifications summary, which not only included an overview of the highlights of her candidacy, but validated some of the claims through excerpts from performance reviews. In addition, I presented a brief core skills list to quickly demonstrate the breadth of experience Katie possessed and some of the skills that other HR managers may not be able to claim.
Katie’s Professional Highlights section was organized into three main parts for each of her employers. First, I presented an overview of the impact Katie had in each role. This one-sentence statement provided a quick snapshot of the scope of Katie’s position and the results of her actions. Placed in italics and bordered with a top and bottom line, this introduction served to frame the information to come. Next, I presented a brief paragraph overview of Katie’s role. Similar, yet much more succinct than a job description, this section summarized the positions Katie held and provided context for the accomplishments to come. Lastly, within each section of Katie’s experience I listed her professional accomplishments in bullet points. The most important piece of the professional experience section, I bolded the results of Katie’s actions and validated the claims by exploring some of the challenges she faced and the actions she took. Much more effective than in Katie’s original résumé, her new résumé, while still three pages in length, was easier to read, prioritized information for the reviewer, and positioned Katie as an expert in her field rather than someone who had recently transitioned into the industry.
Contrary to what some would assume—as HR managers work with résumés on a daily basis—I work with quite a few clients in the human resources field. My human resources clients often tell me they are embarrassed that they can review and critique applicants’ résumés all day long, yet find it nearly impossible to articulate their own backgrounds on paper. Not surprisingly, it is difficult for most candidates to identify, let alone present, their accomplishments in a self-promoting manner. In addition, with the competitive nature of the human resources industry right now, many HR clients cite the need to really differentiate their candidacy on paper as the key reason they seek professional assistance.
Katie was kind enough to let me know what she thought of her new job search tool, stating “My résumé is visually impressive and strong and is a good reflection of who I am as an employee. It is so much more targeted and powerful than my original résumé. I am confident that my new résumé will unlock the door for the right opportunity.” Armed now with a strategic tool offering streamlined and prioritized content—presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner—Katie is sure to stand out in the sea of qualified HR applicants.