Brand yourself for what you want to do

By Samantha Nolan, Ladybug Design Modified: June 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm •  Published: March 27, 2009
The Problem:

Claudia came to me with a one-page résumé void of any explanation of what she did in each of her roles. Her résumé was simply a listing of education, professional experience, and industry involvement. The problem with this however was that Claudia wanted to transition from teaching to counseling, so a listing of the teaching positions she held was not going to sell the transferability of her experiences.

The Solution:

1 – Understand the objective
In order to position Claudia, or any candidate for that matter, for a career change, I had to first understand where she wanted to take her career. Having recently returned to school to complete a counseling certification, Claudia had already taken steps to look more qualified on paper. With the related education my challenge was to dig deep and identify her transferable experiences.

2 – Identify and present transferable experiences
Through extensive review of her teaching engagements I yielded a significant amount of information on each of Claudia’s teaching positions, paying particular attention to exploring her most recent 15-year position. From what was one line of text on her original résumé became almost a full page of information—475+ words—on her new résumé. Presenting her “career position” in depth was critical in positioning Claudia to embark on her career change as not only did we have to explore her transferable experiences, but we had to show she can excel in whatever she does. I used a two-column format to present her experiences, introducing each statement with a thematic subheading to better focus on how Claudia’s experiences relate to a different environment. Two of Claudia’s earlier positions were also presented to show increased diversity and to reinforce her passion for teaching and counseling.

3 – Craft an engaging, impactful qualifications summary
As this was a career transition résumé it was imperative to get the résumé started on the right tone. Through selective language, inclusion of related experiences and education, and development of a thematic tone—created through the related headline introducing the summary, a personal mission statement, and a symbolic image—the reader will be introduced to Claudia as a counselor, not a teacher.