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You are qualified, now show it!

BY SAMANTHA NOLAN Modified: November 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm •  Published: November 2, 2012
Candidate’s Background: Sally, a licensed social worker who was recently downsized, sought to return to a direct care environment. After spending the past 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 Area Agency on Aging.

Sally’s Original Résumé: Sally had an existing résumé which was designed and written in an antiquated manner. Not only did the content solely focus on day-to-day responsibilities, but also the format was less than appealing. Sally opened her résumé with an objective statement, followed with fewer than 200 words describing 8 years of experience, and ending with her education and volunteerism. In brief, her résumé was out of date and not effective.

Sally’s New Résumé: Knowing that Sally wanted to return to her roots in direct care, and specifically target her job search to environments where she could work with an elder population, it was important to gather the related and transferable facts about her background during our phone consultation. As a modest person, Sally 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 of my clients, that a résumé has to speak to what you did that will differentiate you from other candidates. If we simply conveyed day-to-day functions and did not speak to the “value” she contributed, then 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, and even though some of them were not your 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 design of a soft and feminine résumé combined with strong content and a focus on the transferability of her last position, her résumé emerged as an effective tool in her search to secure a social work position in a direct care and eldercare environment.

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