John came to me seeking to position himself for both project management and business and financial analyst roles. Knowing we would need to send completely different messages to each of those audiences, we embarked on creating two résumés to promote the skills and experiences he possessed that were most applicable to each target hiring manager.
Original résumé …
John’s original résumé appeared crowded, unfocused, and disparate given he had transitioned from a career role of 12 years into a startup organization. Having left his career in 2010, the image created by John’s original résumé seemed to be one of simply volunteering for a nonprofit organization in his free time. Certainly not the case, John’s new résumé needed to reflect the robust nature of his involvement in his most recent role, while gearing the content toward how he now wanted to position himself. Critical in an effective résumé, the story John needed to tell was more about what he wanted to do in the future, rather than what he had done in the past.
New résumé …
Not only did John’s résumé need a makeover in terms of formatting and construction, but it also needed to tell two different stories. I opened John’s résumés with qualifications summaries which showcased his involvement in the (1) project management field, and (2) the business and financial analyst arena. Opening with powerful instead of vague statements, contrast his old versus his new introductions:
Results-oriented manager: experienced at planning, directing and executing diverse, detailed projects to satisfactory completion.
New project management résumé:
Plan and direct multimillion-dollar projects from concept to completion—Possess 10+ years of project management and engineering experience, and the depth of knowledge to execute projects for optimal efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness while coordinating internal and external stakeholders.
New business and financial analyst résumé:
Recent MBA grad currently preparing for CFA Level I exam in June, with 10+ years of project and client relationship management experience and refined financial and business analysis, process design, and problem resolution skills.
The rest of the qualifications summaries presented keywords and specific highlights of John’s career that best related to his candidacy. When it came to John’s professional experience section, his most recent involvement with a nonprofit organization was cleaned up to ensure it conveyed the feel of a professional not a sporadic role. Highlights were pulled out, upfront, on both of his résumés, allowing for an at-a-glance overview of his roles. When possible, content in his professional experience sections were tailored to reflect the core skills required in each of his target areas.
John’s response …
Thrilled with his new image on paper, John quickly emailed and wrote, “WOW!!! That is all I can say.”
Telling your story …
The most effective résumés continue to be the most targeted résumés. If you are not getting the response you want in your job search try to refine your message as opposed to broadening your target audience. Promoting who you are with a certain amount of precision is critical to the success of your search.
If you are trying to market yourself as too many things in one document, you will weaken your candidacy on paper and take the chance of not appealing to anyone. I think you would agree that it would be much wiser to develop a targeted résumé, apply for 10 positions each week, and secure 5 interviews, versus keeping options open, applying for 100 positions per week, and getting 1 interview. Targeting pays off and taking the time to tell your unique story is vital for your success.
View John’s project management and financial/business analyst résumés on www.ladybug-design.com/blog