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Creating a transferable image

BY SAMANTHA NOLAN Modified: June 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm •  Published: June 21, 2014

Meet Brenda

Brenda came to me with some major concerns about the résumé she had developed, stating, “I’m just a little ‘lost’ in the ‘employment whirlpool’ of today's market. As mentioned, my résumé does not reflect my many years of management experience, in addition to other past employment. I was advised by many to keep my résumé as brief as possible, meaning no more than two pages. In addition, the majority of my past management employment consisted of retail positions—quite dated at the infancy of my career—so I am not sure how to highlight my management experience without dating myself. Help!”


Lost in the market

Brenda’s original résumé did nothing to position her candidacy how she wanted it to be seen. Instead, she had created an antiquated presentation of her experience and education. Her résumé opened with an education section presenting her graduate degree in psychology, doing nothing but pigeonholing her into the therapist roles similar to what she had held in recent years. Brenda’s career history section included her own business providing house and pet sitting services, three roles in the mental health counseling arena, and her foundational experience in retail management. All positions were listed without any dates, no accomplishments highlighted, and no formatting differentiation.


Painting a strategic picture

I explained to Brenda that omitting all dates was never a good idea as that often creates an assumption far worse than reality. After we reviewed the dates of her experience, I could see a clear picture of why she was challenged in developing a solid picture of her candidacy. Brenda felt that her pre-1994 experience was really what was qualifying her for another management role, and she did not know how to pull that experience forward without aging her candidacy. In reality however, all of her experiences could contribute to painting an effective picture of her candidacy.


Exploring the transferability of experience

After spending time with Brenda digging deep into each of her roles, talking about the management aspects of her career, and delving into the value of her recent eight years as a business owner, Brenda could see she had not included a lot of relevant and transferable information on her résumé. Realizing that her pre-1994 experience would be slightly discounted based on the 20+-year-old status—not to mention it took place in a retail setting when now she wanted to gain entry into a corporate environment--we needed to ensure her management experience was prevalent more recent roles.

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