Alexandra had made a decision to change career paths from the corporate world to higher education but was faced with the challenge of creating a résumé that would effectively market her to her target audience. She had not updated her résumé in 10+ years and had not worked in academics in 12 years. Alexandra came to me, not knowing where to start with her résumé, and asked me to translate her skills from the corporate world to higher education.
Alexandra’s original résumé was underdeveloped and overcrowded. While it was just two pages in length, the block paragraphs of information contained within each professional engagement section made the résumé difficult to read and a turn-off for any potential employer. In its current format, there would be no way a hiring manager would be able to see, and therefore understand, how Alexandra was qualified for her targeted positions given that her higher education experience did not appear until page two of the résumé. In addition, no accomplishments were presented and there was no prioritization to the information presented. Alexandra had also not been able to “translate” the marketing skills she gained in the past 10+ years into a language that made sense for higher education, creating a résumé that was doing nothing but marketing her for exactly what she had been doing in recent years.
In order to market a candidate for something different, you have to create a robust qualifications summary which helps the reader (the target audience) visualize how the candidate is qualified. Replacing Alexandra’s original four-line summary with a relevant 6-line summary, 4 key taglines, and a list of 10 core skills, the reader would now view Alexandra as a higher education candidate before reaching the professional experience section of the résumé and the post-1999 and non-higher education-related experience she had gained. Alexandra’s summary, as mentioned above, was introduced by 4 key taglines which presented a high level summary of what the reader needed to know in the 4-second screening process…
“Possess a master’s degree concentrated in Higher Education Administration & College Student Personnel”
“Played a key role in student retention, engagement, and “community-building” with DePaul and Loyola”
“Combine experience in higher education with corporate marketing and account management tenure”
“Design and execute strategic marketing and retention programs that drive goal attainment”
With this introduction and focus in the qualifications summary, and the extension of that strategy throughout the professional experience section, Alexandra looked like a higher education candidate with a value-added career in marketing.