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What’s right — and wrong — about your résumé?

BY SAMANTHA NOLAN Modified: October 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm •  Published: October 5, 2012
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Sydney should develop a full qualifications summary presenting her notable employers, the highlights of her experience, and the skills she has mastered throughout. To include earlier experiences that would potentially date Sydney’s candidacy, she could include some of those in the summary without going into detail about the positions in the professional experience section.

This is a great way to highlight past experiences that possibly do not appear in more recent roles. However, based on Sydney’s stated objectives, I believe she can more than demonstrate she is qualified for the opportunities she is interested in by focusing on the past 12 years.

Does Sydney’s résumé have the “punch” to get noticed?

No! Not a reflection on whether Sydney’s career has the “punch” to get noticed; her résumé focuses only on responsibilities, therefore is unlikely to engage the reader. Each bullet point presented describes a core function of her job, functions you would find on a standard job description.

When competing against other administrative assistants, it is likely they too have performed similar functions, so without a focus on where Sydney contributed over and above her job description, there is little to differentiate her candidacy.

Is Sydney highlighting potential disqualifiers?

Yes! Sydney’s education section jumps out at you as it is the first section that is not filled with content, so your eyes are immediately drawn to that section. In this section, she included her high school diploma and the university she attended with the words “no degree obtained” afterward.

If Sydney completed a considerable amount of college (i.e., two-plus years), then I would present this as “Completed Two Years Toward a Bachelor’s Degree”; if she did not then, I would omit this section entirely.

Is Sydney’s résumé optimally formatted?

No! With the entry-level format, Arial font, and lackluster aesthetic, nothing about Sydney’s résumé compels people to read it. Instead, Sydney should create an engaging visual aesthetic that draws the reader in. Avoiding overused templates is a wise decision in this economy when a hiring manager is literally receiving hundreds of résumés; when many use templates, the résumés all start looking the same.

Lastly, by including references on the résumé, she has reinforced there is little content to present to even make a full one-page résumé. References should be presented when requested.

With so much room for improvement, Sydney has no idea how successful her job search could be, given she has not been marketing her candidacy with an effective tool. Revamping her résumé, I feel, will turn around her job search results!

Would you like ‘Dear Sam’ to critique your résumé? For a critique, send résumé to dearsam@ladybug-design.com