Recently I worked with a senior manager of operations and business intelligence employed by a large national company. I'll name him Ernesto.
98% of the time I partner with a client to build a resume from scratch, and support the resume with a strategic cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
Ernesto's project was unusual in that his existing resume was "decent" and he needed only a resume and for one purpose: to apply to an internal directorship at the urging of a VP, also Ernesto's former boss.
My client recognized that although he had been asked to apply, which although a good sign is no guarantee. In the VP's words "I cannot guarantee your selection as two other excellent candidates have applied."
Ernesto came to me to ensure that his submission was as strong as it could possibly be and to get some insight into interview strategies: he was determined to excel in each recruitment step.
Although I thought at first I would only be "tweaking" his resume, I did end up rewriting it, top to bottom. (The only section I did not change was the educational one.)
I wish I could show you precisely what I did! As I cannot, for confidentiality purposes of course, here are a few highlights:
- shortened it considerably - the original scrolled onto a third page and had tight margins. I expanded the margins and ensured the resume was two pages as another page was not needed or justifiable.
- rewrote the profile or summary - the original was 104 words on 10 consecutive lines, whereas my rewrite is 72 words presented in three, 2-line paragraphs. Although shorter, its impact is far stronger. Rather than focus on a synopsis of his roles, I created a branding statement. And by leveraging my own love of words, and inspired by Ernesto's description of his work (I sent him a list of specific questions to reply to), I found fresh language to replace several rather typical phrases.
- injected leadership language - for example: business-critical, reversed historically poor resutls, maximized resources, piloted shift and subsequently rolled out new method, and so on, which replaced ho-hum language such as "built, led, developed, delivered, prepared."
- shortened "additional interests" section - (which could also have been eliminated if space was needed), eliminating references to religion-affiliated volunteering as religion and politics are seldom required in a resume. (I have written resumes for clergy and for those whose careers revolve around a particular political party, where obvioulsy related details are needed!)
The final difference is that I created and supported a professional "brand." Ernesto has incredible analytical skills, far above the norm; he has the ability to gather information, listen to concerns, and serve as an objective mediator; and he reliably models and coaches not only skills but a collaborative spirit. The projects in which he is involved benefit greatly from his involvement.
I'm excited to see how Ernesto's career evolves; certainly he is now well poised to climb his preferred career ladder.