Melissa Blaser* was targeting positions as an elementary school principal. She enlisted the help of Tracy M. Parish, president of CareerPlan, Inc. & Executive Career Solutions, to help land her dream job. Parish worked with Melissa to craft a compelling document with a clear value proposition, rather than just create a laundry list of dull and mundane job responsibilities. I recently interviewed Parish to learn more about the resume she wrote for Melissa.
Q. What were the hurdles in this client's background?
A. Melissa had completed an MSE in Education Administration and was trying to make the leap from being a teacher to being a principal. Her hurdle was that she had no prior experience as a principal other than a short internship role, so she would be up against others with more years of hands-on experience.
Q. What resume writing strategies were used to make Melissa stand out?
A. Melissa expressed to me that she believed in leading by example, so I used that at the top of the resume as her motto. She also described her teaching philosophy to me, which I condensed into a three-part presentation for the top of the resume. This was fresh and different compared to most of the resumes school hiring authorities generally receive. This resume was branded and made her stand out as one-of-a-kind.
I also used a summary section and called it "Profile of Qualifications" to show the reader Melissa's value in a nutshell. Because hiring authorities usually spend between seven to 12 seconds initially scanning the resume, I like to make sure we pack in the value up front so the resume has the best chance of making it to the "yes" pile.
Typically the education section is listed toward the top of an education resume, so I included that section next and followed it with her experience where I pulled out bullet points for valuable accomplishments. I also included numbers and percentages whenever possible, to prove the impact of her accomplishments and create a stronger presentation.
Q. How did you prove the impact Melissa made on past employers?
A. The use of a paragraph for general job duties, followed by bullets for accomplishments, is the best way to help the reader quickly identity the value or impact the client made on past employers -- and it is a clear indicator to them of what this person will do for them in the future. Many CVs and education documents fail to show the value because they use a strict list of bullets. By bulleting every piece of information, it confuses the reader and causes everything to blend together.
We want a few bullets to really stand out in their mind. If a piece of information is considered a general job duty that anyone would be expected to perform in that role, it's not an accomplishment and doesn't deserve a bullet. But if the person went beyond what was expected, it should have a bullet and should also include a number to quantify the achievement if possible to make it even stronger.
Q. What were the results? Did Melissa get a job as a principal?
A. Yes! She was applying for one particular position as a principal and she got it!
*Names and other personal identifiers were changed to protect the privacy of the client.