An Historical Resume Looks to the Future

Revamping a sales-focused resume for a career change

This month’s “Does Your Resume Stink?” contest winner is a sales professional who wants to steer her career away from sales jobs and towards marketing and brand management jobs. Yet her original resume still emphasized her sales skills over her marketing prowess. It needed a near-complete overhaul to show how her skills were transferable and that she could confidently make the career change.

Every resume has a strategy for the content, the design and the organization. The old resume had been created with a more historical view in mind. So we built the new resume around the new career goal, always looking to the desired career path, not just her work history. It is always important to have the goal in mind when creating a resume because the information that builds that story should be highlighted.

Promote desired responsibilities

We created a core competencies section, following a professional summary up top, to pull in industry-specific keywords that relate to marketing and brand management.

This will promote how frequently the resume shows up in recruiters’ searches. Recruiters will conduct Boolean searches for strings of keywords, and we want to catch as many as possible — not only in the core competencies section but also within the entire content of the resume.

For example: The job seeker is targeting larger companies, so we inserted the keyword phrase “Fortune 500.” It was easily done by creating company descriptions for her two previous employers. Both had been Fortune 500 companies and by mentioning that, we would be sure to catch searches where recruiters were searching for candidates with Fortune 500 experience.

Showcase progressive career

In the original resume, the experience with a large automotive manufacturer was fragmented; each job had been listed separately with the company name being repeated. At first glance, it appeared that the job seeker had hopped around to different jobs. It was only upon a second, closer reading that the long tenure with that company became apparent. We leveraged that by changing the structure and only listing the company name once at the beginning. With this organizational scheme, it became easily apparent that she had enjoyed a progressive career.

Additionally, we changed up the format used to feature dates. The old resume had dates written in month/year format. We shifted to a “years only” format which not only further emphasized her tenure but eliminated the fragmented appearance.
During our information-gathering process, we also discovered there were many details about her work and accomplishments that never made it into the old resume. By bolstering the new resume with marketing-relevant specifics like development of programs and events, the hands-on experience would stand out.

The new resume should be a powerful tool for her achievement of her goal of a management position in marketing and brand development.