Resume Recasts Bookkeeper as HR Powerhouse

Debbie Ramirez was ready to trade in her role in finance for a position in human resources. Selling her qualifications meant a rewrite to her resume.


Debbie Ramirez was tired. Ramirez has been tired for a long time, which is what prompted her to come to OpsLadder for help in her job search.

For the past 15 years, Miami-based Ramirez has been a financial-accounts officer at a local private school, where she has handled accounts receivable and payable, collection of delinquent accounts, and reconciliation of bank accounts. Ramirez also was tasked with preparing monthly income/expense reports, payroll, purchasing and budget control.

She was ready for a change and hoped for a position in human resources. “I am looking for a better job that would allow me to utilize my experiences better,” Ramirez said. “I’m looking for something where there’s room for me to grow.”

After such a long run in a finance role at a single company, however, her resume presented an impediment to HR positions.
“I want to get out of the financial end of the business,” Ramirez said. “I am the benefits administrator where I work now, and I do payroll and all the PTO [Paid Time Off requests] and everything. And I realize I really like that end of my work.”

Therein lies the challenge: how to transform a bookkeeper into an HR specialist.

“The biggest challenge was about getting out what she has done over the years that focused on HR and administrative responsibilities,” said J.M. Auron, a certified professional resume writer who works with Ladders and helped Ramirez translate her resume for a new career in HR.

To play up her HR capabilities, Auron led the description of Ramirez’s current job with a focus on HR rather than bookkeeping.

Ramirez’s original resume presented skills that she called “repeatable” in another position such as HR, “but she didn’t talk about transferable skills.”

She also didn’t highlight the HR skills she already had. Auron decided to shine a light on the HR accomplishments she already had, including:

  • Manage a wide range of HR operations. Ensure accuracy of all new hire documentation and personnel files, including W4s and I9s. Track vacation time, sick leave, and paid time off. Manage maintenance staff. Ensure compliance with all Federal regulations, including OSHA. Contribute to safety trainings. Manage recording of all professional development courses and requirements.
  • Serve as Benefits Manager, research and analyze health insurance options, negotiate plans, ensure full coverage for employees, and serve as 1st point of contact for benefits issues and questions. Streamline personnel reporting procedures.
  • Administer 403B retirement plan. Work directly with staff to determine needs, and ensures correct monthly payroll deductions.

Ramirez, who had casually searched for a job for two years, now has a new resume and is close to finishing her degree in business administration. She is feeling very confident about her prospects.

“I’m ready to move right now,” she said. “I am happy with my new resume. I think it adequately reflects my capabilities, and I really feel like I am ready to make a move.”