A Wordy Resume Becomes a Two-Page Marketing Machine

Marcus Crayton is looking for a job as a marketing director though his functional experience is disparate. With help from certified resume writer Mary Schumacher he was able to turn a wordy resume into a concise marketing document.

When crafting a resume, you can use the bow-and-arrow approach specifically to target a job, or you can use the shotgun approach and just hope that something — anything – hits home with an employer.

Marcus Crayton was using the shotgun approach.

The 34-year-old project manager has been looking for a new position since October 2007; he would like to find a position as director of marketing. Since beginning his search, Crayton has sent out “thousands of resumes and applied for countless jobs,” he admitted.

The shotgun approach meant, however, that his resume was excessively wordy, tipping the scale at three pages.

“My old resume was like a proposal,” Crayton said.

And he should know: Crayton currently has an MBA and is pursuing his PhD in organization and management with a specialization in project management.

He’d already paid hundreds of dollars to have his resume rewritten and garnered praise from associates who critiqued it. Nevertheless, Crayton said, he knew it still lacked focus. His resume was “like a project-management spreadsheet. It was like a flawed analysis. I was putting everything on there.”

More words, less focus

The proof was in the pudding: The shotgun approach wasn’t getting him interviews. That’s because, like most resumes that are too long and too wordy, the resume was unfocused. One professional who critiqued the document told him that the resume just didn’t let the reader know what Crayton wanted to do.

Crayton had been told by a human-resources pro that his resume was “just great” and that “it looks fine, don’t change it.” But he knew something was wrong, and he decided to try revising it again.

In late May, Mary Schumacher revamped Crayton’s resume. Schumacher is an MBA, as well as a CPRW, CEIP and CPCC (certified professional resume writer, certified employment interview professional and certified professional career coach) who works with Ladders.

When Schumacher looked at Crayton’s resume, she saw somebody with ample education and a variety of experience who wanted to be a marketing director. (Crayton has a background working for nonprofits and educational institutions.) “I haven’t had experience in big-name companies like IBM or AT&T, no Time Warner,” Crayton said. “I’d call my past positions ‘college jobs’ jobs to get you through.”

Although he performed marketing functions in every position he’s worked at — media specialist and program coordinator are two of his past positions – he has never worked strictly as a marketer or had that job title.

For Schumacher, the key to positioning Crayton as a marketing director was to tie his marketing experience together explicitly and present him that way on his revamped resume.

Act as if

The first thing Schumacher did to make over Crayton into a marketing director was to put that title, “Marketing Director,” at the top of the new document. Immediately after the title, she added a summary section that pulls together Crayton’s disparate marketing credentials.

An “areas of expertise” section then promotes important keywords buried in the lengthier resume, such as “market analysis,” “negotiations,” “strategy development,” “team leadership” and “client relations.”

Next, a “career highlights” section comprises a four-bullet list of Crayton’s top marketing accomplishments, including such items as boosting educational program customer satisfaction rates by 93 percent “by influencing program improvements following rigorous market research and analysis.”

The result is a resume that “pops,” Crayton said, and weighs in at two efficient pages.

“We wanted to pull together from all his different jobs, from all the things he’s done, the idea that he can do that marketing job, to anyone who’s looking,” Schumacher said.

Feedback on the revised resume has been glowing. “(A previous critic) said, ‘This is much better. Now I can look at it and pick out that he doesn’t have a lot of corporate experience but he can learn, so maybe I can find a fit for him in our company,’” Crayton said.

“The revised resume pinpoints, even highlights, my skill sets and brings them to the forefront to allow people to say, ‘Hey, this is what this guy can do, let’s see if we can give him a shot,’ ” Crayton said. “I think this will be the turning point.”