Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Resume Makeover

My favorite part of most HGTV television shows is the last five minutes. Yes, I appreciate learning the family’s story and seeing the various designers and contractors work on a house, but truly, I watch for the reveal—to see the beautiful, gleaming, renovated home.

Recently, I had a before and after experience, and I have to tell you, it is actually possible to feel totally excited about your resume. But first, let’s work through how this home—err, resume—was built.

I’ve write a lot about what job seekers can do to strengthen their applications (for just a few examples, look here, here, here, and here). I have found that—for the most part—the rules are out there, and candidates want next-level advice to distinguish themselves. In other words, as more people keep their resumes to a page, proofread twice, and ditch their objective statements; resume stacks grow higher and competition—even for that first glance—is fiercer.

So, if you were like me, you’d just keep refining your content more and more—updating it regularly, using better verbs, and adding in numbers—with the knowledge that if the hiring manager actually read it, you would be sure to stand out from the crowd. But it’s that first part, if the hiring manager actually reads it, that can be a little nerve-wracking. If only there were some way for a resume to stand out the moment it was opened.

Well, that’s where my own recent experience with a designer comes into play. To continue the house analogy, my resume already had great bones—all of the content was there. But from far away, it looked like any other resume—black and white and boring. So, when Allison Tatios Elevated Resumes asked if I’d like her to redesign the my resume aesthetically, I was excited to see how it might transform.

To my delight, the process was very collaborative. I emailed Allison the designs I liked most on her site, highlighted elements I wanted to be sure to include (like the QR code), and I was able to provide feedback throughout the process such that the resume was exactly to my liking. From a content perspective, her layout allowed me to fit a “Volunteer Experience” section (which I previously hadn’t had room for) and called out the publications my work had been featured in (another feature previously omitted due to limited space).

As someone who has been responsible for reviewing hundreds of resumes, I can tell you this: I know that, personally, I would have stopped and read any resume designed by Allison even just out of sheer curiosity and interest. And as a job seeker, sometimes that’s just the hook you need. A hiring manager picks your resume up for a closer look because it stands out, and ipso facto, she’s reading your resume (translation: You’ve got your foot in the door!).


In any job search, candidates want to feel confident and put their best foot forward. I already had great content, but Allison’s revamp of how my resume looked has given me additional confidence: I’m actually looking for opportunities to share my new resume! So, if you enjoy a reveal as much as I do, check out my before and after resume below. And, if it inspires you to contact Allison about your resume, mention this article for a special promo code.

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