Dear Sam: I am an educator, motivator and speaker. I need help. I have two undergraduate degrees – a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business administration – and over 15 years of work experience. I am also very involved in my community. In short, I like what I do. I diligently search for a position that will not interfere with my teaching schedule. My heart is overwhelmed because I have tried so hard and nothing seems to be working. Any suggestions on my CV? – T.
Dear T.: Thank you for emailing me your resume so that I can assess opportunities for improvement. There are several areas that you can look to improve – let me touch on a few.
Your format lacks engagement, there is too little white space, and the margins are way too small. The margins on your resume are, as mentioned, too narrow. While I’m not a fan of large margins, I would stick to at least 0.7 ″ left and right. For the top and bottom, I generally stick to 0.6 ″ -0.8 ″. As you have over 10 years of experience and your CV spills over onto page two anyway, don’t be afraid to spread your CV out to add white space and make it easier to read. While content is the most essential part of developing your resume, you need to be careful with the format to immediately engage the reader. Please take a look at the samples on my website for inspiration.
There is no transparency about what you want to do or how you position yourself. You have to position yourself – or target your application – otherwise, you will be seen as an expert on nothing. A hiring manager is looking for someone with targeted skills and experience and will rarely take the time to review your experience to see how you “fit” within their organization. You need to communicate, through your content, how you “fit” by immediately positioning yourself on paper. Plus, what you have on your resume – in your career profile section – is built on soft skills, not unique experiences. No one could read this section of your CV and understand where you are going and what you are uniquely qualified for. Recreate this section based on a clear understanding of the positions you are seeking and the experiences, credentials, abilities, skills and education that your audience is looking for in a candidate.
Your work experience section lacks value based on limited content and no presentation or differentiation of responsibilities versus accomplishments. While self-promotion isn’t easy for most, you need to figure out how to showcase your candidacy by exploring the context of your roles and the impact of your contributions.
When promoting your responsibilities and accomplishments, be sure to present your information appropriately. Your responsibilities would be presented in a concise paragraph format. Your achievements would then be presented in bullet form following this paragraph. Doing this focuses on where you’ve added value to your former employers, as readers will rarely choose to revisit a paragraph of information on more concise bullet points.
I highly recommend that you check out examples on my website, other verified sites, or in recently written resume writing books for ideas on how to structure and format your resume. Remember, your lack of success is not a reflection of your abilities, but rather a reflection of the strength of how you communicate those experiences and skills on paper. Rearrange your CV and repeat your search, and I am sure you will find something great.
Samantha Nolan is an advanced personal brand strategist and career expert, Founder and CEO of Nolan Branding. Do you have a CV, career, or job search question for Dear Sam? Join Samantha at [email protected]. For more information on Nolan Branding services, visit www.nolanbranding.com or call 888-9-MY-BRAND or 614-570-3442.