When COVID-19 hit, Olivia, 30, was working as a marketing specialist for a travel company. She was laid off in November, 2020, and found work soon afterward as a marketing manager for a healthcare company. “I learned very quickly that the position was not the right fit,” Olivia writes. “The position title did not match the responsibilities of the role.” She resigned from her position in April and is now hunting for her next job. She has applied for 40 positions so far.
In her previous roles, Olivia enjoyed developing and implementing marketing plans. But she didn’t like that her previous company was disorganized, leading to bottlenecked projects. Olivia is open to working in most industries, but she’d like to be at an organization whose vision she believes in. “The ideal company for me is one that’s purpose-driven and is a leader in their space,” Olivia writes. “They would have a phenomenal company culture and would really value their employees, giving them the room to grow and have full autonomy in their role.” In five years, Olivia has the goal of leading a mid-sized team.
We reached out to career coach Kathryn Meisner and Laura Pearce, head of marketing at Twitter Canada to review Olivia’s resume and offer their advice for her next steps.
WHAT THE CAREER COACH SAYS
Ms. Meisner commends Olivia’s simple, easy-to-read resume and the numerical results she has incorporated throughout. But Ms. Meisner suggests adding a two-to-three sentence profile section to the top of the document. “It gives the reader a quick synopsis of Olivia’s experience,” Ms. Meisner explains. “It provides a lens through which to read the rest of her experience.” Olivia is currently job hunting while unemployed, which Ms. Meisner says “is not the end of the world,” but a great profile summary can help draw the reader’s attention away from her unemployment and give them insight into her experience.
Olivia should also pay attention to the design details of her resume. “She’s not applying for a graphic designer role, but visual presentation is something that’s important in the marketing world in general,” says Ms. Meisner. She recommends updating her font from Times New Roman, which feels outdated, to Arial or Helvetica. Olivia should also ensure that all her bullets are the same size and that indented text always aligns.
In Olivia’s experience section, Ms. Meisner recommends renaming it to “Employment Experience.” She can also add more detail to each bullet point to better demonstrate her skills. “For the bullet point “responsible for marketing budgets and profitability targets,” I’d suggest she shift this to something like: “Achieved national B2C annual $2M marketing budget and $43M profitability targets”,” Ms. Meisner says. “Olivia should go through her resume and look for opportunities to transform something that sounds like a job description point into a demonstration of her skill set, giving more insight into how she did that.”
For Olivia’s goal of managing a mid-sized team in five years, she should identify ways she has managed people in the past and highlight these experiences in her resume. “Under her consumer marketing specialist role, she supervised colleagues for a specific project,” says Ms. Meisner. “This can be highlighted in her initial section. If she’s managed people without the managing title, that still counts as having people management skills.” Olivia can also have coffee chats to find out which companies are known for promoting from within. Once she’s in her new role, she should look for opportunities to manage projects or small teams to further develop leadership skills.
WHAT THE INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS
Ms. Pearce echoes Ms. Meisner’s advice to add a profile or summary section at the top of her resume. “It should be something that answers the question, as briefly as you might in a tweet, what makes you stand out from the other candidates and why you’re a fit for the job,” Ms. Pearce says. Along with Ms. Meisner’s suggestion to ensure the formatting is consistent and to update the font style, Ms. Pearce also recommends eliminating the use of all caps. “It has actually been shown to remove visual cues when reading,” she says.
If Olivia were applying for a role at Twitter, Ms. Pearce would want to see a link to her Twitter account. “Make sure you come prepared to talk about how you use it and also share examples of effective marketing you’ve seen there,” she says. “Too often we interview people with great work experience but they don’t nail the ‘why Twitter’ question off the top.”
Ms. Pearce says that Olivia has the experience for an entry-level marketing position. But she would like to see her digital marketing experience highlighted more prominently. She would also want more details on Olivia’s role within each company’s overall marketing team.
As for Olivia’s management goal, once she lands her next position, Ms. Pearce recommends that she look for leadership training opportunities offered by the companies she works at. “And remember that sometimes the size of the team doesn’t matter as much as what the team is accomplishing every day,” she says.
THE NEW RESUME
Olivia added a professional summary section and a highlights section to the top of her resume. She also fixed formatting issues, ensuring consistent alignment of text and bullet sizes. She has updated the font of her resume from Times New Roman to Calibri and also bolded headings for readability. Job titles are also underlined and bolded to stand out. Olivia has also renamed her “Computer Programs” section to “Technical Skills” and has changed “Experience” to “Employment Experience.” She has expanded on the areas of focus for her job at the travel company to include the channels she managed.
INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR RESUME REVIEWED?
E-mail us with your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Resume Review’ in the subject line and we’ll ask a career coach and an expert in your field to provide their feedback. Emails without the correct subject line may not be answered. Names and some details are changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled. If you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us. You can find all our resume reviews here.
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