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Yee, 22, graduated from Ryerson University in May 2020 with a degree in marketing and communications. She was employed in various retail positions during her studies, such as working as a sales adviser and inventory associate for a national clothing chain. But she hasn’t been able to translate this experience into a full-time role that utilizes her education.

For Yee, her current goal is to work in social media. “Digital marketing and social-media marketing is where I see the future heading,” Yee writes. In addition to social media roles, she is also considering entry-level jobs, such as a customer service position, at companies of interest where she can work her way up the ladder.

Yee’s ideal work environment would be an “unconventional corporate setting,” she says. “I admire companies that focus on decentralized management where every team member can be considered and viewed as a leader.” With time, she hopes to find a job that allows opportunities for travel in a post-COVID-19 world. “In 10 years, my goal is to be established enough so that I can take my career overseas and back without much struggle,” Yee writes. So we reached out to career coach Kathryn Meisner and Dan Moseley, group account director at We Are Social Toronto, a social-media-marketing company, to review Yee’s resume and offer some feedback for her next steps.

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The resume

What the career coach says

Ms. Meisner finds the spacing and formatting of Yee’s resume distracting. “Formatting should make your resume easier to read, not just fancier,” she says. “The header formatting is inconsistent, and there’s too much spacing between the letters.” Ms. Meisner thinks that the justified alignment has caused the spacing issue and advises against it. There are also some punctuation and grammatical errors in her resume that should be addressed.

As for Yee’s education, Ms. Meisner recommends that Yee add when she completed her degree so that the reader knows she isn’t still studying. “An employer may think that she will still be in school until the end of 2020 and assume that she’s not able to work full-time,” Ms. Meisner says. She should also refine the dates for her latest role to clarify whether she is presently in that position or when the job concluded.

Since Yee has limited experience in social media, Ms. Meisner suggests that she add in any unpaid relevant experience. For example, Yee can add her experience starting an online zine and managing a friend’s social accounts. “All experience counts,” Ms. Meisner says. “Treat unpaid relevant experience just like you’d treat paid experience.”

Once Yee has found a job that she’s interested in applying for, she should tailor her resume to incorporate the same language and keywords in the job posting. Alongside this, Yee should reach out to her close network to let them know she’s looking for a job. “She can also connect with companies she’d like to work at and have coffee chats with people in roles she’s interested in,” Ms. Meisner suggests. The purpose of these chats isn’t to get a job but to learn more about career paths and potential next steps.

What the industry expert says

While Yee has sufficiently outlined her previous work experience, Mr. Moseley says that her current resume doesn’t stand out. “As a reader, I’m being asked to decipher how her experience and ambition might fit any open roles we have rather than being clearly shown why she’s interested in working for us,” he says.

To accomplish this, Yee should craft each section of her resume to better demonstrate how her existing skills, experience and interests relate to the position she’s applying for. Her professional profile is an opportunity to show a bit of her personality and what excites her the most about social media. Mr. Moseley also thinks that Yee can better position her retail experience in a way to benefit agencies. “I personally love seeing customer-facing experience, as we’re in an industry where relationships matter,” he says. “If you’ve been in retail or worked in restaurants, you’ve managed relationships in challenging circumstances hundreds of times already.”

Mr. Moseley also caught the spacing errors and grammar mistakes that Ms. Meisner noted above. Since Yee is applying for entry-level roles, a typo-free resume is all the more important. “If you have less proven experience to review, the amount of information to judge an applicant on is naturally less than more senior positions,” Mr Moseley says. “We’re in an industry where presentation matters, so if spelling isn’t your strong point, find a friend or family member to proofread.”

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While Yee is job hunting, Mr. Moseley suggests looking for a community-manager position where she can represent a brand’s voice in its social channels. Alternatively, Yee could also look for an account-executive position to manage agency and client relationships. Once she’s found a great role to apply for, Mr. Moseley suggests that Yee do her homework and reach out to companies of interest with thoughtful inquiries. “I actually joined We Are Social as an intern years back after bombarding their founders with questions about the agency by e-mail and LinkedIn,” he says. “A few days later, I landed an interview and the rest is history.”

The new resume

With spacing issues hindering her previous layout, Yee has started fresh with a new resume template. She has included links to her social media accounts, portfolio and LinkedIn profile along with adding relevant unpaid projects she has worked on. Yee has also edited her professional summary to add more personality and social media-specific accomplishments. Finally, Yee has changed her headline of Marketing Specialist to Social Media/Digital Marketing to better reflect her interests.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR RESUME REVIEWED?

Email us with your resume at globecareers@globeandmail.com, and we’ll ask a career coach and an expert in your field to provide their feedback. Names and some details are changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled. We’re especially interested in hearing from those who have had their employment impacted by COVID-19. On the flipside, if you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us as well.

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