Clifford, 63, has been working in business management for more than 35 years. He left his most recent role, as the managing director for a medical cannabis startup, in 2019 and has since been looking for his next role. This year, he’s applied to more than 25 positions with no luck so far. “There are [far] fewer opportunities and employers are much more selective,” he writes.
Clifford hopes to find a job as a chief operating officer, managing director or operations manager for a medical device startup, medical cannabis company or a medical clinic. He’s also interested in working for a pharmaceutical firm or a natural health product manufacturer, but he isn’t considering the recreational cannabis industry.
In his previous roles, Clifford enjoyed the opportunity to develop a management team. His ideal next company would be “properly financed, have clearly defined objectives and care for its patients/customers,” he says. So we reached out to career coach Jenn Cutajar of Clear The Noise Coaching and Travis More, human resources director at the Toronto-based medical device company Conavi Medical, to review Clifford’s résumé, and offer their advice.
WHAT THE CAREER COACH SAYS
Ms. Cutajar says that Clifford’s résumé effectively highlights his work experience. But he could make it more effective by focusing on the results that his actions have driven, she says. “The first bullet of his work experience is ‘created business case and sourced private seed financing for medical cannabis startup’, but what did this result in?” Ms. Cutajar asks. “What were the actual numbers that were generated for the seed financing?”
Clifford’s résumé is also quite dense, according to Ms. Cutajar. “I would focus on pulling out the best activities and results and reducing the number of bullets,” Ms. Cutajar noticed that Clifford had some great volunteer experience and awards listed in his LinkedIn profile, so she suggests adding this information to the résumé. She also recommends removing the line at the bottom of the second page that directs readers to learn about his awards and directorships on LinkedIn. Instead, he should add a direct link to his LinkedIn profile at the top of his résumé.
Ms. Cutajar has flagged the gap in Clifford’s résumé from October, 2019, to present as a potential issue, so he should be prepared to address this in a cover letter or interview. At the moment, Clifford’s résumé reads more generically. “He will need to create multiple versions of his résumé that highlight his transferable skills for the individual roles and industries that he is applying to,” Ms. Cutajar says. Networking should also be an important part of Clifford’s job search strategy. “C-level roles are not typically filled via an online application,” she says. “I would highly recommend that Clifford set clear networking goals in the industries and companies that he is interested in and connect with as many people as possible.” When doing this, Clifford shouldn’t shy away from being direct. “Say out loud that you are looking to join the company and are excited about a specific role,” Ms. Cutajar says.
WHAT THE INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS
Mr. More recognizes the “tremendous wealth of experience and accomplishments” in Clifford’s résumé. But he does have a few tips to further improve it. To start, Clifford should replace his career achievements section with a career objective section. “Briefly summarize his contributions and objectives with a focus on the specific type of role desired, such as COO in the medical cannabis industry,” Mr. More explains. “This could be done in two to four concise sentences.” Clifford can then expand on his career achievements in his experience section, “describing the impact to the organization, such as how much venture capital was raised,” Mr. More says.
Each organization in his experience section could also use a short description of the company and his role in it. “This would help the reader become more familiarized with a lesser-known organization,” Mr. More says. Clifford should also consider adding a section describing his educational background, such as degrees, diplomas and continuing education. As Ms. Cutajar suggests, Clifford should add key information from his LinkedIn profile, such as board positions he’s held, directly into his résumé if they’re relevant to the job he’s applying for. Mr. More also suggests creating different résumés that are tailored to each job description and company.
Finally, once Clifford has created a few tailored versions of his résumé, he should ask someone to review them for errors and typos. “Ensure that the text is clear and meaningful and address any grammatical and spelling mistakes,” Mr. More says. “This may be simple but is crucial for a first impression.”
THE NEW RESUME
Clifford is still working on paring down his résumé, but meanwhile, he has added a short career objectives section to the beginning and has reformatted his career achievements section into a paragraph with a few bullet points. In his professional experiences, Clifford has added a section describing his private consulting practice, which helps fill in the time gap of his previous résumé. And he has added his education, awards and affiliations to the last page while adding a direct link to his LinkedIn profile to the top of his résumé.
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