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Mia, 27, has worked in a range of customer service, admin and event management positions over the past five years. In April, she was laid off from her previous role as a bilingual account manager for a local analytics company and has been on the job hunt since then. “I’ve applied for over 110 roles since COVID-19,” Mia writes. She has also noticed a change in the quality of positions on offer. “The same roles I was looking at earlier in the year are now paying $10,000 to $20,000 less per year.”

Of her previous roles, Mia enjoyed her event management positions the most. “Every workday was different and I got to see one big project to completion,” she explains. “I got to work on my feet, which I much prefer over sitting at a desk for eight hours.” Mia is fluent in French and English and also has proficiency in Arabic. She hopes that bilingual roles might help her garner a higher salary, but she’s also open to any role where her skills would be put to use. So we consulted career coach Jen Narayan along with Camille Dionne and Cynthia Iaboni, talent acquisition specialists at the health care start-up Dialogue, to help improve Mia’s résumé and offer advice for her next steps.

THE RÉSUMÉ

WHAT THE CAREER COACH SAYS

For someone with five years of experience, Ms. Narayan suggests that Mia reduce her résumé to one page. “This will force her to be more succinct and reduce points in the jobs that are not relevant to her target position,” she says. Ms. Narayan also suggests spelling out months instead of numbering them. For example, “March 2020” is preferred over “03-2020” for ease of reading.

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Mia has held a wide range of positions in her past which can be confusing for recruiters, according to Ms. Narayan. So she recommends that Mia narrow her job search to one field, whether that be in account management, events or customer service. She should also find common themes within previous roles that are relevant to her target jobs. “Add bullet points that are almost exactly what the target job descriptions are looking for,” advises Ms. Narayan. As Mia suspects, bilingual applicants, especially those speaking French, can garner higher salaries. So Ms. Narayan suggests that she continue to highlight her language skills in her résumé.

While the tech industry was initially hard-hit by COVID-19, Ms. Narayan says that tech companies are slowly rebounding. But since event management roles are still decreasing or stagnant because of the pandemic, customer service or account management positions in tech could be a good way forward for Mia. While she explores customer service or account management roles in tech, Ms. Narayan suggests that Mia can still satisfy her desire for events work by joining social clubs at her places of employment to help plan events. She could also explore volunteer opportunities at event management companies. “Mia can also plan events for her friends and family, then create a freelance role and add that to her résumé,” Ms. Narayan recommends.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS

At Dialogue, Ms. Iaboni echoes Ms. Narayan’s suggestions of shortening her résumé by providing her most recent employment history and roles that are relevant to the job she’s applying for. Mia should also work toward highlighting key achievements in her résumé instead of just listing responsibilities. Ms. Iaboni recommends adding a Linkedin URL to her résumé to make it easier for recruiters to click and review. She can also incorporate some design and colour highlights to her résumé. “Recruiters love to see creativity and elements of individual personality in a résumé with colour or a design,” Ms. Iaboni explains. “It’s the first step to getting to know candidates and a great way to catch a recruiter’s attention.”

Since Dialogue’s virtual health care services have become even more essential during the pandemic, the company has actually hired more than 500 new employees, many of whom are on the customer success team. Ms. Iaboni thinks that Mia could be a good candidate for a customer support representative role at Dialogue. “From there, she could grow into a role where she would be responsible for managing small accounts and could gradually manage larger ones, maybe even managing a team eventually,” Ms. Iaboni suggests.

Ms. Dionne encourages Mia to be pro-active with her job search by reaching out to her top companies. “Research five to 10 companies you’d be excited to work for and draft a personalized cover letter for each one of them tailored to a role at the company,” Ms. Dionne recommends. “You can also send a quick note to the hiring manager to show your interest in the job.”

Last, for Mia’s event management passions, Ms. Dionne agrees that this is currently a tough field to find work in. “Timing is not ideal to seek out opportunities in event planning and I doubt companies will add head count in that field for the next 12 to 18 months,” she says. “I would suggest Mia pursue a role in customer success but mention her interest to help out the event planning team in the interview process.” Otherwise, Mia could research companies offering virtual events or virtual product and service launches in case they’re looking for account managers.

THE NEW RÉSUMÉ

Mia has cut down her two-page résumé to one page by positioning herself as an account manager and focusing on bullet-point descriptions that would be applicable to this role. She has also eliminated irrelevant jobs in social media and as a brand ambassador. As for the résumé design, Mia has adopted a new template that incorporates some colour highlights to make her résumé more eye-catching. She’s still working on highlighting key achievements to replace the list of tasks currently in her job descriptions.

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UPDATE

After Ada Support’s Head of HR Chelsea MacDonald reviewed Alisha’s résumé, she hired her on a four-month contract to manage the company’s HRIS systems. Ms. MacDonald commends Alisha’s positive attitude toward learning and is hopeful that her time at Ada Support can evolve into a full-time position as she explores other areas of HR at the company.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR RÉSUMÉ REVIEWED?

E-mail us with your résumé 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 flip side, if you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us as well.

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

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