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resume review

Eve, 37, has been working for the same charity since 2014. She first began as a development and communications officer, then was promoted to a communications manager role just before the pandemic. She likes the organization and believes in its mission, but feels stuck in her current role and her ability to progress her career further. “There are only a couple of more senior people than me and they are very stable in their roles and aren’t going anywhere,” Eve writes. “I’d like to move to a bigger organization where there are more opportunities for career growth and promotion.” At a new company, Eve would also like the opportunity to manage a larger team. She currently has three direct reports who are in contract roles. “I also co-ordinate and manage several volunteers,” says Eve. “I think managing people and bringing out their strengths to help them and the team succeed is a great strength of mine.”

In her next role, Eve would like to lead a team in marketing or communications with an element of fundraising. She’d like to work for an organization whose mission she believes in. “I’m considering not-for-profits, charities or the foundation side of a corporation,” Eve says. In five years’ time, Eve hopes to secure a role as a director of communications or development. So we reached out to career coach Kathryn Meisner and Dunja Metikos, general manager of employment, literacy and basic skills at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, to review Eve’s resume and offer their advice for her next steps.

THE RESUME

WHAT THE CAREER COACH SAYS

Ms. Meisner says that Eve’s resume is streamlined. But she does have some suggestions to improve its readability. To start, Eve should standardize the font types used in her resume and avoid using too many different font sizes. Incorporating bullet points will also make it more readable. “Adding bullets will really help break down and parse out her experience,” Ms. Meisner explains. “Right now it’s hard to process because it seems like one long run-on sentence.” Eve can also rename some of the headings of her resume. At the top, “Skills & Credentials” should become “Areas of Expertise,” then the skills keywords in her sidebar could be renamed “Skills.”

Since Eve has held results-driven roles, Ms. Meisner says it’s important to demonstrate what she has accomplished. She has included a few results, but Ms. Meisner believes she can go further. “Right now it reads like a job description, when instead it needs to read as a demonstration or proof of her skills,” she explains. “Eve needs to go through her whole resume and ask the questions: What was the impact? What was the result? For whom?”

Eve should also quantify more elements of her resume by adding details like the number of direct reports and sizes of budgets. She can also add more detail by describing what metrics and tools she is familiar with. Numbers should also be listed as numerals, instead of being written out, as numerals help to catch the reader’s eye.

As for Eve’s goal of becoming a director of development or marketing in five years’ time, Ms. Meisner says she can start networking now, building mentorship or coaching relationships with people that she can learn from. Ms. Meisner also recommends “reverse engineering” her career path. “Look at job postings for your [target] roles now,” she explains. “What kind of skills, experience and results do they require? How can she gain those in the next role, but also her current role?” Eve should think about cultivating the types of projects and opportunities in her current and upcoming roles to put her in a better position for getting a director role in the future.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS

Ms. Metikos says Eve’s resume is presented well and that the colour contrast sidebar is eye-catching. However, she says that the resume could benefit from being tailored to her target position. “At our charity, communication, marketing and fundraising manager roles are distinct,” Ms. Metikos explains. “If she is interested in one area in particular, her resume could focus on relevant content. For example, if communications, elaborating on public relations would strengthen her resume.” She also recommends Eve develop a portfolio of sorts to display her previous projects. “Creating and linking to a personal website with select campaigns or project examples she’s particularly proud of will help to showcase her work and qualifications,” says Ms. Metikos.

As Ms. Meisner recommends, the further addition of metrics to demonstrate her success in previous positions will also help improve her resume. She could also move quantifiable values, like “Increased average page views per month by 140 per cent & online donations by 57 per cent in 2020″ higher up in her resume, to create more impact.

Ms. Metikos also suggests using bullets for readability, along with increasing the font size and keeping the font size and style more consistent. She also notes a few other points where consistency could be maintained, like using the same punctuation and abbreviations for months and the same style of hyphen in date ranges. Ms. Metikos suggests referencing the Canadian Press style guide for this. Increasing margins to one inch will also help make the resume more readable.

Eve meets the minimum requirements for a communications or marketing manager role at the YMCA, but Ms. Metikos says her profile would be strengthened with some additional courses focused on strategic communications and marketing, or even an MBA. Ms. Metikos also reminds Eve of the value of networking. “Become a member of the Canadian Public Relations Society, the Canadian Marketing Association or the Association of Fundraising Professionals,” Ms. Metikos says, depending on her focus area. “This is a great way to meet other industry leaders and identify courses and workshops. Professional associations are always looking for volunteers, and becoming a member can be a great way to build experience and contacts.”

THE NEW RESUME

Eve has increased the font size of her resume to a minimum of 10.5 and has created more consistency by using one font for headings and another font for the main text. She has also slightly increased the margin sizes for readability. As Ms. Meisner suggested, her ‘”Skills & Credentials” section has been renamed “Areas of Expertise’”. Written numbers were changed into digits and she has added more specific examples of accomplishments in her job experience. Lastly, she has modified the headings of her sidebar to create a “Profile” section which she’ll tailor with keywords based on the job description she is applying for.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR RESUME REVIEWED?

E-mail us with your resume at globecareers@globeandmail.com 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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