Sonya came to me as a fairly recent graduate with a BFA degree in interior design and three years of design experience working for a national retailer’s interior design division. Sonya’s goal was to improve her personal brand to secure an interior designer, project manager, or design assistant role with a residential or commercial architecture or interior design firm.
Sonya’s original resume lacked creativity and certainly did nothing to reinforce her personal brand and design orientation. The black and white look, the sans serif font, and the overall novice construction was pigeonholing Sonya into an “entry-level” box and not letting her personality shine through. The content on Sonya’s resume was overly succinct and crowded with brief, fragmented sentences with no statement reaching more than 11 words in length and the majority averaging 5-7 words. Sonya’s resume also opened with a self-serving objective statement which did not differentiate her from the many other interior designer candidates seeking to gain entry into the field and also claiming design, client relations, and project management skills.
Sonya’s new resume needed to show some style, uniqueness, and personality. In the sea of competitors she would face in the trendy and growing market of Houston, Texas, she would have to stand out in order to garner the interest of her target audience. To ensure she did just that I created a unique design that looked more like a magazine article than a traditional resume, creating a cover letter to introduce her resume with the bold headline of “Interior Designer with proven strengths in project management and relationship cultivation.” Followed by a brief 4-paragraph cover letter, Sonya’s introduction was strong and differentiated her from the pack through content and formatting.
Moving to her resume, created as page two of her presentation, I developed a unique design using a two-column format. In the main column I placed the majority of Sonya’s content, explaining her past positions in full including her current involvement in the field as a private interior design consultant. Far removed from the content on her original resume, Sonya’s new resume really explored her roles and the contributions in each, being sure to quantify results whenever possible and appropriate.
For example, the responsibilities covered in one section on Sonya’s original resume read:
Provide design solutions, direction, and color concepts.
Select fabrics, finishes, furniture, and equipment.
Create furniture layouts, custom window treatments, paint schedules, elevations, and renderings.
Assemble and conduct client presentations.
Assist and supervise in installation of furnishings.
But on her new resume this same experience, presented in a much stronger and robust manner, in part read:
“Consult with clients to provide design concepts and direction, offering solutions that meet existing needs and are aligned with design preferences. Work with clients in assessing spaces, traveling to their homes to gain a sense of their personal style, space restrictions, and design opportunities. Review floor plans while designing spaces, calculating furniture placement, and identifying opportunities for custom pieces and accessories. Produce client presentations to communicate suggested furnishings, draperies, paint colors, accessories, and flow. Assist in the development of design budgets and present solutions to achieve goals within financial parameters. Oversee the installation of furnishings, providing clients with access to reputable vendors—painters, carpenters, refinishers, and upholsterers—to support the design process.”
In addition, Sonya’s two statements which related to accomplishments, were expanded to 6 fully explored bullet points which really were able to communicate the value Sonya offered.
Perhaps most striking on Sonya’s new resume were her portfolio examples placed in the right-side column of her resume. These samples were selected based on the skills shown in her design and artistic abilities, but also because they explored the commercial side of Sonya’s experience, an area of interior design which she was very interested in.
Overall Sonya’s new resume was light years ahead of her original version in both content and design and it would prove to serve her well in the highly competitive market she was entering.
Sonya contacted me to let me know that she did indeed secure what she coined “my dream job at my dream company” and said she would connect when she was ready to update her brand! With Sonya’s new experience, she will have no problem getting the attention of her target audience, and I’m excited to partner with her when she needs that update.