Dear Sam: I have been a long-time reader of your work and have learned much from your wisdom. I must give you a heartfelt thank you for your knowledge. I have recently made a career change for my mental health. I had been in the death care industry for 20 years, owning my own funeral home for 10 years. I sold my share of the funeral home in August and have struggled to find a job since. I did not expect to have difficulties getting a job with my business ownership, management, and event planning experience.
In preparation for my separation, I did engage in redeveloping my resume, but I’m not particularly happy with it. I would greatly appreciate your review and input on my resume and cover letter. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again, and I will continue to be a fan and student of your wisdom. – Kellee
Dear Kellee: Thank you for your kind words and your readership of my column. I appreciate you sending me your resume to analyze what may be hindering your job search results. Allow me to present a picture of your resume to readers…
Your resume opens with a 5-line qualifications summary presenting:
“Business Operations Director with over 15 years of progressive experience. History working with cross-functional personnel to drive updates to business operations, improve customer service, optimize resources, and grow revenue. Experience developing impactful strategies related to partnership development, operational improvements, and business operations to increase profits and decrease costs. Long track record producing results within a team environment and in the development and launch of new operations.”
Your résumé then includes a core competency section with 10 bullet points presenting areas of particular skill. Next, and your professional experience section, your funeral business experience is presented from 2010 to present and includes 14 bullet points of information, a total of almost 500 words, and spills onto page two. Page 2 contains your 2-year apprenticeship in the field, presented in six bullet points and 160 words. Your résumé concludes with your education and training, and professional licensure.
The first issue I see with your résumé is that even though you have a qualification summary and a core competencies list, I’m not 100% sure how you were positioning yourself in the market. Are you seeking an operations position, a business leadership role, or something else? What kind of operations environment would you be interested in? There are some excellent keywords in your qualification summary and core competencies list. Still, they do not give me a clear picture of how you are leveraging your experience to transition into something new.
Your professional experience section leaves a lot to be desired as it does not prioritize the presentation of your 11-year entrepreneurial career. No hiring manager will want to wade through 10 very long bullet points and 500 words to understand the transferability of your career. Instead of a sea of bullet points, this section should be organized with a brief paragraph over a few at the core elements of your leadership position, followed by prioritized bullet points presenting the highlights of your journey. Bold results followed by explanatory actions should introduce these highlights. When reading through all of your bullet points, I would say that only two or three of them focus on how you did your job well versus what the expectation would be. I do not get the sense of how you grew your business, how you differentiated yourself in the market, or how your operations expertise drove excellence. I have to wait until page two to learn that you expanded your business into a larger facility with two other satellite locations. There does need to be some focus on what is most important to communicate to hiring managers during an ever so brief screening process.
I think you have some solid foundational content, but there needs to be a little more strategic focus on what to communicate and when to communicate it. I’m sure when you do this, in addition to further refining your current career target, your job search will be successful.