Andrew, 40, has been working at the same Canadian financial institution for the past seven years. He started as a research and marketing manager and is now a member experience manager. He’s eager to try something new and gain experience in another industry, but he’s only been casually looking for a job for the past year or so.
In his next role, Andrew aspires to land an executive title as a director, assistant vice-president or vice-president. He’s open to working in another industry and has expressed interest in provincial crown corporations, big banks and agriculture. In his past roles, Andrew enjoyed the ability to strategize and find solutions. “I liked making a notable impact on the future of the organization, working with a broad, long-term view versus a more operational focus,” he writes. He hopes his next job will allow him to build a team and drive change for a company, making a significant contribution to the organization’s successes. “The company would have a purpose beyond profit, where showing up every day means a contribution to something larger and more important than the job itself,” writes Andrew. “They would put people and culture first knowing that if the company takes care of the people, the people will take care of the customers and the interests of the business.”
Andrew says he’s mostly satisfied with his current role at the financial institution. “It’s not far from where I want to be at this point in my career,” he writes. “But I feel the need for change.” So we reached out to Adam Winfield, resume writer and professional branding specialist at Careers by Design Coaching and Counselling and Leslie Coleman, vice-president of equity, diversity and inclusion at the Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien, to review Andrew’s resume and offer their feedback.
WHAT THE RESUME WRITER SAYS
Mr. Winfield’s first impression of Andrew’s resume is that it reads as being generic. “His professional profile, or the summary at the top of the resume, doesn’t indicate that he’s interested in a marketing role,” he says. Andrew should add this to the top of his resume, and tailor his professional profile to each job that he’s applying for.
Mr. Winfield also found Andrew’s job descriptions difficult to read. Bullet points could help organize this section better and improve its readability. “You’ve got this chunk of text, and it’s very task-oriented,” he explains. “This is the most common problem that I see with resumes is that they just list out the tasks that people do and they don’t talk about achievements or results.” Those achievements should be described with context and specificity. “There needs to be a lot more written to make what he’s achieved sound so much more impressive and really get across what he’s done,” he says.
Marketing roles are making a comeback, according to Mr. Winfield. But postpandemic, the demand will be greater for people experienced in digital marketing. “They have to have the skills in using tools like HubSpot and social media,” he explains. So Andrew would be wise to beef up his familiarity with digital marketing tools. He could pursue projects or opportunities to do this at his current position, or take online courses to gain knowledge with these platforms. “We’re shifting away from physical marketing into digital and SEO,” says Mr. Winfield. “Those technical skills are probably going to be favoured a lot more.”
Andrew is targeting a director, assistant VP or VP of marketing role, but Mr. Winfield thinks this is a big leap from his current position. “I’m not sure if his experience would get him into a director of marketing role [in another industry],” he says. “You might have to work your way up. He’s had some quite good manager-level roles so he might be able to get into a senior manager role.” From there, Andrew can work toward building his leadership experience to get promoted to an executive role.
WHAT THE INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS
To start, Ms. Coleman says that Andrew’s summary paragraph, at the top of his resume, could use some refining. “For me, it didn’t do much to set up his interests or goals,” she says. Coleman. “I did not see how some of the points in his paragraph related to his experience. I saw no evidence of coaching or mentoring.” This intro paragraph, according to Ms. Coleman, is a good place to showcase transferable skills if he’s switching industries. Ms. Coleman also raises concern over the tone of Andrew’s resume. “He has a lot of “I” statements,” she says. “To me, that is a flag that he may not always give his team the credit they deserve.”
Then, Ms. Coleman also suggests that Andrew reformat his work experience descriptions from paragraph to bullet points as Mr. Winfield also recommended. “A paragraph format makes it hard to determine what the most valuable info is,” Ms. Coleman writes. " My personal preference is for a bulleted list so I can quickly look for the important elements of what is similar to my job posting.”
To help Andrew gain a leadership position in his next role, Ms. Coleman advises that he include examples of how he led and inspired a team. “How did performance improve when you took on the role of leader?” she says. “Show how you have influenced others, especially those in leadership. How did you get buy-in for your changes?”. He could also take on a role as a board member for an organization. “That shows you have interest in the field and are willing to do more to grow as a leader outside of your job,” Ms. Coleman explains.
As Mr. Winfield mentioned, it’ll be difficult for Andrew to go from a manager to a VP role. He should plan to take one or two steps in between and spend a few years at each step developing his skills. Ms. Coleman also encourages Andrew to look inward as to why he’s feeling the need for change. “Is it the environment?” she asks. “Is it that you feel you are not meeting up to your own or someone else’s expectations? What would make things better for you right now? What small changes can you make in your current role to fire up your excitement?” Andrew could be proactive in bringing excitement and passion to his current role. “That passion can be contagious, influence others and get you noticed,” says Ms. Coleman.
THE NEW RESUME
Andrew has refined his opening paragraph by removing “I” statements, as suggested by Ms. Coleman. In this paragraph, he has also highlighted his transferable skills, especially in leadership and strategy. For his work experience section, Andrew has switched from a paragraph format to bullet points, making it easier to read and digest. He has also made this section less task-oriented and focused on his achievements and results while also removing “I” statements from this section.
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