Avoid The Goldilocks Resume Writing Syndrome

by : Rusty Sheridan

The following illustrates how to approach the resume writing process:

A job seeker has a 25-year sketchy background that includes several career transitions. Career choices range from her early beginnings as a music education teacher to her business partnership in video production which is ongoing and sporadic to her more recent experience in retail sales. In between, she raised her children and obtained a bachelor's degree in media production. Additional experience includes office managerial positions and part-time evening work as a dispatcher for an alarm company that she is not sure about listing it on her resume.

She is now looking to leverage her career in a position with a TV video production company so she can explore a position where her eclectic background in managing a similar business will be utilized and developed. So how should she do her resume? She has decided to target a position as a senior technician and work her way up the ranks. She is very confident and knows that this foot-in-the-door position will launch her new career. The emphasis will be placed on her work producing independent films, her technical expertise, (retail) business management and music education experience.

First section: OBJECTIVE STATEMENT (Title Objective)

Unlike an objective statement, a title objective consists of a few words that serve as a headliner to brands the job seeker and express their objective.

This is done best if the job seeker is experienced in that occupational discipline. Using a title objective rather than a sentence-style objective statement is much more direct and very powerful.

If a job seeker is transitioning to a new career, the use of a title objective can be initially misleading. It is helpful to preface the title objective with a statement such as "Target Position" or "Position of Interest". This is how this section should look:


Second Section: PROFILE

Unlike the Summary of Qualifications section, a profile is a paragraph that is more of a bio rather than a few simple sentences. It tells a story and is much stronger in language. The goal is the same, in that it still conveys the scope of experience, skills, credentials and attributes relevant to the position of interest. You do not need to use the actual word Profile as you would use Summary of Qualifications in our first example. This is how the first two sections should look when combined:


Multi-talented business management professional with a strong career path that combines music education, business ownership in media and video production, and business management. Strong team leader and client consultant known for ability to develop scalable solutions that dramatically improve efficiency and productivity through management of project specifications, timelines, resources, and budget requirements from point of planning through production.


Sometimes a chronological resume will not work because the most recent experience is not the most relevant experience. So, a combination resume is the strategy that should be used. The combination format combines the elements of a functional (skills based) and chronological format. Professional Experience will be the main category, followed by sub-categories that are appropriately named according to the function or job title. These will be Video Production, Music Education, and Business Management (Retail).

Notice how the category is not called Retail Sales Management. Rather, "retail" is given a backseat because it is not the focus as much as the business management end of what this job seeker does. But, before we even get to that point, a chronology of employment will be listed first. This is how the section should look:


Managing Partner, Video Production Studios, Town, X/XX - Present
Video Production Operations

* Direct the hiring, training, supervision, and evaluation of a production staff and volunteers.
* Fully coordinate the logistical operations of program productions.
* Conceptualized, developed, and produced 30-minute interview and music shows.
* Supervised and approved show format, host, theme song, and casting.
* Plan and organize the scheduling of program channels and the casting of community events.
* Oversee the implementation of all technical requirements and conduct group-training sessions.
* Manage projects and technical teams and program schedules.
* Direct stage productions, conduct orchestras, create, edit, and produce videos.
* Build and administer system networks and handle all aspects of creative technical writing.

* Served as a team member responsible for developing and implementing business plans.
* Executed the distribution and promotion of all new product lines.
* Led the market push of six new products from conception to completion.
* Coordinated the design of graphics to created product branding.
* Directed product production, achieving a year-over-year cost savings of 25 percent.
* Produced voice-overs, audio calls, and on-camera product introductions.
* Trained video editors and operations staff in the delivery of scripts.
* Managed weekly status meetings to instill uniform vision of product development.
* Reduced defect reductions from 15 percent per unit to less than 4 percent per unit.

Fourth Section: EDUCATION

Often, highly experience or more senior-level professionals have graduated over ten years ago. They do not want to emphasize their age or to show that their education was so far back. So, the best thing to do is omit the date. Since their experience far outweighs their education, they do not need to list their GPA either. The best approach is to keep it as simple as possible. This is how the section should look:


Music Conservatory, Town, XX
Bachelor of Arts in Music


In some cases, there is specialized software in addition to the usual MS Word and Excel. It is a good idea either list them first or use subcategories so the technical software stands out.

If there is a series of applications that all start with Adobe, Microsoft or Apple, it is a good idea to list Adobe or Microsoft once, followed by the specific software from that company. When using this approach, keep the group together on their own line or separated by a semi-colon. This is how the section should look:


Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Image Ready;
Apple Final Cut, Live Type, Motion, and Soundtrack; MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint