Dear Sam: I am struggling to get a response from employers with my resume. People look at it and see that I have never held the job title I'm applying for: administrative assistant or receptionist. Although I've never held these titles, I have been performing the exact tasks associated with these positions for the past five years. I also feel my personality isn't shining through on my resume. I've made numerous attempts to get a response, and am at a loss at this point as to what to do. Is it OK to list my job title as an administrative assistant or receptionist? - Desperate
Dear Sam: I am struggling to get a response from employers with my resume. People look at it and see that I have never held the job title I’m applying for: administrative assistant or receptionist.
Although I’ve never held these titles, I have been performing the exact tasks associated with these positions for the past five years. I also feel my personality isn’t shining through on my resume.
I’ve made numerous attempts to get a response, and am at a loss at this point as to what to do. Is it OK to list my job title as an administrative assistant or receptionist?
Dear Desperate: Thank you for attaching your resume. I immediately see several issues with your resume. Let me take you through what employers would see and think when they look at your resume.
UNINTERESTING AND NON-DIFFERENTIATING DESIGN
You used a common resume template from Word, so you will immediately appear like many others applying for the same job. I actually use this same template when conducting seminars to show people how not to design their resumes.
Did you know 23 percent of hiring managers discard a resume with one typo? Your resume contains a typo in the first line. If claiming to have HIPAA knowledge, you should spell the acronym correctly. It’s not HIPPA, even though it sounds like it should be.
POOR PRIORITIZATION OF DUTIES
You open with your photographer/customer-service role and present a bullet point about resolving customer service complaints. This will make the reader wonder how well you did your job if you spent this much time resolving complaints, especially when it seems you are the one with direct customer contact.
TOO MANY SHORT-TERM JOBS
You present two jobs that you held for just a few months. You can omit these short-term jobs — presenting only the years of employment to hide these gaps — and focus on your customer-service experience in a consistent retail setting. You could title this section Related Professional Experience to ensure the strategy is not viewed as misleading. This will bring alignment and fluidity to your resume.
If you provide no explanation of what you did for a given employer, how do you expect a prospective employer to see the value in that experience? Don’t put something on your resume and then explain nothing about it.
These are the errors I saw after a brief review of your resume, and these are also what prospective hiring managers would see.
I urge you to revamp your resume using today’s standards. Don’t change your titles to something that isn’t accurate. However, you could do a better job translating your experience into language that will attract your target audience.
Check out books at the library or samples on my website for ideas on how to do this. I hope this gives you ideas and inspiration. You can absolutely have a fantastic resume that reflects your administrative skill set. You just need to be more strategic about developing a great resume.
Samantha Nolan is a certified professional résumé writer and owner of Ladybug Design, a leading résumé-writing firm. Do you have a résumé or job-search question for Dear Sam? Reach Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about Sam’s résumé-writing services, visit www.ladybug-design.comor call (614) 570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).