The First Cut Is The Deepest!

Recently I got a call from a client whose resume I worked on about 4 years ago. In that time her responsibilities grew and became quite varied, particularly compared to what she thought she would be doing. So while her work had progressed, she never received a promotion or a more advanced job title. Now she is looking for another position, so she sent me her current resume. Her work history is solid and her 2-page resume in a 10-point font contained good descriptions of everything she’d done for her current employer.
But herein lies the problem:  She clearly stated everything she’d done, but gave too much coverage to all the secondary and tertiary administrative tasks that were part of her job, but that didn’t accurately reflect her chosen career path as human resources manager.  Putting too much emphasis on the administrative tasks she is less anxious to perform, left too little room to emphasize her ability to tackle personnel and benefits issues, interview prospective hires, and negotiate with insurance vendors; functions she can confidently and effectively perform.  She wound up diluting the conveying of her ability to perform all the managerial tasks.  Yet she was still very attached to keeping all the admin tasks in her resume.
Through careful editing, we were able to craft succinct statements that emphasized all her major managerial accomplishments relating to the tasks she hoped to perform on her next job.  Then we edited her admin skills into 3 very tight statements covering her people, software and clerical skills to clearly illustrate she could handle all the related responsibilities of her next position.  We also took out her earliest jobs from her list of past employment to keep the resume looking as current as possible.  Concise editing also allowed us to use a slightly larger font, so her whole document didn’t look so cramped and hard to read.
Within a couple of weeks of reworking her document, she started getting responses for the kinds of positions that interested her the most and she began interviewing.  A few weeks later, I got a call from her saying she took a new job, and that she now had an assistant to handle all the admin tasks so she could concentrate on what she does best.
The first cut is the deepest, and may be the most hard to make, but it is also the most necessary!