Meet Ashley

Ashley came to me seeking a creative position in a corporate marketing or agency setting. Her background included photography and design, with her most recent experience involving highly technical photography work not allowing for much creativity. On the side, Ashley had started her own creative photography business as well as engaging in work with a local wedding photographer.

Resume Pitfalls

Ashley’s original resume lacked creativity. Given she was pursuing a creative role, there was nothing about her original resume that would show an employer her creative side.

Ashley had also presented her employee engagements with her entrepreneurial roles, which would prompt questions as to what her current career target is versus her desire to promote her own ventures.

In addition, her resume was unnecessarily long based on formatting, redundancy and presentation of too much information.


Strategy was key in the development of Ashley’s new resume. Not only did the format have to pop, but also the content had to explore both her creative and technical skills. It was imperative Ashley’s resume focused on her employee/employer engagements.

By removing the hybrid focus between employee and entrepreneurial ventures, we could avoid a potential employer thinking Ashley would be moonlighting on the side, biding her time until her business picked up and she could leave to pursue that full time.

On Ashley’s new resume, 100 percent of the content explores her impressive professional engagements, being sure to translate functions performed in the most transferable language possible.

In addition, Ashley’s resume was reduced from two pages to one. Tightening up the content was important because we wanted to create a concise marketing document, which succinctly and effectively told the story of her professional career. Because Ashley performed similar duties in her professional engagements and her entrepreneurial ventures, not presenting her self-employment is completely acceptable.

The right-hand side of Ashley’s resume showcases her education, strengths and technical skills. By using this more creative format — color to add emphasis and an artistic yet professional design — Ashley is now practicing what she preaches.

Ashley’s Response

Ashley followed up with me in writing. “What can I say? I love my new resume. It’s better than I could have ever imagined. I’ve been getting compliments on it left and right. I don’t have a new job yet, but I’ve been getting some interest and expect to have a new position soon.” Soon after, she provided another update. “I’ve had a few interviews, and I’m waiting to hear if I got this one that I’ve had four interviews for. It would be perfect … they had over 400 applicants, and I know it’s between me and one or two other people, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.”

View the resume that helped Ashley land great interviews at

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 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).