Resume: before and after

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for

Professional resume writers know what recruiters look for in a resume — and how they look for it. They can take the average homemade chronicle of a work history and turn it into a presentation of a candidate’s skills and accomplishments.

On the next page we have two resumes: the “before” written by a job seeker and the “after” — after Jacqui Barrett got her hands on it. Barrett is a Master Resume Writer and president of Career Trend, an Overland Park, Kan., business that provides resume writing and related services. This job seeker has 12 years of experience and is looking to move up.

Layout and design

The change that first catches the eye is the layout or presentation. The resume has been designed, using graphic elements to set off the various sections of a standard resume.

The more important change, though, is how the information is organized. Where the before resume was simply a chronological list of the applicant’s education and work history, the after version begins with a synopsis of the candidate’s expertise, highlighting the skills learned from various jobs and schooling.

Since most recruiters spend maybe 20 seconds skimming resumes, it’s important to grab their attention with a snapshot of experience. The details of each position can follow.

No touchy-feely

You’ll also notice that the touchy-feely aspects of the before resume — “Have a world view that is unique and varied. Have traveled abroad.” — are gone. While the job seeker put these in a prominent position on his resume, and these attributes are no doubt important to him, they aren’t particularly important to an employer. In the after resume, the world travel has been moved to the “Education/Development” section — at the end.

The education section has been radically altered. On the homemade resume, he listed most of his skills and experience as a description of his degrees. The professional resume lists the facts of his education and elaborates on what skills he’s learned under his jobs.

In short, the professional resume focuses on skills and expertise and concisely explains what the candidate’s accomplishments have been.

This is what you can expect when you take your resume to a professional writer. Or you can study the before and after here and take a crack at giving your homemade resume the professional touch.

Joshua L. Davis e-mail:
2929 Mockingbird Lane Santa Fe, NM 87501 (555) 555-5555

Seeking a position in a Research based, Knowledge Management organization that can utilize my ability to find information, my research and writing skills, as well as my knowledge of the manufacturing and telecommunications industry.

Skills & Experience:
Possess the ability to find, compile and write data reports in a style that is easily understood. Am articulate and well read. Have a world view that is unique and varied. Have traveled abroad.

Record management
Library practicum: Brown Library, College of Santa Fe, New Mexico (2004).

Archive practicum: Center for SW Research, Albuquerque, New Mexico (2003).

Microsoft Windows: Word, Excel & Outlook e-mail

Academic Performance
University of New Mexico: MA/History (Phi Alpha Theta honor society)

MA/History: University of New Mexico). Developed strong research skills. Improved writing and referencing skills. Increased my ability to find information, utilizing reference data in footnotes and bibliography of any given text.

BA/Economics: University of New Mexico. Developed an understanding of the marketplace by utilizing Economic paradigms. Learned a great deal about the interaction of going concerns by utilizing basic models displayed on graph paper charts. Utilized Economic resources to track a business or an industry over time. Used the discipline of Economics to track investment performance of stock and bond investments.

Attended Library Science Classes at the University of New Mexico. Increased my ability to find information using the resources available in the library environment. Developed an increased proficiency to utilize online systems, which could be applied to computer searches.

International Travel:
Foreign travel includes — Russia (People to People tour); Israel (history class tour); Egypt (guided tour); Central Europe (Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy and Switzerland). Traveling affords me with a better understanding to what other Peoples think of as normal. It affords me a greater appreciation as to cultural differences and allows me a broader understanding of the world. It develops my understanding as to what can and cannot be done abroad.

2929 Mockingbird Lane · Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Phone: 555-555-5555 / E-mail:

Research Analyst / Survey Research Professional

Market Research / Data Research, Collection & Analysis / Survey Design & Execution

Information Retrieval / Economic Trend Forecasting / Report Preparation

M.A. – History

Technically proficient Research Professional with strong academic and work credentials. Career-minded individual with dynamic experience contributing research- and solutions-focused results across a diversity of business and academic entities. Key strengths include:

  • Strong planning, organizational and communications skills facilitating the assembly of data reports.
  • Commendable initiative in locating data that equips a research team to achieve a definitive outcome.
  • Outstanding abilities working independently or as part of a team and abiding by a structured work schedule.
  • Consistent display of the tenacity and perseverance to shepherd a project through to completion.
  • Expertise in statistical analysis driven by Economics Degree and proven by successful marketplace investment decisions.
  • Computer knowledge: MS Office Suite (Word, Excel and Outlook) and research capabilities on the Internet.


RESEARCHER 2005 to Present

State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Currently assigned to concurrent projects involving historical research and data assembly.

  • Presently researching historical data on area-wide educational institutions spanning six districts. Initiated the project by accessing local courthouse records dating back to the city’s founding.
    • Collaborate with district-level representatives telephonically and in person to accumulate further historical and other informational data, organizing and presenting the data chronologically.
  • Concurrent project involves archiving abstract records from County Court Cases taking place in the 1800s into an Excel database. Involves the handling of fragile documents and extracting/entering information into the computer for retrieval by researchers.
Brown Library, College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
(On-site collection supports college’s curriculum: approximately 90,000 volumes; 725+ periodical, magazine and newspaper titles; and The Library of American Civilization.)
Diverse scope of accountability included research and analysis duties for Reference Desk; Cataloguing; and Access / Acquisition in support of a library employing six professionals.


  • Reference: Resolved student inquiries, locating classroom-related materials and instructing on use of technology for research (online catalog system, microfilm reader, et. al.)
  • Cataloguing: Managed the introduction of new books into the reference area, from reference number assignment to online entry to shelving of the publications.
  • Access / Acquisition: Researched availability of and conducted price comparisons for new books (using online queries to book publishers) to fulfill professors’ classroom requirements.
  • Notable Contribution: Achieved large-volume (850 books) inventory in a single day, exceeding supervisor’s expectations.
Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, Albuquerque, New Mexico
(The Archives identifies, collects and preserves historical records; current holding totals more than 120 million pages of paper; 100,000 photographs; 12,500 books; 55,00 rolls of microfilm; and 176,000 microfiche.)
Executed a diversity of records management and research functions for a customer-focused records preservation facility. Served state government officials, historians, students, genealogists and general public.
  • Public Information: Assisted customers in their genealogical research efforts, directing them to informational resources.
  • Record Management: Participated in management of closed and active court cases, retrieving and returning archived legal documents, daily.
  • Field Work / Record Preservation: Traveled off-site to recover city documents for preservation by State of New Mexico, often bringing cities’ recordkeeping into legal compliance.
  • Collaboration with Archive’s Assistant Manager: Learned about auxiliary storage facilities operations; emergency procedures; and safety initiatives.


Master of Arts in History, 2003
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Phi Alpha Theta Honor SocietyBachelor of Arts in Economics, 2001
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
International Travel
Russia, Israel, Egypt, Central Europe (Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy and Switzerland).