Before and After Résumé

Using before and after examples of real résumés, expert Kevin Donlin explains how to correct common résumé writing mistakes. Click on the yellow highlighted areas for his comments. Additional commentary is at the bottom of each résumé.

Résumé types: College Executive Technical

Recent College Grad Résumé - BEFORE


No Suite 3333 • New York, NY 10039
(222) 555-0000 •


2003 - Present Aveda Institute
Full-Time Cosmetology Program
Student Government Representative
New York, NY
1999 - 2002
Columbia University
Business Careers Initiative Certificate, pre-MBA Program
Studied marketing, economics, accounting, finance, and statistics
New York, NY
1994 - 1998Dartmouth College
Bachelor of Arts in African and African-American Studies
Academic Award in Recognition of Scholastic Achievement, 1997 and 1998
Studied in Blois, France and St. Augustine, Trinidad, 1996 and 1997
Hanover, NH
Summer 1997Harvard Business School
Summer Venture in Management Program, sponsored by Hearst Magazines
Boston, MA


January 2002 - Present
XYZ Society
Volunteer Coordinator, Look Good - Feel Better (LGFB) Program
Appointed to Volunteer Coordinator from Volunteer in October 2002
Develop and execute promotional plan to raise awareness of LGFB, recruit patients and new volunteers, and solicit corporate sponsors
Organize LGFB group programs at local hospitals, cancer care centers, and other appropriate venues
New York, NY
January 2002 - September 2002Retail Store
Part-Time Bra Specialist-in-Training
Promoted to Bra Specialist-in-Training from Sales Associate in April 2002
Averaged over $400 in sales per hour
Gained knowledge of inventory management and merchandising techniques
New York, NY
January 2000 - July 2001123 Publications
Assistant Consumer Marketing Manager, Bride's World, Condé Nast Traveler, GQ, House & Garden, Self
Assisted in the management and results analysis of the renewals, billing, and gift campaigns
Spearheaded gift renewal and Christmas cold campaigns for House and Garden and GQ
Improved department efficiency by redesigning the spreadsheets tracking campaign results, stock inventory, and invoices
Instrumental in conversion to new fulfillment company and served as fulfillment liaison
Supervised and trained the Consumer Marketing Assistant
New York, NY
July 1998 - January 2000XYZ Media
Circulation Marketing Coordinator, The Big Deal
Assisted in the launch of The Big Deal
Organized and implemented direct mail campaigns
Developed and wrote copy for promotional materials
Set up airline distribution channel
Instrumental in conversion to new in-house fulfillment system
New York, NY
Promotions Coordinator, The National Attorney, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal
Promoted to Promotions Coordinator from Promotions Assistant in January 1999
Designed and wrote copy for inserts, sales pitch letters, house advertisements, and other promotional materials
Executed the 500,000-piece direct mail campaign for The National Law Journal and evaluated results
Summer 1997ABC Magazines Internship
Marketing Intern, Victoria
Developed added value programs, wrote copy for promotional materials, and performed competitive analyses
New York, NY
Summer 1996 & Summer 1995DEF Publications Internship
Consumer Marketing Intern
Prepared list analysis spreadsheets, proofread promotional materials, and catalogued direct mail campaign viewbooks
New York, NY
Summer 1996 & Summer 1995Promotions Intern, Bride's
Trafficked advertisements and gathered research for merchandising presentations
New York, NY


Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access; Lotus 1-2-3; Q&A; Aldus PageMaker; Quark; Intermediate French and Spanish


Member, National Association for Female Executives (2002 - Present)
Member, Cosmetic Executive Women (2002 - Present)
Volunteer, New York Junior League (2002 - Present)

Comments: Mary's original résumé was a perfect storm in terms of mistakes - no job objective, no flow, and almost no results, all crammed into one page in miniscule 9-point fonts.

Recent College Grad Résumé - AFTER

Mary Smith

No Suite 3333 • New York, NY 10039
(222) 555-0000 •


Seeking marketing position where five years of consumer marketing experience will add value. Developed successful marketing campaigns for employers in entrepreneurial and established team environments.


Strong marketing background includes strategic planning, promotional campaign development, market research, market analysis, product and market development and marketing communications.
Excellent analytical skills. Able to design successful marketing campaigns by using demographic and psychographic information to understand consumer behavior in target markets.
Increased market more than 60% by developing product awareness campaign in current marketing position for American Cancer Society (2002-present).
Director said: "Mary has very strong marketing skills and analytical ability. She did an excellent job of on-site selling and brand awareness promotion. She is truly a team player and a positive influence."


Marketing Coordinator, ABC, New York, NY (2002-present).
Direct efforts of 65 volunteers for Look Good - Feel Better Program, encouraging cancer patients to have increased confidence in their physical appearance through motivational and cosmetic techniques.

Organize group programs at local hospitals, cancer care centers and other appropriate venues.
Increased volunteer participation 82% by developing and distributing promotional materials at cosmetology trade shows, salons and American Cancer Society-sponsored events.
Grew number of participating health care providers 60% by developing and executing promotional plan to raise awareness of program at NYC area hospitals and cancer care centers.
Received Certificates of Recognition for dedication and efforts in growing program (2003 and 2004).

Assistant Consumer Marketing Manager, 123 Publications, New York, NY (2000-2001).
Executed marketing tests and analyzed results of renewals, billing and gift campaigns for five publications.

Raised renewal subscription rate to 75% for Self magazine by launching integrated marketing campaign.
Spearheaded gift renewal and Christmas gift subscription campaigns for Home & Garden and GQ.
Rapidly reduced quarterly analysis time 90% by designing spreadsheet system to continuously track campaign results, stock inventory and invoices.
Played key role in conversion to new fulfillment company and served as fulfillment liaison.

Circulation Marketing Coordinator, XYZ Media, New York, NY (1998-2000).
Chosen to execute marketing/promotional campaigns for launch of new publication, The Big Deal (1999).

Exceeded revenue goals by 25% in first year by organizing and implementing direct mail campaigns. Coordinated distribution channels, including direct mail, newsstands and airports.
Presented publication and promoted brand awareness to groups of up to 70 venture capitalists and financial executives, primary target audience, at weekly breakfast workshop programs.
Developed in-house fulfillment system to support subscriber database. Developed and wrote copy for space advertisements and promotional materials.
As Promotions Coordinator for three publications, designed and wrote copy for inserts, sales pitch letters, house advertisements, e-mail campaigns and other promotional materials.
Mary SmithPage 2


Marketing Intern, XYZ Magazines, New York, NY (1997).
Received internship with XYZ magazine through sponsorship by Magazine Publishers of America.

Developed value-added programs supporting advertising efforts in target markets for Victoria magazine.
Wrote copy for promotional materials and performed competitive analyses.

Consumer Marketing Intern, 123 Publications, New York, NY (1995 and 1996).
Twice chosen for highly competitive summer internships with this leading publishing company.

Prepared subscriber list analysis spreadsheets, proofread promotional materials and catalogued direct mail campaign viewbooks (1996).
As Promotions Intern for Bride World's magazine, trafficked advertisements and gathered research for merchandising presentations (1995).


Columbia University: Business Careers Initiative Certificate (pre-MBA program), New York, NY (2002). Courses included marketing, economics, accounting, finance and statistics.
Dartmouth College: Bachelor of Arts, History, Hanover, NH (1998). Twice awarded for outstanding scholastic achievement (1997-1998). Studied in Blois, France and St. Augustine, Trinidad (1996 and 1997). Lead Actor and Director in multiple stage productions (1994-1998).
Harvard Business School: Summer Venture in Management Program, Boston, MA (1997). Sponsored by Hearst Magazines.


Aveda Institute: Cosmetology Program, New York, NY (2003-2004). Completed course work for license to practice cosmetology for American Cancer Society. Internship at Edris Salon, New York, NY.


Appointed as Advertising Sales Co-Chair (2004-present) and Advertising Sales Manager (2003-2004), New York Junior League. Increased ad revenues 47% by reorganizing sales team.
Member, National Association for Female Executives (2002-present).
Member, Cosmetic Executive Women (2002-present).


Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Q&A, Aldus PageMaker and Quark. Quick to master new applications.

Comments: It may surprise you to learn that Mary was searching for a marketing position with her original résumé. That objective is made clear from the start of this version.

By going on to a second page, we were able to tell her full story and include enough specific results to make the phone ring with job offers.

Notice that her Education section comes near the end of this version, while it had been first section in her original. By putting the more valuable, more relevant information first -- in this case, her experience -- we helped Mary put her best foot forward.