Meet Sonya

Sonya came to me as a recent graduate with a BFA in interior design and three years of design experience working for a national retailer’s interior design division. Her goal was to secure an interior designer, project manager or design assistant role with a residential or commercial architecture or interior design firm.

Original Strategy

Sonya’s original resume lacked creativity and did nothing to reinforce her design orientation. The black and white look, sans serif font and overall novice construction was pigeonholing Sonya into an entry-level box and not letting her personality shine through.

The content on her resume was overly succinct and crowded with brief, fragmented sentences. Sonya’s resume also opened with a self-serving Objective Statement, which did not differentiate her from the many other interior designer candidates seeking to gain entry into the field who could also claim design, client relations and project management skills.

New Strategy

Sonya’s new resume needed to show some style and personality. In the sea of competitors she would face in the trendy and growing market of Houston, Texas, she would have to stand out in order to garner the interest of her target audience. To ensure she did that, I created a unique design that looked more like a magazine article than a traditional resume, creating a cover letter to introduce her resume with the bold headline of “Interior Designer with proven strengths in project management and relationship cultivation.” Followed by a brief four-paragraph cover letter, Sonya’s introduction was strong and differentiated her from the pack through content and formatting.

Moving to her resume, created as page two of her presentation, I developed a unique design using a two-column format. In the main column I placed the majority of Sonya’s content, explaining her past positions in full including her current involvement as a private interior design consultant. Far removed from the content on her original resume, Sonya’s new resume explored her roles and the contributions in each, being sure to quantify results whenever possible and appropriate.

In addition, Sonya’s two statements that related to accomplishments were expanded to six bullet points, which better communicated the value Sonya offered.

Perhaps most striking on Sonya’s new resume were her portfolio examples placed in the right-side column of her resume. These samples were selected based on the skills shown in her design and artistic abilities, but also because they explored the commercial side of Sonya’s experience, an area in which she was very interested.

Overall Sonya’s new resume was light years ahead of her original version in both content and design, and it would prove to serve her well.

Sonya’s Results

Sonya contacted me to let me know that she did indeed secure what she coined “my dream job at my dream company” and said she would connect when she was ready to update her brand.

With Sonya’s new experience, she will have no problem getting the attention of her target audience, and I’m excited to partner with her when she needs that update.

View Sonya’s before and after resume and cover letter on

Samantha Nolan is a certified professional resume writer and owner of Nolan Branding. Reach her at, visit or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-952-3928. Meet her on Facebook, live on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. EDT, for an extended discussion of this week’s Dear Sam topic.