Job Doc

To find a new career, try a new approach

Q. I’ve been at the same job (with many hats) for the same company since 2001 in a pretty niche market. Now that I’m older and have a family, it really started sinking in that I am underpaid for someone with my tenure, abilities, and for the massive amount of work I’ve done. So I’m looking for a new career that will make living easier. I am capable of many things and have many skills, but my field (office job in the photography field) doesn’t necessarily translate on paper easily. I have applied to 50 jobs this year in an array of fields and received one call back (then subsequently ignored). Is there a way to get my skill set past the ‘he/she works in photography, we don’t need pictures taken’ stigma?

A. You have told the story of job seekers who are challenged by communicating their value. A more direct review of your contributions could help you maximize your earning potential.

To make that happen, you need to review every word of your resume. If you’ve worn many hats, you need to define each role in general business terms, not in terms specific to your company. In each of these roles, quantify your successes.


Your goal is to remove the “picture taking” image from your resume. Your organization is a service provider. You need to describe your work in terms of managing, leading, driving revenue, and increasing the success of your company by being able to sell more services, deliver more at lower costs, or increase productivity. All hiring organizations are interested in people who can drive success.

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Also, consider adding as many project details and results that you can to your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it is completely updated, including a recent head shot.

Once the new resume is complete, change your approach from 50 applications to 50 networking contacts. Develop relationships with vendors and other service providers. You need to develop an external sales force that can speak to your skills and refer you to potential hiring managers.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.