About Spotlight Resumes

Spotlight Resumes, LLC offers professional resume writing services, LinkedIn summaries, cover letters and job search strategy sessions for college students, job seekers, career changers and career climbers across the US. In today's market, a resume that's chock full of impressive career milestones is not enough. It needs to be targeted for the job you want, formatted for the tracking software and appealing to the human eye. It's hard to hit all the marks on your own and it's even harder to sift through all well-meaning advice you receive when you're in job search mode. In our experience, nothing takes the place of a professionally written document that clearly outlines why you're a match for the position you're targeting. Owner, Tava Auslan is a certified Resume Writer and Career Counselor with experience in every industry from dancers, designers and digital marketers to healthcare and aerospace engineers.


About Tava

TAVA AUSLAN, MSEd., RWA Certified Resume Writer

I’ve always been a non-conformist. My high school voted me “most unique.” I sang and played guitar in bands throughout my teens, danced on various stages since the age of 5 and pushed the boundaries of personal style with only a handful of fashion regrets. But I’ve also kept one hand in the pragmatism jar the entire time.

I have a genuine love for assessing what is possible with grounded, measured and practical thinking. This is the yin to my yang. Bold in my art and practical in my career. This translates to a unique value for my clients and allows me to switch between the two hats as needed. Raised in a family that valued education, I happily earned my BA in Psychology and MS, Ed. in Counseling. After completing a two-semester externship in the Career Development office at New School University, I was hired full-time. There, at the epicenter of creative thinking, I worked with musicians, actors, artists, writers and emerging leaders in global policy. I enjoyed this work tremendously, but it also planted a seed.

As the seed grew roots, I made the bold decision to pursue a career as a dancer. I studied anatomy, injury prevention and kinesiology, pouring myself into movement. I became a small business owner, selling services of instruction, choreography, traditional or theatrical performances, started a dance company and built a reputation that I am very proud of. Along the way, I became a mentor for budding dance professionals where I continue to offer career guidance and personal branding strategy.

At present, I also work as the senior coach at Careerfolk where I serve clients of all ages and stages. I started Spotlight Resumes in order to offer targeted job search correspondence for recent grads through mid-level professionals. Career coaching and crafting compelling narratives for my clients is the perfect outlet for my practical side.


Tava Auslan, Founder

Tava Auslan, Founder


Is it ok to have gaps on my resume? And does it need to be chronological?

questions about employment gaps on resume and whether it needs to be chronological


Is it ok to have gaps? Yes it is.
Many resumes will have gaps. It's a fact of modern life that at some  point, millions of people will stop working to raise a family, care for a  sick relative, make a career change, etc... Very capable people get  laid off, fired or their businesses fail and they need to become an  employee after being their own boss. 

What matters more is your honesty and ownership of it. I've been on  hiring committees where it was determined after a basic check that the  interviewee was dishonest about their work history and they were  immediately excluded. Rule of thumb is that you should expect to talk  about it and just be straightforward. Hiring managers would rather hear  that you were committed to caring for someone at the end of life, seized  an opportunity to travel or had children if you speak about it with a  sense of purpose or emphasize how it benefited you/your family. 

 If you're relying on applying to jobs online for your search, applicant  tracking software is not as forgiving as a human in terms of ranking  your resume. If the gap is 6 months or longer, there are a few  strategies you can use and they vary by situation. One strategy is to  "cover" the gap with something like, "Operations Management  Professional, 2018-Present. Senior Operations Management Professional  looking to re-enter workforce after being primary caretaker for ill  family member. During this period,  I became certified  in..../volunteered as business mentor.../etc. Another strategy is to  address this in your cover letter. The software is scanning your job  titles so you want to find a way to maintain continuity there without  being dishonest.

As for chronology, you can highlight certain  experiences and accomplishments from previous roles at the top but don't  make it clunky and deviate too far from a chronological style. We used  to call that a "functional resume" but hiring managers and software  aren't happy when it goes too far off the preferred format. A good value  proposition should do the trick. 

Do I really need a resume in 2019? Isn't it more about who you know?


Do I really need a resume? Yes.
Isn't it more about who you know? Also, yes.
Let me explain. 

The resume is a networking document, not a chronology of your entire  work experience. Its job is to help the reader understand the unique  value you bring to a position or company. Whether you plan to upload  your resume to various job search sites or just shop it around to people  you know, it's still a necessary first (sometimes 2nd) step in helping  people decide if you're a good fit for an opportunity. 

I've had  clients who were approached on LinkedIn first, but then asked to send a  resume before their interview. I've also spoken with hiring managers,  recruiters and contacts in creative industries that only hire by word of  mouth who say that the resume is particularly useful for narrowing down  finalists. They want to see the contenders at a glance.

In  short, the resume is here to stay. But it should not only be used when  applying to open positions. It should be sent to friends, former  colleagues, target companies and professional contacts to increase your  chances of being spotted in the hidden job

How much of my career story do I have to tell?

Question from a client who has changed careers multiple times.


Here's some context before I dig in to this question.  As someone who is presently a dancer and career counselor/resume  writer, I've also earned income as a content writer, weekend pet sitter,  early childhood educator and office manager over the years. This is  what life looks like for a lot of adults  I know. I don't need to share everything I've done but I do need to  know what is relevant for my target audience/target job. The same  applies to you.

Here's what I recommend to my clients with a hopscotch career history: 

1. Focus on your skills: If you're clear on your target career goal,  sift through your experience and see where you can draw parallels. If  you were a caterer, you likely did a lot of client relationship  management, anticipated needs in a fast-paced environment or may even  have experience with bookkeeping for small business. Solid transferable  skills are worth including. 

2. Consider an "Early Career"  section where you can list the basic details of previous roles to show  prospective employers that you were, in fact, working before you entered  your current field. 

3. For LinkedIn and Interviews, learn how  to tell your story and focus on the lessons learned or ah ha moments  that led you to the next chapter. Own it. Don't apologize for it. For  example: I often talk about how my work as a preschool teacher led me to  pursue a Masters in Counseling. It was during those one on one moments  with parents or children where I really thrived. I wanted to sink my  teeth in to the work that helped people push through specific barriers  and achieve a goal. 

4. Know you're not alone: People change  careers on average three to seven times. We're not robots. We want to  expand our skills sets, be challenged, get out of our comfort zones and  contribute in meaningful ways as we get to know ourselves better. Rock  that career diversity!

Will Linkedin be beneficial for in attracting clients...?

Question from a client about LinkedIn for attracting career opportunities.


In short, yes.
LinkedIn is a highly visible platform that may help you grow your  network by connecting with people at your target institutions or by  being active in local/relevant groups. It also "feeds" Google by linking  your name with your services offered (a boost to your SEO). But it's  not generally a platform where people like to receive solicitations or  sales messages so you'll want to be very tactful in how you reach out to  people that you don't know personally. Think of LinkedIn like a formal  cocktail party, whereas Facebook is a bit more like a BBQ.

My  advice is to ask for introductions from shared connections whenever  possible and get to know the platform a bit before posting. Having a  professional, high resolution profile photo/headshot and a well written  summary that clearly outlines your experience and program offerings is a  great way to start.