The winning resume + job application that started it all

Aug 22, 2021

‘Sara Reeves: Public Policy Professional,

Designer Wannabe’

No joke, that was the executive statement on my first resume after 2-years as a stay-at-home-mom. It was July 2020: a raging global pandemic, a toddler and newborn at home, and a local interior designer I fangirl-ed on Instagram was hiring. The timing couldn’t have been worse, I was beyond unqualified (a former public policy professional specializing in criminal justice/evidence-based policy), but I leaped anyway.

This past week, I celebrated my 1-year work anniversary as a design assistant and the soft-launch of BEECHWOOD CONSULTING–a little daydream that would have remained so without the incredibly rockstar momtrepreneural mentorship of this past year. So, I’m humbly (and cringingly) posting the application materials I submitted for employment in a field far outside my comfort zone last year, including: 1) my resume (which I completely redesigned in Canva on my i-phone because my very old laptop was having issues), 2) my responses to the employers supplementary questions, and 3) a mood board showing my design vibe.

Q&A: Why are you perfect for this position?

Interior design is #Goals. I have zero formal education or training in the design field. My related experience amounts to very little: I am a committed viewer of design television and user of Pinterest; I planned my destination wedding in Santa Barbara, California; and am an aspiring hostess-with-the-mostess (a casual pizza party still deserves a beautiful tablescape, amiright?). What I lack in obvious proficiencies is compensated by a strong, transferrable professional skillset.

I have years of project management and communications experience. In various roles, I interfaced with high-level decision-makers; presented complex issues and strategies to wide audiences; managed project timelines and stakeholder expectations; designed and authored 1-pagers, reports, and information campaigns; and demonstrated advanced technical programming expertise. As a result, I feel confident in my ability to handle the firm’s marketing and administrative needs.

What do you hope to learn in this position?

While working as a Design Assistant, my main growth objectives would be twofold:

  1. Expand knowledgeable of social media marketing, branding, and client-facing technologies.
    While I am confident in my technical abilities to use various social media platforms and web- based design tools, collect and digest available analytics, and quickly master new applications, I have not had the opportunity to do so in an artistically-inclined, business-minded capacity. It’s a whole new world from the public sector! I am eager to learn the ropes and strengthen capacity.
  2. Demystify designer TV magic and build a better personal design sense.
    How does a designer “see” a space? What is the order of operations in renovation? How does the design process play out under realistic budget constraints? What elements are splurge-worthy or unworthy? Also, how does a mom of twins juggle it all!? (Asking for a friend.) As I work to support the firm, it would be an added bonus to fall in love with a paint color or gain the confidence to finally wallpaper the ceiling in our kitchen-dining nook. If a fraction of your sense of style rubbed off on me that would be fab!

What excites you most about the design field?

The most exciting aspect of the field for me is the process of transformation. Throughout a project’s duration there is real, tangible progress, and in the end, a beautiful, happiness-inducing outcome. Of course there are struggles and stressors along the way. As an analytical, solution-oriented person I generally enjoy a challenge, and I can only imagine how much more enjoyable problem solving is when surrounded by pretty colors, fabrics, tiles, and furnishings.

How would you describe your design style?

My aesthetic is laid-back, California coastal. I’m drawn to airy but warm spaces, organic materials/textures, and blue/black, white, and natural color schemes. I grew up north of San Francisco, California, and spent summers in Santa Barbara; as a result, I’ll forever be inspired by funky beach shacks and understated but elegant wine country ranches. Unfortunately, my current style is curated exclusively by little humans.

Have you ever applied for a position wildly outside your comfort zone? Tell me about it!



  1. Lauren says:

    Hey! Thanks for this post. I’d love to know how helpful you find Canva and if it’s worth cost?

you said:

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