Michelle Aitala, ASID, NCIDQ

Michelle Aitala, ASID, NCIDQ

Los Angeles, CA, US


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Career Coach and Resume Expert - Owner of Red Poppy Resumes, Los Angeles, CA

• Expert resume writer with over 20+ years experience in writing, designing, critiquing, and editing resumes and cover letters for job seekers in all career fields, especially those in design, interiors, and architecture.

• Professional coaching services at an affordable rate supports the job search with weekly/bi-weekly sessions to evaluate and expand job search methods, teach networking and informational interviewing skills, active and passive online job searching, and weekly "homework" assignments to increase productivity and ensure progress during the search.

• Formerly an interior designer in the hospitality industry for 10+ years, with knowledge in drafting (Vectorworks/AutoCAD), design development, contracts, construction document drafting, construction administration, FF&E, and agency submittals for projects ranging from 1000 SF to 10,000 SF.

• ASID Professional Level.  NCIDQ #29505.


Red Poppy Resumes, Los Angeles, CA, US, Career Coach/Resume Expert/Owner

Counsel, educate and coach clients for career development, job searching, and resume writing skills to a variety of clients encompassing a range of careers and industries, but most notably interior designers and architects. Review, edit, write and design professional resumes and cover letters at an affordable cost. Counsel clients via phone, video chat, and in person. Teach networking and job searching skills. Write client Agendas to summarize sessions and assign actionable homework.

Feb 2015 - current

Shook Kelley, Los Angeles, CA, US, Interior Designer

Served as interior designer for retail spaces including retail supermarkets of 50,000+ SF. Drafted elevations, details, and millwork designs. Selected and specified FF&E to match architect-driven design schemes. Built 3D models in Sketchup and rendered additional features in PhotoShop for client presentations. Met with material vendor reps and evaluated materials for inclusion in the materials library.

Aug 2014 - Feb 2015

Ralph Gentile Architects, Los Angeles, CA, US, Interior Designer

Create design concept options and presentation boards for client review and approval. Develop and draft schematic designs through all phases to final draft of construction documents. Draft complete Construction Documents including plans (floor, finish, furniture, RCP), sections, elevations, construction details, millwork and specialty items.

Prepare bid sets for contractors, engineers and food service consultants. Submit plans to city offices and coordinate corrections. Prepare RFPs for food service, structural, lighting, and MEP consultants. Select FF&E and manage ID specifications. Attend construction observation meetings, prepare RFI responses, review submittals, and coordinate information between consultants, clients, and the GC. Familiar with current building and ADA codes.

Additional: Assisted with and coordinated marketing efforts. Created and wrote newsletters sent to clients, consultants, and vendors. Developed social media profiles and postings. Wrote marketing and press release documents. Advertised and interviewed job candidates, trained office managers and assisted training of new designers. Served as office manager for first year of employment.

Partial List of Projects as Lead Designer:

Sea Grill (In construction), Beverly Hills, CA
Georgetown Cupcake, Los Angeles, CA
Next Door by Josie, Santa Monica, CA
Beachwood BBQ & Brewery, Long Beach, CA
Howard Hughes Center, Los Angeles, CA (Landlord improvements for Dave & Busters)
d.vino Italian Food and Wine Bar / Dragon Noodle Co. Restaurant, Las Vegas, Nevada
Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro, Las Vegas, Nevada
Truxton’s Short Order, Los Angeles, CA

Design Team Member:

Yellowtail, West Hollywood, CA
Chi Lin / RivaBella Restaurants, West Hollywood, CA
FEED Body & Soul, Venice, CA
Red O, Los Angeles, CA
Gus’s Barbecue, South Pasadena, CA
Bar Pintxo, Santa Monica, CA
The Original Tops, Pasadena, CA
Toscanova, Los Angeles, CA
Pala Casino Resort Hotel, Various Restaurants, San Diego, CA
Truxton’s American Bistro, Los Angeles, CA
The Farm of Beverly Hills, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Feb 2004 - Feb 2014

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, US, Career Counselor

Provided career counseling services for undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni. Administered and interpreted the MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory. Presented workshops on resumes, cover letters and job searching. Managed the Teacher Career Fair, including marketing/PR, school representative and student attendees, documentation and results reporting. Co-created and coordinated spring semester staff development weekend.

Aug 2002 - Dec 2003

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, US, Assistant Director of Career Services

Provided career counseling services for undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni including: selecting a major, resume writing, interview and job search skills, networking, portfolios, and graduate school applications. Scheduled and advertised the career workshop program for 6 counselors, including arranging guest speakers and designing new workshops. Presented 30-50 workshops per semester, formulated targeted workshops for athletes, graduate students, Arts & Sciences majors, and LGBTQ students. Initiated “Resume Marathon Day,” Peer Educator Program, and developed networking, portfolios, and web-based job searching workshops. Administrated the Business Externship program; expanded externship placement opportunities for 50-80 students in 30-50 placements with alumni. Collaborated with staff members on twice-yearly Career Fair. Initiated and co-directed three annual career conferences for LGBTQ students from five local colleges.

Aug 1997 - Jun 2002

Villanova University, Villanova, PA, US, Career Counselor

Served as career counselor for students and alumni. Counseled individuals and groups on resume writing, job searching, choosing a major, internships, and conducted mock interviews. Coordinated the career library and developed a systematic coding system and library catalog. Presented workshops to students and student groups.

Sep 1995 - May 1996


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, US, Professional Certificate in Interior Design

Professional Certificate in Interior Design - Completed the same coursework which now comprises the current Master of Interior Architecture co-sponsored by UCLA Extension/Cal Poly Pomona.

Accrued 5 years professional interior design experience while enrolled in the program. Trained in AutoCAD 2D and 3D, and Sketchup.

Jun 2003 - Jan 2009

Villanova University, Villanova, PA, US, Masters, Counseling and Human Relations

Aug 1993 - Jun 1996

Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA, US, Bachelors, Psychology

Sep 1988 - Jun 1992


The Boutique 18, Award

Boutique Design, “The Boutique 18” Award for Hospitality Designers, Las Vegas, NV


Areas of Specialization 


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