The number of applications received for any job offer will normally be such that recruiters will only have a few seconds to read each resume. You know that the resume is your passport to an interview, so how do you make it stand out from the rest? How can you make a good first impression?
A good resume will cast your personality in a positive light while highlighting your skills and professional experience. It must be concise, sober and forceful. This will encourage potential employers to read it and convince them that you have the skills they need to move their business forward. Getting an interview is your prime objective when writing a resume, and this task requires careful consideration. Make sure that the information it contains is relevant and that it emphasizes your experience while drawing attention to your strengths and qualities.
To catch the recruiter’s eye and land you an interview, we suggest a simple two-step method.
STEP 1 – A COMPLETE AND DETAILED RESUME
Write a complete resume that includes information on your previous jobs, strengths and achievements. Provide the most accurate information possible. Don’t leave anything out, even if you aren’t sure of its importance right now. This detailed resume will be an indispensable basic tool for preparing an effective response to any job offer that interests you.
We suggest that you group the information in your resume in the following categories:
Clearly indicate your name, address, telephone numbers (home as well as cell phone, if you have one) and e-mail address.
2. Profile or Highlights of qualifications
List your main qualifications in accordance with the type of job you are interested in and a list of your qualities.
3. Work experience
List your previous jobs in reverse order, starting with the most recent one.
For each job, describe your achievements by specifying your role.
List your educational degrees and any courses you have taken. You do not need to include your high school diploma if you have any post-secondary degrees.
6. Other skills
List any other courses or training related to the type of job you are seeking.
7. Interests and contributions to society
Describe, in three of four lines, your sports activities (an indication of your competitiveness and teamwork skills), cultural activities, and volunteer work (to demonstrate your commitment and dedication). This information can sometimes be used as an icebreaker in an interview. If you share any interests with the recruiter, the interview will begin on a positive note.
The ideal resume should be two pages long, and no more than three, so it is essential to provide just the right information. Always consider the impact of your choices: emphasizing certain aspects can help you direct the interview discussion toward those you wish to emphasize most.
Things to avoid
Avoid the following in your resume:
- Spelling and grammar mistakes
- Use of several different fonts
- Long blocks of text
- Repetitions, even when describing similar experiences
- Inclusion of your Social Insurance Number
- Mention of your age, marital status, family, religion, or ethnic background
- An unprofessional sounding e-mail address
- Use of “resume” or “CV” as the filename. Use a filename that includes your name instead (for example, FirstNameLastNameResume.doc)
- Addition of your photograph
Your resume is the cornerstone of your job seeking efforts, and as such it must always be kept up to date. This may seem like a lot of work, but it is vital if you want to increase your chances of being noticed and getting an interview.
STEP 2 – A PERSONALIZED LETTER OF PRESENTATION
The letter of presentation that accompanies your resume is equally important. It must always be personalized for the employer and the type of job being sought.
Your letter must be concise but complete. For the subject line, write “Application for the position of (job name)”, along with the job number if there is one.
Be sure to include the following information: the salutation, a few words stating that you are applying for the position with an invitation to read the attached resume, links between your qualifications and the job requirements, an expression of gratitude for recruiter’s interest, and your contact information.
Job hunting requires a full-time structured approach. Don’t leave anything to chance. Keep your resume up to date, take control of your job search, and succeed in your job interviews. The reward for your efforts will be a job that is right for you.