Resumes

jobs are opening up

Now that jobs are opening up, how will you get one of them?

Let’s start with some good news! Yes! Jobs are opening up…

“We expect the worst of the job losses are behind us and the labour market will slowly recover as restrictions are eased. Looking ahead, employment levels should pick up slowly as provinces are easing restrictions on economic activity, which should bring people back to work in May.” says Cory Renner, Senior economist (The Conference Board of Canada)

So, who’s hiring?  Human resources director, Jessica Hodgson says….“The tech sector for sure is well positioned to handle this [Coronavirus pandemic]. There are also industries where they’re looking for more people. Anybody that’s involved in shipping, logistics, supply chain manufacturing, those people [companies] are still operating and still expect to be operational.”

And, “…there are postings for obvious jobs at grocery stores, pharmacies, seniors’ homes, and for health services, but employers are also looking for cooks, trucker drivers, mechanics, cleaners, and sales people in electronics, building and garden supplies. [MORE HERE]

LinkedIn recently published this article, saying, essentially…as of May 15th, 2020, there are at least 340,000 jobs available across Canada in a variety of industries.

So, now that jobs are opening up, how will you get out there and get one of them?

With your resume?

You betcha with your resume! Covid-19 may have changed the way we work, but it hasn’t changed the way we get work. Whether you’re going after work-from-home-jobs or get-in-your-car-and-drive-there-jobs, you’ll need to submit a resume to get into an interview. And I’m going to make darn sure your resume gets you into the interviews you want for the jobs you’ll be going after!

I’m going to teach you to write your resume exactly the same way I’ve written hundreds of resumes that have put people in the job interviews they wanted to be in. People like these:

Are you confident to present your resume to future employers?

Jobs are opening up, but…

…you’ll need an excellent resume to compete with hundreds of job-seekers. In some industries, you could be competing with as many as a thousand for a single job posting!

There’s a right way and a wrong way to write a competitive resume. That’s a fact.

If you’re sending out resumes and getting calls for interviews, then you’re doing it the right way–kudos! But, if that’s not what’s going on for you, you might need a little help to write your resume the right way.

And, hey. Listen. It’s not your fault. No one ever taught you how to write a resume the right way. Not your parents. Not your teachers. Not even your career counselor. Since the beginning of time, resume-writing has never been considered an essential high school or college subject. Personally, I think that’s because so few people (even teachers, professors, and career counselors) know how to write a proper resume.

Back in the dinosaur days when I was going to high school, we didn’t even have books in our school library on resume-writing. I had to borrow one from the Public Library. It was 202 pages long. I remember thinking, “This must be the definitive book on resume-writing. Cool, I’m going to learn everything I need to know to write a kick-ass resume.” (We said “kick-ass” back in the day)

That 202-paged book was a big disappointment. All theory–no action. But, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Going through those 202 pages taught me something….

It doesn’t take 202 pages to learn (or teach) how to write a killer resume. Years later, I set out to prove it. I did it in 30 pages. And I did it because I want everyone to know how to write a killer resume!

Okay. Let’s get where we’re going….

…to your free workbook: HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!

If you don’t need this free workbook because you’re writing and sending out awesome resumes that are getting you invited to the job interviews you want, cool! But, if that’s not exactly your experience, you should grab your free copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!

This workbook is straightforward, concise, and easy to follow. It’s 60 pages cover-to-cover, but only half are “working pages”. You’ll learn (and do!) 5 distinct steps that are designed to help you write your killer resume by the time you reach the book’s end. It’s full of resume examples showing you step-by-step how to:

  • get your resume through the ATS scan and in front of the hiring decision-makers
  • format your resume cleanly and include only what employers and recruiters want to see (with the Free Resume Format Template ATSs and recruiters love!)
  • write your work experience the way employers and recruiters want to see it
  • get access to the absolute must-have basic resume-writing resources
  • discover the universal Do’s & Dont’s of resume-writing
  • get a fully-completed resume and cover letter sample to use as a guide to writing your own killer resume!

It doesn’t take any special skill or talent to write a killer resume.

In fact, it takes no more than what you already have in your head! With a little guidance from HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!, you’ll learn how to get what’s already in your head down on paper….the right way.

You’ll learn the right way to write for the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that about 86% of companies use to screen resumes, and, you’ll learn how to write for the human reader as well. (Because, after all, it’s the human reader who decides who to call in for an interview!)

Grab your free copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! now! You have nothing to lose but job opportunities

how to write a killer resume

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terri at resumepro

Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!

this is how your resume should look

This Is How Your Resume Should Look

If your resume looks as boring as this guy, you’re doing it right.

All the usual cliches apply: “Don’t judge a book by its cover” — “Looks can be deceiving” — “Trust not too much to appearances”. Your resume is not supposed to be eye candy. It is supposed to be an informational document. When all is said and done, this is how your resume should look…

Have you seen these new “modern” resumes? If you’ve been looking online for resume help, you probably have. This is generally what they look like:

The modern resume is certainly more interesting to look at than the boring old traditional resume, but guess what?

Recruiters, hiring managers, and ATSs hate them

Here’s what you need to know about these so-called modern resumes — they’re crap. Employers and recruiters hate this resume format and, far, far more importantly, ATSs don’t understand it.

ATSs are easily confused. Blocks, shapes, symbols, and columns make it hard for ATSs to parse the information they’re looking for.

The ATS’s job is to convert resume documents to text-only files so it can pick out keywords. Having to scan through too many design elements confuses the ATS and it won’t put in the effort to figure out what’s going on. It will simply pass right on by and all of your pretty design touches will never be seen by a human, along with none of the rest of your resume.

Modern resumes have about a 1% chance of making it past an ATS and landing in front of human eyeballs. Even then, a modern resume will get only a quick skim (less than the usual 6 seconds) before getting rejected. Why?

Because it takes only a glance for any recruiter or hiring manager to recognize the absence of anything of value in these “creative” resume documents.

Recruiters top 3 complaints about modern resumes

  1. Huge lack of information. Modern resumes don’t contain enough meaningful and relevant information. At a glance, a trained eye notices immediately when there is too little information.
  2. Waste of space. Whether horizontal or vertical, colored areas are a big waste of prime real estate. This will become obvious when you compare these modern resume formats to the sensible chronological resume format (coming up).
  3. Useless and distracting graphics and columns. Colored blocks, symbols, icons, and sliders provide ZERO information and disrupt the reader’s normal way of reading. The two-column layout goes against nature and causes confusion for both the human reader and the ATS.

Here’s what you should never include in your resume:

  • Tables, Columns, and Text boxes
  • Logos, Images, Graphics, and Symbols

The resume format recruiters, hiring managers, and ATSs love

The Chronological Resume Format. It’s the one most employers and recruiters want to see, and it’s the one that makes the ATS’s job more efficient.

Since there is an estimated 86% chance your resume will be scanned by an ATS, you’ll want to be sure to do everything humanly possible to make the ATS’s job more efficient. Here is a beautiful example of a Chronological Resume. This how your resume should look.

Notice this is a two-page resume. There’s a lot of back and forth out there about two pages versus one page, but here’s the truth of it. Recruiters and hiring managers are perfectly happy with two-page resumes as long as the information contained in the pages is relevant, meaningful, and useful to them.

Recruiters have no time for distractions or guesswork

The first crucially-important thing a recruiter or hiring manager will notice about the chronological resume is the clean and simple layout with efficient use of space. They like clean and simple — it allows the eyes to flow naturally from left to right across the page absorbing the information given. There are no distractions or confusion about where to look next — nothing to avert the eye from the important information, and information is all the recruiter is looking for.

The next thing they’ll love is that the resume goes immediately into work history. This is the beauty of the chronological format and recruiters love it.

They are not interested in lists of bullet points or clumps of colored blocks containing the applicants claims of Key Skills or Core Competencies. Nor are they interested in your Resume Objective.

Never put an objective statement on your resume! No one cares about your objective. Employers and recruiters care only about their own objective, which is to find a qualified employee. The way they do that is to disseminate the meaningful and relevant information contained in the resumes they read.

Other resume formats recruiters don’t like

You’ve probably heard of the Functional and the Hybrid resume formats.

In each of these formats, skills and accomplishments are placed before work history. Recruiters and hiring managers hate the Functional format and barely tolerate the Hybrid format.

The second they see Key Skills, Accomplishments, and Core Competencies highlighted at the top of the resume, they know the work experience will be lacking.

The purpose of the Functional and Hybrid resume formats is to de-emphasize the fact an applicant’s work history is less than impressive. Recruiters and hiring managers know that, and aren’t inclined to waste time reading Functional and Hybrid resumes.

However, when a job posting clearly lists the qualifications applicants must have to apply for the job, I often do a little spin of the Hybrid resume format . If you follow my lead, this is how your resume should look:

Qualifications aren’t like skills and competencies, which are little more than the applicant’s own personal claims. Qualifications are verifiable.

Qualifications are earned through education, training, certification, and in some cases, experience. Qualifications are important to the employer, so rather than go directly into work experience, I like to quickly and briefly list an applicant’s relevant qualifications.

This is meaningful information that shows the employer — bang! — this applicant is qualified for the job. They appreciate that.

Circles and bars don’t describe skills

Recruiters and hiring managers do not buy into this crap. In the modern resume, these kinds of sliders and symbols are meaningless.

By whose standard is the applicant “grading” their skills? If an applicant is truly excellent at something, they should be able to describe how they came to be excellent in that skill by describing work experiences wherein they used and cultivated that skill. That’s what recruiters and employers want to see — proof! Not colored bars, stars, symbols, and ridiculous, unsupported claims of excellence.

Useless waste of prime real estate

One of the worst things about modern resumes is that they waste space. Have you heard the term, Above the Fold?

It refers to information that is provided in the top one-third of the resume. It originated in the newspaper industry and means: give readers the scintillating information above the fold of the newspaper. The idea is to catch their attention and entice them to purchase the newspaper and “read all about it”.

It’s the same idea with resumes. Even though resumes are read largely online, the reader has to be enticed to scroll. Top-load your important information, which by the way, is not your name, contact info, and career objective. Just look at this massive waste of prime real estate above the fold.

Although your name and contact info does belong at the very top of your resume, it does not have to be 24 point font nor listed line-by-line. I see a lot of this (below), which is an incredible waste of space. Don’t do this:

The top one-third of your resume should look something like this

To entice the reader to scroll, this is how your resume should look. Your name and contact info goes on one line. That’s it. Name, city, email, LinkedIn, phone. There’s no need to give your street address — you can throw in your postal code if you think it matters to the employer to know what part of the city you live in.

Always put your phone number last on the line. Recruiters tell me all the time how they wish all job applicants would do this.

Recruiters are insanely busy people. They don’t have time to hunt through your contact info looking for your phone number. I even bold the phone number so it stands out. Your phone number is the most important information on your contact line.

Whether or not you have (or should have) a LinkedIn profile depends on your occupation and sometimes on your location. Some employers in some industries in some (smaller) towns don’t care about LinkedIn profiles. But rest assured, recruiters do, no matter the town or industry.

Recruiters will look you up on LinkedIn and here’s an important tip: it’s better not to have a LinkedIn profile at all than to have an outdated profile that doesn’t match the resumes you’re sending out.

1995 called — it wants its Objective Statement back

Time marches on. Things change. An Objective Statement has no place on today’s resume. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for information about applicants’ suitability for the job they are applying for. No one gives a fiddler’s fart about what you want to do. They care about what you’ve done and what you can do for them. Give them a brief, fact-based Professional Profile that is relevant to the job posting.

The Professional Profile is a great place to use a couple of keywords from the job posting. ATSs don’t care how keywords are used in a resume, but humans do. Pop a few in your cover letter, a couple in your Profile, and the rest in your work descriptions.

Accomplishments beat “numbers” every time

Almost every blog out there that gives resume-writing advice says you must use numbers. It’s B.S.

If you’ve got meaningful numbers, by all means use them. If you don’t have numbers, don’t sweat it. There is far too much emphasis placed on this number thing.

Numbers matter in sales and certain other occupations where an applicant’s success is typically quantified by mere numbers. But not everyone has numbers and not every employer cares about numbers.

Big-time resume-writing expert, Kamara Toffolosays:

“As a resume writer, I’m always looking for ways to quantify the results my clients have created in their careers. But slapping a number on an accomplishment just to quantify it doesn’t suddenly make it more relevant and powerful. The use of a number needs to make sense, and often, it doesn’t. There are many situations where you can’t quantify an accomplishment, and some cases where you shouldn’t even try.“

Your resume is not an art project

Getting back to the overall appearance of the modern resume versus the traditional (sensible) chronological resume, what do you think?

The modern resume may be more interesting to look at, but what does it matter? This resume format goes against everything we know about appeasing the ATS.

Therefore, human eyeballs are unlikely to ever see it. Even when resumes are not subjected to an ATS but instead go to an email address, no one is impressed with these “creative-type” resumes.

Recruiters and hiring managers simply don’t like the modern resume, particularly with its Skills “grading” metric that is completely meaningless. Dots and bars indicating an applicant’s personal claim of excellence or inter-mediocrity is utterly useless and unimpressive. It tells the hiring manager nothing.

Plain white paper containing lots of useful, meaningful, and relevant information is the way to go. Plain and simple — this is how your resume should look. No bells ‘n whistles. Your resume is not an art project.

Resume e-Book

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terri at resumepro

Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!

landing a job interview

3 tips for landing a job interview in an industry you’ve never worked in

Job-searching during the Covid-19 pandemic?Take a breath because it’s not going to be easy to find work right away,” says Sharlene Massie, founder of Calgary-based About Staffing.

Landing a job interview even as countless businesses have closed their doors, putting millions of Canadians out of work, might seem impossible, but it’s not. Though the economy has been hit hard by Covid-19 changes, there are some bright spots. Several critical sectors are surging during the pandemic. Here are 10 that are actively hiring right now.

If you are job-searching right now, you might be applying for jobs in industries you’ve never worked in before. You might also be looking at your current resume wondering how the hell it’s going to get you into an interview for a job you’ve never done before. Don’t sweat it, and don’t over-think it.

Writing a competitive resume for a job you’ve never done before isn’t much different than writing a resume for a job you’re experienced in. Just respond directly to the job posting, use its keywords, and make your resume relevant. Easier said than done? Not really.

Let’s look at how you can spin your resume to make yourself a viable candidate for a job you’re not experienced in.

1. Landing a job interview starts with reading job postings carefully.

Sound like a no-brainer? You’d think. But Indeed’s Client Success Specialist, Sara Buonvivere, recently told me, “due to feedback from employers, our product teams have added the “if qualified” verbiage to the [Apply Now] button to encourage job seekers to ensure they are qualified for the role they are applying for. The hope is that it will prompt job seekers to read through all of the relevant details of the job”.

When you’re reading job postings for jobs you’ve never done before, you should be looking for the employer’s spin on “qualified”.

Just because you have no experience doing a particular job doesn’t mean you’re not qualified to do it. “Qualified” means different things to different employers.

2. Look for job postings that highlight soft skills.

Unless you have a great deal of education and training, and/or the right education and training, skip job postings that list a lot of hard-skills requirements.

Hard skills are taught/learned skills. They are quantifiable and are often learned through education, certifications, training, and/or previous work experience. Hard skills are specific to each job and are often the basis of job requirements.

Hard skills are what they are — you either have them or you don’t. When looking at job postings, be realistic and use common sense to determine what is a viable job opportunity for you, and what isn’t.

Look for job postings that call for soft skills. Soft skills are typically interpersonal skills and desirable personality traits that revolve around character, teamwork, communication, and work ethic.

Soft skills tend to be transferable between jobs or industries and, though more difficult to quantify on a resume than hard skills, soft skills are the ones you can spin to give yourself a shot at an interview for a job you have no experience in.

The job posting below for a line worker in a manufacturing plant is all about soft skills:

Job Duties/Responsibilities

  • Set-up and operation of the seasoning machines
  • Maintaining quality controls for seasoning application and salt tests
  • Manage the conveyor system to ensure appropriate product feed
  • Complete loading/unloading of finished cases into trailers using powered industrial truck
  • Troubleshoot Automated palletizer
  • Complete all necessary paperwork, ensuring accuracy of information
  • Understand and participate in inventory counting and reconciliation processes
  • Maintain a high level of sanitation in work area
  • Able to execute against reject materials, action steps including coordination with the Lab and basic troubleshooting
  • Observe Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) and provide GMP coaching to any personnel coming through work area
  • Support end-of-week sanitation duties and preventative maintenance responsibilities as required

Not a single hard skill mentioned. Everything listed here can be accomplished by anyone who has the right soft skills. When you’re reading job postings, focus less on the actual job duties and more on identifying the soft skills it takes to do the job.

Here’s what I get from the ad:

  • attentive and observant
  • mechanically adept
  • troubleshoots and solves problems
  • pays attention to detail
  • takes initiative and action
  • works responsibly with other departments
  • follows rules and regulations
  • shares information
  • assumes accountability

So even though a job-seeker might never have worked in the manufacturing industry before, he or she would have a shot at an interview by showing the employer how they used these soft skills in previous work.

Once you identify the soft skills the employer is looking for, your resume-writing takes on direction. You then have something to work with to help you write a responsive resume. Think about your previous job(s), focusing less on the actual duties you did and more on the soft skills you used to do them.

3. Show, don’t tell.

Use your previous work experiences to describe your soft skills and how they’ll transfer over. Show you are capable of doing the job the employer needs done by describing how your soft skills match those she’s looking for.

You can’t simply say, ‘I can do that’. Even if you can do it, or think you can, simply saying so isn’t good enough. You have to show the employer how you used your soft skills in your previous work. It’s all about proof.

When you’re digging around in your brain thinking about all the things you did in your previous job(s), remember to go right back to the beginning.

  • Did you go into that job inexperienced?
  • How did you learn to do all of the things you eventually got good at?
  • Did you use your own observation to see how things were done?
  • Did you learn how to operate new equipment, or software, or systems?
  • Did you recognize problems and figure out solutions on your own?
  • How did you conduct yourself in a way that aligned with company regulations?
  • Were you really good about openly sharing information?
  • In what ways did you go the extra mile whether it was your responsibility to do so or not?

Typically, job-seekers tend to emphasize the duties they did in their jobs rather than the soft skills they used to do those duties. This is never a good idea, and even less so when writing a resume for a job you’ve never done before.

Writing a resume for a job you’ve never done before isn’t much different than writing one for a job you’re experienced to do. Follow 3 simple tips:

  1. Read the job postings carefully and skip those that call for hard skills you don’t have.
  2. Identify what the employer is looking for in soft skills.
  3. Show you have the soft skills by describing how you used them in your previous work.

Number 3 in that list, “describing”, is the one most job-seekers have a hard time with. Need some help with describing? Grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!

Resume e-Book

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& Expert Advice on:


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terri at resumepro

Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!

how to write a killer resume

Grab Your FREE WorkBook! HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!

HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! is pure how-to!

If you’re laid off thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, you might be a little tight on cash. That’s okay – help is here. You don’t have to pay a professional to write your resume. You can do it yourself!

Grab your FREE copy of ResumePro’s DIY workbook, HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! and DIY it! You can do it! HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! is hands-on and designed to help you write your killer resume by the time you reach the book’s end.

The book is strightforward, concise, and easy to follow. Give it a try – you might be amazed at how awesome your resume and cover letter turn out!

This comprehensive workbook is full of examples showing you step-by-step how to:

  • get your resume through the ATS scan and in front of the hiring decision-makers

  • format your resume cleanly and include only what employers and recruiters want to see

  • write your work experience the way employers and recruiters want to see it

  • get access to the absolute must-have basic resume-writing resources

  • discover the universal Do’s & Dont’s of resume-writing

  • get a fully-completed resume and cover letter sample to use as a guide to writing your own killer resume!

HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!

Now’s the time! Jobs are opening up–get your resume ready and get ahead of your competition! Enter your name (optional) and email then grab your FREE workbook to learn HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!

how to write a killer resume

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& Expert Advice on:


  • Resume-Writing
  • Cover Letters
  • Job Search & More!


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BORED ALREADY? 13 Fun Things To Do During Self-Isolation

For some, isolation can be a welcome opportunity to tackle a long-neglected to-do list. For others it can be an absolute drag.

Many will indulge in the good old, highly-favoured Netflix-binge-watch-marathon, and admittedly, what could be better? When you’re stuck indoors limiting human contact, why not hunker down with your favourite shows and maybe discover some hidden gems as well?

For those all caught up on their Netflix viewing and getting antsy for something a little more stimulating, here are 13 (relatively) fun things you can do to quell the urge to get out of the house.

1. Sleep: nothing feels better or is better for you than sleep. Sleep-in, take naps, and doze-off like Grampa whenever you feel like it.

2. Rearrange your furniture: when your energy kicks in from all that sleep, you’ll need an outlet.

3. Paint a wall mural: unless your Picasso, it’ll probably be temporary, so just have fun – you can paint over it later.

3. Bake: few things can ease anxiety like warm cookies and brownies. (Hope you’ve got milk!)

4. Try a new DIY hairstyle and/or color: you’ll have plenty of time to fix it if something goes horribly wrong.

5. Start your online Christmas shopping: you don’t have to pay right now- just fill up your online carts.

6. Shoot how-to YouTube videos: everyone’s good at something and people use YouTube to learn everything from cooking to coding.

8. Discover your family lineage: Ancestory.com

9. Take an online course in something you’ve always wanted to learn, or just YouTube the crap out of it.

10. Learn how to do graphic design (just for fun) with a free program like Inkscape or Gimp. CAUTION: May be addictive.

11. Build a website: there are a ton of free drag ‘n drop website builders out there; create something!

12. Sell your crap: you’d be surprised what people will buy on Ebay

13. Contemplate a job change, a promotion, or a raise, and write a killer resume to get it!

Have you ever told yourself you need to start thinking about getting a different job? Or a promotion? Or a raise? Of course you have, because virtually everybody thinks about it at some time or other in their careers.

However, most don’t get past the “thinking about it” stage. Most debate with themselves viable reasons to stay in their crappy job, of which income is the #1 consideration. Even when weighing the pros and cons of leaving versus staying, many will stay stuck in that flip-floppy phase indefinitely, ultimately justifying their indecisiveness, because after all, at least they can afford to order in Skip the Dishes once a week.

Largely, it is the fear of loosing income that keeps people frozen in shitty jobs, but changing jobs doesn’t have to mean loosing income. The beauty of looking for a new job while you have a job is that recruiters and hiring managers prefer employed candidates over unemployed applicants.

I do my research and trust me – it’s a well-publicized fact that recruiters and hiring mangers favour employed candidates. When you’re employed, you’re in-demand, and, you have negotiating clout. (But that’s a different topic for another day.)

Now’s the time. You have nothing to loose and only opportunity to gain. Use your isolation time to explore LinkedIn, Indeed, and your local Recruiting Agencies for a plethora of new career opportunities.

Since you have nothing but time on your hands, it’s a great time to write one highly customized resume and targeted cover letter that will be your “working documents”. Then, when an excellent opportunity pops up, all you have to do is tweak each one to fit the job postings you want to apply to. And voila! – you’re done.

Grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! It gives you access to the FREE Resume Format Template that both ATSs and humans love!

It’s full of examples showing you how to write descriptive work accomplishments that pack a punch. Not only that, it comes with a full resume and cover letter example that will inspire you to write your own killer resume!

Resume e-Book

Get Free e-Books
& Expert Advice on:


  • Resume-Writing
  • Cover Letters
  • Job Search & More!


Subscribe to get once-a-month expert advice and job-search tips delivered right to your inbox!

terri at resumepro

Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!

Does Your Resume Pass the 6 Second Test?

It may be hard to believe, but recruiters and employers spend an initial 6 seconds scanning resumes. Does your resume pass the 6 second test.

If you’ve spent any amount of time online looking for resume-writing help, there’s a good chance you know about this bewildering phenomena referred to as the 6-second-scan. Some have a hard time wrapping their heads around how a recruiter or hiring manager can learn anything in six seconds. And with that puzzling perplexity looming over their heads, it can be utterly frustrating to pour hours and hours of grueling work into writing an ATS-friendly resume only to have it merely glanced at by the humans.

After all, it’s the humans who decide who to call in for an interview, so let’s look at why your hard work gets only a 6 second glance, and how to give the human eyeballs what they’re looking for in just 6 seconds.

What The Heck Do They Want?

If a human is looking at your resume – even if it’s only a quick 6-second skim, it’s because you did a good enough job with keywords to get your resume past the ATS. That’s a great thing, and a big hurdle cleared.

However, for the human, keywords alone aren’t enough. Recruiters and hiring managers look for information, and it requires only a 6-second scan of your resume to see, or not see, what they’re looking for. So, what are they looking for?

1. Logical Format

Its format is the first thing that could make or break your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers are insanely busy people. None will waste a single second of their limited time searching a resume for the information they’re looking for.

They want your resume’s information laid-out logically, which means chronologically. It is by far the most preferred format among recruiters because it allows them to see what they want to see, quickly.

Formatting your resume chronologically means listing your work history in reverse chronological order, with your current or most recent work experience first, working backwards to your oldest.

Don’t go back more than 15 years unless you held an early position for a long time – five or more years. In that early position, if the work you did is not relevant to the position you’re applying for now, that’s okay. Include it briefly to show you put in a number of years in a different field earlier in your career.

If the work you did in that early role isn’t relevant to the position you’re applying for, or doesn’t provide any real value, don’t list your accomplishments. Just give the position title, the company, and the to/from dates, and leave it at that:

Research Assistant | Canada Institute of Behavioral Science | 1997 to 2004

2. Relevance

It speaks for itself. If the position is for a Certified Accountant and you’ve been doing bookkeeping, don’t make the mistake of thinking your skills are “close enough”.

Recruiters #1 complaint is that applicants either don’t read the posting requirements closely, or, they read the requirements (so they can pepper their resumes with the ad’s keywords), but don’t have the specific experience the job posting clearly asked for.

I can attest to that. On more than one occasion, after turning my brain inside-out trying to figure out how to make a client’s completely irrelevant skills and experience match the job posting’s requirements, I’ve had to finally admit defeat and advise the client to find a different job opportunity.

It’s the same advise I’m giving you. Don’t waste your time writing a resume and applying for a position for which your experience isn’t relevant.

3. Qualifications & Education

If the position requires a degree in finance and you have a certificate in bookkeeping, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if, again, you think it’s close enough.

Here’s what you have to remember: the recruiter will receive hundreds of resumes for the position, many presenting the precise qualifications and education she’s looking for. She’s not desperate for viable candidates and won’t waste a second scanning a resume that doesn’t meet the basic qualifications and education requirements.

Pay attention to the posting. Sometimes you’ll see: IT Technology Diploma or equivalent relevant work experience. If your work experience meets the “equivalent/relevant” requirement, make sure you highlight it in your resume’s Qualifications section (located in the top one-third), where she can see it a glance.

4. Employment Stability

The recruiter looks for the number of years applicants’ spent in each work experience they listed, and, the number of gaps in employment.

These are two very distinct sets of circumstances. When an applicant’s resume lists eight jobs in ten years, even if they were back-to-back, and even if the work was relevant to the position being applied for, there’s a good chance the resume will get side-lined.It’s called job-hopping and, unfortunately, it’s a red flag.

Then, there are gaps. Gaps are not always a bad thing and recruiters know there could be any number of rational reasons for employment gaps. But, unless you explain your employment gaps in your cover letter, the recruiter won’t know what to make of it and likely pass you by.

Your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to explain you took a career break to travel, or to raise children, or to try self-employment – whatever the opportunity was. Even if your employment gaps were periods where you just didn’t feel like working, use the cover letter to address gaps in a positive light.

Hitch-hiking across the country and making it back home alive is a feat requiring resourcefulness and no small amount of interpersonal skill. Every employer wants employees with interpersonal skills.

Learning how to do basic car repair, or to design and develop websites and apps – just about anything self-taught, shows interest, drive, persistence, and all kinds of soft skills that will shed a bright light as opposed to the dark glare of an unexplained period of unemployment.

5. No Laundry Lists

These notorious time-wasters are actually probably the first thing that will get your resume overlooked. Laundry lists stand out like a sore thumb and recruiters abhor them.

No one is interested in long lists saying what your duties were and what you were responsible for. It tells recruiters nothing. You have to describe your work accomplishments and/or achievements, and here’s the thing; this should be the easiest thing in the world to do because these are the things you did to perform your work.

So, there it is. That’s how recruiters scan resumes in 6 seconds to find what they’re looking for. Now that you know, go take a look at your latest resume. Is it:

  1. Logically formatted, i.e.: chronologically
  2. Relevant to the job posting
  3. Highlighting qualifications and/or education the ad specifies
  4. Addressing employment gaps (in the cover letter)
  5. Showing accomplishments instead of laundry lists

Want to find out how to write a really KILLER resume? Grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! It gives you access to the Resume Format Template that both ATSs and humans love! It’s full of examples showing you how to avoid laundry lists and write descriptive work accomplishments that pack a punch. It comes with a full resume and cover letter example that will inspire you to write your own killer resume!

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terri at resumepro

Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!

Resume Tips

Get Your Resumes Ready for the North Edmonton Job Fair

You can write one generic resume and throw it around the Job Fair like mud, hoping it will stick somewhere, or, you can put in a little effort and give yourself a real shot at getting noticed.

The “one-size-fits-all” resume just doesn’t work. Employers and recruiters aren’t interested in applicants who are merely taking a shot at a job. They are interested in people who have a true desire to work in a particular occupation and, even better, at a particular company which, ideally, is their company!

The people who know this are the ones who invest time and energy to customize their resumes and cover letters to the jobs and companies they’ll be approaching at the Career Fair. So. With that in mind, let’s get your resumes Job-Fair-ready!

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Why Resume Formatting is So Important & How To Do it Right

Before the advent of ATSs, most job-seekers’ greatest digital challenge was whether to email their resume as a Word document or as a PDF. Since the wide-spread institution of ATSs, things have changed.

Nowadays, almost every resume shot-off into cyberspace goes straight into an ATS, making our digital challenges in resume-writing a little more complex than choosing the best document format. ATSs, unlike humans who might opt to struggle through mosaic formatting to get to (hopefully) the good stuff, are unforgiving. Ultimately, we are at the mercy of a robot about as sophisticated as R2-D2.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed this relatively new phenomenon known as the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which by the way, is here to stay. ATS technology is rapidly becoming the convention in resume-screening and applicant-selecting among recruiters, hiring managers, and HR departments.

In my earlier article, I described (briefly) what an ATS is and how to make it love your resume. I focused on explaining why it’s so important to use the keywords and phrases from the job posting in your resume.

To help you out with that, I gave you the link to a very useful tool over at Jobscan. Today, I share with you another equally-important method for making sure your resumes are ATS-friendly. That method is proper formatting, and it is far more important to an ATS than you might realize.

What is Resume Formatting, Really?

The resume format is, essentially, the layout and features you incorporate into your document. Put another way, the resume format is what you’re left with when you remove all of the words from the page.

When you remove all of the words, what are you left with? Could be lines, bullets, shaded boxes, tables, dashes, vertical bars (or pipes), etc. Word processors offer lots of fun and creative styling tools you can use to fancy-up your resume. But, a word of caution.

ATSs aren’t impressed by fancy style. In fact, ATSs are confused by too many creative touches, and when an ATS gets confused, it eliminates the source.

Here’s the rule of thumb for ATS-friendly (and human-eyeball-friendly) resumes: keep it clean and simple.

While a touch of subtle creativity may be visually appealing to human eyeballs, the trick is to get your resume past the ATS. The humans will never see your unique styling if the ATS vaporizes your resume out of utter confusion.

In your resume-writing approach, always remember you are writing for the ATS first. Keep it clean and simple with ample white space. The white space is for the humans, because, believe it or not, even in 2020, interviewers print resumes and make notes on them, so indulge them by leaving room.

The best way to illustrate “clean and simple” is by illustration. And by the way, I’m talking about Traditional resumes, not Creative resumes for those in graphic design, website development, media/publishing/advertising, performing arts, etc.

Okay, here is the illustration contrasting the difference between “clean and simple” and too creative for the ATS to deal with.

Your Resume Is Not an Art Project

Job-seekers can find endless templates like the one above (left), offered online to help the masses create so-called modern resumes. But be aware, these templates are not ATS-friendly.

What the designers of these templates fail to appreciate are the ATS’s limitations. ATSs have a hard time parsing the critical information they are programmed to look for if the resume’s formatting is too complex.

Crazy bullets and icons, bars and shaded boxes, and especially tables, interfere with the ATS’s keyword search. Unlike a human who can look past the complex formatting, the ATS will simply become confused and vaporize these “artsy” resumes.

ATSs like “clean and simple” because it makes their keyword search easy and efficient. ATSs scan resumes, “parse” or pull out information, and rearrange the resume into a digital candidate profile.

But, ATS aren’t sophisticated enough to recognize, distinguish, and interpret some of the formatting features they come across. They are known to miss important information when the formatting is too “creative”. So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record – clean and simple is the way to go.

How to Format Your Resume for the ATS

Use ATS-friendly font. Times New Roman and Arial are ATS’s favourite, but they’re okay with these as well:

  • Cambria
  • Verdana
  • Trebuchet
  • Garamound
  • Calibri

Use one font consistently throughout your resume. Using different fonts isn’t necessary to make your Section Titles stand out. Bold and “ALL CAPS” your Section Titles, such as PROFILE, WORK EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION, and, you can slightly increase the font size as well (but I don’t think even that is necessary).

Use 10, 10.5, or 11 point font. When you are trying to keep your resume to one page, experiment with fonts and sizes. Cambria 10.5 will fit better than Times New Roman 10.5. Never go above 11, except for Section Titles. There, you can bump it up to 12, but keep the body of text to 10.5 or 11. I always recommend 10.5 for the body.

Use whole words ahead of acronyms. For example, spell out Licensed Practical Nurse and follow it with (LPN). A human will enter keywords into the ATS to search out viable candidates, often using the “spelled out” version of what they’re looking for. The ATS won’t necessarily know LPN is the same as Licensed Practical Nurse, and may not return resumes containing acronyms only.

Use round bullets exclusively. ATSs have a hard time parsing stars, diamonds, check marks, and icons. Don’t challenge it with fancy bullets – it won’t put in the effort.

Use sentences to describe your skills, not bulleted tables. ATSs have a hard time parsing information contained in a table. In the digital rearranging process, this info gets all messed up and becomes unsearchable by the humans. Anyway, you should be describing your skills in your work accomplishments, not in short bullet points. Tables like this one are friendly to neither the ATS nor to the humans.



Use spelled-out dates complete with months
. I get pushback on this one, but my recommendation is supported by the Recruiters I’m in constant touch with. Jobscan’s ATS research says 03/2020 can readily be parsed by ATSs, so that’s all good. But, humans prefer January 2010 to March 2015 instead of 01/2010 – 03/2015. ATSs read the months spelled-out as well, so use spelled-out words to make your resume both ATS-friendly and human eyeball-friendly.

Use your word processor’s “red flags” to correct spacing issues. ATSs aren’t sophisticated enough to figure out you accidentally put an extra space in one (or more) of your critical keywords. If you put an extra space in a multi-keyword, like “safety coordinator”, the ATS won’t recognize it, and that critical keyword gets omitted from your digital profile. The humans will never know you have experience as a safety coordinator. Most word processors will show a squiggly line indicating an extra space, so pay attention when you see them.

Use an appropriate file name. Not all ATSs are created equally. Some will pick up on keywords in the file name, and some won’t. But the file name is important to the humans, and, with the ATS, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Name your file with your name and the position: John Doe Safety Supervisor.docx.

Writing hundreds upon hundreds of resumes, day-in and day-out for years, I’ll admit I get bored with the “clean and simple” resume format. Years ago I did a creative resume for an ad-copy position and had a blast with it. It was fun, it turned out great, and it got the client the interview.

But, I know “clean and simple” works for traditional resumes that have to get past the ATSs, so I stick with it.

Why not grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! to get access to the Resume Format Template that ATSs love!

 

Resume e-Book

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& Expert Advice on:


  • Resume-Writing
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terri at resumepro

Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!