Resumes

here's one thing covid 19 hasn't changed that you can exploit

Here’s One Thing Covid-19 Hasn’t Changed That You Can Exploit

Covid’s a bitch. Ain’t no other word for it.

Covid-19 has knocked the world on its keester and turned our lives upside down with big changes, and fast.

Being locked out of our jobs, or worse, losing our jobs altogether, is probably the hardest thing most of us has had to adapt to. Millions who have never experienced prolonged unemployment are seriously struggling with it.

For those of us not afraid to admit we don’t adapt easily to change, life has felt like a long and frustrating series of fruitless protests since March 2020.

It’s not just the loss of income…it’s the loss of the whole “experience” of going to your job each day, doing the work you enjoy, exchanging professional views and socializing with your co-workers, maybe running out to do a bit of lunch-hour shopping…gulping down a Big Mac while you run through the car wash…the whole multi-faceted work-a-day day.

Alas, cometh a monumental and nuclear shift that’s left many of us fumbling our way through the unknown, pawing at the air like Helen Keller.

Unlike Miss Keller, few of us have the benefit of an all-knowing, benevolent guide to still our flailing arms, stand us up straight, and gently push us in the right direction.

Feel like you’re job-searching in the twilight zone?

Some of us are going back to work, as in: to an actual building with other people and no kids. Some are heading back to their regular jobs by invitation, while others are bravely venturing into new jobs, if only to get out of the house, go somewhere, and do something.

For those actively job-searching during the Coronavirus pandemic, one of the strangest “new normals” with (for some) the steepest learning curve is mastering the online job interview.

Most of us normally feel nervous going into a job interview, but doing it online can be just as nerve-wracking as facing a three-person interviewing panel across a boardroom table. Chiefly, because it’s so different. Who of us, pre-covid, ever got interviewed for a job via Zoom?

Preparing for an online job interview goes far beyond how you’ll fix your hair or what tie you’ll wear. You have to think about your environment…lighting, background noise, locking the cat in the bedroom.

You have to “Find out which program the hiring company will use for the interview and do your research on it. You can typically download the software in advance, and I always recommend that you have everything lined up. Make sure the software works, your microphone works, and your camera works.” [Citation: Ralph Chapman, CEO of HR Search Pros, Inc]

But among all the unfamiliar and frustrating changes, there is one feature of the job-search milieu that has (thankfully) remained the same.

It’s the resume requirement.

Don’t worry…your resume is still your friend even during Covid-19

You have to submit a resume to get an interview.
There are a few exceptions, like Amazon, who doesn’t collect resumes.
But most companies and all recruiters definitely do collect resumes.

Even when you’ve been networking like crazy and scored either an interview or a strong referral, you’ll still be asked at some point, by someone, to submit your resume for the role you’re vying for.

In some cases, it may be only a formality.
Ya know…just so they have “something on file”.

In most cases though, even when you’ve made strong connections with key people at the company you’re hoping to get in with,  you’ll eventually be asked to send in your resume.

Whether or not the resume you send makes you or breaks you is up to you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because your networking efforts got your foot in the door you can send in your five-year-old generic resume.

Has the resume itself changed in this crazy coronavirus world?
Not at all. It’s the one thing that hasn’t changed. Resumes still have to be super-customized for each role you apply for.

Think of the Covid-driven job market as an opportunity to step-up your game

Back in the early 2000s when jobs were plentiful and employers were desperate, a generic resume might have squeaked you into a job interview or two, but the job market is eons from where it was 20 years ago.

2020…and beyond…is the employer’s paradise.

Hiring managers and recruiters have the luxury of considering only the most qualified and best-fitting candidates to invest their sparse time in interviewing, and it’s only phenomenal resumes that get their time and attention. And, not just phenomenal, but phenomenal in 6 seconds!

Customized, tailored, targeted…whatever you want to call it…resumes have to scream “I’m your daddy!”, more than ever before.

Even during Covid-19, job competition is mind-boggling. On average, recruiters and hiring managers are receiving 300 resumes for a single job posting.

Actually, it’s the ATSs who are receiving the resumes, and filtering them down to a digestible serving for the human readers.

If we do the math, according to Kayla Rozell, Staffing Consultant at Klopp Richards, that’s about 6 resumes. Kayla says about 2% of job applicants submitting resumes to her recruiting agency are actually qualified for the positions they’re applying for.

So, by the time the ATS rejects the generic resumes and others that just don’t hit the mark, recruiters are left with only a handful of resumes they’ll have to actually read, making the interview-selection process so much easier, faster, and more efficient.

Maybe that’s good news for you. If you can get your resume into the Applicant Tracking System, perhaps ultimately, it will have to beat-out only five others.

The way to get your resume into (not past) the ATS, is to use the keywords and phrases used in the job posting.

This is a good place to hammer home why generic resumes don’t work.
If you’re not customizing the resumes you send out, there’s a very good chance few, if any, contain the keywords and phrases the ATS is programmed to pick up on.

Keywords and phrases are provided in the job posting.
Resumes containing less than 75% of the job posting’s keywords don’t typically get favoured by the ATS, especially if there are plenty of resumes that do hit the 75% milestone. (Jobscan says it should be a little higher at 85%, with 75% being the minimum)

The ATS is programmed, by humans, to select resumes based on keywords and phrases. Other criteria is considered, like job start and end dates. (Multiple short stints send up a red flag but won’t necessarily put an applicant out of the running). Chiefly, the programmers tell the ATS robots, “We only want to see resumes containing these keywords and phrases.”

They allow for variations, like significant results instead of “key outcomes”, so giving the ATS at least 75% of what its looking for isn’t all that difficult.

But if you’re sending out generic resumes that contain few, if any, of the job posting’s keywords, variations or not, your generic resume won’t get selected for human consideration.

So okay. You’re convinced. No more generic resumes.

But how do you know the best keywords and phrases to use?
I mean, take a long, detailed job posting like this one.

How do you know which keywords and phrases the ATS are programmed to pick-up on?

here's one thing covid-19 hasn't changed that you can exploit

Well, if you’re experienced and qualified for the job, you’ll automatically use all kinds of relevant keywords and phrases, and some variations, when you describe your previous work accomplishments.

This is why I’m always harping about reading job postings carefully and thoroughly. Once you read it, and determine you are experienced and qualified, you can’t help but use most of the same keywords and phrases to describe your previous work.

Crush your competition with a crash course in writing that will pay-off big

I know for a fact where people get hung up is the actual writing of those work descriptions. It’s not that people don’t know what they did in their previous jobs.
It’s that people don’t know how to describe it in just a few sentences.

That’s why recruiters and hiring managers see (and discard) so many  resumes containing one-liner bullet points, like this one:

here's one thing Covid-19 hasn't changed that you can exploit

Most people have a hard time coming up with meaningful descriptions of thier “job duties”. Generally, people just aren’t great writers. (By the way, I will bet you ATSs are programmed to reject resumes containing the word “duties”, so NEVER put that word on your resumes!)

So, I wrote this amazing workbook for job-seekers, clearly explaining and showing how to write really meaningful work descriptions.

It’s called HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! It gives tons of examples and a full resume and cover letter to see how it all comes together.

Be sure to grab your free copy below.

Job-search methods have changed dramatically in this Covid-19 era.

Networking is your best bet and, really, always has been, but even when you get a promising lead or referral, you’ll still have to send your resume to someone.

Take advantage of this one thing that Covid-19 hasn’t changed. Make sure you’re reading job postings closely and thoroughly, and customizing each resume you send out with those all-important keywords and phrases.

how to write a killer resume

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terri at resumepro

Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job-search 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 examples keep man unemployed

1 plain truth about resume examples that can hurt your job search

I know what you’re seeing when you scour the web looking for resume examples. I scour the web all the time looking at resume examples, mainly to verify that, yep, there’s still a ton of garbage out there.

What I’m discussing here is not resume samples. Resumes samples are what you’ll see when you Google “resume samples”. You’ll get thousands of them. Samples are the producer’s idea of what a resume should like.

Unless we do a deep dive into the producer’s professional background, we won’t know what makes him or her an expert on what a resume should like. (I can tell you this though…none of the people offering up these resume samples is a recruiter or a hiring manager!)

I contend that perhaps 1% of those offering resume samples online are resume-writing experts.

Resume examples show you what you’ll be paying for.

For job-seekers desperately needing help to write a decent resume, and landing on these web pages displaying resume samples, I say, steer clear!

Trust me, I research these web pages everyday. I want to see what’s out out there, on offer to the good folks searching for resume help, and as importantly, I want to be very careful not to disparage the few (very few) who do offer good resume samples.

But today we are not discussing resume samples. Today we are looking at resume examples. Resume examples are presented by companies who write “professional” resumes for job-seekers. (I still haven’t figured out what a “professional” resume is).

Anyway, we’ll call them Professional Resume Writers, since that is how most of these companies present themselves. Many give examples of their work on their websites. So this is what we’re looking at today – examples of “professional resume-writers” work.

Resume examples are meant to show you what you can expect to get when you hire that company to write your resume. (Or, at least that’s my take on it.) Apparently, they’re pretty confident you’ll be impressed – enough to pay their price.

But consider this: is it you who needs to be impressed, or is it the recruiter, hiring manager, or employer?

Lets take a look at an example of a company’s work and I’ll tell you why you need to steer clear of companies who do this kind of work.

Resume Example
Resume Example from a real company I chose not to name.

You don’t even have to read the resume example. Just look at it.

The format used here is the so-called modern resume format.

It is neither ATS-friendly nor human-reader friendly.

I recently did a big article on the modern resume format, which you can read here, so I won’t go into too much detail in this article. Suffice to say however, the designers of these optically-interesting resumes have no idea how to write for either ATS or human readers.

The modern resume format was designed by someone (no one seems to know who) with an artistic flair. Rest assured, it was not a resume-writing expert and nor was it a recruiter.

Recruiters hate the modern resume format. Here are two articles by true industry experts to substantiate my claim: The Template Trend You Should Avoid by Jobscan, and Creative Resumes Might Be Keeping You Out of Work by Lisa McGrimmon, Career Strategist.

But trust me when I say, I know recruiters hate the modern resume format because I correspond with recruiters all the time.

I wouldn’t be doing my job efficiently if I didn’t reach out to recruiters to find out what’s working and what’s not working in resume-writing.

The modern resume format is not working.

So how are resume-writing companies selling these modern-style resumes to unsuspecting and trusting job-seekers?

I’ll tell you how. They do it by impressing the client (you) who, after all, is the one with the money. If the clients’ potential employer was paying for the resume-writing service, I dare say the resume would be written to impress him, and trust me, the modern resume format would not be the way to do that.

Resumes are not meant to be an art project.

What I’m saying is, job-seekers are impressed by these pimped-out modern resumes because they themselves don’t know what a truly expertly-written resume looks like.

When a job-seeker sees their new modern resume, developed by whomever they hired to “design” it, they’re like, “Wow! This looks amazing!”

And if resumes were meant to be an art project, I suppose the modern resume would win some kind of ribbon. But trust me, your resume is not meant to be an art project.

You’re a job-seeker. You are not a resume-writer. If you were, you wouldn’t be considering hiring a “professional” resume-writing service.

Perhaps you haven’t written a resume in 10 or 15 years and have no idea what a resume should look like. Perhaps you have less idea what actually goes into writing a truly impressive resume.

So, you go online to get some ideas to DIY your new resume, or perhaps, you start searching around for a resume-writing service.

resume examples

Either way, you stumble upon a lot of resume samples and examples, most of which are depictions of the modern resume format that you think looks amazing, but that ATSs and recruiters absolutely hate.

You don’t know ATSs and recruiters hate the modern resume format, so you think to yourself, “Well, that’s what my resume should look like.”

Then you think, “But, sh#* man – I don’t know how to make my resume look like that with all those icons, and bubbles, and columns, and colors, and a nice big border.” So now what?

The reason the modern resume is being heralded the resume format to use in 2020 is really quite underhanded. It’s a scam, designed to compel you to hire a “professional” resume-writer who can make your resume look the way they tell you it should look.

The sophistication of design is intimidating to those not word-processor savvy. Few people know how to get all of those design elements into a word document. You have to know your word processor inside-and-out to find and use all of the various design functions that make these modern resumes look the way they do.

That intimidation is what the producers of the modern resume bank on. They’re hoping your overwhelm will force you to hire their resume-writing service to make your resume look the way they’ve convinced you it’s supposed to look in 2020.

It’s B.S.

Your resume is not an art project. Not in 2020 and not ever.

Why not use a simple, user-friendly resume template that ATS and recruiters love?

Your resume is a plain and simple document that contains information – nothing more and nothing less. Recruiters and hiring managers are not impressed by graphics, icons, colored bubbles, or any other over-the-top design features.

And ATSs? ATSs can’t even “read” these all-over-the-map art projects with their bells ‘n whistles getting in the way of the information the ATS needs to find.

If you haven’t read my piece on modern resumes yet, do it now. I don’t want you to waste your time and effort trying to design a modern resume, only to end up frustrated and disappointed after spending hours or even days on it and sending out 40 of them with nary a single call for an interview.

Here’s your take-away. Steer clear of the modern resume format and use my proven-to-get-results Resume Format Template. This thing is clean and simple.

This is the resume format I use on every resume I write, and trust me, my clients are going to job interviews. Recruiters love this resume format because it’s clean, giving them the information they’re looking for in an easy and quick read.

Even the most inexperienced typer in the world will end up with a near-perfect resume using this resume template. You can use it in Google Drive, Google Docs, MS Word, Libre Writer – any word processor you’re comfortable with.

Use my Resume Format Template. You won’t go wrong. Maybe grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! to get step-by-step guidance on how to use the template!

One last word. My expert resume-writing advice does not necessarily apply to those seeking career opportunities in creative fields, including web development and design, the graphic arts, visual ad copy, social media marketing, etc. You guys can definitely get creative with your resumes!

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!

Number 1 Resume Template That Recruiters Love

The Number 1 Resume Template That Recruiters Love

The Internet is littered with resume templates. I say “littered” because 99% of the resume templates offered online are garbage.

Don’t waste your time. Here is the #1 resume template that recruiters love!

Resume Template Two Paged Resume
There are larger illustrations coming up that you can open, read, and download. The illustrations show you what your resume will look like when you use the Number 1 Resume Template That Recruiters Love. The link to the actual template is located at the end of this blog post.

Notice this is a two-paged resume. That’s because recruiters actually like two-paged resumes when they contain good information.

The one-page resume “rule” (cough-cough) came into being when recruiters could no longer stand foraging through two poorly-formatted pages of trite drivel looking for something they could digest.

They decided to encourage job applicants to keep their resumes to one page, hoping it would inspire less wordy, misplaced self-praise and more relevant, deliberate objectivity.

And so was born the so-called one-page resume rule. But slide an accomplishment-rich, informative two-paged resume under any recruiter’s nose and you’ll almost certainly hear a resounding, “Yes! That’s what I’m talkin’ bout”.

Every recruiter I’ve talked to has told me some variation of this:

I’m happy to read a two-page resume that is responsive to the job posting and contains information I can use. When it’s smartly laid out with ample white space, it’s makes for a worthwhile and easy read.

The #1 Resume Template, designed by me, Terri from ResumePro, has been heralded as “the best”. That’s because recruiters love it.

It’s smartly laid out, it has ample white space, and it contains only the information the recruiter wants to see.

I use only the Reverse Chronological Resume format for all the resumes I write (that get my clients into interviews!), and you should too.

The exception is students who have little, if any, work experience. Students can use a slightly different structure that we’ll look at in an upcoming article.

So let’s break this down by page.

#1 Resume Template: Page 1

No matter the resume format, always start with a one-liner containing your name, city, and contact info. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Leave a space and insert a thin line, then do your Profile. Keep it brief. Brainstorm this. If an interviewer said to you, “Tell me who you are professionally in 20 words or less”, what would you say?

A few examples of what you would NOT say are: hard-working, dependable, fast learner, proven track record, results-oriented, team-player…. These are just a few of the cliches recruiters hate – avoid them like the plague.

Resume Template Page 1
Resume Template Page 1

Instead, use a couple of keywords from the job posting to come up with a quick description of your professional self.

Recruiters would much rather see a short, snappy description (that hints at “accomplishments to follow”) than an onslaught of cliches like the ones I cautioned you to never use.

When the job posting includes a Qualifications section, pay close attention. Pick out three qualifications to highlight right near the top of your resume.

This shows the recruiter you read the job posting, you know the qualifications the employer is looking for, you have those qualifications, and here they are.

Then go into your work experience. Read the Resume Template Page 1 illustration I’ve provided here. Every bullet point contains instruction on how to write your sections and work accomplishments. (The illustration is an image so just double-click or tap it)

If you’re wondering where all the cool design elements are, go read this.

For those who can fit their resumes onto one page, you’ll still follow the same guidelines. If you’re writing an accomplishment-rich resume, you might get it all on one page, but a two-paged resume gives you so much more opportunity to provide useful information to the recruiter.

If you’ve never written a descriptive, accomplishment-rich resume before, you might be surprised to discover you have much more to say than, “Responsible for…” and “Performed all _______ duties…”

I see a lot of both. In the case of “Performed all _______ duties…”, the job applicant apparently thinks the recruiter will know what “all duties” means.

For example, if we fill in the blank with “bookkeeping”, it appears the job applicant assumes the recruiter will just somehow know what “all bookkeeping duties” entails.

They won’t. Recruiters read countless resumes for all kinds of different roles in all kinds of different industries.

They’re not experts in bookkeeping, or maintenance supervising, or healthcare aiding. Recruiters use criteria provided by the employer, along with the job posting, to select candidates most closely matching what the employer is looking for.

Recruiters need description to help them do that. Job applicants who are too lazy to describe “the duties” they did are going to lose out on any hope in hell at an interview.

That’s it for page one. Let’s move on.

#1 Resume Template: Page 2

Copy your name and contact info onto the top of the second page.

Resume Template Page 2
Resume Template Page 2

Continue listing your work experience going back no more than 15 years, at the most. Ten is better, but use your discretion.

If you held a significant relevant position more than ten years ago, include it as a mention. List the job title, start and end dates, and the name of the company.

Then, in a brief paragraph right below that, give a concise narrative, similar to what you did in your Profile at the top of your resume.

Here’s the thing. By the time you get down to an older job, you’ve already described your skills and accomplishments in the previous, more recent work experiences. There is no need to give repetitive descriptions for a similar role you held 15 years ago.

Once you’ve finished with your work experience section, list your relevant technical skills and/or certifications. The key word here is “relevant”.

Don’t bother listing your dog-trainer’s certificate or your hair-stylist’s diploma when you’re applying for a bookkeeping position.

I see a lot of this. People think it’s impressive, or, they think it shows drive, versatility, diversity. This is seldom the case.

Next, list your education. Education is earned at an academic institution, preferably an accredited one. I mention this because people tend to list their certificate courses under Education. Recruiters don’t want you to do that. List only your academic education under Education.

Post-secondary education, as in college or university, trumps high school. When you have post-secondary education, you needn’t list your high school education.

And finally, list your volunteer work. This is the one area of your resume that doesn’t have to be relevant to the position you’re applying for. It does, however, have to be either current or fairly recent. If you feel compelled to list a volunteering role you held for a year back in 2006, ask yourself why.

References do not belong on the resume, nor does any mention of references being available upon request.

That Was Easy

And that’s it. Clean and simple.

It’s sectioned clearly with capitalized, bolded headings. You don’t need heavy lines or dividers to delineate sections. Even with all those nice accomplishment-rich descriptions, the resume still has plenty of white space which is almost impossible to achieve in a one-page resume.

Here’s the link to The #1 Resume Template That Recruiters Love. It’s a Google Doc that you can use right in Google Drive, or you can copy and paste into a Word Document.

This is the exact same resume template I include in my amazing workbook, HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! Grab your fee copy and use it with The #1 Resume Template That Recruiters Love to write your killer resume!

Have fun!

how to write a killer resume

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!

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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!

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!

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!

Resume Tips

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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!

 

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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!

5 Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes on Their Resume

So, you’ve sent in your resume for a great job opportunity. Do you envision the employer pouring himself a cup of coffee, settling into his chair, kicking off his shoes, and devouring every word of your resume with riveted attention? Not exactly.

He’ll devote six seconds to scanning your resume and if you’ve made even one of these fatal mistakes, your resume gets tossed. All your hard work—in the garbage. Don’t let that happen. Avoid these 5 resume mistakes to give your resume a chance!

The #1 Mistake

Failing to show how you meet the job requirements.
Employers try to be very specific when listing their requirements in the job posting. They do this to attract applicants who closely match the job requirements, thereby drawing qualified candidates which streamlines the screening process.

Yet, an average of 98% of the resumes they receive do not show how the applicants meet the job requirements listed in the ad. No matter the lengths employers and recruiters go to to clearly describe their requirements, 98% of the resumes they receive are full of irrelevant, useless information that contains no value to the employer.

If you are qualified to apply for the jobs you’re applying for, your resume should include all (or most) of the keywords and phrases used in the job posting’s description. You should develop your own descriptions using keywords and phrases used in the job ad.

If your previous work experience is sufficient to qualify you to apply for the job, you should have no trouble describing that experience using the job ad’s keywords naturally in your descriptions. Employers, hiring managers, and recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning a resume. They are looking for only two things:

1. how applicants’ qualifications, experience, and skills directly meet their requirements, and,

2. the number of years of direct, relevant experience.

That’s it, and it takes only six seconds for whoever is reading your resume to find out what they need to know.

The #2 Mistake

Including every job you’ve ever had, no matter how irrelevant or long ago.
A resume isn’t meant to be an exhaustive accounting of every job you’ve ever held. The employer cares little, if at all, about anything you’ve done that is not relevant to the job he needs to fill.

Job-seekers tend to fill their resumes with all of their work experience thinking a potential employer may find some value in their previous, unrelated work experience. Not so! Employers are interested in only how you are skilled and qualified to fill the positions they need to fill. They need you to speak directly to, and only about, the job requirements listed in the job ad and how you meet them. That is all employers and recruiters are interested in!

The #3 Mistake

Listing only job duties, rather than accomplishments.
Resumes that really stand out go way beyond showing a laundry-list of job duties. Today’s resumes are all about describing accomplishments and achievements.

That doesn’t mean writing a book about what you did in each job. It means describing not only what you did, but how you did it. That can be easily accomplished in a single, meaningful sentence. Here’s a before and after:

Before:
DutyDrove crews to job sites.
Yawn.

After:
Accomplishment: Maintained a spotless safe-driving record with the company while transporting daily crews to and from job sites on time by planning routes and leaving time for unforeseen conditions.

One little sentence that packs a punch! The person reading this can visualize this applicant conscientiously driving a crew truck and making sure he gets those guys to the job site safely and on time. I love it!

It’s a single sentence packed with meaning! Once you start thinking about not only what you did, but how you did it and why you did it, you’ll easily come up with some meaningful work descriptions to wow-up your resume. Here’s some extra help on writing accomplishments.

The #4 Mistake

Making self-assessed claims about yourself.
Your resume is a document to describe experience and accomplishments only. It’s not the place to offer your opinion of yourself, like “great leadership skills” or “creative innovator.”

Hiring managers generally ignore anything subjective that an applicant writes about his- or herself because so many people’s self-assessments are wildly inaccurate. If you do have great leadership skills and that is something relevant to the job requirements, create a meaningful sentence describing how and why you are/have been a great leader. Quantify!

By describing how you gained and used your leadership skills you quantify your claim and show you have a valid definition of what a great leader is. Here’s another before and after.

Before:
SkillGreat leadership skills.
Yawn.

After:
AccomplishmentFormed, led, and motivated a five-person office-renovation committee coordinating human resources so efficiently the project was completed early and under budget.

Wow! Again, one can almost visualize this great person leading a small team to victory! They would definitely want to meet her and ask her all about it! If you cannot substantiate your claims with a simple, meaningful sentence, don’t bother laundry-listing them on your resume.

The #5 Mistake

Relying on outdated sources of advice.
Resume conventions have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. If you’re following advice or sample resumes you find on the Internet, chances are good you’re reading something outdated (or listening to someone who hasn’t written a successful resume in the past ten years).

An “Objective Statement“, is the BEST example of what not to do on your resume, yet I promise you, if you jump online right now and look up “resume samples” you’ll see dozens and dozens of resumes using an objective statement. It’s garbage!

Also, do not buy or borrow printed books on resume writing. By the time the writer finishes writing the book and it goes to publishing and finally hits the bookstore shelves, it’s outdated! e-Books, on the other hand, are great because the author can update them regularly and send the updated version to his or her readers.

I spend countless hours researching everything to do with resume-writing and job-searching. I pull information from several resources, one of which, perhaps the most reliable, is Recruiting Agencies.

These agencies would not be in business if they could not furnish their clients with qualified employees. Recruiting agency personnel are in close relationships with the employers and the HR departments who hire them to find qualified people. They know what employers are looking for, and they know, in turn, what they need to see on resumes to develop a viable pool of suitable applicants.

And that’s why I love sharing this information with my readers – I know it’s real, it’s timely, and it comes from the people “in-the-know”.

How to Avoid the 5 Mistakes Most People Make on Their Resumes

• clearly and quickly show the employer you are qualified, according to his description of qualifications provided in the job posting
• show only your work experience that is directly related to the work he needs done—not your entire irrelevant work history
• avoid throwing a bunch of meaningless words at him, but instead describe not just what you did, but how you did it, and, go a step further by describing the outcomes

The only way to get your resume past an ATS and in front of human eyes is to write in direct response to the job posting. Remember, employers and recruiters spend only about six seconds scanning resumes looking for the keywords and phrases that match those they took the time to spell out in the job description.

Why not grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! to really learn how to avoid these 5 fatal resume mistakes!

 

Resume e-Book

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& Expert Advice on:


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  • Cover Letters
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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!