Resumes

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. Generic resumes are a waste of your time and get read only when no other qualified applicant has applied for the job. With 290,000 Albertan’s looking for jobs, employers are receiving as many 500 resumes for a single job posting. It’s safe to assume among them are some qualified applicants.

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 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!

 

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lady smiling

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!

What Are These “Accomplishments” We’re Supposed to Put on Our Resumes?

If you’re job hunting or thinking about changing careers, you may be looking around online for some help to write a decent resume. Goodness knows, there is plenty of it out there! Some of it is excellent, some of it is garbage, but what you’re probably seeing over and over is that you must talk about your accomplishments on your resume.

So. What are “accomplishments” and how do you come up with them? Let me show you a compilation of what I found online:

  • Promoted an average 30 titles per year for a niche publishing company.
  • Increased employee training participation by 50% by adapting existing curriculum into online education modules.
  • Led project coordinating office moves for 55 employees.
  • Reduced time spent on inventory by 20% by reorganizing physical storage of supplies.
  • Planned lodging and travel logistics for 20 ships per year, with 10 crew members each.

I could pick apart each of these, explaining what’s okay with each one and what’s terrible. But I won’t, because we’d be here all day. However, I will say, did you notice each of these accomplishments contains a number? Apparently numbers are impressive to whoever is reading your resume. But we don’t all have that kind of information to include in our resumes. In a previous position you may have helped increase revenues for the company in some way even though your work was not directly sales-related. But by what percentage, you probably have no idea. It is not common for employers to praise non-sales employees for increasing revenues—they would have to give them a raise along with the praise!

The reality is, most of us common folk don’t know how, or how much, we contributed to a company’s bottom line, or increased its productivity, or reduced its time spent on a project, so how do we talk about our accomplishments on our resumes? Well, it’s kind of easy because…..

An accomplishment is simply something you did

Think about your previous jobs and remember what you did in each role. Grab a notebook to jot down your memories. Really devote some time to this and use this little system to get the memories flowing. Ask yourself:

  1. What did I do on a daily basis?  Write it down as descriptively and with as much detail as you can come up with.
  2. Why did I do it? Think of your job description and your role in the company—why did the company need someone to do that job? Why did your role exist?
  3. What were the outcomes as a result of what I did?  For example, a Billings Clerk could say the outcomes of what she did was keeping the company’s cashflow fluid. She sent out the Billings that generated the money for the company, and since nothing is as important to a company as its money, this is a pretty significant outcome.
  4. Think about and remember how you did what you did. Say in that Billings position, she used customized company software to enter data from field tickets. She would scrutinize the tickets for thoroughness and accuracy and work closely with guys in the field to clarify unclear data. Maybe she referred to service contracts to verify compliance. This is how you need to think and remember—in detail!  Do not overlook little things you may think insignificant. Nothing you did was insignificant.
  5. What computer programs and/or software did you use?  What equipment? What tools? What resources? The Billings clerk couldn’t have produced invoices without using specialized company software. Nor could she have done a thorough job without communicating with the men in the field. And if she hadn’t referred to the contract, she might have missed something that should have been billed.

These are the little things we sometimes overlook when we think in general about how we did our previous jobs. But if you think in detail of all the things you did, no matter how seemingly insignificant or automatic, you will come up with some very impressive accomplishments!

Turn a boring duty into an impressive accomplishment

To give you a quick example of how to describe an accomplishment, I’ll show you the wrong way first:

Duties or Responsible for… (never say Responsible for!)

  • prepared invoices using field tickets
  • verified correct information on field tickets with field personnel
  • ensured invoices complied with services contract

Yawn

Now, the right way:

Accomplishments:

  • employed efficient time-management skills to produce three-million monthly in highly-detailed billings under rigid deadlines in fast-paced accounting department
  • meticulously followed tight guidelines to verify field-ticket accuracy and service-contract conformity resulting in recovery of an average $5000 monthly

Notice how we actually did manage to get some numbers into these descriptions! It takes deep thinking, reflection, and remembering to come up with these descriptive accomplishments, and it’s worth the time and effort. Here’s the magic formula: what you did, how you did it, and what the outcome was. Why not grab your FREE copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! to really learn how to do this! It has loads of examples!

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lady smiling

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!

Calgary Job Fair

CALGARY JOB FAIR

Who Will Be There? Here's the List So Far

Calgary Job Fair has published its list of participating employers in the January 28th job fair taking place at Calgary’s NE Radisson. It’s an interesting line up so far and, with a few days remaining before the event, additional companies may be added. Click below to check it out.

Yes! Jobs in Calgary!

Calgary’s first big job fair of the year will be held on January 28th, 2020. This well-attended event is organized and presented by Jobs Canada Fair and is a must-attend event for Calgary job-seekers. Whether you are actively job-searching or considering switching jobs in the new year, don’t miss this one – it’s a BIG one!

The strategic timing of this big event is perfect for both you and the employers looking to fill positions within their companies. You need to work and they need people to come to work – win/win! Career Expert, Rick Gillis, gives us a look at why January and February are the best months of the year to get hired:

And that’s why Jobs Canada Fair is holding it’s first big event of the year this January. If you’re a job-seeker in Calgary, mark your calendar:

Tuesday, January 28, 2020, from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Radisson, 6620 – 36th Street NE.

This isn’t an industry-specific job fair – previous years have seen companies in retail, restaurant/hospitality, tourism, construction, finance, IT, healthcare, telecommunications, logistics, manufacturing, and much more. Staffing/recruiting agencies will be present, as well as colleges and training schools, and Immigration Canada representatives are expected be on hand as well. If you’ve never been to a job fair, take a look at this quick video to see what it’s all about:

Calgary’s upcoming Job Fair is a fantastic opportunity to get in front of who’s hiring.

It’s an invitation to come out and meet hiring decision-makers face-to-face – an opportunity job-seekers seldom get in this era of “the black hole” (a.k.a. ATSs). Getting your resume accepted by company representatives right there at the event opens doors to even more opportunities to follow up after the meet ‘n greet. You’ll be gathering business cards, complete with the names of the hiring managers you can contact after the show, in the event you don’t get interviewed on the spot.

Some small job fairs do provide opportunities to be interviewed on the spot, but the Calgary Job Fair is not likely one of them. This big event is attended by hundreds, if not thousands, and the company representatives simply won’t have the time to conduct in-depth, on-the-spot interviews. At best, you may be invited to an interview in the company’s offices at a later date, which is still fantastic!

So, here are a few things you can, and should do, to get the most out of the Calgary Job Fair. 

So, let's talk about your resume for a minute.

You’re going to a big job fair where a lot of different industries will be represented by a lot of different companies. How can you write a resume that will appeal to several different company reps in several different industries? The short answer is: write several different resumes. 

I think I just heard a groan. Listen, it’s not as daunting as it sounds – if you know what you’re doing. I can help you with that. In fact, I did help you with that. I developed a short e-book called A Few Quick Tips that will show you how to “tweak” your resumes in a short-cut way. When you follow my simple, tried-and-true” method to resume-writing, you will give each of your resumes the impact they will need to impress the company reps you will approach at the Calgary Job Fair. You might be surprised by how simple this method is, so why not grab a copy and give yourself the best shot you can at getting invited to interviews?

If you’re still groaning, I urge you to realize that even though the Calgary Job Fair is a fantastic opportunity to see who’s hiring and meet hiring decision-makers…


While it’s true many Calgary companies either did away with or reduced bonuses four or five years ago, people still hold-off on looking for a new job until January because they know companies have determined their hiring budgets by January and February. So they wait, and now they’re out there, increasing your competition, which is already crazy-fierce in Calgary.

Here’s the thing: a lot of your fellow job-seekers are willing to put in the effort to write up a few different resumes to give themselves the absolute best competitive advantage they can get, so if you are going to compete, at least grab A Few Quick Tips and give it a good, honest effort.

Differentiate yourself from the masses. Give the company reps a reason to remember you and a reason to put your resume up for consideration with the other hiring decision-makers in his company.

So, mark your calendar: Tuesday, January 28, 2020, from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Radisson, 6620 – 36th Street NE, Calgary, Alberta, and grab A Few Quick Tips to Get Your Resumes Job-Fair-Ready. Good luck at the event – I hope you get the interviews you want!

Resume Tips

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& Expert Advice on:


  • Resume-Writing

  • Cover Letters

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    & More!


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When you request your copy of  A FEW QUICK TIPS, you’ll automatically be on the list to get notified of the Calgary Job Fair’s participating employers!

lady smiling

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!