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  • Writer's pictureGrace Simpson



According to Ceridian's Pulse of Talent Report released in December 2018, a lot of people in Canada and the U.S. are interested in a new job! Over 70% of respondents expressed active or passive interest in pursuing a new position with 37% of respondents looking actively or casually and another 36% open to a new position if they were approached.

37% of respondents are looking actively or casually and another 36% are open to a new position if they were approached.

Whether you are applying online to open roles, networking at events or spreading the word that you are interested in future opportunities, almost every potential employer at some point will request a copy of your resume. I have done my fair share of hiring, from working in Human Resources and also being a Hiring Manager. There are a few things that can make the biggest difference on whether you move to the next phase or not. Here are the top three things you should double check before hitting submit.

Watch your formatting

While your mother's stew may be the most delicious dish, it takes a really clever photographer to make stew look Instagram worthy (and not a pot of brown mush!). It is the same thing for your resume.

If at first glance your formatting is terrifying (I am talking mismatched indents, different font sizing, awkward spaces and margins) then this can make the hiring manager question your ability to deliver quality in the job you are applying for. The good news is that a well formatted resume affords more space for your skills and experience.

Look at the same below to see what I mean.

The example on the left has less content, but takes up a lot more space on the page due to how it is formatted. See how the example on the right has all dates, bullets and indents aligned? These little touches highlight your attention (or lack there of!) to detail.

Use the additional space on your resume to share your technical qualifications, add an 'interests' section or provide more details on your work experience.

Match your resume to the job requirements

You need to customize your resume for every single job for which you are applying. What exactly does this mean? It means matching the job posting requirements with the list of skills and experience on your resume. And since every job posting is a little bit different, you likely need to tweak your resume for each application.

But, is this not a lot of work you ask,? Yes, it is. Job searching is a lot of work! The good news is that you do not need to adjust every line item.

I recommend having a "core" resume with the basics covered (education, work experience, technical experience, etc.). Then, review the job posting in detail and highlight specific requirements (I.e. experience managing external vendors, strong Ruby on Rails coding experience, technical proficiency with Excel). For the areas where your experience intersects with the job requirements, but sure to include these bullets and key words in your resume.

For example, in your last role, you may have only spent 10% of your time managing external vendors, so it makes sense to not always include these points on every job application (you know, the whole space constraint thing). But, when a job is looking for a specific requirement and you do have that experience, you are doing yourself a disservice by leaving it out if you do not customize your resume for this particular role.

Talk about your accomplishments, not your core job

There is no doubt that the title of your role really stands out on your resume. Job titles and descriptions are used in a lot of applicant tracking software systems to match profiles and they also draw the eye of the Hiring Manager and/or Recruiter for a basic match. But, stand out resumes go further than just providing a job title and job description.

For example, think of a cashier. Everyone knows what a cashier does and the basic responsibilities. But, what the recruiter wants to know is about YOU as a cashier (not about a generic cashier).

When I was out of work after Target went bankrupt, there were at least 300 people with the exact same job title and responsibilities as me looking for work. Talk about overwhelming. Make sure to take the time to highlight what you did in your role that made a difference to the company's performance.

One more thing, be sure to have a friend review your resume before you submit an application. Nothing stands out more than spelling or grammar errors.


Ps. Feel reach to reach out to me if you want someone to have a peek at your resume. I would love to help!

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