Owning your resumé: 10 tips to writing a good one

Who writes your resume? With the exception of very young jobseekers, people with multiple barriers or low level of English, the answer should always be “I do.”

I always say that there is no such as thing as a “perfect” resumé; a resumé would be perfect only if it works for you and for the job you want.

You will find many opinions on how to write a resumé and this may become frustrating. They used to be easier: people collected their education and work experience, added contact information, typed it all in one or two pages and, voilà, done! You may have had to compete with 10 or so candidates, but the hiring people would always know your name and you didn’t have to wait for more than a few days to receive a response. In many countries, resumés are not even required.

Things are more complex

But the job market in Canada has become increasingly competitive and resumés are now often pre-screened by robots that are programmed to look for “keywords.” Along with you, 500 or more people are applying for the same job and if you are not being considered, nobody will take the time to tell you so.

With this new competition, an army of resumé writers and counsellors have found a profession. Nothing wrong with this: the problem comes when you trust your whole job search process (including resumé and cover letters writing) to somebody else.

The result is often copy-and-paste, boring resumés that don’t say anything unique about you. If they are badly written, you will never get a response, let only a job. But if your counsellor does a good job, you may be called in for an interview … just to feel the frustration of being rejected! Why? Because you didn’t own your resumé!

Let’s be clear: if you are looking for a professional job (similar to what you had in your country of origin), you need to be able to write your own resumé and cover letters. No tricks: the level of English and business writing you’ll need in a professional job in Canada is similar or better than the level needed to write a good resumé. Grammar and spelling aside, you are the only person who knows where and how you worked, what your best skills are and how projects turned out. A counsellor can help with things like layout, synonyms and finding better ways to say the same thing, but you need to have the last word!

10 realistic tips

Here are some realistic tips to write a good resumé:

  1. Know yourself: start by creating a list of all your attributes and skills, education, experience and interests. Now select the ones that match the job you want. Leave the others out.
  2. Provide evidence of the skills you claim to have: everybody is tired of “works well as part of a team as well as independently” or “computer literate.”
  3. Describe the jobs you did in terms of projects, achievements and outcomes: offer facts, no empty clichés.
  4. Know the job you are applying to: write for the organization and their needs, borrow some of the language they use on their website or job descriptions. Make sure they notice you understand their market here in Canada.
  5. Learn and apply basic resumé standards: this can be learned in books, the internet or from good resumé workshops.
  6. Have one resumé for every job target and always tailor every resumé and cover letter you send (yes, it takes time … but looking for a good job is not an evening’s game).
  7. Education is not a guarantee of skill: employers want to read about your responsibilities and your achievements in past jobs. Leave unrelated or outdated education out of your resumé.
  8. Resumés should reflect what you say you are: if you are applying for a secretary job, you should be able to write your own resumé and show a perfect use of word processing software, including layout, format, grammar and spelling.
  9. Ask different people to read your resumé (take the job objective out of it temporarily) and provide you with feedback: people should be able to understand your experience and technical skills right away, even without seeing your job objective. This means your resumé is targeted and tailored.
  10. Different counsellors and recruiters will tell you different things about how to write or fix your resumé: don’t despair, use your common sense to decide and try the approaches you like the most.

Remember: resumés are a “brochure” about you. They tell your story when you are not there to talk. Make sure they truly represent who you are and how you want to be seen.

Argentine-born Silvia Di Blasio studied and worked in Venezuela for many years. She currently works as a certified career development practitioner in Surrey, B.C. She emphasizes sustainability through her life motto: “make a living while making a difference.”


Artical Source: http://canadianimmigrant.ca/work-and-education/owning-your-resume-10-tips-to-writing-a-good-one

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