As the saying goes, you never get a second chance at a first impression.
For those who are new to the working world, or haven't pursued a job for a while, Greg Scileppi, president of International Staffing Operations at Robert Half International, says you should recognize your resume is the first opportunity to grab the hiring manager's attention – so it clearly has to demonstrate why you should be considered for the role. Take the time to customize the application to the job description, highlight your relevant skills and experience if you are looking to stand out and increase your chances of getting the call back for the interview.
Karl Berger, senior wealth consultant and director at Cidel Asset Management, told BNN you should also be prepared to know at least a little bit about the comapny you hope to join heading into an interview.
Here is a section-by-section breakdown of resume best practices along with some real-life responses from job seekers Robert Half has come across that should not be emulated:
Do: Include basic information, name phone number, email address and link to your LinkedIn profile
Don't: Add protected or sensitive details such as age, race, date of birth, social insurance number, marital status or religion. Humour often falls flat. Here are some examples of what to avoid:
- "Marital status: None that I know of."
- "Important note: The fastest way to get to get in touch with me is through email because my laptop is attached to my hip."
Do: Lead with a concise overview of your most impressive qualifications emphasizing skills and achievements most pertinent to the position.
Don't: Offer empty statements that add little insight into your top selling points. While short and sweet is great, clearly details should have been included in these responses:
- "Summary: I need a job."
- "Summary: I qualify for this position."
- "Summary: Ability to think outside the box."
Do: Highlight the institution you attended, degree earned and optionally the month and year you graduated.
Don't: Include you grade average or relevant course. These responses didn't make the grade:
- Education: I didn't achieve much. Schools did little to challenge me, so I didn't put in much effort or I'll be honest, I learn from experience, not the classroom.
Do: Focus on your responsibilities and the positive impact you have made in the past. Convert statements that merely describe your job into duties that shine the spotlight on specific accomplishments. Highlight specific skills that dovetail nicely with the job you are applying for and pay attention to the soft skills
Don't: List down every job you have ever done. Avoid vague wording such as participating in or was responsible for and use powerful verbs such as created, led, initiated or increased. Don't waste space being vague, or pretentious and be sure to proofread everything.
Finally, understand that not all accomplishments are created equally and focus in on the ones that connect to your career.