Job search

Job search: Your resumé’s goal should be to wow

In 2021, antiquated as it may seem, employers and recruiters still ask for your resumé (afterward, they’ll visit your LinkedIn profile and check your digital footprint). I don’t foresee this changing anytime soon.

Your resumé is your primary marketing tool presenting a concise summary of your experience, skills, knowledge, credentials, and education. Envision your resume as a brochure selling what you’re able to offer employers.

It’s no secret it’s raining resumés these days; therefore, your resumé needs to be competitive. It needs to clearly show how you created value for your employers, not that you just put in clocked time.

Your resume will solicit one of three responses: no, yes, wow.

You’re aiming for wow.

There are four cardinal rules to follow to create a resume that wows:

1. Respect your reader (Be a good date for the reader)

2. Create continuity (Show career progression)

3. Show quantified results. (Employers don’t hire opinions)

4. Don’t undervalue the importance of keywords (Assume your resumé will be vetted via an applicant tracking system)

When I read a resumé, I look for answers to the following questions:

• Can I relate to your career narrative?

• How did you add value to your current and past employers?

• What is your career direction?

Of the 1,000’s of resumés I’ve read; the majority are simply a list of opinions. The predictable “I’m a team player,” “I’m a fast learner,” “I’m detailed oriented” appear on almost every resumé. Rare is the resumé that quantifies. If you can’t quantify, then it’s an opinion.

Hard truth: Employers don’t care about your opinion; they care about the results you can achieve.

What you think of yourself is a far second to what your resumé’s reader will think of you by what your resumé conveys. Just because you claim to be XYZ does not mean you are XYZ. Prove it undeniably (i.e., “Exceeded quarterly sales targets.” vs. “For the past 14 quarters exceeded quarterly sales targets by $25,000 to $45,000.”)

Businesses revolve around numbers, so should your resumé; keep this in mind when interviewing.

There’s no such thing as a “killer resumé” so don’t sweat your resumé’s format, or whether it’s in reverse chronological or functional. Focus on telling a great ongoing career story, quantifying your accomplishments, having no grammatical errors or typos, and keeping it to two-pages.

Your goal, the reason you want your resume to wow, is to make the reader say to themselves, I must meet this person!

When it comes to your resumé’s format, design it for skimmability. With a quick scan, the reader should grasp your expertise and have a solid understanding of your core skills, accomplishments (I repeat: quantified), and career direction. Since the reader’s eyes naturally return to the left margin once it’s ready to move on to the next line of text, don’t center your text. Align your text to the left, even your section headings. This significantly improves readability. Don’t justify your text. This setting leaves uneven gaps between words making the text harder to read.

You don’t earn points for creativity. All points are earned via your content. Creative resumes aren’t more effective than a two-page resume that wows. Most employers find “creativity” frustrating. As well, assuming your resume will be passing through an ATS, a resume with bells and whistles can’t be read by the computer and therefore will be discarded. Save your creativity for your portfolio.

One last word on your resumé’s format, have generous margins. Resumes with text crammed edge to edge look messy and unprofessional. Bottom and top margins should be no less than 0.5”, your side margins no less than 0.75”.

The contents to include in your resume: contact information, resumé summary, professional experience, skills/certifications and education.

I realize constructing a resumé to do all the above-mentions asks a lot from a two-page document; however, I’ve seen it done.

Nick Kossovan, a seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape in Canada, offers advice on searching for a job. Send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

Just Posted

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read