For a supertight scheduled weekend, I was able to surprisingly find some free time for myself. Having nothing to do, I brewed a cup of freshly ground Zavida Hazelnut for myself and started reviewing some of the resumes that presented themselves on my Windows desktop. As I reviewed them and looked for references to make additions and corrections, I came across my own resume, the first ever that I made in Canada, and felt nostalgic about my journey from a 4-and-a-half page long resume of absolutely everything I've ever done to a now 1-page customized career description of only those skills that my employer is interested in.
With another sip of coffee, I retrospected what triggered my journey of shortening and customizing my resume that could help my clients as well as anyone who is interested in knowing how to best represent themselves on paper. Here are 3 things that still work for me:
It is not about me - What does Pepsi do when it makes its Superbowl commercials? It does not advertise the original Pepsi Pepsi. But, it talks about Pepsi Zero Sugar - Done Right. Pepsi wants her audience to enjoy the game with the beverage and without the calories. Now, if you are Pepsi, the 8.5"x11" size paper is your advertisement canvas and the hiring manager is your audience, what do you want them to know about you?
How can I help - Those are the 4-magic words that help me highlight those aspects of my skills and work experience that can benefit my hiring manager and allow me to put my best foot forward through my resume.
KISs - I cannot stress enough over this over-stressed acronym - KEEP IT SIMPLE, silly! I don't need to burden my resume with complex graphics and obscure adjectives. My suggestion is to keep it simple and straightforward with the information presented in a neat and crisp tempo. Ensure your name and contact details are right there on the top, followed by the position you are applying you, your key skills and your experience that is critically desired by your hiring manager. Simplicity will take to great distances, including through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
With the resumes all done, I looked at my empty cup of coffee. And that is when I realized what my first step was in learning about the Canadian job market. It was to empty my resume - and refill it in the context of Canadian job search principles.