If you’re an active job seeker, you’ve probably learned by now that the resume is the most important piece in your job search toolkit. This document must highlight your professional experience and achievements, and what makes you the right fit for the role. It’s how well you’ve presented the information in it that dictates whether or not you get contacted for an interview.
Resume mistakes can cost you your dream role
The resume thus is crucial. Imagine the damage any mistakes you make in this first stage can cause you. Oftentimes, when we focus on the bigger picture, we fail to notice the small blunders we might be making along the way. In this article, we will tell you about what to do instead of the common resume mistakes that you could be making.
For newcomers to Canada, some of the following might be acceptable or even the norm in their home countries, but in Canada, these could hurt your application. So, let’s correct those resume mistakes, shall we?
#1: Follow the 2-page rule
Haven’t you ever turned the pages of a book to see how long a chapter is? Well, the recruiters and HR professionals do that with your resumes! They’ve got tons of applications to skim through. And so, no matter how well you’ve documented your career highs if the resume is too long, it’s likely to make it to the ‘Reject’ pile on their desk.
This may not be true for all HRs and recruiters out there, but a multiple-page resume is not worth the risk. “Try to keep your resume to two pages. We hurt ourselves by going on too long. Summarize your core responsibilities and present your career highlights. Clearly showcase your contributions to your previous roles,” says Amy Davies, CEO & Founder of First 30 Inc. that offers engaging onboarding and outplacement experiences.
“It is a matter of preference (for some recruiters). If the candidate is a senior executive, I’m okay with the resume being 3 pages. But in general, stick to 2 pages,” adds Rebecca Lee, a Senior Recruitment Consultant.
#2: Ditch the tables & charts
We’ve been taught to present information in tables and charts for easy comprehension. Well, as much as it applies to reports and work presentations, it isn’t true for your resume. In most cases, your application goes through ATS – an applicant tracking system – before being screened by the hiring manager or HR. So, remember to keep the layout simple and easy for the machine to scan. An ATS-compliant resume is clean, not heavily formatted, and easy on the eyes. “The tables and charts don’t actually look very nice. It can end up being very jumbled up and not very clear,” says Rebecca.
If you’re one to randomly bold parts of the text throughout your resume or use capital letters to catch the reviewer’s attention, she strongly advises against it.
#3: No room for spelling errors
Shake your head all you want thinking that you’ve never done this! But the truth is that most of us can miss grammar and punctuation errors, especially when we’re focused on summarizing the professional achievements within 2 pages, remember? Maybe you’ve never made mistakes in your resume but it doesn’t hurt to double-check. Amy recommends using a free online writing tool that scans through your resume, LinkedIn profile, emails, etc., and suggests suitable tweaks. “It’s natural to make mistakes. So, I use Grammarly. Not many people realize if there’s a typo in their resume or LinkedIn headline. If I see one, I always let them know but these mistakes are easily avoidable,” says Amy.
#4: Do not overshare information
Newcomers and to-be immigrants to Canada, take note of this one. In many countries, the resume is expected to include your picture, school grades, full postal address, marital status, etc. Not in Canada! It’s important that you submit an application in the Canadian format; it shows you understand the market and how things function here. “I come across several resumes that have a lot of personal details provided such as father’s name, date of birth, nationality, and sometimes even passport and SIN. Please do not share any of that when you are applying for jobs in Canada,” says Rebecca. “Your experience, location, and contact number/ email are all I really need to know. I can always request any additional information that may be required at a later stage,” she adds.
#5: Take the keyword route to pass through ATS
Remember, the ATS scans your resume. It searches for keywords. “The ATS, as well as hiring managers, look for keywords from the job description, so when you’re listing your skills, you want to make sure that you match the job ad,” advises Rebecca. Besides informing them about you, your job is as much to package this information well so that even if a few seconds is all that one looks at your resume, the important words stand out and draw their attention.
Looks like there’s just one more thing left to say. All the best!
Also check out: Magnet for job seekers: Building your online resume
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