What Makes a Great Resume

Posted: 12.01.2015
The difference between a great resume and an acceptable resume can be measured in dollars; thousands of dollars. Great resumes attract great opportunities and average ones get lost in the shuffle of daily business activity. What makes a great resume is very subjective.
Recently I offered some resume advice to a job seeker, whose resume needed some help to get him a first interview. His response was, “just get me the interview and I will take care of making a great impression in person.” Sadly this is a very common error in judgment. Busy hiring managers have minimal time to meet with candidates and even fewer have time to gamble.

The hiring process follows a traditional model of: A) sending a resume and cover letter in response to an advertisement from a website or career paper like Toronto Jobs, B) the hiring manager then screens hundreds of resumes and cover letters (estimated total time to make a first impression? Less than 10 seconds), C) the hiring manager looks at the top 3% of resumes (usually selected for perfect cover letters and resume formats, along with clear experience). Meetings are booked with the top 3. Only 3 out of hundreds - the rest get shredded.

Yes, less than a 1% chance of getting that very important first meeting. Can using a recruiter help? Yes, if a recruiter is impressed with your experience, they might offer a candidate some feedback and suggest a few improvements. This is an excellent time to make notes and use the suggestions.

Rachel Burns, Marketing Coordinator, TorontoJobs.ca offers the following advice; “Your resume is the first and far most important document towards getting the job that you want! TorontoJobs.ca connects thousands of job seekers and employers each year through the new and evolving way of job searching “on-line”. You may think applying to hundreds of jobs online will land you your “dream job” but if you don’t have an effective resume, standing out amongst other job seekers can be very challenging.” The finished product should look outstanding. Make sure your resume is neat, proof read for spelling errors and be honest!

Hiring a professional resume consultant is a great idea and worth the investment. Colleen Clarke, Canadian Resume & Career Consultant and author is one of the very few professionals who takes time to meet with clients in person. A resume reviewed by her company, Colleen Clarke & Associates, is worth many times the price.

Colleen offers the following advice;
  1. Tailor each resume to each position applied for. Don’t re-write it but move bullet points around so the skills that are most important to that hiring company are easy to find.
  2. No spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes, not even one.
  3. You basically get hired for the skills you have used or acquired in the past 6 – 12 months. No need to list accomplishments in positions over 12 – 15 years old.
Would you spend $100 take make $1,000? Ask yourself how important a raise is or how much more you could earn. Consider it an investment that will pay off in the first month or two. Take the time to make your resume look as professional as you are.

Having a great resume can be measured in both dollars and happiness because getting the ideal position with a great company is a wonderful experience. Look your best on paper.

An Article by: Michael Hudson, Senior Consultant, Sales for Life (www.salesforlife.com), Colleen Clarke, Resume & Career Consultant, Colleen Clarke & Associates (www.colleenclarke.com); TorontoJobs.ca (www.torontojobs.ca)
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