What Do You Want In Resumes You Receive?

One of the social media articles which came my way this past week showcased a, “winning resume” from what they stated was a large number of submissions for an annual contest. This resume had colour, broad bands of headings, was filled with numerical stats and while visually impactful, I couldn’t help wonder about whether or not such a visually busy resume would even get by the applicant tracking software used by many employer’s.

Now if it did get by, and if it found it’s way to the people making interviewing decisions, there are a lot of people who need to start overhauling their resume designs and advice. I’ll be one of them. Hence, I think it only wise for us in the business here in Canada to check in from time to time and ask employer’s what they want in the resumes they receive.

As is always the case, it’s important when reading articles – any articles – to determine the source. I can tell you this resume winner was from the United States. Maybe resumes of such ilk are in vogue there, but in Canada, I’ve yet to see a big push for resumes that were so busy; had colour, etc. Can I make these myself? Sure I can. The question is whether I can or not, the question is really whether I should in order to give those I partner with the best competitive edge.

So it’s out there as a question; what are you looking for in the resumes you receive?


Hey, it’s nothing personal


You’ve experienced the frustration of a job loss and have decided to move on with an enthusiastic job search. Good for you!

Fast forward a couple of months and you’re still looking. Sure you’ve landed a few interviews over that time, and you’ve had conversations with hiring managers, HR personnel, even past employers. What might be eating away at you is a feeling that you’re being targeted in a negative way. You see yourself as qualified – perhaps even over qualified for some jobs yet, still you’re not getting an offer of employment.

Because it’s YOU that’s being rejected, it’s natural to take things personally. Saying things like, “What’s the matter with me?”, Why won’t they hire me?” are the kinds of statements that are personal first person statements that are more damaging than you might realize. These kind of statements are useful if they are used for self assessment and critique, but they can be dangerous if dwelled on to the point where we start imagining we’ve been blackballed by an industry or field. Hiring Managers have way too much to do these days and haven’t got the time to send out broadcast emails and make phone calls to each other, advising everyone else to pass you by. Hey, are you that important to them? Really?

Lots of people are unemployed and from time to time, we experience job cutbacks, recessions and periods of change. Many people who are employed today have recently been out of work, or will be soon. No, don’t gloat. Would you wish your experience on anybody out there?

Try and keep an objective, realistic view of your unemployment. It isn’t personal. There are so many qualified people applying for jobs these days, no matter who an employer selects from a group of applicants, you can bet there’s some among the final cuts who would have been quite capable in the position they were unsuccessful at. Keep trying. Keep applying, keep positive, and keep your focus on getting a job. The strain of unemployment doesn’t need more fuel from bitterness, blame, anger and frustration.

If you are just recently unemployed, take some small solace out of the fact that the reality of today is that because so many people are at some point between jobs, there is more general acceptance and understanding for those who find themselves out of work. The stigma of being unemployed is not as strong as it used to be. How you react to your unemployment is what people will remember and talk about, and be affected by.

Even if in your private moments you get depressed and down on yourself, try and minimize the length of time you spend in this private torment. While honesty is good, and when asked it’s okay to share your feelings with others, don’t let your sharing turn into a blast of negativity and cause your audience to shun you in the future. You’re going to need friends.

Unemployment isn’t personal. Business’s are out to improve their bottom line. Sometimes that means changing strategies, re-assessing their organizational structures and needs. This change while designed to re-position the company to be more profitable, has it’s share of unintended casualties. Your company probably didn’t restructure their organization as some plot to justify terminating your services.

Stay true to the person you are. Learn from your experience. Open yourself to new directions. Take stock of your experience, skills, assets and liabilities. Re-evaluate your priorities. Take care of yourself phyiscally and mentally.

You have a lot to offer an employer!