Our Top 5 Resume Writing Tips

Whether you're unhappy with your job but curious what is out there, it's always good to know what the market is like. That's why our third workshop of the year  focused on resumes! We've been waiting for this event to happen for so long. With a cool boardroom to work in at Workplace One hosted by Kathryn Torangeau, People and Culture Manager at Wave and former recruiter at Randstad Canada, she steered us through the ins-and-outs of the modern job hunt. The night could not have gone better! For those of your who couldn't make out on a rainy November night, here are the top 5 resume writing tips from our workshop to help you keep your resume fresh. You never know when an opportunity will strike!

1. Identify your motivation

Why are you looking for a job? No, seriously. Almost everyone wants to make money, but identify what your other goals are when looking at job postings. Do you want to develop specific skills or gain certain experience? Knowing what you really want will help you to tailor your resume but also find the right job for you.

2. Use job search tools

Online job searching tools have become pretty common but which ones will bring you the best opportunities? Here's our short list.

  • Monster - One of the giants! It includes jobs from Canada and the U.S. which employers post directly.
  • Workopolis - Based in Canada, this is another big site which employers will creating listings on.
  • Indeed - Definitely the most popular right now. Indeed is an aggregator which means all the postings on it are pulled from other websites, making it a great way to search widely in one place.
  • LinkedIn - You have an account anyway (and if you don't, get one!) and because HR reps and recruiters spend a lot of time checking out candidates on LinkedIn they post their jobs on their too. Good news - LinkedIn is smart so the more you fill out your profile the more likely it is to find jobs that match and bring them to you.

3. Decipher the job description

Really pay attention to the job posting you want to apply to. Print it out or make a copy of it in Word then go through and highlight any repeated words. Skills or tasks which are repeated 2+ times are a sure sign that this is what the hiring manager is really looking for. Make sure you use those same words in your resume (always being truthful!), recruiters don't care if you use the same words back at them. In fact, mirroring someone's speech patterns or body language often builds rapport and people don't mind it as much as you think they do. Make sure you balance it though, you still have to be yourself - don't just copy and paste.

4. Write a brand statement

When you Google resume templates or look for guides on how to write resumes you may come across a section called the "Objective." It's a statement at the top which usually says you are seeking such and such a job in field x, y, or z. The problem is this isn't adding any value to your resume and  you're starting off with telling the hiring manager something that they already know. Instead, start off your resume with something that differentiates you: a brand statement. A brand statement is a short summary 1-2 sentences long which highlights what value you are offering an employer while showing your personality. It should be your go-to answer when someone asks you to describe what you do.

5. Stay away from cliches

Team player. Go-getter. Innovative. Self-starter. These are all words that we know hiring managers want to hear but the problem is they have been way overused. Think about how you would define what you're describing yourself as and then spell it out. Suddenly, what you can do is a lot clearer. For example, what does it actually mean to be a team player? It means you're likely someone who listens, gives and receives feedback well, collaborates with others and doesn't put themselves before the team. Doesn't that sound more interesting than a "team player"?

What are some of your tips to keep your resume fresh?

Catherine is a storyteller, communications specialist, and blogger. When she isn't corporately communicating she is spreading her love of Canlit through her blog Hot Pepper Latte or lifting weights so she can read big books for longer periods of time. You can follow her online @cat_vendryes