Written by Arcelia Camacho, PMP
The purpose of your resume is to get a job interview. That is why your resume has to be tailored to the job description, achievement-oriented, and error-free. Here’s how you can write a resume that gives the employer confidence in inviting you to interview.
Gather your keywords. When you read the job description, write down the keywords that are used most often, and then include them in your work experience bullet points. Hiring managers and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) use keywords to short-list candidates.
A chronological resume is better. Employers know that candidates use functional resumes when they have gaps in their employment history, and that is why this strategy does not always work. If you have gaps in your career history, fill them with project-based, academic or volunteering activities.
Make your resume skimmable. Help yourself and the hiring manager by adding headings to the different sections of your resume: professional summary, core skills, employment history, education and professional development. Headings make it easier for recruiters to find the information that matters to them and to put your resume on the “YES” pile.
Add only the necessary contact information. You need to add your name, email address, and a phone number. Some employers conduct phone interviews to short-list candidates. You do not need to include your mailing address in your resume. Some candidates who are living overseas provide a Canadian phone number that forwards calls to their local number. If you are opting for forwarding calls to your local number, include your arrival date in Canada and your availability for interviews in your cover letter.
Write a professional summary. You have 6 seconds to catch the hiring person’s attention. Add your professional summary at the top of your resume and include the must-have position requirements. Let’s say you are applying for a Project Manager position in the banking sector. The job requires three years of experience in Project Management, a certification in Agile methodologies, and three years of supervisory experience. Your professional summary could look like this:
Agile certified, project management professional with 5+ experience in credit risk management. Led a fifteen-person team and managed concurrent projects worth 3 million dollars.
Write an achievement-oriented employment history. Focus your bullet points on your achievements rather than your duties. A duty describes what you did, and an achievement describes how well you did it.
For example, a duty is “Migrate users from local servers to corporate ones.”
Let’s rewrite it as an accomplishment: “Migrate 2,000 users from local servers to corporate Unix DCS servers in two months, half the timeframe given for this project.”
Don’t add words to your resume if they cannot be measured. Passionate, expert, hard-working and detailed-oriented are vague words that might not impress hiring decision-makers. For example, if you want to express that you are “experienced,” be specific about the number of years you have worked in a particular sector or industry and your specialties.
Proofread your resume. The Microsoft spelling and grammar corrector does not flag words that are correctly spelled. “Tour” instead of “your,” “though” instead of “through” are some examples of mistakes you could leave on your resume if you only use the spelling and grammar corrector. It is better to print out a copy of your resume and review it word by word with fresh eyes. It is also a good practice to ask a trusted friend to proofread your resume.