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Careers & Job Skills

December 2017

3 Reasons Why No One is Seeing Your Resume

6 Online Resources to Help Boost Your Career

How to Ace a Panel Interview

3 Reasons Why No One is Seeing Your Resume

By Ozzie Saunds

You read an exciting job posting and apply, hoping to get a response from the company, but unfortunately you’re left feeling frustrated, thinking days later, “How come they didn’t phone me about the position after I sent them my resume?”

Here are some of the most likely reasons why no one is even looking at the resume that you’re sending to potential employers.

Your resume is not optimized for computer scanning software

With the growth of the internet, the way we find and apply for available positions has dramatically changed over the past decade. With just a few clicks of a button, a job seeker can upload or email their qualifications to an online job board or HR personnel. With the increased ability to apply for more jobs in a shorter amount of time, hiring managers and recruiters have to deal with a lot more applications per open position.

To cope, they have turned to recruiting software and applicant tracking systems to help them screen out resumes that don’t seem like a good fit. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) and recruiting software operates by linking keywords found in resumes to qualifications required to perform jobs. The computer software, after scanning resumes, recommends to hiring managers which resumes have been deemed worthy to be viewed by human eyes, potentially saving them valuable time. Job seekers who do not know how the job hiring process works, but whom are potentially qualified to perform the job, unfortunately get the electronic boot.

You don’t have a core competency or key qualifications section

Incorporate a section called “core competencies” or “key qualifications” near the top of your resume, which will illustrate that you have the qualifications required to do the job. This will also allow the recruiting software to find the keywords it is looking for early on in the resume scanning process. Keep it short: approximately 12 words. The trick,  though, it to use the right words, and for that, you’ll need to read the job description closely.

Which brings us to…

You’re not customizing your resume for each job application

Pay close attention to the key qualifications or mandatory skills section of job postings. What words are they using to describe this position, its tasks, and requirements? To get noticed, make sure your resume is using the same kind of language, throughout your work experience and education, and within your core competencies and key qualifications section.

Your resume does not incorporate a diverse set of industry terminology

When you’re looking for a job, read as many job postings as you can – even for jobs that you are not applying for. I know that sounds crazy, but it can be very informative.

By reading a lot of job postings within your career set, you’ll get a good understanding of the industry terms used to describe the skills and candidates organizations are looking for. These terms also tend to be the words applicant tracking software programs pick up on. For example, if you are looking for a job in sales, keywords like business development and account management might be very useful to have in your resume – and you’ll know that by getting yourself informed.

On that note, make sure to look out for relevant online courses, webinars, and local networking events. Not only will this increase your network of contacts, it will also keep you up-to-date on the latest issues and tech innovations. Knowledge of both can then be used to make your resume (and cover letter) stand out.

Ozzie Saunds is the founder/owner of Resume Toronto and the InspiredMinds Group.

6 Online Resources to Help Boost Your Career

By Madisyn Mckee

The job market is constantly changing and you need to keep up in order to stay relevant. One of the best ways to do this is by learning new skills. You’re probably thinking, where on Earth am I going to find time to learn a new skill with the other million things I have to do? The great news is, there are so many resources available to you online, and many of them have courses that you can watch in an hour.

So whether you’re looking at changing careers entirely or just expanding your knowledge, you can actually do it. After all, you have to take lunch, right? Why not plug in your headphones, dig into your lunch and learn at the same time?

University of Toronto

University Toronto is one of the biggest research and teaching universities in North America, and it provides online learning tools and free on a variety of topics like; computer science, engineering, science, health, and many more. By signing up, you’ll have access to the videos, reading material, and even quizzes to see how well you’re retaining the information.


Udemy is probably the most well-known website for online courses. You’ll find courses for everything under the sun here. While there are many courses you’ll have to pay for, they have one of the largest databases of free courses. Courses range from five minutes to an hour or two, perfect for watching over your lunch break. The selection may seem a bit overwhelming at first but try narrowing it down by looking at reviews. Because Udemy is an open platform, where anyone and everyone can create their own course, make sure to read reviews for legitimacy and relevancy of the course material.

Rosetta Stone

Being able to put another language on your resume looks great for an employer. While it’s not a free resource, Rosetta Stone is known as being one of the best resources when it comes to learning a new language. Spending your lunch break learning a new language can come in handy, especially in a bilingual country like Canada.

ITunes U

If you aren’t yet using ITunes U, you’re missing out. Apple works with some of the biggest universities and colleges in the United States to provide free access to course material. This is another space you could learn just about anything. The material is made for all types of learning abilities as it’s a mix of video, audio, and reading material. Download the app to your IPhone and subscribe to any course or institution you want. Heck, you could even listen in on your commute to and from work.

Khan Academy

Khan is a completely free platform for all users. The website is intended for learning basic skills but it can be a great place to brush up on things you already learned. Let’s be honest, who actually remembers what they learned in grade 11 physics? Khan Academy is also a great format for those looking at going back to school. If you’re hoping to complete an MBA program, Khan Academy offers amazing resources to learn about higher education admissions, as well as ways to prep for your GMAT.

Yale University

One of America’s most prestigious universities is now accessible to everyone. You can make your way through an entire course at Yale lecture by lecture on your lunch breaks. Each lecture is roughly an hour long and comes with associated reading material. The university has some of the most diverse subjects available for the general public.

Lunch and learns

A lot of companies are now encouraging lunch and learns for their employees. The concept is pretty simple; employees get together over lunch to learn about each other’s roles or to learn new skills. The best way to go about this is to have a dedicated speaker per session. Typically, they will put together a PowerPoint and teach their co-workers new skills to help them do their job. Not only is this a great way to learn, it’s also a great team-building exercise. Just remember to make sure there is time for questions at the end as well!

Let us know what skills you’re planning on learning over your lunch break!


How to Ace a Panel Interview

By Lauren Pelley

Panel interviews are increasingly common — but they can feel a bit like performing in front of Olympic judges.

A panel interview is a formal job interview arrangement where, instead of one hiring manager asking questions, there are several people simultaneously interviewing a job candidate. That could mean a rep for Human Resources, a senior manager, and your potential boss-to-be, for instance.

While this style of job interview can be more efficient for both sides, there’s definitely a lot of stress involved. So how do you keep your cool when multiple people are firing questions at you from across a table?

Career coaches say there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Lee Weisser, senior career counsellor at Careers By Design, says the more you know about someone interviewing you, the better. She recommends asking the names of all the panel members and doing some background research by looking them up on LinkedIn.

That way you can learn about their current roles and work experience, and get a sense of anything you may have in common — like shared interests, or the same alma mater. It’s a good way to figure out ways you can stand out and personalize your answers, Weisser says.

You also want to do your homework so you know what each panelist is hoping to gain from the interview, says Mark Franklin, practice leader of CareerCycles and co-founder of One Life Tools.

“An HR person on the panel may be more concerned with questions about fit, while a technical manager may be more concerned with your technical skills,” he says.

Pay attention to the whole panel

There’s no question — facing a panel interview can be overwhelming. But experts say it’s important to maximize your face time with all the panelists.

“Make eye contact with the person who’s asking the question first, then move along and try to glance at each person,” suggests Weisser. At the end of your answer, circle back and make eye contact one more time with the panelist who asked the question, she adds.

Franklin agrees that job candidates should give equal attention to all the panelists. “Person A may be asking the question, but Person B and C will be interested in the answer,” he says.

Stay calm and collect your thoughts

So what do you do if you’re feeling a bit frazzled by the rapid-fire questions from multiple people? It’s important to stay calm and collected, Franklin says, and that can mean slowing down, glancing up to the ceiling for a moment, or simply asking to collect your thoughts.

Sarah Vermunt, founder of career coaching company Careergasm and author of Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work, recommends bringing a water bottle or pen to the interview. Whenever you spot the object out of the corner of your eye — it’s a chance to look away from the panelists, and gives you a visual cue to take a deep breath and stay calm.

She also says it’s important to just relax and be yourself. “If you’re in a panel situation and you’re trying to calculate how to impress each individual, you’re not listening to the questions, you’re not actually calming down enough to provide good answers,” she says.

Follow up — with every panelist

And the bottom line after a panel interview? Follow-up with each panelist, either with a thank-you card or email.

Franklin recommends finding out the contact information for the individuals who interviewed you — you can usually just ask HR — or, instead, you can send one message to your main contact and ask them to pass it on.

Either way, don’t skip the “thank you.”