Update These 5 Items on
By Debra Auerbach,
When it comes to your resume, it’s smart
to periodically revisit and refresh it, even if you aren’t looking for a
new job at that moment. Having a current resume will come in handy
should you find yourself in a position where you need or want a new job
No need to panic that your resume needs a
total overhaul. There are a few basic items that you can update easily.
Here are five:
1. Contact information
This might seem like an obvious one,
but if you haven’t touched your resume in a while, you may still
have your old address or cellphone number on there. Also, check to
see which email address you’ve included; you want the email address
on your resume to be as professionally sounding as possible. If your
email address is still firstname.lastname@example.org, it’s time to
create a new one. Consider [first name].[last name]@hotmail.com
2. Objective statement
Your objective statement may be
up-to-date, well thought out and well written. The problem? You have
an objective statement in the first place. Objective statements are
outdated and are being replaced by professional summaries or
summaries of qualifications. The difference between the two is that
objective statements talk about what you want in a job; professional
summaries recap your job-seeker “brand” and explain why you’re the
right fit for the position in question. Since this is usually the
first thing hiring managers will read on your resume, you want to
make sure it grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more
about your skills and qualifications.
3. Skills/areas of
The skills or areas of expertise
section is usually where you list out in bullets everything you’re
proficient at; so anything from a certain Web design program you’ve
mastered to your negotiating skills. Take a look at your list to
make sure you can still confidently say you excel at all those
skills, and see if there are any new skills you’ve acquired that
you’d like to add. Also think about the “So what?” for each skill
listed; if you can’t answer or speak in depth about your expertise,
don’t include it. Something else to consider? Removing this section
all together and incorporating your skills into the professional
summary/summary of qualifications section.
You may be proud of your 3.9 GPA or
that you graduated with honors. And if you’re entry level, you
should include such achievements, along with relevant coursework, on
your resume. However, if you’re an experienced job seeker, it’s no
longer necessary to mention your GPA or go into specifics about what
classes you took as an undergrad. Instead, keep this section simple,
listing the college you went to and its location, the degree(s) you
graduated with and years attended.
Of course, if you recently went back
to school to obtain a post-graduate degree or certification, that
information should be included, especially if it shows how you have
gained skills that will help you succeed at the job for which you’re
With the limited amount of space that
you have to include your entire work and education history, it can
be tempting to use a ton of different font sizes, bullets and
section breaks to break up the content and keep it organized. If
your resume looks like an eye sore, it’s time for a formatting
refresh. Sleek and simple is the name of the game — use easy-to-read
fonts and clean formatting. You can use all caps or a different font
color to emphasize section headers, but keep it consistent and stick
with basic colors such as blue.
Sure, change is never easy, but with a
few simple updates to your resume, you’ll be in good shape to tackle a
new job search — whether that’s a few days, months or years down the
The Pros of Parttime Jobs
By Matthew Tarpey,
For many recent graduates, life isn’t
going exactly as planned. The rocky job market has many wondering when
they’ll put their education to use at a real, full-time job. But rather
than simply accept unemployment until things turn around, they should
consider taking a part-time position.
There are a number of reasons why recent
grads should look more seriously at part-time jobs. Chief among them is
money. It never hurts to have a little income, and it’ll get your
parents off your back. Student loan debts may be due soon, plus the
sooner you’re able to start saving money, the sooner you’ll be able to
move out of your parents’ house. Not to mention having an active social
life requires having cash.
Filling a resume gap
But the benefits go much deeper than
funding weekend partying and staving off financial problems. A
part-time job shows prospective employers that you can take life
seriously and be proactive. Employers may question gaps in a
candidate’s resume, especially ones that stretch over a long period
of time. Show employers that you’re responsible by taking a
part-time job to help pay off your student loans while looking for
more permanent employment.
Gaining experience in
your field of interest
When researching part-time positions,
look for ones that would give you experience in your desired field
and possibly introduce you to professional contacts that may be
useful down the road. For many employers, a candidate’s prior
experience is an important factor, and professional referrals remain
the most trusted and widely used method among hiring managers for
filling vacancies. A part-time job in a related field is often more
beneficial than a full-time position in an unrelated one.
Even if your part-time job isn’t in
your desired field, it is still a good way to round out a resume, as
well as prove you’re a driven self-starter. It may also lead to
letters of recommendation, which will be invaluable in your job
time-management and organization skills
Taking a part-time job will also help
in your quest to find sustainable employment in less direct ways,
such as improving your time management. With nothing to do each day
but fill out the odd job application and make a phone call or two,
it’s easy for an unemployed job seeker to get distracted and
disorganized. A part-time job can help create structure that is
likely to spill over into the rest of your life and prepare you for
a full-time schedule.
A part-time job makes a great transition
into the hustle and bustle of the daily work force. So, while it may not
be what you originally wanted, any chance to put yourself to work, fill
resume gaps and build worthwhile experience should be looked at as an
Questions You Should Be Asking
By Selena Dehne, JIST
When interviewing, many candidates don’t
realize that the questions they ask are just as important as how they
present themselves and the answers they give. Failing to ask questions
shows a lack of genuine interest in the job. Asking foolish questions
indicates the candidate didn’t do enough research prior to the
interview. Making either mistake can cost a candidate the job offer.
Heather Krasna, author of “Jobs That
Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service,” advises job
seekers to prepare a list of questions before the interview, much like
they’d create a list of talking points that address the value they offer
“Every interview is different. Some
interviewers will only give you the chance to ask two or three
questions. Others will ask again and again if you have any questions, so
prepare more questions than you think you will need in case this
happens,” she says.
Developing a list of questions to ask is
problematic for many job seekers. In her book, Krasna offers the
following suggestions and explains why such questions can give
candidates a much-needed edge:
1. “What are you
seeking in the ideal candidate for this position?”
This question allows you to counter
by adding any particular skills or qualities you have left out in
the interview, but which the employer thinks are important.
2. “How would you
describe your management style?”
When you are being interviewed by a
hiring manager to whom you would report, this is a great question
for gathering insight into whether you might get along.
3. “Can you give me
some examples of the types of projects I may be working on?”
If the job description was a bit
vague on the types of assignments you would be doing or if you are
otherwise unclear on this point, this question is essential to ask.
4. “What do you like
best about working for this organization?”
This question not only gives great
insight into the culture of the organization, it also makes the
person answering the question feel good. In addition, if the person
answering can’t come up with something good to say, this is a red
flag about the place you might be working!
5. “How did this
position become available?”
This question is a bit pushy, but it
is quite important if you do not know how the position opened. Is
the organization expanding? Or did the last person leave, and can
you subtly find out why?
6. “What would you
like to see happen six-to-12 months after you hire a new person for this
This question is akin to “How will I
be evaluated?” or “How do you measure success in this role?” It can
also clue you in on whether the expectations for the job are
7. “What resources are
available for this position?”
This question addresses the
technology, staff or budget resources you will have and gives many
insights into whether the organization is being realistic about what
you can accomplish given the resources available.
8. “Is there anything
you are still wondering about my candidacy that might keep you from
offering me the position? Is there anything further I should clarify?”
This question shows you are open to
feedback or critique and also tells the employer you want every
opportunity to reassure him or her that you would be a great
9. “What is the next
step in the process? May I have your business card?”
The final question can help relieve
your anxiety after the interview because you at least have some clue
about how long it will be before the employer gets back to you. Ask
for business cards from each person interviewing you so you can send
Krasna adds that there are also questions
candidates should steer clear of asking during the interview. According
to her, questions not to ask include inquiries about salary, scandals
and office politics, and personal questions about the interviewer.
from “Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public
Service” by Heather Krasna.
10 Surprisingly High-paying
By Peter Harris
Programmer – The median salary for programmers is $68,640. At
the higher end of the pay scale, these jobs pay up to $97,000. The
highest pay is currently in Alberta.
and Developers – $52,000 is the median pay for web designers
and developers, but the salaries can reach upwards of $90,000. These
jobs also pay the highest in Alberta right now.
Analyst – With more and more data on consumer behaviour
becoming available to marketers, people who can analyse and interpret
that information are in high demand right now. The median salary for
analysts is $58,677 but salaries can reach over six figures to $104,540.
Manager – As so much of our communications have moved online,
the salaries for digital marketers have heated up as well. The median
pay is $75,000 and at the high end salaries reach over $125,000.
Writers and Technical Writers – While these are two different
skills, they fall into similar pay brackets. (I’ve actually held both of
these jobs over the years.) The median salary is $56,000, but they can
earn up to $87,500 a year.
trainer – Some jurisdictions in Canada have graduated more
teachers than they have available teaching positions. Another career
option for educators is as a corporate trainer. The median pay for this
role is $55,550 and it can get up to $100,000.
– Most companies in Canada make an effort to provide services in both
English and French creating a constant demand for professional
translators. The median salary for translators is $52,000 a year, and
they can earn up to $90,000. The demand is highest in Ontario.
Statisticians and Actuaries – Advanced math skills are in
demand across industries leading to higher pay for mathletes. The median
pay is $66,550, and it goes up to $155,438 at the high end of the scale.
These roles pay the most in Saskatchewan right now.
Technology Professionals – The IT crowd continue to make
decent wages with a median salary of $73,590 and earning over $100,000
at the higher end. Salaries are the highest in Alberta.
and Public Relations – Another key career for writers and
story tellers is in PR. Professionals in this field are paid a median
salary of $59,280 and the more highly paid among them make $95,000.
These salaries are based on the most
recent data available from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada.
You can compare employment outlook and salaries for jobs by location in
Canada here at
Assumption That Costs You the Job
By Elizabeth Bromstein
I read a lot of articles about job
interview mistakes, as you might guess, and, lately, one mistake I’d
never even heard before is suddenly making lists of the “biggest job
interview mistakes” people are supposedly making.
This mistake: failing to ask for the
I wondered if it’s always been a common
tip and it’s one of those things I just managed to miss, or if it was a
new buzz phrase. More important, I wondered what it meant. Because
beyond the phrase itself, there isn’t much of an explanation out there,
and it had me stumped.
What do they mean “ask for the job?”
Isn’t submitting an application, writing a cover letter, and showing up
for the interview also known as “asking for the job?”
Are you also supposed to say the actual
words, “So, can I have the job?” during an interview? Because that seems
like a weird thing to say.
A web search yielded little information
and it looked like lazy journalists were just listing something they’d
read without giving it any context, but it did lead me back to a 2009
CNN article that looks like the original source everyone is pulling
from. So, I reached out to OI Global Partners, the company mentioned in
the article. And, finally, I got an explanation.
I asked the above question to Oi Global
Partners managing partner Tom Wharton, who states, unequivocally that,
no, applying and showing up for the interview are not the same thing as
“asking for the job.”
Wharton says, “It’s just amazing to me
how many interviewees assume that just because you’re sitting in that
chair, that we know you want the job. I really don’t know if you do
unless you tell me.”
And it’s true, when you think about it,
that it’s not unheard of for someone to show up because they’re keeping
their options open or just checking things out, or for someone to
realize during an interview that they actually don’t want the job. So,
you have to ask for it. But, no, you don’t say “So, can I have the job?”
Wharton says, “There are 100 ways to say
you’re interested. Such as, after answering a question about your
skills, adding, ‘And I feel confident that my skillset that I just cited
to you would be a good fit for this job, and I want you to know that I’m
really excited about moving this process forward.’
“But most people don’t say it. They just
don’t do it. In my former life as a senior HR person interviewing
thousands of people, I can count on two hands how many people actually
said ‘I really am very interested in this job and I want you to know
what I’m ready to hit the ground running.’ But those are the people who
He adds that he has conducted interviews
with well-spoken candidates who seem ideal for the position, and still
been left wondering if they actually want the job.
Another example of how to ask:
“When I ask you how much you know about
the company, you can say, ‘I know you have 200 employees in two
locations in Toronto and from what I I’ve read, I think I’d be a good
fit for this team.’
“You have to say it several times, in
several ways, throughout the interview.”
Susan P. Joyce, editor and publisher of
Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com adds another suggestion.
“You might ask ‘So, do you have any
concerns about my ability to do the job and fit into the organization?’”
Whatever the words you choose, the
imperative is to let the interviewer know that you are genuinely
Joyce adds that there are a few more
things she wishes job seekers would do at the end of an interview, “if
not earlier.” These are:
- Collect contact information from
each person who interviewed them – name, job title, email address
(so sending the post-interview thank you notes is easier to do)
- Ask who they should stay in touch
with after the interview to learn the status of the opportunity with
contact name, job title, and email address.
- Ask if they could reconnect once
every week or two, and the preferred way of contact during the
Employers are always more impressed with
a candidate who is passionate about the role they are hiring for and who
wants to work for them specifically over someone who is just looking for
a job – any job. Demonstrate your enthusiasm, and let them know you’ll
be a motivated member of their team.
But you don’t actually have to say, “Can
I have the job?” That would just put the interviewer on the spot.
Because even if they have made up their mind, most aren’t willing or
able to announce a final decision in the interview room itself.
What it comes down to is the old adage
about never assuming, because “assume” makes and “ass” out of “u” and
How to Craft a Skilled
By Kim Hughes
You would expect someone toiling in
marketing, communications or academia to possess a resume steeped in
five-dollar words and fanciful descriptions of past experience.
But what about tradespeople whose claim
to fame is the work they do with their hands: carpenters, electricians,
plumbers, machinists, stonemasons, and the tool belt-wearing militia
boosting modern construction sites? How can you write a skilled trades
resume highlighting the information most valuable to employers while
teeing yourself up as the candidate to beat? Especially in an employment
arena where things like word-of-mouth and personal references are highly
“I certainly look for previous work
skills, candidates that have done something similar. And that they would
be able to make an easy transition into my company,” says Ryan Kobelka,
president and founder of Toronto’s RNW Electrical Systems who started
working as an electrician out of high school at age 19 and is now 41.
Asked what he looks for in a resume,
Kobelka says, “It’s mostly to do with skill sets and the type of work
someone has done. If they list that and capture the terminology
correctly, you can determine they know what they’re talking about.”
That statement is seconded by Bruno
Rossi, professional engineer and co-owner/operator of Gimco Limited,
self-described as “Mechanical contractors for the institutional,
commercial and industrial markets.”
“If I get a resume in, I ask: does this
seem like a person with good experience for the field that we’re in,”
Rossi says, adding that “Resumes should be short – no more than two
“List your background, your licenses, any
degrees or certificates you have and past projects you have worked on.
Anything more than two pages, I don’t read.”
While union shops hire according to
collective agreement within a hierarchy, independent contractors
operating outside a union face tough competition. Both Rossi and Kobelka
insist that optics matter, and even those working with their hands must
pay attention to details like spelling and grammar or risk having their
resumes chucked to the reject pile.
On the plus side, cover letters – which
are pretty much de rigueur for any kind of work that happens in an
office setting and can be notoriously difficult to craft – are largely
unnecessary in the skilled trades field, according to our experts.
John Kalinowski is a former technical
recruiter currently working as an electrician. In his headhunting role,
Kalinowski reviewed untold numbers of resumes.
“And the best I ever read belonged to
(American computer scientist and Sun Microsystems co-founder) Bill Joy.
It was one sentence: ‘I invented the computer language that underpins
networking on the internet.’ In and out.”
Ironically, Kalinowski landed his current
gig not with a resume but by answering a help-wanted ad on Kijiji (and
then acing the face-to-face interview) which may constitute a resume
even shorter than the above-mentioned Joy’s. Still, Kalinowski insists
that no matter the job, a great resume is best characterized by “Clarity
“Essentially, everyone has the same
skills,” Kalinowski says. “What it comes down to is personality and
trust. Personality can only be proven over time but trust via references
are a key performance indicator.”
So what about neophytes who haven’t yet
built up a list of references?
In that scenario, the resume is the only
thing separating you from the desired job. Kalinowski says the best bet
is to go for a chronological versus functional resume, where you list
work experience in the order it happened, beginning with most recent,
versus grouping your information by areas of aptitude.
Also, ask someone for help with
proofreading. And please, don’t list how much money you think you have
earned for past employers which, according to Kobelka, happens all the
time in the trades.
“I don’t really look at a resume to see
how much money someone is going to generate,” Kobelka says. “I look at
it to see if they’re going to be a good fit for the company and able to
do the job they are hired to do.”
Adds Rossi: “In all situations, word of
mouth is very important. And that’s certainly true once you get to the
interview stage. Your reputation is everything.”
Totally Unfair Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job
By Elizabeth Bromstein
Employers love to complain that they just
can’t find good help these days, which you’re thinking is pretty rich,
since good help is staring them in the face, but you still can’t get a
This is a not uncommon sentiment among
job seekers these days.
Hiring managers have to cull the herd
somehow, since going through piles of resumes can be exhausting. And
they do this by immediately rejecting certain people. Typo in the
resume? That goes straight into the trash. The guy’s been out of work
for a year? Well, they’re not going to be the one to hire him.
Unfortunately for both them and you, this knee-jerk rejection method
might be causing them to overlook the perfect candidate – you.
Here are five totally unfair reasons you
didn’t get the job – and some tips to avoid getting rejected for them in
unemployed: The bias against the unemployed has gotten out of
hand, with almost half of employers saying in a recent survey that they
prefer job seekers who are currently employed. The reality is that
nobody wants something that isn’t wanted by someone else. It’s true that
maybe there is a good reason that someone is unemployed, but it’s
ridiculously unfair to leave people lurching in a vicious cycle where
they can’t find a job because they don’t already have one.
Avoid this happening to you by addressing
the issue. Explain in writing – in your cover letter or resume – what
you’ve been up to in the time you’ve been out of work. Were you taking a
course? Working on a novel? Writing music? Travelling? Studying
something? Make it sound productive (even if it wasn’t).
You don’t have
five years of experience in their industry: Hiring managers
are busy. They want someone who knows their business. But they might
wind up waiting a long time for someone who fits all their skills
requirements and has five years of experience in dietary supplement
marketing or construction apparel product development.
Do some preliminary research into the
industry, then address the discrepancy in your cover letter and outline
how you plan to bring yourself up to speed as quickly and efficiently as
possible. Demonstrate how matching skills in another industry can be
more than enough if a candidate is willing to learn what they need to
There’s a typo
in your resume or cover letter: This comes up again and
again, whenever I poll hiring managers for reasons they immediately
dismiss candidates. A typo supposedly indicates that a person doesn’t
pay attention to detail. In reality, this isn’t necessarily true. We all
know what happens when you’re sending out resumes and cover letters. You
spend hours modifying them for specific jobs, going over them again and
again, and trying to see the impression you’re making. Your eyes start
to cross. Finally, you hit send, and realize your letter says, “I
working in dietary supplement marketing for five years…” Dammit.
Unfortunately, the only way around this
one is to not have typos in your documents. Send them to an eagle-eyed
friend for editing before submitting.
You didn’t list
a university degree: Employers realize that if you
don’t list a degree there’s a pretty good chance you don’t have one. If
you have a degree, list it. If you don’t, make sure your work experience
looks as fantastic as possible, highlighting your results and
accomplishments. Demonstrate that you are an outstanding candidate, and
make them forget about the degree entirely.
There was a time when a lot of
information was only available in a school or library setting. Now, you
can learn literally everything you need to know online. Just because
someone doesn’t have a degree in something doesn’t mean they’re not an
expert. Demonstrate how much you know in your cover letter (within a
reasonable amount of space and without getting off track).
There are going to be employers who will
not hire you without a degree. The only thing you can do about them is
go back to school and get one.
doesn’t exactly match the job description: Employers
ask a lot these days in job descriptions, often demanding skills and
experience far beyond what should be expected of any single person.
Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, says in the
WSJ, “For every story about an employer who can’t find qualified
applicants, there’s a counterbalancing tale about an employer with
ridiculous hiring requirements.”
Highlight all of the requirements that
you do have, and express a willingness to acquire as many of those that
you don’t as is reasonable. Showing that you’ve read the description
thoroughly and are at least aware of all the requirements might give you
a leg up over those who don’t mention them at all. It might also help if
software is looking for those keywords.
Remember that the job search isn’t about
you, but about showing a potential employer what you can do for them.
Life’s not fair, but maybe these tips
will help balance things more in your favour.