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Update These 5 Items on Your Resume

By Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writer

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 right away.

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, it’s time to create a new one. Consider [first name].[last name] instead.

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 Objective statements are outdated and are being replaced by professional summaries or summaries of qualifications.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 expertise section

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.

4. Education

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 applying.

5. Formatting

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 road.  

The Pros of Parttime Jobs

By Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder Writer

 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 search.

Improving 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 opportunity.

9 Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

By Selena Dehne, JIST Publishing

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 the employer.

“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 position?”

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 realistic.

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 employee.

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 thank-you notes.

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.

*Excerpted from “Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service” by Heather Krasna.

10 Surprisingly High-paying Jobs

By Peter Harris

Computer 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.

Web Designers 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.

Marketing 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.

Web Marketing 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.

Advertising Copy 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.

Corporate 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.

Translator – 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.

Mathematicians, 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.

Information 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.

Communications 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 .

The Interview 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 job.

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 stood out.”

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 and 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 interested.

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 post-interview period.

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 “me.”

How to Craft a Skilled Trades Resume

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 prized?

“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 pages.

“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 and concision.

“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.”

Five 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 job, right?

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 the future.

You’re 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 know.

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.

Your resume 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.