Resume Writing Tips – The Truth and Myths Behind it All

As a recruiter, I’ve had hundreds of resumes come across my desk, some great and some not so great. But what is it that makes a resume great? Today I will be going over the truths and myths of resume writing. I think there are a lot of undefined rules when writing a resume that people tend to follow. These are rules that have been passed down by our teachers, parents, and employers; these undefined rules are a good guideline but with innovation in the workforce comes innovation in resume writing. Over the years some of these rules, that were once correct and good guidelines to follow have, been altered or changed to keep up with the fast-changing world we live in.

Here is a list of Myths and Truths that will help you create a great resume; shining light on new resume writing methods as well as altering old.

 

  1. A Good Resume Will Get You a Job – MYTH  

Many people believe a good resume will get them a job. Don’t be silly! YOU get you a job. The purpose of a resume is to provide a summary of your skills, experience and accomplishments. You should be providing the employer with a quick introduction of who you are with the intentions of securing an interview. A good resume will not get you a job but it will get you an interview!

 

  1. A Resume Must be One Page Long-  MYTH

A resumes purpose is to display a snapshot of who you are. This cannot always be done in one page. It is acceptable to have a resume longer than one page but it is important to keep it to two pages. Any more than two pages and you lose an employer’s interest. With that being said your skills and qualifications should always be listed on the first page- typically these are what the employers look at the most. Â

 

  1. Colour is Acceptable on a Resume – TRUTH

Some people will disagree but I say yes, colour is great on a resume! No colour on a resume is one of those set-in stone rules that have stuck for years but with millennials being the most innovative and creative generation yet, we will see a lot more colour and design incorporated with resume writing. It is important when using colour on a resume that it is used in moderation. When using colour and design it is important to still keep it simple and professional, one colour is enough.

 

  1. You Need Your Contact Information on a Resume – TRUTH

With online applications being used so much by employers some people believe you do not need to put your contacts details on a resume. This is not true – you should always have contact information on a resume. Some online filtering systems will not pick up a resume if your location is not listed and if an employer has a hard copy of your resume with no contact info than they may not bother to call.

  1. The More Detail the Better – MYTH

On a resume, less is more! When it comes to work experience, do not list every job you have ever had, it is important to list your past 5-10 years’ worth of work. If you changed jobs frequently maybe list the five most recent jobs, any more and an employer will lose interest. When listing job descriptions on a resume bullet points are completely acceptable, you do not need to use full sentences. Always remember a resume is just a glimpse of who you are. Short, sweet and to the point is best!

The points above are my opinion on resume writing truths and myths, based on my experience job searching and recruiting I feel that these tips will best assist you when writing your next resume. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide what makes or breaks your resume!

If you have any questions about resume writing please call Career Contacts at 604-606-1831; Andrea, Melissa or myself would be happy to assist you. Please visits our blog at www.careercontacts.ca to find more helpful job searching tips!

Times You Actually Don’t Need to “Set the Record Straight” at Work

If a friend offends you or says something wrong, you’re probably quick to call them out for it. And if it got to a point where they were really starting to annoy you, you might even stop hanging out with them.

At work, we don’t have that luxury. We can’t just call people out who do something that bothers us. So, how we respond to comments or actions that rub us the wrong way becomes a tad trickier.

When should you speak up? And when should you let it slide?

There are certain situations in which it’s definitely OK to interrupt to set the record straight, but other times, doing so ends up escalating the situation and putting other people on the defense. And you know that rarely ends well.

To help guide you through those gray areas, here are three times it’s better to stay quiet in the moment (even when it feels unfair):

 

  1. When Your Co-worker Presents Your Idea as Their Own in a Big Meeting

While it’s obviously not cool for your colleague to take credit your ideas, you can’t exactly blurt out in a meeting. Instead

Your best bet? Approach them after the meeting in private and approach them with the mindset that this wasn’t on purpose.

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t be direct; it just means you don’t want to start the conversation by making them out to be the bad guy:  heard you mention the new data strategy in our meeting. I’m really excited for it and that’s why I shared it with you yesterday. In the future, I’d appreciate if you credited me in team meetings when you’re discussing ideas we spoke about.

Sometimes this approach leads to an apology or an explanation one that makes you feel like it’s resolved. Other times it doesn’t.

If they try to defend themselves or pretend they did nothing wrong, you should make a mental note not to share your ideas with them in the future. That’s not the most ideal response, but it might be in your best interest if you think they’re actively using your ideas to get ahead.

  1. When Your Boss Calls You Out for a Mistake in Front of Everyone

Part of being successful and getting ahead at work is learning how to own up to your mistakes and learn from them. But, this is easier said than done when your boss embarrasses you in front of your whole team by calling you out on a misstep. Your first instinct may be to defend yourself, but that’s not always the best move. Why? This will automatically put your boss in a bad light, which will likely respond in him getting defensive and perhaps even doubling down.

Instead

Assuming you did in fact mess up, apologize in front of the group (even if you have privately to your manager already). Keep it short and professional no need to go on and on or be too hard on yourself.

Then, avoid this situation going forward by setting up a meeting with your boss and discussing how they can give you feedback in a more appropriate setting.

It may look something like this: Again, I truly apologize for what happened, and would love to continue working with you to meet expectations. After you discussed [my mistake/where you feel I’m lacking] in front of the team, my confidence in my work was a bit shaken. Would it be possible in the future to meet one-on-one to discuss those types of personal issues?

Often times, your manager will apologize to you and refrain from doing it again. After all, they didn’t wake up with the goal of bursting your ego.

When You Get Passed Over for a Promotion or Project and Your Less-Than-Favorite Co-worker Gets the Job

There are few things worse than being turned down for something you really wanted and worked hard for, but knowing a colleague (and especially one you’re not fond of) landed it instead of you just plain sucks. And you might want to respond to the announcement with, That’s not fair I’ve worked here longer But, as you know, saying that won’t exactly give off the leadership vibes you’re looking for.

Instead

First, put aside any personal feelings and send along a (sincere) congratulations even if you don’t like them, you’d expect the same respectful reaction if the roles were reversed.

Then, don’t be afraid to approach your boss about why you got passed over. It shouldn’t be an better than him conversation, but rather an honest and candid one asking what you’d have to do or change to land a similar promotion.

In addition, look to the promotee for pointers. Because, as Muse writer Lily Herman says about taking the high road when a colleague is more successful,You learn some of the tips and tricks that are pushing your colleague ahead and you give this person a nice little ego boost that l’ll probably make him or her like you more.

You may not be able to control how others treat you, but you can control how you react to them. And by being the bigger person, you prove you’re a professional who knows how to pick the fights that matter.

3 Tips to Help You Dress for Success on a Budget

Whether you have just graduated and are entering a new position or going through a career change. It is important that you dress the part. I remember in College my professors constantly reminding us, if you dress like a business person you will feel confident and success will follow! The question is though, how do you dress for success when you are just entering into these new positions? Realistically you will not be making an annual salary that will support buying $1000 suits or owning a different outfit for every day of the week. So how does one dress for success before reaching full success? Here are a few tips. Keep in mind these tips may not get you through years or meetings, conferences or extravagant dinners, but they will help keep you looking fresh and clean for your day to day office work for at least the first 6 months at a new job.

  1. Keep it Simple

It is important to remember that you do not need to have a quantity but rather quality. When starting out all you need is the BASICS. Woman: One or two pant suits, a blazer, pencil skirt, and an appropriate dress are a great beginning. Be sure to buy neutral colors that you can mix and match. Men: Have a few suites with different coloured dress shirts that you can mix and match to create multiple outfits. If you buy quality over quantity and pair different outfits together, the clothing will last longer and hopefully your colleagues will not notice you’ve worn the same blazer three days this week!

  1. Accessorize

Learn to accessorize! This will draw the attention away from the simple five outfits that you have and allow you to dress up or down your wardrobe for different events and functions. Woman focus on shoes, hand bags and jewelry (Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, hair clips, watches, belt, purchases etc.). These items can be expensive or inexpensive, if you shop in the right locations – ZARA and H&M are your friend! Men you can easily make an outfit look different based on the shoes and tie. Check out HUDSONS BAY for great deals on ties!

  1. Know Where to Shop

It is good to know WHERE to shop and WHEN to shop. Department stores and outlet malls as you probably already know, are your best friend when buying on a budget. These are really one stop shop locations, you can get shoes, accessories and multiple outfits typically for a good price do not be afraid to check out that sale rack! Knowing when to shop is almost as important as where. First, never shop around Christmas. January, February, May and August are the best times to shop because end of season sales are THE BEST! Finally, if you know your size, shop online! A lot of stores have a selection they only offer online and a lot of times the prices will be less. Cyber Monday is a great way to catch awesome deals all from the comfort of your couch!

Keep in mind the three tips above and check out the must-read article called Building A Business Wardrobe From the Ground Up. I hope this article will help you Dress for Success on a Budget. Always remember, when you look good, you feel good! You cannot put a price on confidence.

If you have any questions about these tips please call our office at 604-606-1831 and speak to Danielle, Andrea or Melissa!

Don’t be that type of Networker….

Attending a networking event is already a daunting prospect, but when you finally work up the courage to go and meet people, a whole new question arises: How do you stay in touch with all of the professionals you met in the span of a couple of hours?

Have no fear; we have done all the heavy lifting and searched the web for the best resources on handling contacts post-networking event.

  1. Keeping tabs on all of these new people doesn’t have to be sketchy if you know where to look for the information.
  2. Before you start sizing up other people online, make sure your own online presence and portfolio is up to snuff.
  3. Speaking of your online presence, do you know how to protect yourself and your brand from problems online that could affect your relationships? If not, get on it.
  4. Knowing how to reach out to these new contacts on LinkedIn. is key. Even more important? Knowing how to do so in a non-creepy way.
  5. If you met someone for only a brief moment at a networking event, it might feel awkward to send him or her an email.
  6. Lifehacker has an awesome guide on how to turn a stack of business cards into a thriving professional network you can turn to.
  7. Before you start reaching out to more professionals, be sure to understand why you appreciate your network and why adding more people to it is important.
  8. When reaching out to people on LinkedIn, remember not to be that obnoxious person on the internet.

Follow this advice and you won’t be known as the creepy Networker everyone avoids!

Want more advice? Contact me at melissa@careercontacts.ca.

Cheers!

Traits of a Successful Employee

Career Contacts provides job seekers with the opportunity of both temporary and permanent job placements. In each scenario, the end goal is to match a job seeker to a position tailored to their talents, needs and areas of expertise. Whether it be in a temporary or permanent role, Career Contacts ultimately wants to see our employees succeed.

Employment is a journey, it does not matter if you have been in the same role for 10 years or if it is your first day in a new industry, you are leading your level of success the whole way. Here is a list of traits that some of my favourite and most successful employees carry with them.

POSITIVE ATTITUDE IN THE WORKPLACE

Career Contacts provides a lot of placements to the construction and labour industry. A lot of these assignments take place out doors and quite often employees are faced with challenging, working conditions. It is important that during these tough labour assignments, when battling the outdoor elements, that you stay positive throughout the experience! This makes the time go by quicker and helps you build a rapport with other employees and future possible employers.

Some tricks to staying positive in the workplace are: Smile lots, keep conversations light, do not be afraid to add humour (appropriate of course), and encourage others! A positive attitude is contagious and creates a better working environment for everyone!

RELIABLE AND PUNCTUAL

This is huge! As a recruiter, I am constantly faced with unreliable employees – this trait is a deal breaker. If you say you are going to be there, be there. It is a waste of the recruiters time, the employers times as well as your own time for providing false intentions.

My favourite employees are those that I can call at any time and ask them to go to a work assignment and know they will be there. Reliability and punctuality are how temporary employees become permanent employees. This is a trait that most are born with but a few things to help ensure and maintain your reliability are: Be organized and plan ahead, keep your word, and communicate!

RESPECT

Employees that respect their fellow colleagues, the company and especially themselves are more successful than those that do not. Respect is the base of any good employee, it must be earned and expressed; successful skills will follow.

When using an employment service to assist with a job search you must remember that you represent that company at a job site, if you are not respecting Career Contacts and the client sees that you will not excel with that company. Companies want respect and loyalty when filling job positions.

GOOD COMMUNICATION

Communicating with your employer is almost as important as being reliable- the two go hand and hand. As a recruiter for temporary assignments communication is key. Details are always changing and it is important that messages are being communicated properly. My favourite employees are those that call me 3 times a week, to provide me with feedback of their assignment, notify me of their availability and inquire about up-coming assignments. There is a fine line between informative and annoying, as long as it is not crossed employers will greatly appreciate constant communication between themselves and their workers.

Communicating is essential in building relationships, which is what is needed to be successful in the workplace. When I say communicating it is not just verbal either, I am speaking written as well. In a world controlled by social media it is important to communicate effectively with the resources provided by the internet also. Here are a few tips for good communication in the workplace: Hear to listen do not hear to respond, reply to emails on time, and most importantly have a working cell phone!

These are just a few traits strong employees carry. If you follow these tips you will have no problem finding success in any path you choose. Remember you decide how successful you will be and although your employment journey will not always be smooth, stay positive, be reliable, respect others and communicate well and you will see results!

If you have any questions about the content covered above or need assistance during your employment journey please call the office at 604-606-1831 and speak with myself Melissa, or Andrea. We are happy to help!