Love ‘em or hate ‘em—you’re going to need a resumé to apply for a job, whether it’s part-time work as a server or a management trainee at an international corporation.

Your resumé provides the first impression of you to an employer, and first impressions truly count. In fact, most employers can decide within six seconds of reading your resumé whether you get into the ‘yes’ or the ‘no’ pile.

Is your resumé out of date?  

Resumés have changed—a lot—in recent years. This means that the resumé style that your parents used is probably now out-of-date.

Ask your parents if they included an objective in their resumé. Did they also include a list of their references or a statement confirming that references “are available upon request?” Both of these items are now seen as old-fashioned by employers.

Why? The objective focuses on what you want, rather than what you can give the employer. And, it is now assumed that your references will be available on request—you won’t get a job offer if they aren’t, and you don’t need to waste valuable resumé real estate explaining this.

Have you ‘Canadianized’ your resumé?

Similarly, if you are one of the more than 750 international students at Capilano University, the style of resumé used in your home country may be considerably different from the one that Canadian employers will expect.

If you are from Asia, for example, it may be the norm to include a photograph on your resumé and to indicate how old you are. In Canada, employers don’t want to see these personal details when you apply for a job. Worse still, including these details implies that you don’t know how business is done in Canada—not a trait that Canadian employers want their new hires to have.

Resumé robots

Many organizations now use resumé robots, or applicant tracking systems, to filter out resumés that are submitted online. These robots are programmed to look for keywords set by the employer and can only read certain resumé formats.

If you are applying for a graduate, entry-level position, it is highly likely that your resumé will have to get through an applicant tracking system before it reaches an actual human being. These “black holes for resumés” are often unable to read words that are underlined, in italics or included in a table or diagram.

A strong resumé needs to be concise and strategic. It needs to be tailored to the specific position that you are applying for and highlight the key skills and experiences required by that organization. Remember that an employer will usually only take six seconds to read your resumé—it needs to be immediately clear that you are qualified for the position.

Don’t worry…help is available

So, writing a strong resumé isn’t easy—but help is here!

The ‘Resumés for Beginners’ workshop is open to all Capilano University students and alumni. This workshop will cover the resumé basics, including resumé format, structure and how to get past the resumé robots. Join Eilidh from Student Employment Services from 11.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22 in Library Building, room 186.

The full Career Management workshop schedule can be found online. Students and alumni can drop in or register via the event page. Email ses@capilanou.ca if you have questions.

Submitted by Eilidh Sligo, Student Employment Services

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