We know how complicated it can feel writing a resume for a job —especially if you are new to Canada. You may quickly notice that resume expectations may differ from your home country, and that is what has been the firsthand experience of some of our very own FormHero employees.
FormHero has generated a list of resume writing techniques tailored towards newcomers to Canada; however, these recommendations can be used by just about anyone. We understand that new beginnings can be intimidating as people strive to adjust to a cultural environment that varies from that which is familiar. We think it is essential to give back and share our experiences so we can foster continuous learning.
We hope that the following suggestions help in your resume building and job search!
Top tips for Resume Building:
- Cater to the Job Description. Job descriptions are the best way to find the technical and soft skills the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Before sending out your resume, review the “required skills and experiences” and the “responsibilities of the role” to identify the company’s expectations for their ideal candidate. Use this to frame your experiences to show how you would excel in the role.
- Be Concise. Keep your resume between 1 – 2 pages. Most hiring managers will only quickly glance at your resume. Be mindful of the information included within your resume and what message you are conveying to the hiring manager; be sure to include relevant skills and experience within your resume that best caters to the given job posting.
Key Tip: Write out all of your skills and experience on a separate page and highlight information that directly aligns with the particular job posting. Use this information to form your resume. A quick rule of thumb is to include a few bullet points under each experience. Focus on keeping the descriptions accomplishment- and action-oriented to convey your learning outcomes and direct impact within each position. Each bullet point should be a short sentence that is concise and gets right to the point!
- Be Clear. Clearly lay out your resume, so it’s easy for the reader to digest. Avoid using difficult-to-read fonts, tiny font sizes, etc. The best solution for this is to use a resume template. Again, hiring managers will typically only spend a few seconds looking at your resume; make it easy for them to read as much of it as possible during that time.
- Follow STAR. When writing the experience section of your resume, try to follow the S.T.A.R. method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) for each of your experiences. What happened? What did you do? What was the result? The best way to follow this format while still being concise is to use actionable words at the start of the sentence. *Note: in practice, the format of the sentence may not follow this order. The important part is to highlight what you did and what the result was.
For Example: Facilitated (T) customization of systems (S) by encouraging the software engineering team (A) to adopt emerging standards for software application development architecture and tools (R).
- Executive Summary. It could help to include an executive summary at the top of your resume. This section should be a high-level description to summarize your qualifications (This section is an excellent opportunity to present both practical and soft skills). When applying for technical jobs, the executive summary helps communicate to employers areas of high proficiency, including the applications, platforms you have experience using in previous positions. This section should not be more than four lines.
- Accomplished Java developer with full comprehension of all Java packages. Experienced in working on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Unix, Mac OSX, and Linux. Flexible work environment with ability to produce under minimal supervision and as a valuable contributor to a team.
- Dedicated web developer with five years of experience in database administration and website design. Strong creative and analytical skills. Team player with an eye for detail. MySQL, Python and Ruby on Rails.
We hope you found some of these tips helpful and that you feel more confident in your resume writing abilities. Aim to regularly update a rough draft with all your recent experiences and accomplishments. Ensuring that your resume is current and relevant will communicate to the company’s hiring team both your qualifications and willingness to work within their team. Our final recommendation is to remember to save your resume as a PDF when responding to a job posting unless the hiring manager has requested otherwise. PDFs help to maintain the formatting of the document, and they look more professional overall. However, it is crucial to follow the hiring manager’s instructions and use the platform they request. Once you have a resume framework that works for you, it is much easier to tailor it to the various jobs you are applying for!