Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: resumes

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian IT Contractors relating to resumes.

Watch an Expert Tear Apart Some Common Resume Mistakes

If you submit a terribly thought-out resume riddled with errors and nonsense, and assume nobody is judging you, we’re sorry to tell you that you are sadly mistaken. Your resume is your first impression to a recruiter or a client. It’s also the number one selling tool for your business. On top of the obvious proof-reading, details and honesty we always talk about, you must understand the situation and write for your target audience.

To get an understanding at how quickly and easily resume errors stand out to a recruiting professional, just watch this quick video from Business Insider. They hand a stack of resumes to an industry veteran and she provides her brutal feedback. Many of her criticisms are small details. An average job seeker won’t put much weight on these mistakes, but they will stand out to a recruiter like a sore thumb.

5 Pieces of Old Job Search Advice That No Longer Apply

The world has come a long way in the past 10-15 years. The Internet and digital world developed into something we never dreamed possible and there has been a complete change in lifestyles. Among the many areas of our lives that are different, the way we search for IT jobs has advanced significantly. In fact, the entire landscape has had a makeover. In 2003, we were in a transition from offline to online — IT job boards were buggy, social media was barely a thing, the fax machine was in-use, and only 64% of households had at least one member who used the Internet regularly.

To get a better understanding of just how much has changed, we sought out articles with job search advice from the past 10-15 years. Not surprisingly, a lot of the standard rules remain; however, there are also some out-dated tips that can be ignored today. Here are some of our favourites:

Keep a Collection of Index Cards to Help Track Your Contacts

5 Pieces of Old Job Search Advice That No Longer ApplyAs one of the oldest job boards, it’s no surprise that Monster is filled with 15-year old articles for job seekers. In this one about building your job search network, the author stresses the importance of keeping detailed records of your network with a collection of index cards, a note book or a computer application. While still feasible, the efficiency of these tools is not as great as a solid LinkedIn network, database, or free personal tools like Google Contacts.

Keyword-ize Your Internet Resume

Given the growing popularity of Applicant Tracking Systems at the start of the millennium, this article from CollegeGrad was far from the only one of its kind. In addition to recommending an “internet resume” for “the Net” and a paper resume, they stress the importance of including keywords in your resume. This concept is far from expired, but the way we think about it is different. Where the article remains valid suggesting a planned keyword strategy using nouns and being specific to make it easy for ATSs, it’s no longer necessary to be “keyword-centric”. AI and semantic search technology give Applicant Tracking Systems the intelligence to recognize words and combinations of words so they can analyze and classify resumes. As long as you ensure the content in your resume is of quality and descriptive, the keyword aspect will take care of itself.

Prepare a Plain-Text Resume

Again, advances in technology have changed the rules when submitting resumes. LiveCareer once advised that job seekers should have a plain text version of their resume, in .txt format. This would be used for uploading resumes or copy/pasting directly into the body of an email. Today, any ATS or online job board worth its weight can handle and read, at the very least, an MS Word document. Most have no problems with .PDF format resumes; however, these can still cause problems.

Cleaning Up Digital Dirt

In the past 15 years, there has been no shortage in stories of people’s lives and careers being shattered because of thoughtless information they put on social media. The way we view and clean up that “digital dirt” has changed since Women for Hire provided their advice. First, there is a suggestion in the article that it’s only teenagers and people in their early 20s who are using social media and that they should be concerned of incriminating pictures and comments. It’s safe to say that social media adoption has grown and there is no age range that is more or less at risk. In fact, all of the information in this article is still relevant (although MySpace is gone and “Facebook.com” has grown to be less of a place to create a professional image) but it is what’s lacking that stands out in this article. It is good to keep a clean profile and remove anything that could cause trouble, and all networks now have advanced privacy settings that you should take advantage of. Locking down your profiles to only a small circle of trusted friends makes it less likely (not impossible) for out-of-context jokes and pictures to harm your future.

Using Google to Find a Job

This is another example of advice that is not necessarily irrelevant but more out-dated. For many people, Google remains the number one way to find a job; however, the tactics suggested in this article by ODOJ could use a refresh. For starters, this year’s launch of Google for Jobs in Canada changes the game completely. We also know that Google has become exponentially more intelligent. While adding operators and tricks to improve your job search will not hurt, there is a good chance the world’s leading search engine will bring you the most relevant pages regardless of how you search it.

As noted at the beginning of this post, most job search principles have remained unchanged in the past 15 years, and in many cases, the past 50. Technology innovations are driving the majority of changes, but the non-technological pieces of advice — explain your accomplishments in your resume, follow-up after an interview, diversify how you search — have always been around and will likely stay for much longer.

2018 in Review: The Job Search Process

Job hunting sucks. It’s a long drawn out process of non-billable time, filled with the same old resume-writing and interview questions (you do, however, get to have conversations with some pretty awesome recruiters!). Still, it’s inevitable. Unless you want to be unemployed when your current contract is up, the life of an IT contractor means you are always on the look-out and you should be keeping current in your job search skills.

At Eagle, we often come across new trends in job searching or recognize major shortfalls in how independent contractors approach the task. One of the Talent Development Centre’s top priorities is to compile this information and share tips and tricks to help you succeed in your job search. Not surprisingly, this is the most extensive list in Eagle’s “2018 in Review” series…

General Job Search Tips and Trends

Resumes

Job Interviews

Industry-Specific Job Search Tips

Quick Poll Results: How Many IT Contractors Lie on Their Resume?

We’ve been in the IT staffing industry for over 20 years now and if there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that most IT contractors are ethical and uphold high standards of honesty. An area we’ve seen some professionals slip, it’s when trying to sell themselves for a job where they don’t have the complete experience.

Whether or not we received honest answers is uncertain, but last month’s contractor quick poll asked independent contractors if they ever lied on their resume, or even stretched the truth a bit. The results are below and very promising for our industry. While a few admit that they may have stretched the truth a bit, nobody responded that they have completely made up experience.

Quick Poll Results: Have you ever lied on your resume?

Contractor Quick Poll: Have you ever lied on your resume?

It’s not uncommon for recruiters to notice certain inconsistencies in independent contractors’ experience. In a few extreme cases, we interview candidates only to learn that they have no clue what they’re talking about and clearly made up experience to get their foot in the door. More commonly, though, after comparing different versions of resumes or asking a few detailed questions, we learn that a contractor may have stretched the truth a bit in order to qualify.

While we never encourage these actions and know that lies always get uncovered eventually, we thought we’d take the opportunity of this month’s anonymous contractor quick poll to learn how many people lie or stretch the truth on their resume.

Format and Save Your Resume for Recruiters, Not for You

Format and Save Your Resume for Recruiters, Not for YouYour resume is the first and most important tool in your job search. It’s the document that says everything about you and has to sell your experience to a recruiter or hiring manager if you want to hear back from them. The importance of that one electronic file is huge yet some people put so little time into it. Or worse, others commit hours on end to enhance their resume but ignore any advice provided by industry professionals.

Over the past few years, we shared resume formatting advice for independent contractors directly from recruiters, including some word-for-word statements. We even created an entire video series about formatting your resume in Microsoft Word. Still, with all of these resources, some IT contractors still fail to format their resume in a way that’s not only friendly to recruiters, but also to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs).

If our advice doesn’t get through to some people, then hopefully that of a N.Y. Times bestseller will. We recently came across this post on FastCompany by Martin Yate, author of  Knock ’em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide. He provides six tricks for formatting and saving your file before uploading it to a recruiter:

  • Consider the file name. “Resume.doc” says nothing where “Jane Smith – Project Manager – 2018.doc” tells a much better story and easy for recruiters to catch.
  • Add metadata into your file. Under the file menu in MS Word, you can choose summary info to insert keywords and terms. This will make your resume easier to find if recruiters are searching with Windows Search or Apple’s Spotlight.
  • Keep the header and footer clean. Older ATSs can’t read in there, so when you include details such as your contact information, it gets lost. Now recruiters won’t know your address and you’ll never appear in local searches.
  • Keep fonts standard. ATSs also don’t like surprises and will read your resume better with basic business fonts such as Times, Arial and Georgia.
  • Also keep bullets standard. Fancy arrows, dingbats and checkmarks can also mess up when coming through an ATS or just transferring to another computer. Stick to the basic bulleted formatting.
  • Have clear and descriptive headings. This one isn’t for the ATS as much as it is for the reader. Recruiters scan resumes all day and want to be able to quickly find the information they need to see.

What formatting tricks have you used to sneak past the pile of resumes and immediately get in front of a recruiter? Please share them with our readers in the comments below.

Write a Resume to Grab a Gold Fish’s Attention

As technology advances, people spend more time attached to their devices checking social media, email, calling, reading news, etc. and this is all between having conversations and exchanges with actual human beings. The result is smaller and smaller attention spans that make a gold fish look focused!

Similar to most professionals, recruiters are also guilty of having the attention span of a gold fish. They work with so many technologies and tools that getting them to pay close attention to your resume can prove to be challenging. This video from Professor Heather Austin provides 6 tips you can apply to your resume that will make it more likely to grab and keep a recruiter’s attention:

  1. Have a clear message
  2. Include a branding profile (also known as Personal Summary)
  3. Focus on the Top Half
  4. Highlight Your Accomplishments
  5. Make it Relevant
  6. Place Emphasis on the Format

2017 in Review: Resumes and Job Interviews

Create a Resume that Builds Trust

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

Recruiters get a lot of resumes during the day. This infographic from StandOutCV provides some helpful resume tips that will make yours easier to read and cut down on the time you need to spend formatting and adding in necessary skills. The only piece I would say is less relevant to an IT contractor is surrounding the, these aren’t typically required nor desired in our space.

As you read through this infographic, there is one important tip to keep in mind: Trust is key in this back and forth so that the recruiter and you can get the best feedback and never miss out on any opportunities.

How recruiters read your CV

More Resume and Job Interview Advice from Recruiters

There is no better place to seek job search advice than from the recruiters who have made a career out of helping people find work. In the past, we've surveyed Eagle's recruiters to bring their insight into how to successfully write a resume and get through a job interview. Of course, there are countless recruiters around the world who are also ready to offer their advice. A recent Glassdoor article provides a last-minute checklist for submitting your best tech resume. It recognizes that searching for jobs in the IT industry is unlike any other industry. As such, it's not possible to follow a lot of the common resume advice and you need to adapt to your surroundings. In the end, it asks 3 simple questions to answer before applying to your next IT job: 1. Does your resume match up with your LinkedIn profile? 2. Is your resume full of quantifiable, concrete, professional achievements? 3. Is your resume easy to read? Even if you've mastered the resume and get yourself in for an interview, the work is not over yet. You have to get past some of the annoying questions that recruiters like to ask and the only way to do so effectively is to practice. To get you started, Business Insider collaborated with 14 real recruiters to come up of this list of their favourite interview questions: 1. Tell me about a time when you were a champion for change or a change agent? 2. Why are you memorable? 3. Tell me about a project you're proud of. 4. What would keep you engaged in this role? 5. What defines success? 6. What sets you apart of other candidates? 7. Can you paint me a picture of the role you'd leave your current position for? 8. Tell me about the people you've managed and where they are now. 9. What do you like about your job? 10. What do you know about our organization? 11. Why did you select this profession? 12. Can you give an example of a time when you solved a complex problem with little or no information to start? 13. What 3 adjectives best describe you? 14. What factors would cause you to consider leaving this role? Many of the questions above are more suitable for a permanent career than an IT contract position; however, they all provide insight into the priorities of a hiring manager and a recruiter. Rather than understand your technical competencies (as crucial as those are) they like to know what motivates you and how committed you will be to your client. Do you have any other specific resume or interview questions? Leave them in the comments below and one of our recruiters will gladly respond!There is no better place to seek job search advice than from the recruiters who have made a career out of helping people find work. In the past, we’ve surveyed Eagle’s recruiters to bring their insight into how to successfully write a resume and get through a job interview. Of course, there are countless recruiters around the world who are also ready to offer their advice.

A recent Glassdoor article provides a last-minute checklist for submitting your best tech resume. It recognizes that searching for jobs in the IT industry is unlike any other industry. As such, it’s not possible to follow a lot of the common resume advice and you need to adapt to your surroundings. In the end, it asks 3 simple questions to answer before applying to your next IT job:

  1. Does your resume match up with your LinkedIn profile?
  2. Is your resume full of quantifiable, concrete, professional achievements?
  3. Is your resume easy to read?

Even if you’ve mastered the resume and get yourself in for an interview, the work is not over yet. You have to get past some of the annoying questions that recruiters like to ask and the only way to do so effectively is to practice. To get you started, Business Insider collaborated with 14 real recruiters to come up of this list of their favourite interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you were a champion for change or a change agent?
  2. Why are you memorable?
  3. Tell me about a project you’re proud of.
  4. What would keep you engaged in this role?
  5. What defines success?
  6. What sets you apart of other candidates?
  7. Can you paint me a picture of the role you’d leave your current position for?
  8. Tell me about the people you’ve managed and where they are now.
  9. What do you like about your job?
  10. What do you know about our organization?
  11. Why did you select this profession?
  12. Can you give an example of a time when you solved a complex problem with little or no information to start?
  13. What 3 adjectives best describe you?
  14. What factors would cause you to consider leaving this role?

Many of the questions above are more suitable for a permanent career than an IT contract position; however, they all provide insight into the priorities of a hiring manager and a recruiter. Rather than understand your technical competencies (as crucial as those are) they like to know what motivates you and how committed you will be to your client.

Do you have any other specific resume or interview questions? Leave them in the comments below and one of our recruiters will gladly respond!