Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: resumes

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

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


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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?


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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


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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


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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


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Create a Resume that Builds Trust


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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


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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!

The Key Differences Between Contract and Permanent Resumes


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Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

The Key Differences Between Contract and Permanent ResumesYour resume is one of your best marketing tools.  In addition to a great social media profile, your resume is the primary tool used to get you through the door for an interview, affording you valuable face-to-face time to ultimately sell yourself to a potential employer.

Candidates often ask how their resumes should differ if they are targeting permanent vs contract employment.  In many cases there would be significant differences, and we strongly recommend having more than one CV if candidates are genuinely interested in both permanent and contract work.

For consulting opportunities, clients are generally focused on a candidate’s ability to come in, hit the ground running and successfully deliver on a very specific mandate.  Consulting resumes are often longer and more detailed, particularly when consultants are bidding on public sector work.  In these cases, clients require very detailed information to clearly show that a consultant’s experience fits their mandatory requirements.  Clients are typically seeking someone who has ‘been there, done that’ as there is little ramp up and training time afforded in the contract world.

For permanent employment opportunities, clients are trying to gauge a candidate’s overall fit for not only the role, but the organization as well.  It is, therefore, not only essential to focus on past achievements and quantifying details on how you have benefited your previous employers and added value to the organization, but also to provide some insight into your work ethic, leadership style and ultimately your personality.

To offer an example, a Project Manager’s consulting resume should always have details provided for key projects including budget, team size, initiative and the outcome (was the project completed on time, under budget).  It’s also important to list specific dates as clients are particularly interested in frequency and duration of contracts.  For a Project Manager’s permanent resume, it would be more important to keep the resume concise and to capture the reader’s interest — but also to show how you can provide value to the organization beyond just leading projects.  It might make sense to provide more of an overall synopsis of achievements but offer an addendum of projects that can be provided on request.

There are many free tools and templates available today, so be sure to do ample research and ensure that your resume is keeping ‘up with the times’.   Is it time for you to revamp your resume(s)?

The Myth of the ‘2 Page Resume’


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Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

We often have candidates tell us that they received advice from others (often outplacement agencies) to pare their resume back to fit into a 2 page format.  While this is possible for some to accomplish, it can pose a challenge for people who are several years in to their career and have many experiences and successes to highlight. The Myth of the ‘2 Page Resume’

We recommend keeping a resume as clean, clear and concise as possible but don’t mind seeing a 3 or 4 page resume, particularly for someone with over 15 years of experience.

It is well known that most recruiters or hiring managers will spend 5-10 seconds reviewing a resume to determine if a candidate is worthy of further exploration. Once you capture someone’s attention it is important to have enough details to further substantiate your fit for an opportunity.  The following are a few key tips to ensure that your resume makes it past the ‘5 second scan’.

  • Keep it chronological rather than functional. Highlighting your overall skills in a functional format is frustrating for anyone reading your resume.  They must spend time figuring out where in your employment experience each functional area ties back to.  If you have a great skill or success but it is from your first job out of school 20 years ago, it may not be considered marketable.
  • Avoid lengthy intros/bio summaries. Your ‘intro’ statement should be no more than 2 sentences, and should be very concise.  Paint a picture for the reader that summarizes your history, highlights and career goals in a very streamlined manner.  An example might be:  A global Program Manager with 20+ years of experience successfully managing highly complex, enterprise wide transformational initiatives.  Seeking a challenging opportunity with an industry leader that will afford me opportunities for growth.
  • Forget the long list of skills at the beginning of the resume. Anyone and everyone can mention ‘Hard Working, Great Time Management Skills, Team Player, Conscientious’.  Focus on highlighting quantifiable achievements rather than a vague listing of skills that simply take up valuable space.
  • Focus on successes/achievements rather than highlighting ‘day to day’ core activities. Every bullet point that you list should be impactful and highlight a success, achievement or initiative that you undertook.  Use words like ‘Successfully, Spearheaded, Exceeded, Efficiently Created, Fostered’, etc.  then finish the sentence with what positive result you achieved from the initiative.
  • No paragraphs, ever.  A bullet point should be less than 2 lines, and should not contain more than one sentence.  If you are using a paragraph format, the reader will lose interest very quickly and you likely won’t make it past 3 seconds!
  • Keep a reasonable font. It is not a great achievement if you manage to get your resume to 2 pages by reducing the font size to 5.  Use a professional font that is easy to read and as a general rule, never use a font below 10.

Ask your recruiter for feedback on your resume, and take their advice.  A resume should be a constant work in progress and should be ever evolving as your career progresses.

For insight into the differences between a typical contractor vs permanent employee resume, stay tuned for my next post!

Are You Really “Detail-Oriented”?


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Are You Really "Detail-Oriented"?There are a number of buzzwords and phrases that show up on resumes and LinkedIn profiles across all industries, whether you’re an IT contractor, a fast food worker or anywhere in between. Perhaps one of the most over used is “detail-oriented”.

Most people do pay attention to detail to some degree, but if everyone does, then is it really a differentiator worth putting in your profile summary? If you truly want to stand out as a detail-oriented person, then you need to demonstrate it in everything you do. Here are a few places you can show that you’re detail-oriented before you even start your project with a client.

The Application

Applying for a job through a job board, recruitment agency or directly through a client is usually a simple process but you’d be surprised at how many candidates miss a field or add the wrong information because they failed to read instructions properly. When a recruiter notices this, they immediately laugh at your “detail-oriented” claim in the first line of your resume.

Your Resume

Speaking of your resume, that may be the easiest way to show you pay no more attention to detail than the average person. Spelling and grammar are obvious must-haves, but consistency is another crucial element. Are you using the same fonts throughout? Do you keep the same format for each of your headers, bullets and body text? Does the tense remain the same as you describe your experience? The unfortunate part of a resume that achieves these points is that people rarely notice, but you stick out like a sore thumb when you don’t consider it.

Social Media

Often when creating social media profiles, we quickly fill out the information to get started and promise ourselves we’ll go back later to enhance it. When this next step gets forgotten, it leaves a blank, non-detailed profile for the world to see. Another area to review, especially LinkedIn, is how often you update it. It’s no secret that recruiters compare resumes and LinkedIn profiles to verify honesty, so they will notice if it’s outdated.

Completing Forms and Contracts

Similar to the job application process, but usually more complex, when contractors are asked to complete forms — contracts, security clearances, client policies — we sometimes see them miss important sections or insert the wrong information. More often than not, it’s because the form wasn’t clear on what it was asking. In these cases, it’s best to ask for clarification than make assumptions. Asking for help and admitting to trouble understanding the form may require some humility, but showing that you’ve read it demonstrates your attention to detail, and it’s better than submitting the wrong information.

The Interview

When detail-oriented people attend a job interview, they’re well prepared at a minimum. This means arriving on time, knowing who they’re meeting with and having a copy of their resume and portfolio available. Those who stand out demonstrate their attention to detail throughout the interview. They take extensive notes and ask good questions, building on what the interviewer has told them and proving they’ve been absorbing every word that’s been said.

The First Day

Finally, your first day on the client site plays an important role on showing that you didn’t just add another cliché to your resume. After all, first impressions will form how a client rates you through the entire project. As with the interview, being organized is a minimum requirement. Truly detailed people will have already done their homework on the project and organization so they’re ready to start immediately. Like the interview, ask questions based on what you learn and dig deep into the layers of the project as you familiarize yourself with it.

The term “detail-oriented” makes regular appearances on resumes, but it’s also in many job descriptions, proving clients do believe it to be important. With everybody claiming to have this trait, your challenge is to prove that you are above average and that needs to begin immediately.