Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: resumes

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

Quick Poll Results: Do you customize your resume?

Last month’s contractor quick poll set out to find out how many independent contractors follow the age-old advice of customizing their resume for each job application submitted. Experts tell us time and again that this is one of the best ways a professional can stand out.

The results below show what the IT contracting community across Canada thinks about customizing resumes, and it seems the vast majority do it at least some of the time. If you don’t do it, what’s stopping you? Does it take too much time? Do you disagree with those who say it will make you more competitive? If you are customizing your resume, have you seen results that justify the time commitment? We’d love to get your thoughts in the comments below!

Quick Poll Results: Do you customize your resume?

Apparently, This is What a Perfect Resume Looks Like

Is there such thing as a “perfect resume?” We’re hesitant to think so. With factors such as skillset, experience, industry, sector and client, there may never be a one-size-fits-all recipe to a resume. However, there will always be best practices that make it easy for recruiters and clients to evaluate your profile and know if you’re the right person for the contract.

This Business Insider video features an expert who believes she has the perfect resume down to a science. While the term “Perfect” may be questionable, it absolutely hits some crucial points that will help you create a winning resume. If you haven’t been getting as many phone calls from your job applications as you’d like, then consider watching this video to improve your CV.

Contractor Quick Poll: Do you customize your resume?

A very commonly heard technique when applying to jobs is to customize your resume so it’s tailored to match the specific job description. We hear it a lot, but how many independent contractors actually take the time to do it?

It’s completely understandable why you wouldn’t. IT contractors apply to numerous jobs with many agencies all the time, and continuously customizing would be a massive time commitment. As well, many job boards including Monster, Indeed and even Eagle allow you to upload your resume once and apply to multiple jobs without having to upload another. This allows you to quickly apply to new technology opportunities on the go, but if you’re on the go, you’re not able to customize a resume. (Tip: You can upload multiple files to your Eagle profile and track past jobs to which you have applied. Return any time to upload a new resume, changing the file name to match the Job ID of each specific job).

This bring us to our Contractor Quick Poll for this month — how many IT contractors customize their resume? Even more, we’d love to learn in the comments if you think it is, in fact, a helpful strategy.

Graphic Resumes for Technology Contractors?

Crystal Nicol By Crystal Nicol,
Delivery Manager, Eastern Canada at Eagle

Graphic Resumes for Technology Contractors?A recent article by Vladimir Popovic of Epic CV discusses the pros and cons of a graphic resume. Throughout the post, he brings up 10 positive reasons to consider a graphic resume, four downfalls and 5 risks. While I agree a graphic resume could be an interesting differentiator to grab a recruiter’s attention, I agree even more about the fifth risk he mentions at the end of the article — graphic resumes are industry-specific. And IT contracting is not included in that list of industries.

Of the four pitfalls Popovic lists, the first one stands out the most — “Graphic resumes are not meant for Applicant Tracking Systems.” It’s a fact that all major recruitment agencies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). It’s also a fact that to access the most job opportunities, independent technology contractors frequently work with recruitment agencies because they have already built relationships with large organizations and possibly earned Preferred Supplier status through a proposal process.  Consequently, if your resume isn’t easily readable in an applicant tracking system, it won’t be found by recruiters.

When you submit your resume to a staffing agency, it is put into a database that is searchable by recruiters and the ATS automatically scans the document for keywords to categorize your specialty areas. You may have applied to a specific contract opportunity and you’re now in the database. This means recruiters will find you while seeking to fill other positions for their clients. So, the recruiter is working to find you jobs and all you had to do was upload your resume. But, this only happens if your resume was ATS friendly — either a .doc or .pdf document, and originally created in a standard word processor, like MS Word. The staffing agency’s technology won’t be capable of reading your graphic resume and, even if it can, you’ll be lacking the detail required to categorize your resume… which leads to the next point.

In the Epic CV article, some of the pros provided by the author include “clearly shows information,” “highlights strengths,” and “graphic resumes are interesting.” This couldn’t be further from the truth if you’re an IT contractor. When recruiters and clients review your resume, they want to see all of your recent and relevant experience. In many cases, they put your resume beside the job description and, line-by-line, verify that you clearly explain and prove how you meet the requirements. A graphic resume that only highlights your strengths will not land you any gig worth bragging about. When recruiters screen resumes for IT contractors, they’re not seeking an interesting read, they’re seeking a qualified professional. Even the young recruiters — who Popovic seems to believe are all uneducated with no attention span and are “used to reading text and watching pictures” — will prefer a detailed resume that makes it easy to sell your skills to a client.

While graphic resumes are less than ideal when submitting to a recruiter for an IT contract, I do agree with a couple of the pros referenced in the article. A graphic resume will help you stand out and it could be a beneficial networking tool. Instead of a “graphic resume,” think of an infographic as a marketing tool. You would not you provide it when applying to a job, but instead, it would be a great leave-behind after an interview or when networking. That infographic is not going to be what gets you the job, but it will ensure somebody remembers you. And, when you’re top-of-mind to a recruiter, opportunities start pouring in.

5 Things Recruiters Hate About Your Resume (Video)

For IT Contractors, recruiters are the gatekeepers of your employment destiny as they are the ones who read and evaluate your resume. If they like what they see, you’ll move on in the process; if not your hopes for that role are over and your jobs search starts over again. So, it is pretty important to tailor your resume to what they want to see.  This quick video shows you 5 things you absolutely must avoid having on your resume, under any circumstances, no matter what, if you want to keep your recruiter happy!

The 10 Best Fonts for Your Resume (Infographic)

Resume advice is one of the more popular topics on the Talent Development Centre. We provide IT contractors with many formatting tips and discuss content that you should (or shouldn’t) include in your technology resume, but we rarely go into specific design topics. After all, how important can the design of your resume be if it’s only going to be read by a computer anyway? Surely, computers don’t care how pretty something looks.

Although the chances are big that your resume will be screened by a computer before anyone else, if you’re qualified for an IT position, a recruiter will still end up looking at it… and they’re human. How your resume looks will affect a recruiter’s perception of you before they start to review your background and skills, even if it’s on a smaller, subconscious level. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put some thought into this and, the simplest way is to double-check the font you’re using.

Have a look at this infographic from Monster. You will probably find that you’re already using a proper font (note Comic Sans is not listed). If you’d like to stand out, you will also find some different fonts that are both appropriate and can give your resume a modern feel.

The 10 Best Fonts for Your Resume

Write the Perfect Profile Summary for Your Resume

How to Write the Perfect Profile Summary for Your ResumeIn case you missed the memo, the “Objective” section in your resume is dead. It means very little to anybody evaluating your resume and is quite useless. What’s not dead, and in fact is still very well alive and kicking, is the Professional Profile or Profile Summary.  If you’re an independent contractor and don’t have a Profile Summary in your resume, stop whatever you’re doing right now and start writing one. It may just be the fastest way you can help yourself get more call backs from recruiters.

Successful sales people develop an elevator pitch — a quick blurb about their product they give to clients that grabs attention, opens a door, and allows them to deliver their complete sales pitch. Independent contractors need to follow the same logic. Your product is you and your services. Your client is the recruiter or hiring manager. And your Profile Summary is your elevator pitch. It’s what grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read the rest of your resume. Without that great elevator pitch, a sales person risks losing the opportunity for a future sale and without a great Profile Summary, you risk having your resume overlooked.

Let’s take a closer look at six items you need to consider in your resume’s Profile Summary that will make it exceptional so you stand out among the other job applicants:

  1. Positioning: It should be obvious. The Profile Summary needs to be at the top. First thing, right after your contact information.
  2. Easy-to-Read: You want this to be a quick and easy read. Consider bullet points or a short paragraph with simple sentences. This is not the time to try and impress people with your complex academic writing (unless it really fits the position to which you’re applying).
  3. Tailor it to the Reader: When possible, write a different summary for every application you submit. Know what the reader will be looking for in the application and highlight those points.
  4. The Meat: As noted above, you need to include information that the reader cares about. Give a high-level summary of your experience, education and skills that are relevant to this position. Remember to add quantifiable facts, such as “Managed 15 people ” or “20 years of experience.”
  5. The Fat: You know all of those fancy clichés and unique adjectives? Delete them. All of them.
  6. Your Differentiators: Like every great product, you must have one or two qualities that separate you from your competition. Perhaps you led a very successful and complex project, or maybe you’re and expert in a single skill you know that client is looking for. Know what separates you from the pack and then make sure the reader knows it too.

As noted in #3, ideally you will tailor a Profile Summary for every resume, but you also want a generic one. That base Profile Summary needs to be absolutely flawless. Spend hours working at it, re-reading, and the re-writing. When it’s done, pass it to friends for feedback and continue updating it until you have the perfect elevator pitch about yourself (that’s also 100% fact). Your final summary will be more than just a block in your resume, it can then be used for intros to emails when you send a resume or your LinkedIn profile.

Even Recruiters will appreciate your great Profile Summary. In fact, once you’ve sold them on your abilities, their job is to sell you to clients and, that’s right, your Profile Summary will be their number one tool. Sure, if you write a terrible one they’ll re-write it to something awesome, but it won’t be as great and you will have less control over the content.

Do you have a Profile Summary? Are you proud of it or is it something you’ve just thrown together? If that’s the case, we recommend you have a look at it.

2016 in Review: Working with Staffing Agencies

2016 in Review: The Inside Scoop on Working with Staffing AgenciesThere are many benefits to working with staffing agencies. Topping the list is that we help IT contractors connect with the top clients and the best technology projects. Naturally, then, being able to build relationships and work with recruiters provides a major competitive advantage. The Talent Development Centre is all about growing independent contractors’ success, so 2016 was packed with inside information on how you can enhance your relationship with employment agencies.

Top-of-Mind Candidates

The best position for you to be in is as one of your recruiters’ “top-of-mind” candidates. To provide insight on this topic and help you achieve this spot, we surveyed our recruiters to learn more about being top-of-mind. The result was a series of posts, including these:

Building a Relationship with a Recruiter

Of course, it all starts with a solid relationship with your recruiter. These posts will help you develop that relationship.

Choosing the Right Staffing Agency

Finally, the most important part of building a relationship with a staffing agency is to make sure you’ve chosen the right one. We always recommend you build relationships with at least three recruiters from different agencies. In this post, Frances McCart, VP Business Development, provides advice on how to choose that partner.

2016 in Review: Resumes

Year in Review: ResumesYesterday we summarized the top job search tips that were shared on the Talent Development Centre throughout 2016. You may have noticed, there was a very important element missing: resumes!

Every job search must start with an outstanding resume. Here are just a few of the many articles we posted in the past year on this topic:

Plus these ones, which were written with direct input from Eagle’s Recruiters and Management Team:

Are there any specific resume tips you’d like to see in the Talent Development Centre in 2017? We’d love your feedback. Please let us know in the comments below.

7 Signs Your IT Resume is Outdated

7 Signs Your IT Resume Is OutdatedYour resume is the most important tool that you have in your job search arsenal. It’s your ticket in the door to an interview, and without one, you might as well just give up on finding a job.

Yet all too often, IT professionals rely on resumes that are outdated, poorly formatted, or full of irrelevant information, and then wonder why they aren’t hearing back from employers. If it’s been a while since you updated your resume (i.e. more than a year or two) or if you’re still relying on the format you learned back in college during the 1990’s, there’s a good chance that employers are ignoring you because of it. In a field like IT, where having the most up-to-date skills is a necessity, an outdated resume sends the wrong message.

If you are embarking on a new job hunt and still using the same resume that landed you your current job, you need to spend some time updating — and that means more than just adding your current position to your work experience. In fact, you might need a complete overhaul, especially if you spot any of these problems.

  1. You Have an Objective Statement

Perhaps the biggest indication that you haven’t kept up with trends is the fact that you have an objective statement highlighting your career goals at the top of your resume. Simply put, no one does this anymore. Employers don’t care that you want a challenging position or want to grow in your career. They want to know what you can do for them. Replace the passé objective with a short value statement and summary of strengths, showing employers what you can do for them.

  1. Your Certifications Are Old

Most employers want to hire IT professionals with the latest certifications, but if your resume doesn’t reflect your most recent achievements, you aren’t going to land the interview. Make sure that your resume accurately reflects all of your current certifications; if you are currently working on additional certifications by completing CISSP preparation or other coursework, mention that with an expected completion date. You want to demonstrate your commitment to growth and development, and be sure that your qualifications are obvious and relevant to the position you want.

  1. You Focus on Tasks, Not Accomplishments 

How do you describe your previous work experience? Do you list your responsibilities and rehash the job description? If so, you aren’t telling employers what they want to know. Employers want to see accomplishments, and how successful you were in your previous jobs. Instead of listing your day-to-day activities, highlight your successes using quantifiable data. If you can’t quantify your achievements, use quotes from testimonials or other accolades.

  1. You Still Have Unrelated Experience Listed

If you have been out of college for 15 years, but still have your college job at the supermarket listed on your resume, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Typically, resumes should focus on what you have done in the last decade or so, and be highly focused on related experience. If you are just out of school and don’t have much experience, including unrelated jobs is fine if you can show transferrable skills, but as you get more experience, those jobs should fall off the resume.

  1. You Aren’t Keyword Focused 

Most employers use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for keywords, and then rank candidates according to how many keywords appear. Therefore, if you don’t include the right keywords, your resume could be rejected even if you are the perfect candidate. When revising your resume, then, you should review job postings for your ideal jobs and incorporate the same language used by the employer; for example, if the employer asks for “strong knowledge of computer science fundamentals,” you should include “knowledge of computer science fundamentals” somewhere in your resume to ensure a match.

  1. Your Resume Doesn’t Highlight Technical Competencies

When applying for IT jobs, you need to clearly demonstrate your technical competencies and your skills. Don’t make employers search for that information or guess what you can do. Spell out your technical skills in a specific section. If you have any special achievements in these areas, include that information as well.

  1. You Don’t Highlight Transferrable or Soft Skills

Finally, many employers are looking for IT professionals with specific soft skills, such as teamwork, communication, and time management. Make these connections throughout your resume, including information about how you have demonstrated these skills when you discuss your achievements.

These are the major red flags that your resume is outdated and needs a makeover. Others include noting that references are available (employers know this), listing basic skills in your skill summary (we hope you can use Microsoft Office by now), and using an old email address from AOL or your university. If you make these changes, you’ll have a much better chance of landing the interview, and the job you want.

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