Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: resumes

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

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.

Author bio: Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her strong ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. She enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With two years of experience in blogging, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing remarkable content for all audiences. http://www.seekvisibility.com/

Deciphering 3 Common Recruiter Calls and Emails

By Brendhan Malone (Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle) and Graeme Bakker (Recruitment Team Lead at Eagle)

Deciphering 3 Common Recruiter Calls and EmailsRecruiters know that contractors get tons of calls and emails throughout the day.  Recruiters also know that time is valuable and we want to make the process of finding your next contract as stress free and smooth as possible.

Once you’ve decided on your staffing agency with the best candidate experience, it’s important to know exactly what your recruiter is looking for when you receive these common phone calls or emails:

Scheduling a Phone Interview:

When a recruiter calls or sends an email about scheduling a phone interview they just want to make sure these three things are a go:

  • You’re available to do the phone interview at the time the client has provided.
  • You will be in a location with no distractions or phone issues.
  • Let the recruiter know if you want to touch base to discuss anything prior to the phone interview. Reply with a couple times that you are available to prep and the recruiter will appreciate being able to work around your schedule.

Interview Feedback:

When a recruiter calls or emails you for interview feedback, this is why they’re doing it:

  • They want to know if it was positive for you and if you’re still interested in continuing with the process. If you are positive about the interview and more excited about the opportunity, your recruiter wants to relay that information to the client.
  • If you have negative feedback or any questions/concerns about the interview, your recruiter wants to know about it. This way they can answer any questions you might have or smooth over any concerns you have going forward with the process.
  • Eliminate any surprises. The recruiter wants to confirm the possibility of any other offer or opportunities on the table.  Are you more in favour of this role that you interviewed for than another?  Would you accept this opportunity should they come back to us with an offer?  The recruiter wants to make sure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Resume Review:

You’ve received a call and/or email from a recruiter about a role.  You’re interested in the role and are qualified for it.  You just sent the recruiter your updated resume, so why does the recruiter need to chat with me?

In this competitive MSP driven job market, what is in your head NEEDS to be on the resume.  The person first seeing your resume and determining if it should go on is very rarely the technical manager responsible for hiring.  Recruiters know we can leave nothing to chance in this environment.

  • Recruiters know that if you are a front-end developer, you have experience with HTML and CSS. We might not be that technical but we know that!  If you have 10 years of development experience and 8 years of HTML and CSS experience it needs to be in the resume!
  • We know it can be frustrating to answer basic questions about your skills and then add it to your resume, but recruiters are doing it for your benefit. They know that if they don’t correctly put where you have had this experience send your resume won’t get past the gatekeepers and over to the hiring manager.
  • If you get back to the recruiter with a couple minutes to chat and answer those questions you will have the benefit of knowing you are hitting all the marks described in the job description. As an added bonus, your staffing agency will l have an updated resume on file that is correctly updated.

Understanding what’s inside a recruiter’s head may not always seem simple, but it’s easier then you may think. In the end, we all share the same goal of getting you placed into the right contract. This insight into these three common conversations recruiters have with you will let you stop trying to read between the lines and focus on your business.

5 Minute Resume Tricks That Can Land the Job You Want

On average, you will spend about 25 years of your life sleeping, 4 eating, and 10.3 working.

In total, that’s about 40 years or half of your life doing nothing more than eating, sleeping, and going to work. That’s why it’s important to do work that you love doing.

That advice may sound like a motivational quote embroidered on a pillow at your Nana’s house: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” said Confucius. But in the end, a lot of people do want meaningful or, at the very least, entertaining work.

So, with so much of your life tied up doing other things, here are 9 tips to help you figure out how to make a resume  that will get you that dream job. And the best part? You will only have to spend about 5 minutes of your life following these tips.

The Dreaded Project Gap

How Your Contracting Business Can Plan for Continued Financial Health

This post first appeared on the CA4IT Blog on February 16, 2016

The Dreaded Project Gap—How Your Contracting Business Can Plan for Continued Financial HealthAs an independent contractor, you know that your business relies on a consistent project load to maintain profitability. However, at some point, you may face a gap between projects. This situation creates many concerns, but with careful financial planning, these rare occurrences should have little, if any impact on your bottom line. By utilizing some commonsense tips, you can safeguard against any effects from project gaps or other unforeseen disruptions.

Tips for Minimizing the Impact of a Gap Between Projects

  • First and foremost, you should always have a plan in place for project gaps. If you are just starting your small business, you need professional accounting advice as to how to plan for downtime not just between contracts, but for all unexpected events that could disrupt your business, such as illness. Remember, your business relies on your ability to perform, so if you suddenly cannot work for any reason, you need a financial back-up plan. This can include a focused savings plan or an emergency plan to liquidate assets or scale down expenses.
  • Stay on top of every expense and think ahead for tax deductions. Tools like cloud-based accounting for small businesses let you keep track of every income and expense in real time so that you always know how you’re doing. The most powerful tool you have is information, and when you can see your business’s financial picture on demand, you gain the power to manage it proactively.
  • Use downtime wisely. Whether your gap lasts a few days or a couple of weeks, never look at this as vacation time. Brush up on your continuing education, or go after than certification you need. View every day as an opportunity to grow and refine your business.

As a business accounting service specializing in independent contractors, CA4IT believes that you need careful, conscious preparation for changes in your workload. We can help you plan for any scenario and fro continued financial stability. Turn to us for all of your accounting needs so that you always feel confident about your financial outlook. To learn more, contact a CA4IT representative for the best accounting help in your community.

Hobbies & Interests – Who Cares?

Hobbies & Interests - Who Cares?The Talent Development Centre features a lot of resume advice, and often directly from the mouths of recruiters. For example, we’ve told you what recruiters say independent contractors must have in their resume, what recruiters hate about your resume, and how they suggest you should format your resume. One common point that each of these posts had is that the Hobbies & Interests section included by many IT contractors is of zero interest to recruiters.

We went back to recruiters and asked them for some more specific thoughts about this controversial section. While one was quite positive, and noted that an applicant’s unique accomplishments demonstrate personality and make them more memorable, most had comments similar to the following:

  • “They should never have them on there.”
  • “Hobbies and Interests should be banned from resumes.”
  • Usually I see people with a small list of “safe” hobbies (most of them include golf, working out, and camping) and it doesn’t really add anything of value.
  • I really don’t pay attention to that too much as it’s not really relevant.
  • Never put hobbies or interest… nobody cares!

Ouch! As for those memorable Hobbies and Interests, here are the 4 most unique ones Eagle recruiters have seen on IT contractors’ resumes:

  1. Skydiving
  2. Nights Out
  3. UFO Chasing
  4. Photo-bombing

Do you keep a Hobbies & Interests section on your resume? If so, what do you list? Do you think they add value? Leave your opinion in the comments below!