By Tabinda Nayyar Siddiqui

photo credit: flazingo_photos via photopin cc

photo credit: flazingo_photos via photopin cc

Hurray! I got my degrees assessed. Now comes another daunting task as I need a résumé – actually a Canadian résumé.

Résumé is a summary of your education, experience and skills; written in an attractive style to catch  the  recruiter’s attention in a 30 seconds scan. It’s your most important self-marketing tool to position yourself for next step, the job interview.

There is no straight forward recipe to a buzz-creating resume. Google can provide you with tons of information on functional, chronological and even hybrid resumes. This article aims at only best practices and useful tips regardless of the résumé style you wish to follow.

Get started

Visualise how it would appear, make a plan in your head and jot down all points. You begin with use of headings to organize the information in your résumé. Common résumé headings include:

  • Highlights of Qualifications
  • Professional Experience
  • Education
  • Trainings & Professional Development

First comes first

Organize the information from most important to least important with regards to the job you are applying for. Always highlight your skills pertinent to the job description.

Short and sweet

Keep your résumé short. In Canada, most people have a résumé that is 2 pages long. No one has time to read long pages of text.

Custom made – one size doesn’t fit all

Custom made – sounds rich, right? But that is a Canadian standard. Make your résumé stand out from the crowd with high quality content, error free writing and customizing it each time for what matters most for a particular job.

Career experts recommend that you customize your résumé for each job, especially at the beginning. Generic résumés do not work in today’s labour market.

For some jobs, you can change a few sentences to focus on certain skills and accomplishments. For others, you may need a completely new résumé.

Easy on the eyes

Make your resume visually attractive. Use some white space to allow the reader’s eye to rest. Use a font that is easy to read and not distracting to the reader. Recommendations are 10-12 point fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Gill Sans MT.

Make sure to keep the formatting consistent throughout your resume. For example, if you choose to bold a job title, make sure every job title is in bold. Also, make sure that all of your bullet points, section headers, dates, etc. are lined up whether it is left, center, or right hand justified.

Let the drums roll… Highlights of qualifications

This is your chance to shine, list your accomplishments. Employers hire you for the set of skills you have acquired over the years. Describe achievements, rather than listing duties. List action words with numeric examples wherever possible. i.e. Proven track record of selling over 100 softwares a month.

Print it, look it over and get it reviewed before you start sending out your résumé. You may wish to save it as a PDF document to ensure that formatting is consistent and employers will be able to open the document without difficulty.

We wish you the best of Canadian luck in your job hunt!


About the author:

Tabinda Nayyar Siddiqui is an HRIS Data Analytics, Reporting, Data Conversion, Implementation and Maintenance professional, with an MPA in Human Resources. She is also working on getting her CHRP and CCP certifications.