Demand for labour remains high in Alberta, but that doesn’t mean employers will take just anyone. “They’re getting some very good quality students,” says Cindy Bustamante, NAIT’s employer assistant.
According to her sources – the employers and HR staff that participate in NAIT’s annual Career Fair – a high-quality resumé is still taken to represent a potentially high-quality hire (we’ll leave you to guess about the inverse). That means, she says, “You have to put some thought into it.”
How exactly? Here, she offers seven tips (and two more for the interview) that come straight from the Alberta employers she helps connect with new recruits. Use them to keep your resumé out of the reject pile.
1. Spelling counts. So does grammar. Ask friends or family members to proofread your resumé before sending it out to potential employers. Make it look like details matter to you, as they do to all professionals.
2. Customize. Rewrite your resumé for the job you want. Lead with the qualifications that best fit the requirements of the posting.
3. Brag. It's not rude if it impresses a potential employer. Highlight accomplishments and emphasize how your actions and initiatives saved time or money, or improved efficiency.
4. Brag specifically. How much money did your innovative ideas save? How much time? How many employees did you train? Use hard numbers to make your talents obvious.
5. Change your email address if necessary. Don't ask potential employers to contact you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Boring is best: email@example.com.
6. There's no "I" in resumé. It's all about you, but save the first-person pronoun for the cover letter.
7. Explain yourself. Been job hopping? Give reasons so as not to seem afraid to commit, or worse. Clearly describe contract positions and times you covered parental or other leaves of absence. The added benefit: should contract work come up with the recipient of your resumé, you've just identified yourself as a worthy candidate.
At the interview
Know your resumé. Follow point 2 (from above) rather than pass around the same copy of a document you haven't actually looked at in months. "Nothing comes off worse than if a candidate doesn’t even know what was on the document they submitted," says one employer. In any case, read it before your interview.
Bring references, even if the interviewer hasn’t requested them. This will show confidence in those you've asked to vouch for you. It will also save the step of leaving and emailing your list, bringing you one step closer to gainful employment.