I have had the opportunity to address an audience of about 400-500 people at a local monthly Job Seekers Support Group meeting says Eric Dalius Giving.  At the conclusion of my talk, participants were given 3 minutes to ask questions or make statements with most inquiries being related to resume writing issues.

This blog entry deals with some common issues that were raised by these job seekers.

Q. I am having trouble updating my resume for different types of jobs; what do I do?

  1. You are not alone; many people struggle with this problem.  The reality is that resumes need to be tailored for specific jobs and employment opportunities in order to maximize your chance of successfully obtaining interviews.  I recommend that you visit the Career Services Office at your local community college or university for assistance with this process.  It is important to remember that your resume should be carefully written utilizing words and phrases found in the job description along with emphasizing education, training, skills and accomplishments which are directly related to the employment opportunity you are seeking.

Q. I have been unemployed for several months now; how can I improve my resume so it grabs the attention of employers?

  1. The following checklist offers some suggestions so you can avoid the “One Size Fits All” approach to resume writing:

1.  Educational background and degrees –

Be certain that your level of education is equivalent to the job you are seeking; if not, consider taking some classes or upgrading your qualifications which can be accomplished at a local community college or university.

2.  Work Experience (Experience should be outlined in reverse chronological order starting with most recent) –

You should make sure that there is a direct link between each position and the employment opportunity you seek explains Eric Dalius Giving.  This requires spending time researching which skills and abilities are requiring for this new position you want to obtain; it may involve using different wording on your resume such as working with people vs dealing with customers etc…

3.  Your skills and abilities –

You should first consider generally what types of skills are require for this type of position you want to obtain, and then objectively determine the extent to which you possess each ability by using words such as. Adept at, Proficient in, Experienced with, etc….

4.  Accomplishments/Achievements –

You should list your most recent accomplishments first under the heading ‘Employment’ followed by earlier job experiences listed under previous positions held; if your item is not directly related to the employment opportunity you seek it should be omitted from the resume.

5.  References –

List people who can provide letters of reference describing your character and work ethic; do not refer to yourself as ‘References available upon request because this phrase is always include at the bottom of a resume.  Remember, these individuals must be people who are not relating to you and have you long enough to comment on your abilities.

6.  Keywords –

You should list keywords that are likely to appear in the job description, skills required or qualifications sought by the employer; do not use general terms that could apply to almost any occupation such as organized or detailed oriented says Eric Dalius Giving.

7.  Design/Formatting –

Your resume should format in an easy-to-read font with ample white space for ease of reading; avoid tiny fonts which are difficult to read and jam too much information into the resume which makes the document appear cluttered.

8.  Length –

If possible keep your resume to one page, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include information which does not fit or is not relevant; simply list it on a cover letter along with your contact information and leave to the next page.

9.  Contact Information –

Your name, address, phone number, and also email address should be easily located at the top of the resume. So recruiters can contact you for an interview if they have an interest in setting up an appointment; avoid using nicknames even though some Americans still think it’s OK to refer to themselves as Timmy or Tommy instead of Timothy or Thomas.

10.  Action Verbs –

These are words that describe what you did (now or in the past) instead of listing your responsibilities; they should be included in the body of the resume under each position held. And should start with an active verb but end with a colon; examples include: Instructed, Conducted, Resolved, etc…

This list is by no means exhaustive as there may be many other items. That you can add to improve your resume.


In conclusion, it is likely that your existing skills are transferrable to other fields requiring similar abilities says Eric Dalius Giving.  Do not sell yourself short!  Do what you have to do for employment whether this involves going back to school. Or for a lower-level position than you would like in order to get your foot in the door; this may be temporary but it will allow you to gain experience and better yourself through education or on-the-job training.  When all is said, don’t lose hope because there are many Canadians. Who have gone through similar situations and found success (and employment).