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Put your Template in the Trash

by Melissa Small
4 Tips 5


Employers often scan your resume and decide in under a minute whether you are a good fit. This could be before and/or after an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) has reviewed your resume in comparison to their needs. If you use a template, there could be reasons why your application isn’t being well reviewed by an ATS or the visual eyes of an employer.

Also, it’s important to remember that your experiences are much bolder and more intriguing than a cookie cutter format. Let’s start with a clean Word document to build a resume that will get the attention you’re looking for from hiring managers.

There’s no specific formula for a resume, but let’s look at a few examples of how you can break down your information:

Summary of Qualifications Career Achievement Profile Skills Summary Professional BackgroundEducation and Training Credentials and Certifications Academic Background Valid Licenses
Employment History Professional Experiences Relevant ExperiencesAwards and Scholarships Special Honours Recognition of Competencies

Starting here will help you begin to tailor some of the remaining details that are needed to effectively showcase your skills to an employer. But there are a few other tips to consider:

  • Objectives are a thing of the past. Instead of writing this out, put a bullet in the first paragraph that summarizes what the focus of your resume and presented skills are.
  • Essential skills, which are also labelled soft skills or personality traits, are equally as important to include as any technical or practical experiences. You want to match your wording to the types of personality profiles that are sought out across many job descriptions. Reviewing similar job descriptions or profiles to the one that you’re trying to target will also help you determine the types of words that you want to include.
  • Employers won’t assume an acronym meets their needs. Spelling out the words of an acronym at least once will get you bonus suitability scores in your application through an ATS document.
  • Pick the order of the categories based on the most recent status of each section. For example, if you’ve just finished a school or are in process of it, list your education first; and if you’re currently working, volunteering and/or job searching, you’ll likely wish to include your work experiences first. When employers are scanning resumes, they’ll look for the first date they see and may get the impression that you’ve been out of the professional game for a while if you mix up this order.

Still feeling lost? Don’t worry because you’re welcome to call our Resource Centers or put in an inquiry through our www.BeEmployed.ca website to ensure that your resume meets the requirements of the employers that you’re trying to target.