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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Five Simple Changes to Make Your Résumé Showcase-Ready this Summer

The résumé has significantly changed over time since Leonardo da Vinci created the first official résumé in 1482. More than 500 years have passed and yet, the résumé is increasing in necessity and becoming more versatile.

Originally used as a type of letter of introduction, it's now the most integral part of a recruitment and selection process. No longer is the résumé a formality used for application outlining basic responsibilities. It’s an impactful career narrative used for strategic career planning and forecasting. With all the various mediums offered, from the infographic résumé to the video résumé and web résumé, it represents your distinct branding and networking tool for applying to career opportunities, but also networking within your wider community.

From volunteering to pursuing board roles to leadership opportunities at speaking events, a compelling résumé package is a "must" for career success.

Five Helpful Strategies to Take Your Résumé to the Next Level

When you’re applying to your desired role and want to ensure that your résumé gets noticed, here are 5 things that you need to do:

1. Ensure your résumé is customized to a clear focus.

Many résumés that come across my desk lack a clear target. They are also generically designed. A résumé needs to be strategically designed with purpose to highlight your value while meeting the employer’s goals and job requirements. The career target needs to be clearly stated at the top along with size of company targeted and industry. The employer shouldn't have to guess at what your focus is.

Showcasing a powerful brand statement will help the employer or recruiter to understand your value and how you can offer value to their company.

Here's a brand statement used with a client in the healthcare sector:

Healthcare Subject Matter Expert –– Driving strategy and innovation to improve the quality of lives

2. Revamp your summary of qualifications profile.

Résumés either lack a summary or have one filled with redundant information or meaningless adjectives without evidence of concrete achievements or results. Concisely portray a snapshot of your expertise that includes core strengths in the Areas of Expertise or Core Strengths section.

What are your core strengths in relation to the role applied for?

Ensure that these core competencies are aligned with the job posting or job targeted. Highlighting the keywords in the job posting helps to ensure alignment with your offerings. The challenge is to consider how can you best sum up your experience in a few lines (yes, a few lines!).

3. Stand out by incorporating metrics.

Take a moment to review your résumé again.

Do the bullets lead with accurate results –– both quantitatively and qualitatively?

Solution: Dig deeper by assessing the results and the impact that they bring to the employer. Consider re-prioritizing the bullets so the most powerful ones are positioned at the top.

For example, instead of saying:

Drove process efficiencies that earned several top awards of excellence…

Consider rephrasing (leads with results):

Earned several top awards of excellence for driving 30% increased process efficiencies.

Notice the difference?

4. Accentuate your achievements. Differentiate from responsibilities.

Often, I see responsibilities lumped in with achievements. The achievements are buried. This means that the value is concealed as well. Distinguish between the scope and duties of your role vs. what you accomplished.

Remember the responsibilities are “what you did” and the achievements signify the “how” or the “impact –– what happens when you did what you were tasked to do?

Avoid just stating responsibilities. Meaningfully translate what you did into powerful action-driven statements –– how it met the strategic goals of the organization.

For example:

As a member the Executive Team, recruited to position the company as a leader in diversity-focused practices in recruitment and selection.

5. Sharpen your résumé design and format.

Today’s résumés are modern, yet professionally appealing. Less is more. Firstly, avoid using templates as not only are they outdated, they spell little value in highlighting your brand.

Secondly, many résumés appear dull. The main reason? Formatting. The hybrid format works best. Résumés that are cluttered without enough white space detract from the eye rather than maximizing results and impact. Try changing the font to Calibri or Arial (easier to read) rather than the traditional Times New Roman. Add enough white space by increasing line spacing.

Next, spruce up your design by injecting some subtle colour –– experiment with a sharp navy blue perhaps or harmonious green. These colours work well for branding. Google search your industry brand to see what colours and images show up. If you're applying to a company that has a unique logo, consider incorporating some of the logo colours into the résumé. For instance, the environmental sector is associated with green.

Another effective strategy is featuring a graph, text boxes, or testimonials to visually draw out results. This will help the employer to see your value quickly.

More Helpful Résumé Tips to Note: Proofread and Eliminate the Fluff

Other tips include proofreading several times to ensure that your document is error-free. Get rid of outdated lines such as the old Career Objective line: “To find meaningful long-term work with a growth-oriented company” (or “References available upon request” (these statements are implied and a waste of space).

Eliminate redundant information that adds little meaning to your career narrative, including outdated roles from high school. Featuring only key information will help save space and maximize readability!

Your Résumé: A Passport to Brand Building and Career Opportunities

Remember that your résumé is more than a document outlining your work experience and achievements.

“Your résumé is your career footprint –– your distinct career narrative and brand marketing tool –– conveying a powerful story about your brand, while paving the way for rewarding career opportunities.” - Lori A. Jazvac

Why would you want to settle for a mediocre résumé when you can have a master-level résumé portfolio this summer that spells solid and proven results?

Contact Creative Horizons Communications – Resumes for more information or call 905.730.2374. Get your résumé showcase-ready this summer in order to apply for a rewarding position.

For more helpful tips, please view: 10 Resume Tips from Best Canadian Resumes via

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