Tips on resume crafting

Human resource (HR) recruiters don’t spend more than a few moments looking at a resume. Since they typically receive a lot of resumes for the same position, most people’s resumes end up in the recycling bin. While I’m all for being green, if you want to be sure to keep your resume out of the recycling bin then you may need a perfect resume. Luckily this column is all about crafting that perfect resume.

The problem with the perfect resume is that it is as elusive as finding Bigfoot riding a unicorn. Now before you go out to pick up a grocery store tabloid with the latest Bigfoot sightings, let’s talk about why creating the perfect resume is difficult and some uncommon advice to help you create the best resume possible.

There are three main reasons why it is difficult to create a perfect resume. First, you can’t change your experience. As a result, you may not be the perfect fit for jobs that require different or more experience than you have. The reality is the ingredients for your resume recipe are fixed. You can only change the garnishes and the presentation, which I consider to be the wording and format of your resume.

Second, resume formats vary dramatically by profession and industry. A perfect sales resume will look different from a perfect consulting resume and a perfect resume created for the movie industry will be different than for the medical industry. Lastly, everyone has their own personal preferences. Even for the same industry and role, what one person may consider a perfect resume will be seen by another person as not very good at all.

The lesson here is that a resume should be used to qualify you for an interview. The difference between a perfect and great resume is not in the result you get, but the cost of the extra time and hassle of trying to make a perfect resume. I suggest that rather than customizing your resume in detail for every job, you create a more versatile resume that will get you an interview for your particular role or industry. Any resume that gets you an interview has done its job.

Consider that in 1543, Copernicus published a book stating that the Earth was not the centre of the universe. Sadly, this implies that the universe does not revolve around the Earth and thus the world does not revolve around you or your resume. Since the resume is requested by the employer, by supplying them a resume they become a customer.

Not giving an employer what they asked for is like someone ordering a small fries at McDonalds and receiving a supersized BigMac combo with a kids’ toy thrown in for fun. While the BigMac combo may be more filling and comes with a shiny new toy, it is not what the customer wants. This same principle applies to resumes. High school awards and your passion for reading don’t add value to your employer so don’t include them. It’s not about what you want to have in your resume, it’s about what the employer wants you to have in it.

When you do update your resume, ensure every bullet begins with a strong action word. The first word should pack a punch like the ones from the old Batman TV series. Remember not to use the same action words too often. Also, if you use the track changes feature in MS Word remember to clear all the changes and comments.

I have had resumes come to me with draft comments and it was really embarrassing to read. Obviously that person did not get the job. Finally as a best practice, always send your resume as a .pdf file. This is professional and ensures what you see is what they get. This also helps keep a static copy of your completed resume for reference purposes.

Alim Maherali is the President and Founder of Alim Consulting International and speaks regularly on various career related topics. Alim holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from WLU and an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) from UW.

For more tips and to get detailed advice on how to write an effective resume check out

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