Should you use a broad-based resume, or one that is specific and narrow?

One of the benefits of using a broad-based “general” resume is that you can use the same one and send it to dozens of employers, saving you a lot time and energy. A broad-based resume is one where it sets out your entire inventory of skills, without focusing or emphasizing any particular set. It tells the employer: “Here, I can do all of these of things: A, B, C and D. Hire me.” The problem is that your competitors (i.e. other job applicants) are all saying the same thing. So how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

Employers receive stacks of resumes for one job (assuming it’s a highly-sought position) and only spend a minute or less reviewing a resume before deciding whether it goes into the “interview” pile or the rejection pile. That’s how much time you have to make a favourable impression with the employer. In my view, a generic or “general” resume is not going to cut it. The more general a resume becomes, the more it loses its impact or “punch”.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

You are better off creating a resume that is specifically tailored for the vacancy or type of position you want to get. Your resume must speak directly to the needs of employer, and every employer has different needs. Your resume is almost like a sales brochure, the more it appeals to the needs and wants of the employer, the greater your chances of winning an interview.

Let’s say you’re a marketing professional and want to apply to a social media marketing manager role at a consumer goods retailer. First and foremost, your resume should highlight the fact that you are experienced in running retail social media promotions and campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It should clearly state your expertise in studying traffic analytics, new visitor data, retail customer buying trends, influencers, etc. All of this should be the focal point of your resume, front and centre for the reader to see.

You don’t want to use a resume which talks about your broad and general experience in print, radio, television, conferences, and yes, social media. Your resume should tell the reader that you are an experienced and competent manager who has run successful social media campaigns. If you have print and radio marketing experience, you can mention that too, but that is secondary as far as this employer is concerned.

I am not saying you should misrepresent yourself as a social media “expert” if you don’t have the requisite experience or skills. But if you do have the experience, this should be made explicitly and abundantly clear. While it may take a few hours honing and re-shaping your resume, the sharpened focus that you give your resume will increase your chances of getting placed in the “interview” pile.

I have always believed that the best outcomes occur when you apply to jobs for which you’re well-qualified, with a resume that’s laser-focused for the position at hand. You get better results this way, compared to using a broad-based resume to apply for a dozen different jobs (where you may or may not be the strongest fit) and where your chances of getting invited to an interview are minimal.

Need to talk to someone about your resume?

I have over 15 years of experience working in the employment and careers field, and can give you guidance on creating a resume that will give you the maximum impact, increasing your chances of being called for an interview. Contact me today for a free consultation 604 251 3203.

Medical Mask Resellers Punished in Canada

I wrote a short article for back in April 2020 talking about how independent vendors of medical masks were fined for reselling PPEs when they were in short supply at stores and pharmacies.

I was asked by my friend Dr. Walter Block, a libertarian scholar and professor of economics at Loyola University at New Orleans, to expand on that article.  My publication now appears in Studia Humana, a peer-reviewed quarterly journal on political science and political economy from the University of Information Technology and Management in Poland.  

What does this publication have to do with resume-writing, you ask? Providing resume services, like any other service, is subject to the laws of supply and demand. If I charge too high of a price, demand lowers; if I lower my price, demand increases.

When government intervenes in the price that I set, you get perverse outcomes. Setting price controls on goods and services lead to shortages, especially during states of emergencies. Conversely, setting price ceilings leads to over-supply of any given service or product.

For our economy to operate at its most efficient, we need to government to stay out of the market and refrain from intervention. It is in this way that the market can allocate scarce resources, for entrepreneurs to aspire to their full potential in serving the needs of consumers, and for consumers to pay for goods and services at prices dictated by the market (e.g. other buyers), and not the government (e.g. bureaucrats and officials).    

Have a look at my article and see if you agree with me.

Career Night with UBC International Relations & Political Science Students

On January 22nd, I was invited by the UBC International Relations Students Society and the Political Science Students Association to take part in a alumni-student facilitated networking event. The central theme was about developing one’s career path and preparing for the job market.

Managed by Reshaad Ali, UBC Alumni Engagement Manager, and assisted by Maria Kim, Alumni Event & Project Specialist, the event had a unique structure in that each alumni member was assigned to a group of three or four students, and small discussions were held on questions such as:

  • What would you advise students still uncertain about their path?
  • What’s the most significant lesson you learned at UBC?
  • What is one thing that you’d do if you had the chance to go back?

For me, the most important question I received from a student was, “How can I best market myself to employers with my degree in Political Science?” I told him that the employer isn’t interviewing you because you are an “expert” in Political Science. Four years as an undergrad doesn’t make you an expert in any particular area (although you might know more about a certain field than others).

Rather, what you bring to an employer are the skills and traits that you acquired as an undergrad, and these include: learning to think critically, writing well, research skills, working on projects as a team, discipline to follow through on exams, assignments and papers. What you offer the employer is the smarts, agility and diligence to be trained and specialized in the employer’s business, and to thereby contribute real value to the employer in the near term.

Most students were keen to learn as much as they could from alumni, were respectful and polite, and asked some very good questions. I look forward to the next one.

JET Career Workshop

Last Sunday Nov. 25th, I once again had the opportunity of presenting a resume workshop to past participants of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). (The last presentation I gave to this group was three years ago so it was good getting reconnected to the Program.) As some of you might know, I was in the Program decades ago in 1989, just one or two years after it first launched.

My presentation focused on how you can vastly improve your resume by highlighting your core skillsets (or as I like to say, your “core competencies”). These are skillsets that would be seen as most valuable to the employer, critical to success for the job at hand. As an exercise, I handed out sample “job openings” and asked participants to see if they could identify what core competencies would be required for the role. This gave a chance for people think about what the employer wanted, and to tailor their resume for the requirements of the job.

JETs do have a range of skillsets they could offer employers – including presentation, communication, social media, teaching, tutoring, administrative, facilitation – all of which could be important to an employer, depending on the nature of the role.

JETs shouldn’t hesitate to seek resume input from their peers, but ultimately, it’s up to you as to what should or should not go into your resume.

Lastly, I was asked about the difference between a CV (curriculm vitae) and a resume. Some regard a resume as a shorter version of the CV. I consider the two terms as synonymous, though I tend to only use the word “resume” in my own practice. The UC Davis career website had this to say:

“In many European countries, CV is used to describe all job application documents, including a resume. In the United States and Canada, CV and resume are sometimes used interchangeably. If you are not sure which kind of document to submit, it is best to ask for clarification.”

2017 UBC Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) Career Evening – “Limitless”

On Thursday March 9th, I had the opportunity of speaking in front of UBC Arts students about the value of a liberal arts degree, the career paths available to undergrads, and how to approach the job market.

I, along with a panel of other Arts alumni, spoke for about 45 minutes at Café Medina, in downtown Vancouver. The event was moderated by Mishal Tahir, a second-year international student from Pakistan. The other two panelists were Tim Louman-Gardiner (BA’04 Political Science; LLB’07) and  Grace Mok (BA’02 Economics; Dip(Acct)’03).

It was a pleasure talking to the young audience comprising our future leaders. Many were friendly, optimistic about the future, curious about the job market after graduation.  The UBC Almni office deserves credit for sponsoring this helpful event, in conjunction with AUS.  I have always felt that universities and colleges should do all they can to help prepare students for the job market.

Left to right: Mishal Tahir, Grace Mok, Milton Kiang, Tim Louman-Gardiner












Is It Ethical To Leave Out Your Past Employment in Your Resume?

Like many ethical questions, the answer is “it depends”, which means there is a “yes” and “no” component to the answer. At the outset, I should state that a resume is your own personal work biography rather a legal document, so you are not required to state every job you’ve ever had. But what you are required to do is put in relevant credentials, and relevant work, training, and education information so that an employer can fairly assess your candidacy for a position.

Non-Career Jobs:

Let’s start with a past job that is not related to the industry you’re in. I would say that it’s okay to leave those jobs out. This includes part-time jobs in university, or the first one or two jobs you took right out of university before you found something in your field, or even a temp job that you took following a lay-off.

Leaving these jobs out may create gaps in your resume, so be prepared to talk about what you did during those time periods. You may also consider categorizing your job history into two sections: one that says “Relevant Job Experience” and the other saying “Other Experience”.


“What you are required to do is put in relevant credentials, and relevant work, training, and education information so that an employer can fairly assess your candidacy for a position.”


Career Jobs:

Now for past jobs that are related to your career, it gets a bit tricky. As a senior Vancouver resume writer, I believe it is okay to leave out a past job if you’ve had it for less than one year. Why one year? There are no fixed rules, and this may seem arbitrary, but if the job is one you’ve had for less than twelve months, it will appear as less of a gap in your work history, than one you’ve had for two or more years.

But if your employer asks you what you did during the period where you’ve omitted a past job, you’ll need to make a full disclosure, and tell them where you worked, what you did, and for how long. And if asked, you’ll need to tell them why you left.

Leaving out past jobs that go beyond 10 or 15 years is fine. Many employment experts seem to agree on this point. Your employer is most interested to know what you did recently, so spend the time when writing your resume to focus on writing out your job responsibilities and accomplishments during that last 10 to 15 years.

In closing, bear in mind that a resume is different from a job application form you might be asked to fill out. In the latter case, the employer will usually ask you to write down every job you’ve had, covering a specified time period.

Need a New Resume?

If you have any questions about updating or upgrading your resume, don’t hesitate to contact Channel Resume. For job applicants who work during regular office hours, I can arrange to meet you at a time or day that is convenient for you.

Why A Lot Of Executive Resumes Get an “F”

Executive Resumes










ONE OF THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES that successful managers make in their job applications is their inability to tailor their resumes according to the hiring manager’s needs. VPs, directors, and C-suite executives expect that their advanced degrees and former job titles and responsibilities will do the job of convincing the employer that they are right for the job.

But how do you set yourself apart from dozens of other applicants, all with similar credentials, qualifications and career records? Senior job applicants expect the employer to extrapolate from their resume, the specific skills and qualifications that are necessary for the job role. But HR personnel aren’t always able to see how your work and education background translates into specific job skills that are critical to the job role.

An astute job applicant will expressly list out her skills and core competencies that the employer is looking for. Let’s say you have a job description for a senior operations director and one of the major requirements is for someone who is adept at dealing with dozens of team members, across different departments (and countries), including members of the public and government, and other stakeholders.

A job searcher who is sensitive to the needs of the hiring manager will state at the top of her resume, usually under the heading of “Summary of Skills” or “Core Competencies”, the following skills writ large:

Strong Team Collaborator: Excels in collaborating with team members on a cross-functional basis; proven track record in creating strong team engagement for large-scale infrastructure projects and operations; motivates team members to meet or exceed their operational targets.

Stakeholder Engagement: Proficient in creating strong relations with community and government leaders, and other stakeholders. Meets with, and resolves, concerns raised by stakeholders, and solicits input from team members, management, and stakeholders in advancing operational goals.   

If you know that team collaboration and stakeholder relations are key requirements for a position, why not just state, in an explicit manner, that you possess those competencies in spades? It is not unlike an ad that you see, where the product features describe a product that “cleans twice as fast”, “is safe for the environment”, and “costs less than the average cleaner”. There is a reason why most ads set out product features in enticing language: they’re persuasive and they generally do the job of selling the product.

So instead of having the hiring manager guess whether you have the necessary skill set for the job, be explicit in spelling it out. You’ll make it easier for the HR person screening the resumes and you’ll stand out from the competition in the process.

How to Write a Persuasive Cover Letter: Four Pointers

How to write a persuasive cover letterWriting a good cover letter doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Nor does it have to be a lengthy treatise cataloguing what you did in your former jobs (that’s what your resume is for). The cover letter is meant to be a brief note to the reader – preliminary remarks, if you will – before the reader starts going through your resume. Think of it as something similar to the Foreword section in a novel.

I always tell my clients that your cover letter shouldn’t simply re-hash what has already been said in your resume. Instead, use the cover letter as an opportunity to talk about something that hasn’t been properly addressed by your resume, or was not stated at all. This could include talking about any or all of the following:

1.  What are your proudest career achievements?

a.  This could be about a job promotion, or a series of promotions, and what you did to earn them.

b.  How you completed a project with minimal resources, or within an impossible dead line. How did you manage to do this? What were the results of the project? What did you learn from the experience?

c.  How you stepped into a new job role with minimal supervision. How did you manage? What did you learn?

2.  Why should the employer hire you, from a list of similarly-qualified candidates?

Here’s your chance to write your very own “sales brochure” by focusing on the following points:

a.  What do you do better than most other people in your line of work?

b.  What approach would you take to alleviate your employer’s biggest problems?

c.  How would you help your employer meet its objectives?

d.  What set of skills or qualifications makes you most suitable for this position?


The cover letter is meant to be a brief note to the reader – preliminary remarks, if you will – before the reader starts going through your resume.


3.  Is there something in your resume that deserves to be emphasized, or requires an explanation?

This might include the following:

a.  Perhaps there are courses or studies that you’ve taken which apply directly to the advertised role.

b.  You might want to mention how you completed a degree in less time than normal.

c.  You can draw attention to a particular job position that you previously held, and how the experience will help you in this role.

d.  Discuss how you were given more job responsibilities outside of your official duties, or filled in for someone in your department, while your employer was trying to hire additional head   count for an understaffed department.

e.  If you’ve spent only one year or less at a job, perhaps there are extenuating circumstances – e.g. your department was downsized; your spouse was relocated and you followed her; you were headhunted to a higher position at another company.

4.  Do you share a special or unique connection with the employer?

a.  Perhaps you know someone who has worked at the company for a while, and has said good things about the employer.

b.  The employer is a non-profit organization that advocates a certain cause, which you personally support, or have supported in some form.

c.  You’ve had prior dealings with the company (as a customer, supplier, affiliate, etc.), and your experience has been positive.

Keep your cover letter concise and to-the-point. There is no fixed word limit, but try to keep your cover letter down to a page. Watch your grammar, spell-check the document, and proofread twice. The employer is trying to get a sense of who you are as a person, and the only thing that she can go on is your cover letter and resume. So put your best foot forward by submitting a sincere, well-written cover letter.

What do you say when your job interviewer asks, “What is your expected salary?”

what is your expected salary?

Most job interviews end when the hiring manager takes one last look at your resume and asks, “What is your expected salary?”

Some people get uncomfortable around the discussion of money, but during the job interview process, you’ll need to get accustomed to talking about salary numbers.

My suggestion to my resume clients is to initially state that you’re willing to consider the industry rate for the role that’s being filled. Obviously, there is a salary range that corresponds to every job role, with a minimum salary figure at one end, and a maximum at the other. Your objective is to obtain the maximum.

The job interviewer’s objective is to screen out applicants whose salary expectation goes beyond their budget. He may then push you to provide some kind of figure. At this point, there are four possible ways to answer the question, depending on your circumstances:

1.   You are applying for a more senior role within your field.

You may tell the interviewer that you currently make $X in your current role, but are looking to move up to a role with greater responsibilities. Thus, you are looking for an increase in salary with this new role.

2.  You are applying for a similar position within your field, and you believe you are currently being underpaid.

You may tell the hiring manager that you currently make $X but believe the going rate for someone with your experience and qualifications is higher. Of course, you will need to do some salary research.

Your peers who work at other companies might be able to give you some useful salary stats. Headhunters who recruit in your field might be able to send you some salary charts. Colleges that train people in your sector will also be able to give you information on wages.


“Some people get uncomfortable around the discussion of money, but during the job interview process, you’ll need to get accustomed to talking about salary numbers.”


3.  You are applying for a similar position within your field, but would like a better compensation package.

You can tell the recruitment manager that you make $X, and are interested in moving because his company sounds like an exciting place to work. You can add that – and this is the critical part –  if the pay and benefits are better, you would consider moving over. This is a reasonable thing to say, and you won’t be the first person to switch jobs just because the money is better at another company.

4. You are currently out of work, and wish to obtain a similar job that you held before you left the workforce.

In this scenario, you might tell your interviewer that you used to earn $X and would be happy to earn a similar level of salary. Generally speaking, employers consider out-of-work applicants to be in a weaker bargaining position, so your chances of asking for higher pay will not be good. But if you were previously underpaid, you can inform the interviewer of this fact, and let them know that your research indicates the current salary level for this position is much higher.


At the end of the day, you want to be paid at a level that both your employer and you will be happy with. If you’ve done your salary research, and feel that asking for 10 – 20 percent above what you’re currently making is still within market range, then request for that increase. You can assume that the employer has already done its research and knows exactly what is the salary range of your position.

Remember that this is just the beginning of the interview process. There will be other things to discuss besides money: your actual job responsibilities, who you will report to, how much travel is expected, how much weekend and overtime work are expected, etc. Take your time to consider the employer’s offer carefully, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications.

Most important of all, trust your instincts, and if the new offer just doesn’t match up to what you currently have, don’t be afraid to stay put where you are.

Expert Resumes from a Professional Resume Writer

Don’t take a chance with a mediocre resume when applying to your dream job. In today’s competitive job market, you need to make sure that your resume showcases your greatest accomplishments and presents your education, qualifications and work experiences in the most positive way. Call this Vancouver resume writer to find out how you can get a professional resume and cover letter written up, elevating your chances of winning a job interview.

2015 CKNW Orphans’ Fund Pledge Drive a Success!

This year, I got to participate in the CKNW Orphans’ Fund Pledge Drive held at the Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver. As a member of the Rotary Club of Vancouver, I was happy to volunteer to answer calls from donors making their pledges. The Rotary Club of Vancouver has long been a supporter of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund.

Back row: Gerry Glazier, Marlene Glazier, Rene Georges Abi-Rached, Milton Kiang Front Row: Myron Kuzych, Barbara Welsh, Bill Schulz

Back Row (from left): Gerry Glazier, Marlene Glazier, Rene Georges Abi-Rached, Milton Kiang
Front Row: Myron Kuzych, Barbara Welsh, Bill Schulz

This is the first time for me to answer phones in a pledge drive. I have seen on TV countless times telethon volunteers taking calls from outside donors, and always wondered what that must be like. When I was a kid, I thought the volunteers were just actors pretending to answer phones. But I was wrong.

The room was pretty noisy, and there was a lot of excitement among the volunteers, organizers, and staff. A choir outside the room sang Christmas carols, and inside the room, a stage was set up with a broadcaster’s table. A CKNW radio announcer broadcasted the activities live, and during one segment, interviewed Rotary Club President Terry Gunderson and Past-President & Rotary District 5040 Director Don Evans.

Interviewees: Left - Don Evans, Terry Gunderson

Interviewees: Left – Don Evans, Terry Gunderson

I was impressed by the generosity of the donors. By the end of the drive, $2M was raised for children with special needs. I took calls from people who donated sums ranging from $25 to $250. Those who donated a hundred dollars and over were entitled to a Sarah McLachlan Christmas CD.

Left: Marlene Glazier, Gerry Glazier, Milton Kiang

Left: Marlene Glazier, Gerry Glazier, Milton Kiang