Update Up Your Resume In 7 Minutes Flat

how to spruce up your resume1

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alright, I might have exaggerated. It’ll take a bit more than seven minutes. But if you follow my guidelines, you’ll know what you need to focus on straightaway.

Fast but effective checklist

In an article I wrote for Freshgigs.ca, I set out seven checklist items that you should keep in mind as you update your resume.

For instance, you will need to provide updated information on your current job title and responsibilities, recent certifications and training, volunteer positions, and the like.

How often should you update your resume

Updating your resume is one of those things you should do on a periodic basis. Most people leave this till it’s time to start looking for another job. As a result, most people’s resumes start to look outdated, and the job of updating becomes a formidable task.  Try to set aside at least an hour to update your resume, perhaps once or twice a year. You never know when you might need it in a hurry, and it’s always good to be well-prepared.

Hiring a Professional Resume Writer

If you want to gain a special advantage in the job market or are just too pressed for time to write a strong resume, there is always professional help. I am a professional resume writer in Vancouver BC, giving applicants a competitive edge is what I specialize in.

You can learn more about my Vancouver resume writing services here.

Using A Recruiter To Look For Work (Part 3 of 3)

how to work with your recruiterRead Part 1, Part 2.

In this final segment of a three-part series, I discuss the optimum number of recruitment firms one should use when looking for work. Some people have the impression that using more recruiters will increase one’s chances of finding work. That’s not necessarily the case.


It’s really a question of manageability. That is, how many recruiters can you stay on top of, without getting your lines of communication crossed?  Can you remember which recruiter sent your resume to Company XYZ, and which recruiter sent your resume to Company ABC? This is what I mean by “manageability”.

Should you always go through your recruiter?

Also, in this article, I discuss the delicate question of whether it’s proper for you to call up your job interviewer, or whether you should go through your recruiter. Suppose you had a question you wanted to ask your interviewer, and she happened to give you her card, saying “Call me up anytime if you have any questions.” Should you still go through your recruiter if you had a question that needed to be answered? Believe it or not, there are some rules of protocol that should be followed.

Should you give your resume to a recruiter?

And finally, I discuss the question of whether you should give your resume to a recruiter who calls you out of the blue, and tells you there is a great job opportunity. With the popularity of LinkedIn (a godsend to recruiters everywhere), it’s not uncommon to receive solicitations from recruiters asking you for your resume. On one hand, you don’t want to miss a great job opportunity, if indeed, such a job existed. But on the other, you don’t want to send your most private document to just anyone who asks for it.

To find the answers to these questions, read on!

Vancouver Resume Writing Services

As a professional resume writer, I offer Resume Writing Services that give my clients a competitive edge in the job market.

Learn more about my Vancouver resume writing services here!

Using A Recruiter To Look For Work (Part 2 of 3)

Using A Recruiter To Look For WorkRead Part 1, Part 3.

In this second part, I discuss a question clients sometimes ask me:  Are my chances better if I apply to a job recruiter’s ad, or if I apply directly to the hiring company? In order for me to answer this question, you should know how recruitment firms operate.

Whenever you see a recruiter’s job ad for a vacancy, a recruiter will have been engaged either on an “exclusive” or a “non-exclusive” basis.

Exclusive recruiters

If a recruiter is hired by the employer on an exclusive basis, all resumes will be sent to that recruiter. (This means that even if you sent your resume to the employer, that employer will have to send your resume to the recruiter to be screened and assessed.)

Non-exclusive recruiters

If a recruiter is engaged on a non-exclusive basis, this means that multiple recruitment firms are used to fill a vacancy. Sometimes, even the employer will post its own job vacancy ad to find candidates.

What does this mean for you? Well, if a recruiter is engaged on an exclusive basis, your chances of landing an interview are the same whether you sent your resume to the employer, or whether you sent it to the recruiter. However, if a recruiter is engaged an non-exclusive basis, you might want to consider your options. There are certain factors that might make it more advantageous for you to send your resume to a recruiter rather than to the employer (and vice versa).

At the end of the day, you need to make sure that you have a strong resume and that you meet most of the job requirements. Recruiters will almost certainly scrutinize your resume before sending it to the employer with its recommendation that you be contacted for an interview. Recruiters are paid by the employers to identify “hard-to-find-candidates”, and they want to make sure that they send only the best candidates for job vacancies.

Vancouver Resume Writing Services

As a professional resume writer, I offer Vancouver Resume Writing Services that provide my clients a competitive edge in the job market.

Learn more about my Vancouver Resume Service here!

Using A Recruiter To Look For Work (Part 1 of 3)

Job recruiters for finding workRead Part 2, Part 3

This is the first article of a three-part series that appears in BCJobs.ca. I wrote this series because I think most people aren’t familiar with “the rules of engagement” when it comes to working with recruiters.

In this blog series, I discuss commonly asked questions, such as: When shall I work with a recruiter? How many recruiters should one use? How are recruiters paid?

Situations for working with a recruiter

In this first instalment, I discuss situations where you would work with a recruiter to find work. The most common situation is when you see an ad posted by a recruiter, soliciting job applications for a particular job opening with Company XYZ. Once you send in your resume and cover letter, and get contacted back, you’ll then find yourself working with a recruiter. Another common situation is when you go and visit a recruiter to have an informal interview, and then have your personal details and resume filed into a candidate database so that you be contacted for suitable job vacancies. 

How recruiters operate & get paid

It’s important to know how recruiters operate and how they get paid, so that you can work with them in an effective manner. Recruiters are paid by the employer to find job applicants – usually, hard-to-find job applicants. You, the job candidate, never need to pay the recruiter. Therefore, the recruiter is at the service of the employer, not you. Despite what you might think, the primary objective of the recruiter is to fill the employer’s job vacancy, not to find you a job. Yes, the recruiter will be courteous, polite and helpful to you, but don’t be misguided in thinking that the recruiter is here to help you find work. 

For further elaboration on working with a recruiter, read Part 1.

Resume Help Vancouver

As a professional resume writer in Vancouver BC, I help applicants gain a competitive edge. You can learn more about my resume writing services here.

Before Accepting That Job Offer, 5 Things You Should Know

In this article I wrote for Freshgigs.ca, I discuss five things you should consider before accepting a job offer. This is presuming that everything else about the job is acceptable to you: your new title, job responsibilities, salary & benefits, commute time to office, etc.

These five items are sometimes overlooked when you’re anxious to leave your old position and excited to start with your new company. It’s like being enamored by a new love and wanting to jump in bed!

In this article, I argue that it’s worthwhile to take a few sobering moments to consider 0verlooked aspects about your new job. For example, in item 3, I ask you to consider: “What are your job deliverables, and what resources do you have to complete your job?”  You should have a pretty good idea of what you need to deliver, as part of your job. Is it reaching quarterly sales quotas?  Writing monthly or weekly reports? Training new staff on a half-yearly basis? Whatever it is, you should also have some clear notion of whether you will have the resources (e.g. staff support) to complete the job. I have seen new employees join a company only to find out they are completely swamped within the first few weeks of starting. How happy will you be working evenings and weekends on a protracted basis? It doesn’t help anyone to have a new employee burn out and quit so early into her new position – the new employee will have to look for another job, and the employer will have to start looking for another person to fill the post.

Granted, it’s difficult to know whether you have the resources to complete your job deliverables even before you start. But by asking some carefully-worded questions during your interview, and really listening to what your future boss tells you, you should get some sense of whether this is a role that you can reasonably perform, or whether you are walking into a landmine.

For more things you should consider before accepting that job offer, read on!

How To Say “No” During A Job Interview

how to say no

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I wrote this article for BCJobs.ca because I felt my readers interviewing for jobs could use every advantage they could get. It’s important to keep an interview upbeat and positive, and when you say “No” to a direct question put forward by an interviewer, it tends to create a feeling of negativity.

So the question becomes, how to do you say “No” without actually saying “No”? This is where diplomacy and tact come in. As a former recruiter, I have come across five commonly-asked interview questions where it is sometimes necessary to answer in the negative. For instance, what if an interviewer asks you if you were prepared to take a pay cut? Without actually telling the interviewer to take a hike, there is a diplomatic way of handling that question. Also, what if the interviewer asked whether you were prepared to work weekends and evenings? What if they ask you about skills or experience that you don’t have? Again, there are diplomatic ways of handling those questions.

Being human, many of us avoid negativity. Japanese people, who are concerned with harmony in society, have a reputation for avoiding the use of the word “No” in public discourse (even though their gestures might indicate a different message).

So learn from the Japanese, and try to keep things positive, especially during an interview! Put yourself in a positive light during an interview, and avoid saying anything that might be perceived in a negative way. By following my tips in this article, you will come across as being polite and tactful, while making your intentions and desires clear, during the job interview process.

The Zen of Networking: 10 Rules to Follow

zen of networking

© Erik Lam | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I think many people have the mistaken notion about what is networking, according to my blog in BCJobs.ca. First off, people tend to think of a professional networker as someone who tirelessly passes out his business cards at every gathering, or someone who busily works a room at a cocktail or business function.

What is professional networking

In this article, I propose that true networking is actually a more low-key, long term activity. It’s something that you work towards over the long term, slowly cultivating quality relationships covering expansive social and professional networks.

You know who’s a true networker, when you ask them for a referral; they always seem to know someone who works in a particular sector or industry, or at least knows someone who does. They personally know of people who you can contact if you are looking for a way into an organization or group or business. A true networker isn’t someone you run into everyday, they are a rare breed. And if you want to be a true networker, I suggest in this article some useful guidelines for you to follow.

Networking gentler

For instance, as a professional resume writer in Vancouver, I tell my clients that true networking isn’t about going to a business function just to collect business cards, or to find the maximum number of people you can talk to just to tell them about your business. It isn’t about being able to sell your services or products after going to one or two business functions.

I suggest that networking is a more subtle, “gentler” activity, where you focus on one person at a time. Your true purpose is to get to know the person, to learn about what she does, and to actually enjoy your conversation with that other person. Bear in mind that it takes years and years – a lifetime, really – to build up, and be part of, a wide professional and social network.

Note that I employ the words “part of”: a network is something that you are “part of”, not something that you use solely for personal gain. It’s something that you contribute towards, by offering referrals, helping others make connections, opening “doors” for others, etc. And if you make personally gains from your network, consider that to be an incidental, rather than primary, purpose of having a wide social network.

How to start networking

A great way to start networking is by joining a social or professional organization that you can volunteer with. This allows you to get to really know a core group of people, and from there, you will meet others. Service organizations, such as the Rotary Club, is a great place to meet people from other professional and social networks. Finally, to be a good networker, you must like meeting people and getting to know them.

Linkedin Profile Writing Service Vancouver

As a Vancouver resume writer, I personally help give applicants a competitive edge in the job market. My Linkedin profile writing service will help get you a competitive edge in professional networking online.

Visit my website to learn more, including my resume writing rates, my personal process, and how to contact me for help.

Shall I Follow My Career Passion? A Primer on Finding Your Dream Job

I penned this is article for Freshgigs.ca because of a conversation I had recently with friends about what would be our desired “dream job”. There is a conventional saying that “if we find our dream job, we never have to work a day in our lives”. Successful entrepreneurs, celebrities and self-made billionaires tell us that the recipe to job fulfillment is to follow one’s dream and passion.

Cold, hard reality

In this article, I wanted to inject a dose of cold, hard reality to this discussion. Not everyone who follows his passion is guaranteed to find job satisfaction. To wit, just look at the hundreds of starving artists, singers and writers who toil in obscurity for very little money. Yes, they might enjoy their work, but that work enjoyment can be hard to sustain when there are outstanding bills to pay.


What is required, I argue, is an equal combination of talent, commitment, hard work and, perhaps the most overlooked factor, luck.

This doesn’t mean that we should be confined to a work life of drudgery, boredom and discontent. One should find work that hopefully utilizes one’s skills, experience, talents. If you happen to work in an area that you’re passionate about, well, then you’re lucky.

If luck isn’t on your side, I suggest that there are certain guidelines that you can follow while you search for your ideal work. It may not be your “dream job” but it might be one that will keep you engaged and challenged, one that will eventually bring you career satisfaction.

Career advice

For instance, one of my suggested tips is to ask, “what exactly will you be doing all day?”  Will you be working at a desk all day? Will you be outdoors visiting clients? Or a bit of both? If you’re weighed down with activities that you have no interest in doing, or are not good at doing – such as writing reports, selling to people, etc – then the job will be pure hell for you.

You need to actually look at each component of your job responsibilities, and assess whether you have the skills, tolerance, or patience to do those things. Every job has a mundane aspect to it. As long as the mundane aspects are outweighed by the more interesting and challenging components, then that job might be the one to give you long term work satisfaction.

Read on to find out more about searching for your ideal job.

Resume Help Vancouver

As a resume writing professional in Vancouver BC, I help applicants gain entry into competitive job markets. As part of my writing process, I give critical career counseling. Learn more about my Vancouver resume writing services, including my resume writing rates and how to contact me for help.

The Do’s & Dont’s of Resume Formatting

Dos and Donts of Resume Formatting

Image courtesy of phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The style, format and design of resumes is something I get asked about a lot from my clients, which is why I wrote an resume writing tips article for BCJobs.ca.

When you look at resume templates on the web, you’ll see a vast of array of resume styles in all manner of formats, colour schemes, and styles.

Clients ask me, can I use different colours in my resume? What kinds of fonts are preferable? Do employers want to see my photo?

Visual impact

There is no doubt that resume styles have changed over the years. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see resumes which employ visual graphics highlighting certain job skills or achievements. Artists and designers employ multimedia or web-based resumes that create a visual impact upon the reader.

Resume Writing Guidelines

In this article, I take a more conservative approach, and set forth a set of resume writing guidelines that one should follow to create a sound resume, one that conveys credibility, competency and professionalism.

Best Fonts for Resumes

For example, I talk about the use of fonts. Admittedly, the use of fonts seems like a straight-forward issue, but it’s still one that I felt should be addressed. I frequently come across resumes that use several different fonts in one document. My suggestion is to use no more that one font.

One might choose to use one type of font for headings, and another for the body of text. That is a reasonable approach. Some ask me, what types of font should one use? I typically stick to traditional font styles such as Times New Roman or Arial or a basic Serif or Sans Serif font.

Amount of negative space

I also talk about the use of negative space. (Negative space refers to the white or non-text space that appears in any document.) I suggest that there be sufficient negative space in every resume. Cramming text together reduces negative space and makes a resume difficult to scan and read.

A skillful resume writer will ensure that all professional achievements and credentials worth noting are set out in a person’s resume; all non-essential information is eliminated to ensure that the resume is succinct and relevant to the job application.

Like all guidelines, my suggestions are not set in stone. They may change over time, due to trends in job search practices. But I believe that these guidelines will survive the test of time; they are practical and have proven useful time and time again for my job candidates applying for competitive job openings.\

Vancouver Resume Writer

As a professional resume writer, I help give applicants a edge in competitive job markets. Learn more about my Vancouver resume writing services, including my resume writing rates, my writing process, and how to contact me for help.

Low-Tech Summer Job Hunting Tips for University Students

low tech ways of finding jobs

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As a professional resume writer in Vancouver, I was helping a university student with her resume and she lamented the fact that out of the dozens of recent online job applications she made she did not receive one single reply.

I explained to my client that employers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of online job applications everyday. She was obviously competing against thousands of other fellow job searchers. We don’t even know how employers deal with the thousands of online job applications they get everyday. Do HR personnel review each of the applications? Does the HR department employ filtering software to screen the resumes? My client told me it’s almost as if her resume landed in “black box”, never to be heard from again.

Landing a summer job

My client wasn’t looking for a high-paying permanent position, just a summer job in the retail or service sector. Here’s what I told her: if there’s a store or place of business you wanted to work at, why not just approach them with your resume in hand?

Just approach them with your resume in hand

I advised to her dress professionally, keep her resume stored in a business folder, and walk into the business establishment. Ask to speak to the store manager. I even scripted it out for her:

“Hi, my name is [  ], I wonder if I can speak to the manager on duty. I’d like to drop off my resume.”

(If the manager is away or not available, come back another day. If an employee offers to take your resume, give it to her, and then follow up by telephone to see if the store manager has received your resume.)

If the store manager is on shift, and you do get a chance to speak to her, here’s what you say:

“Hello, my name is [  ] and I’d like to drop off my resume with you. I’m looking to apply for a position as [ ].”

An opportunity to impress the manager

Quite often, the manager will take your resume. If you’re lucky, the manager might have a spare moment, and ask you a few questions about yourself. This is your opportunity to impress the manager. The manager may ask you questions such as:

  • Have you ever worked in a business such as this one (e.g. clothing store, liquor sales, restaurant, etc.)
  • Why are you interested in working here?
  • Can you work shifts? Will you be able to work in the fall and winter seasons?

Make sure you are prepared to answer these questions, plus others they may throw your way.

The low-tech method of job searching

Here’s why I think the low-tech method of job searching works:

  • You’re not competing against thousands of other applicants looking for summer work.
  • If you’re luck enough to speak to the store manager, and she has time to ask you a few questions, you’ve just landed an impromptu job interview. If the store happens to be looking for someone, and you make a good impression, then you’ve just boosted your chances of landing a summer job.
  • You learn to grow a thick skin, and learn something about sales. In life, many things are about selling, and in this case, you are selling your services.

Every time you encounter a store or business where you’d like to work, make a mental note of it. Remember to return, professionally-dressed with a professional resume in hand. And remember: always smile.

Hiring a Vancouver resume writer

As a Vancouver resume writer, I help job seekers gain an edge in highly competitive applicant pools. Learn more about my Vancouver resume writing services, including my resume writing rates, my writing process, and how to contact me for help.