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The Empowered Job Seeker Series, v.4 - Gabriel's Lesson in Effective Résumé Writing

#careertransitionprogram #careertransitionprograms #careertransitionservices #hr #hrcanada #hrmanagers #hrsupport #humanresources #outplacement #outplacementcanada #outplacementprograms #outplacementservices #theempoweredjobseeker Feb 13, 2024

When Gabriel came to us for job search assistance, he was already a few weeks into his search.  He was looking for a Customer Service position having spent the last 5 years in a call centre environment for a large courier company as well as having several part-time retail sales roles while he was in high school and college.

Gabriel felt he had the personality, the skills set and the experience to easily transition to a new, similar role.  However, when we met him, he was quite down on himself and feeling depressed since he could not seem to get any response to the résumés he had been sending out.

Customer Service is a broad field that spans across many different sectors and there are often a multitude of opportunities for customer service representatives of varying levels.  Gabriel had seen and enthusiastically applied to over one hundred job postings without getting a single call back.  He could not understand what was wrong and slowly started losing confidence and motivation, berating himself personally.

Because customer service is such a broad field, and because there are many customer service representatives in the market, standing above the competition can be challenging.  In contrast, someone who works in a more narrow field, neuroscience for example, has a smaller market to target and, even though there are less Neuroscientists out there, they don’t have nearly the problem of getting their résumés into the right hands and read thoroughly.  It is simply a matter of volume, or lack thereof.

When we looked at the résumé that Gabriel was using in his applications, we could see straight away what his problem was.

The focus of his résumé was his name. It was present in big, bold colourful letters.  In fact, the entire résumé was formatted very nicely and was appealing to the eye.  However, it was very difficult to decipher what Gabriel could offer as an employee.  Only when we spent several minutes reading the small print of his document could we see that he had extensive customer service experience and in fact, had been the recipient of multiple awards in his previous job.

Gabriel was very proud of his résumé as he designed it and wrote it himself.  He loved it and thought it was a good reflection of her personality and his skills set.  In fact, he was quite defensive at the start when we wanted to change it.  The problem of course, was that although he loved the résumé as it was, he wasn’t going to be the third-party, over-worked and-overly stressed stranger charged with the task of sifting through the pile of résumés received for one customer service posting!

Gabriel may have been the perfect candidate for the advertised position, but his résumé never made the short pile and was never read because he didn’t make it easy for the hiring manager or HR representative to understand the contributions that he could bring to the table.

Once we confirmed the level of the role he wanted and the industries he wanted to work within, we could then re-write and re-format her résumé to bring his skills, level and experience to the forefront.  Ensuring that they were focused and understood within seconds of one looking at his document – not minutes!

Once Gabriel’s résumé started making the short pile, the calls for interviews started coming in and it is a stark reminder that résumé writing is more than just a presentation of your career history, it is truly an effort in ‘marketing’.