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Real-world résumé strategy: Are you preparing résumés strategically or haphazardly?

By Wayne Pagani

As career professionals, we instruct our clients to stay on top of the latest trends in résumé writing. Doesn’t it make sense for us to apply what we teach?

A lot has changed in résumé writing. With our ever-changing employment landscape, being well-versed in résumé strategy and design is even more critical than ever. Today’s résumés are strategic. We just can’t use templates anymore. We must use a customized approach to address each client’s unique value proposition, barriers and obstacles.

The most effective résumé writers typically understand the needs of employers from a business perspective. Some bring a background in human resources, hiring, or recruiting, and others possess specific industry knowledge. In all cases, the strongest writers engage in ongoing formal training in résumé writing. When we do this, we stay current with the latest best practices and are better able to support our clients to communicate their value in an authentic voice that is compelling.

When it comes to the employment process, some important things are happening. Technology and our new gig economy are changing the way that employers conduct business. As a result, the way hiring managers recruit and assess candidates is much more sophisticated.

Recruiters and hiring managers are perpetually transforming what they are looking for in candidates. In turn, the way that candidates try to get their attention is ever-evolving. If we don’t keep up with the newest tactics and techniques, our clients might be left behind. This is especially true when it comes to the single most important document in their job search marketing repertoire: the résumé.

We have often heard that employers spend less than 30 seconds when first scanning a résumé. We need to ensure that what they see when they read our client’s document is compelling enough to stimulate interest. Ultimately, the résumé needs to stir the recruiter’s desire to contact our client. Approaching the process with strategic methodology can help to win our client that interview.

Here’s some food for thought. As more and more online articles convey messages about overused terminology and wording, have we strengthened our wordsmithing strategies to keep pace and speak to future-oriented employers and their needs?

The introduction and evolution of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in the recruitment process would prompt the most diligent of career professionals to stay up to speed. Many practitioners feel that they are not equipped to address the ATS issue. Some are even oblivious to what an ATS is.

At Career Professionals of Canada, we have seen an increase in practitioners seeking information about ATS during our teleconferences and on our forums. Consequently, Sharon Graham, Executive Director of Career Professionals of Canada and author of Best Canadian Résumés and I have recently collaborated to develop an intensive professional development program to help practitioners become more strategic.
If you haven’t attended any résumé training in a while, then you need to get up-to-speed to ensure that your client’s résumé meets today’s industry standards. Address your client’s barriers and challenges with future-focused wording. Find out how you can get your client’s résumés through ATS; study current résumé formatting and design techniques; learn how you can develop highly strategic and customized résumés for your clients!

Wayne Pagani, the Senior Advisor and National Certification Chair for Career Professionals of Canada, is a Master-Certified Résumé Strategist and is a recipient of multiple Awards of Excellence. Learn more about Wayne at

Sharon Graham is the Executive Director of Career Professionals of Canada and author of leading career resources including Best Canadian Résumé, Best Canadian Cover Letters and The Canadian Résumé Strategist. She is also the architect behind CPC’s Advanced Résumé Development Certificate Program.

Join this expert combo for their Pre-Conference Workshop “Strategic Résumés for Challenging Clients – Real-World Résumé Strategy” on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at the Cannexus National Career Development Conference in Ottawa.

Lucie Morillon
Lucie Morillon is the Bilingual Content & Communications Co-ordinator for CERIC. With a passion for quality content, she connects with her online communities and provides strong resources to engage members – and always encourages new ones to get involved. She identifies, creates and curates the content destined for the ContactPoint website, the weekly CareerWise newsletter and Careering magazine.

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