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You don’t need an Ouija board, a crystal ball, or an alignment of the stars to tell your fate for your next job interview. Instead, rely on this one thing: knowledge.

Before going into the interview, educate yourself on what goes on in employers’ heads and think of ways of making things easier for them—and yourself.

Identify your audience and communicate your value succinctly. In other words, don’t just be you; be the person they are looking for! Picking your battles strategically will help you win the war for more new professional opportunities.

How can you do this? How can anyone do it? Well, I’m here to show you some cover letter writing strategies that can work for you.

Our news media has always entertained its readership by answering these five basic questions in each news story: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

These are simple questions that each reader wants answered, questions designed to provoke interest and curiosity. Let’s quickly go through each one so you get an idea of how to apply them to your cover letter.

Who: Who are you as a person? What are your defining personal qualities and characteristics? What makes you a rare and special human being?

What: What separates you from the rest? What is it about you, your skill set, history and experience that make you the ideal candidate for this position?

Where: Where are you in your present business cycle or mindset? Where are you located, and are you willing to relocate?

When: When are you prepared to start? Find out when the potential employer will be making a decision before you send that cover letter. Offer to ease the transition into the job, by whatever creative means.

Why: Why you? Why should they hire you? Why should they invest in you, train you, and help take your career to the next level? I recommend starting your cover letter with the “why” value proposition.

You need to provide a convincing answer to each of these questions in your cover letter. And you need to provide them in a few paragraphs or less. Sound convincing, honest and personable. Give employers a reason to want you above anyone else. Stand out, be different and unique.

Only in this way can you get into their heads with the answers they are looking for. And only in this way will you get more interview opportunities.

Remember to always gear your cover letter to each unique job posting, position, and company you apply to. Make it a summary of who you are and how you would benefit the potential employer.

Employers cant resist calling candidates that are unique in their presentation and can articulate their core value in 1-2 paragraphs.

Only send your cover letter to job descriptions that request your cover letter or an “about me” summary. If they don’t ask, don’t send.


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It’s always good to stand out and make an impression. When entering the workforce, you should strive to be creative, unique and let your individual skills shine.

However, one area where you don’t want to get too artistic is on your resume. Resumes actually do need to follow a rather standard resume format and use an appropriate font. Let the content of your resume stand out, not the resume formats.

While most people know not to use scented paper, graphics and colours, here are a few more additional tips on how to write a resume:

Resume Font

The most common resume font to use Times New Roman, black, 12 point font. This resume font conveys the information you are trying to get across in a clear and accessible way.

Times New Roman is called a serif font, as the letters contain “tails” which you can see on the‘t’, ‘n’ and ‘r’.

However, some do not like the letter- spacing or word-spacing of Times New Roman.

Other serif fonts to consider that are easy to read and appropriate as a resume font include Bell MT, Garamond, Georgia and Goudy Old Style. Sans serif fonts do not have the “tails” on the letters and look a bit more block-like.

Popular serif fonts include Arial, Century Gothic, Lucida Sans and Tahoma. Any of these fonts would be reasonable for a resume as long as you only use one font.

Using two fonts looks unintentional and unprofessional. To make your headings and name stand out while using only one font, you can bold, italicize, capitalize or underline and increase the size of the font to 14-16 point. Just be sure that all of your headings are consistent.

Resume Formats

Resume Formats are a bit more debatable than resume font or size. But, obviously you want the most important information first.

List your full name, address and contact information at the top of the page. You should center the information and be sure to bold and capitalize your name.

After that, you should state your value proposition where your objective used to be. To prevent your resume formats from looking like a standard form you submit to every job, state why your skills and experience will make you the best candidate for this specific job and mention the company and job title.

Clearly state your schooling from the most recent institution you’ve attended, with all dates, locations and certification received including any accomplishments such as grades and programs participated in.

However, if education is not the strongest component of your resume, go ahead and list your experience first, starting with your most current job and all your responsibilities.

After bolding and capitalizing your place of work, location and job title, you can use bullets to categorize the responsibilities you held at your job.Try and only include the most relevant information.

After education and experience, you can list your professional skills and any relevant awards or certifications. Many agree that your resume formats should be contained to one page, although two pages are acceptable if you have a lot of relevant experience you want to highlight and it remains easy to read.

Overall, just make sure your resume format has a clean and functional design. Leave enough white space so that your resume doesn’t look crowded, be positively certain there are no typos or errors and if you are sending your resume as an email attachment, be sure to send it as a PDF, so you don’t lose any of your original resume formatting or spacing.


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Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, Generation Next, Net Generation, Millennials and Echo Boomers.

With birth dates ranging between the late 1980’s to the early 2000s, this generation is coming of age and entering the workplace in droves.

In most parts of the world, Generation Ys are increasingly familiar with advanced communication, media and digital technology. Gen Ys are also known for their liberal and market oriented approach to politics and economics and are more likely to have graduated from post-secondary school than their parents.

So, what does this mean for new graduates entering the workforce for the first time with a student resume? Well for starters, competition is fierce and employers expect more from you.

It’s not enough to just have a degree and expect a swell job right away. Graduates need to work harder to stand out.

Unfortunately, many college student resume styles are stuck in the mindset of: “I’m smart, pretty and fun. Why wouldn’t I get that job? I’ll get the next one. I would be perfect for this!” However, no matter how perfect you think you are, someone else may have you beat.

Here are a few student resume writing tips to start standing out against the masses of 20-somethings:

1. Internships

The very word conjures images of drones in suits scurrying around, refilling coffee, handing out mail and sharpening pencils.

But, you have to start somewhere and for many, internships can be the beginning of a career and at the very least can give you practical experience in your field and a few professional references on your otherwise education heavy student resume. Some internships are actually quite beneficial and will have you completing actual work in no time.

Start by researching the top ten ideal companies you would want to work for. If they are not currently hiring, check and see if they hire interns.

Many companies will hire interns for the summer, when regular employees are checking out for vacations and they’ll actually pay a decent wage. Other internships could range from paying zilch to a small honorarium. If you can afford to hang in there for the standard 3-6 months, it might actually pay off and at the very least, will look great on your not so student resume anymore.

2. Diversify

Most Gen Ys looking to enter the professional workplace have a degree or diploma of some sort, can speak English, communicate clearly, look professional and have social networking skills.

If you want to stand out, you must diversify and add to your skill set. Can you speak another language? Employers are always looking for people who can speak two languages or more.

Many jobs in Canada actually require employees to know French as well as English. Consider taking the summer off after school and taking language classes.

Travel to France, Spain, Italy or any country whose language you’d like to learn if you can afford it. Then not only can you call yourself a cognizant global citizen but you can also add a language to your student resume.

If not a language, do you have any other talents or hobbies that set you apart from the pack? If you’ve played professional sports for years, that can translate into concrete skills on your resume, particularly teamwork, competitiveness, time management and dedication/commitment.

3. Education

If all else fails, head back to school. It’s what everyone else seems to be doing.

Those who have been laid off, employees in their 20s, 30s and 40s, those who started working right away and want to continue their education- many people are heading back to school and enrollment at colleges and universities is definitely higher than ever during a recession.

Consider becoming more specialized in your field. If you already have a degree or a diploma, take an additional course or workshop to add to your skills and re-vamp your resume.

Consider a Masters. If you’re a Gen Y and can’t quite land the job you want in this economic situation, make sure you are fully prepared for the better times ahead by taking your schooling to the next level and hopefully you’ll stand a chance of standing out amongst the masses of Gen Ys grappling for a spot in the professional workforce.

Once you’re certain you have all the right skills to land your dream job, make sure your student resume represents that. A sloppy student resume writing style will cancel out all your hard work and effort.


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Employers demand certain skills. In job-seekers’ resumes, cover letters and during interviews, potential employers are searching for the essential core talent they want in their workplace.

Highlight these 5 key competencies during your job search and you can be confident employers will take notice.

1. Communication

Communication is crucial. Employers look for three types of communication skills: verbal, written and interpersonal. Can you speak clearly and effectively? Can you express your ideas in written form?

Are you comfortable interacting with those in your workplace? Even if you’re a skilled and disciplined worker, being unable to adequately express yourself puts you at a serious disadvantage.

A candidate who is personable and comfortable communicating with others, both verbally and written will stand out that much more.

2. Flexibility/Adaptability

Can you work late if need be? Come in earlier? Do a weekend shift? Take on additional responsibilities? Cover a co-worker’s job when they are sick? The more hats you can wear, the happier your employer is.

3. Initiative/drive/energy

Do you think an employer is looking for people to come in, work a standard eight hour day, take an hour for lunch and do the bare minimum? Of course not. Employers want to see someone who will breathe fresh life into the position.

Someone who will suggest ideas that advance the company’s vision and possibly even take it in new and exciting directions.

Make sure you have researched a company before an interview and be ready to share a few ideas you have. Just because you match the qualifications for a job, it doesn’t mean you are going to get it. Those with an extra spark of energy and initiative will always be ahead of the curve.

4. Teamwork Skills

A lot of people note on their resumes that they “are capable of working independently”. While being able to work independently is a critical skill, working on a team is just as important if not more so. As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one”.

An employer isn’t going to hire someone who is socially awkward, fights with others and isn’t able to work collaboratively.

5. Time Management Skills

You’re asked to work on a project. You are thorough, you do your research and you think you’ve done a fantastic job. Except for the fact that you’ve handed it in two days late.

No matter how good your work is, if it’s late, credibility is destroyed and your work might be disregarded completely. Get an agenda and plan your day by the hour . Hand in your project early instead of late.

Employers need to make sure that you ’re someone who will be able to juggle multiple tasks and not feel overwhelmed or forget something.


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Open new career opportunities with our professional resume writing services.

It is sink or swim out in the job market today. Whether laid-off or gainfully employed, I often ask my clients about their key motivation during a job search – these are the top four answers:

Another seemingly irrelevant question I ask is the following: What is the biggest misconception your peers have about you?

As a professional “headhunter”, the answers I get from questions like these, give me an idea of where I will place you in my “talent pool”.

As a candidate, you want to be in the shallow end, floating on a comfy inflatable lounger. The deep end is very saturated with other candidates, you will need a life jacket and you’ll easily sink.

In my business, I use a specialized ATS system (Applicant Tracking Software) my clients pay me a “finders fee” for the top shelf candidates – the ones who have strong leadership traits and innate industry talent, otherwise known as the shallow end of the talent pool.

A candidate once told me that they felt as though recruiters treated him as a commodity, that is almost true but with the help of a good “head hunter” your skill-set can be leveraged all around the world.

Here are my three top tips on how to float above the rest in my pool, this is key for getting the career you want:

1. Get a second opinion

Request an opinion from someone currently working in the industry or field you are hoping to break into, ask them to scan your résumé and see what special details can be added. (sometimes industry jargon can put you in the lead)

2. Stay assertive and tenacious

Never give up. The gatekeepers will always be there – but if you have the will, there is always a way to get around them.

3. In this tough economy sometimes it is about WHO you know

Don’t forget, make a plan to overcome your weaknesses and express this strategy to your potential employer, because you can’t be perfect at everything – but it shows a willingness to learn!

These tips will help you to swim circles around the rest of the job applicants and get you closer to the career you want.


Get job search ready fast

Open new career opportunities with our professional resume writing services.