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Writing your résumé? What recruiters really think:

Writing Resume

Posted by Sarah DiMichele, manager for Staff Training & Development at ABL Employment.


I work for a staffing company, often known as an “agency”, or “temporary staffing service”.

I used to be a staffing coordinator (sometimes called a recruiter): the person who would review your résumé/application, and call you to set up an interview. I was the person who determined which of the candidates I offered the available work assignments to. If multiple candidates had the same qualifications… I was the person who decided which candidate was offered the job.

I was that person. Today, I am the person who trains the new staffing coordinators. I teach them how to screen, interview and choose the right candidate for the job.

If you are looking for work, you need to hear what I have to say.

8 Things that turn me off a candidate’s application:

1) Your résumé isn’t neatly typed and spell checked.It tells me you either don’t have basic computer skills, or worse, that you don’t care enough to get your résumé done neatly. Go to a library, community centre, or the YMCA. All of these places can help you access a computer/printer for free if you don’t have one yourself. Many of them have staff that will help you prepare your résumé properly.

2) Your email address is vulgar or silly e.g. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Create a more professional sounding email address for use during your job search. It will help make sure you don’t miss an important response from a prospective employer.

3) Your voicemail/answering machine message is rude or doesn’t state your name e.g – “Yo, I’m too busy to take your call. Leave a message, maybe I’ll call you back, maybe I won’t.”. This tells me you have no manners, you have no telephone etiquette, and you probably won't make a good impression at my worksite either.

4) You have large gaps of time where you have no work history: If you were a student, say so. If you were volunteering, say so. If you were out of the country, say so. It answers my questions about what you were doing with your time. The economic struggles in the last few years have made it difficult to find full time employment. I understand that. But what have you been doing in the meanwhile to maintain/learn new skills, network, and grow? Volunteering is an excellent way to do this.

5) If you worked somewhere for a very short time, (a few days, weeks, or months only) say why that is: was it a summer job, a  co-op placement, a temporary work assignment… Or maybe the job just wasn't for you… say so. And say what you learned about the work or yourself during that time.

6) Your work/volunteer history doesn’t indicate any previous or related experience for the job you are applying for. If you want to make a career change, say so, and highlight the transferable skills you feel would make you a good match for *this* job.

7) You don’t list any work or volunteer related references. Personal references won’t help me promote you to the client company who has the job vacancy. Work and Volunteer references will.

8) If you are applying for a job working with children, the elderly, money, or distribution warehouses, you will need to provide proof that you have no fraud, theft or assault-type convictions on your criminal record.  You may as well attach a copy of a recent clearance check to your résumé/application if the job you want falls into one of these categories.

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