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Jane, 56, has been working as a senior property and casualty claims adjuster for over 14 years. “I enjoyed the work, the autonomy and the flexibility I had to set my own hours and the ability to make more money by working more,” Jane writes, describing her last role. Once the pandemic hit, new property claims dropped – and so did her income. She resigned in October, 2020, and has been looking for her next position since then.

Jane has spent most of her career working for small, private insurance companies, which she has enjoyed. “However, I know that if I want to grow, I need to work for a bigger company,” she says. Her goal is to find work as a claims manager, fraudulent claims investigator or risk manager at a large insurance company. “I would like to work for a company where there is room to grow,” Jane says. “I would like to move up and work at a different level, such as management.” A flexible work schedule and work-life balance are also important for her next position.

While Jane is approaching retirement age, she has no intentions of slowing down yet. “I plan on working for another 10 years,” she says. “During this time, I would like to learn new skills and develop more competencies. I see myself working part-time as I hit my early- to mid-60s.” So we reached out to career coach Paula Cowan and Amy Doran, a talent recruiter at the Co-operators, to review Jane’s resume and offer their advice for her next steps.

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THE RESUME

WHAT THE CAREER COACH SAYS

Ms. Cowan encourages Jane to think of the first half of a resume as the “most valuable real estate.” “The best way to use this space is to talk about your impact,” says Ms. Cowan. “What problems do you solve? What changed for the better as a result of your actions and initiatives?”

To incorporate more impact statements, Ms. Cowan suggests that Jane revamp her summary section. “This where she should put some hard-hitting examples of the impact she has had and/or specific problems solved for her clients,” Ms. Cowan suggests. “Ideally this should be no more than two or three introduction sentences, then proceed to a few bullet points of note.”

A skills section with no more than 10 to 12 additional keywords is also recommended by Ms. Cowan. While Jane does include some skills and keywords, they can be further refined. “The terms used here are not the best choice considering what an employer would enter into scanning software,” she says. Instead, Ms. Cowan recommends keywords such as “client service,” “relationship building,” “claims management” and “fraud detection.”

In her professional experience section, Jane should highlight her job role instead of her employer’s name. “For someone quickly scanning it, you want the job title to jump at them to give them the quickest snapshot of your expertise,” Ms. Cowan explains. “List the job title first and put that in bold font.” Ms. Cowan also recommends removing any job titles prior to 2000 since they would be outdated. Lastly, Ms. Cowan recommends Jane make use of LinkedIn for her job hunt. “It’s a great research and reconnaissance tool to explore other potential roles, build relationships with new contacts and research potential employers,” she says.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS

Ms. Doran notes that Jane holds plenty of experience in the industry, but her resume is “very busy.” “Her first page is quite copy-heavy,” she says. “I suggest she use an economy of words to selectively reduce the copy and help make the resume easier to read.” Ms. Doran encourages job seekers to ask themselves while writing and editing a resume: “Will this bullet further differentiate me as a candidate and help me get the job?” If the answer is no, the bullet should be removed.

Like Ms. Cowan, Ms. Doran believes Jane’s career summary and skills sections can be improved. “Tighten the career summary wording to deliver a clear, impactful elevator pitch,” Ms. Doran says. “She can use this section, in addition to the skills section, to concisely customize her resume, align her skill set and mirror the language of the specific position she is applying for.” In her work experience section. Ms. Doran encourages Jane to describe key achievements here, with metrics to indicate her success as opposed to listing out job responsibilities.

While hiring at the Co-operators was briefly paused at the beginning of the pandemic, Ms. Doran says that the company has since resumed its regular pace. But they’ve had much more competition for vacancies. “We have noticed nearly a 30 per cent increase in the average number of applicants per role in 2021 from the first quarter to the second,” says Ms. Doran. That being said, she does believe that Jane is a good candidate for a claims adjuster or underwriting role at the Co-operators.

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Jane hopes to grow into a management role, but Ms. Doran notes a lack of leadership experience in her resume so far. “She might want to consider seeking an opportunity to be a mentor,” Ms. Doran says. She also flags some key skills that are important for leadership roles, such as “a strategic mindset, innovation, enabling continuous improvement and an aptitude for critical thinking.” “The candidate should highlight these behaviours and be prepared in an interview to speak about how she builds relationships, manages change and models resilience,” explains Ms. Doran.

THE NEW RESUME

Jane was able to reduce her resume from three pages to one with some layout updates and by cutting down the number of words. She has also edited and condensed her summary section and has updated her skills section to reflect the jobs she is applying for. Jane has highlighted her job title and role, as opposed to the employer’s name, and has listed the job title first. She has also added a results section to her resume to highlight key achievements. She’s currently working on building her LinkedIn profile by joining relevant groups and networking with potential employers and key players in her industry.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR RESUME REVIEWED?

E-mail us with your resume at globecareers@globeandmail.com with ‘Resume Review’ in the subject line and we’ll ask a career coach and an expert in your field to provide their feedback. Emails without the correct subject line may not be answered. Names and some details are changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled. If you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us. You can find all our resume reviews here.

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