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Faith, 45, moved from her native Morocco to Montreal in 2002 after earning a degree in public relations in Madrid. Faith, who speaks four languages fluently, eventually found work in customer service, account management and sales roles with food and recycling management companies. She was most recently employed as a co-ordinator and customer service rep at a national lighting company but was laid off in October, 2019, after a merger.

After taking some time to think about her career and work on her mental health, Faith was ready to apply for work in May. But by then, the pandemic had already made the job landscape more challenging. “I noticed things were getting more competitive during the pandemic,” Faith writes. “There are more job-seekers in the market and no job no offers coming in. It was really different compared to how easy it was for me to get a job 18 years ago.”

Faith is currently seeking remote positions in administration, customer support and inside sales. She has a keen interest in working for a tech company, particularly in telehealth. “I find the technology field to be flexible, quickly evolving and exciting,” she states. “I think telehealth has a great future and offers a lot of opportunities for growth.”

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So we got in touch with career coach Wayne Greenway of Career Aviators and Jarett MacLeod, talent manager at the telemedicine provider Maple, to review Faith’s résumé and offer their advice for her next steps.

The résumé

What the career coach says

Mr. Greenway has plenty of suggestions to help improve Faith’s résumé. To start, he advises Faith to ensure consistency throughout her résumé in formatting, alignments and layouts. For her work experience, she currently describes functions that she carried out. But instead, Faith should add more accomplishment-based descriptions. “Generally, 60 to 80 per cent of bullets under each job should be accomplishments with the rest covering major responsibilities,” says Mr. Greenway, who explains that accomplishments are best described by showing the magnitude of each achievement. “If this is difficult to do, she could show how she did the function in a unique way or she could describe how her work played a role in the success of her department or the company,” he explains.

Faith’s résumé is currently three pages long. And while many experts advocate for a shorter résumé, Mr. Greenway believes that the length of Faith’s résumé is justified. “Screening applications can be tedious work, but when a reviewer finds a résumé with career-wide successes that speak clearly to their criteria for selection, they will keep reading,” he says.

Mr. Greenway also suggests some reordering of items within Faith’s résumé. The education section should be moved further down since her relevant experience is more impactful. He also suggests moving her language skills up, since they are an important strength for the positions she’s seeking. Software skills can also be moved down after her relevant experience, along with personal interests.

What the industry expert says

Contrary to Mr. Greenway, Mr. MacLeod thinks that Faith’s résumé should be cut down to one or two pages. “Résumés are a marketing document, not a career history,” he explains. “Not every job you’ve had needs to be on your résumé, especially if it’s irrelevant or from a long time ago.” However, Mr. MacLeod does agree that Faith’s résumé needs more consistency in formatting. He notes that she uses short sentence fragments in her job descriptions, but she should be writing with more detail. “I’d rather three well-written, detailed, quantifiable points over seven very short ones that don’t offer new information,” he explains. The use of bullet points would also help with readability. Mr. MacLeod also suggests moving Faith’s name and address out of the header and into the document itself. “It could get cut off by an applicant-tracking system,” he says.

Since COVID-19 began, Mr. MacLeod has noticed growing competition for job openings at his company. “For our most recent customer-support roles, we received around 3,000 applications for four open positions,” he says. “Customer support/success has really come into its own as a discipline in tech.” Because of this, and also since Faith has limited experience working in customer-service roles in tech, Mr. MacLeod doesn’t think that Maple is the right fit for Faith at this time. “I’d encourage her to seek out customer-support roles at larger tech companies where there are very structured programs to get fantastic on-the-job training,” he says. Faith could also look into business-operations support or sales-operations roles.

If Faith were determined to break into a customer-service role at a telehealth organization, Mr. MacLeod advises that she create stronger connections between her prior work experience and her objective. “I don’t understand how her skills and experience would transfer over to a customer-support role at Maple,” he says. “I’d love it if she could rework her résumé to show the value her past experiences could bring.”

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Finally, Mr. MacLeod recommends that Faith connect with people at companies she wants to work at, in roles that she’d like to be in. “Not everyone is going to be open to a chat, but successful connections can be a great way to learn more about the company and get yourself on the recruiter’s radar through a referral,” he says.

The new résumé

Faith opted to take Mr. Greenway’s advice and kept her résumé at three pages. She improved the layout and formatting to ensure consistency, along with adding bullet points as recommended by Mr. MacLeod. Nearly every point in her résumé has been edited and refined to offer more detail and quantifiable achievements where possible. The order of her résumé has also been reshuffled so that her work experience is described first, followed by her software skills, the languages she speaks, her education and leisure activities. She has also added a professional development section to better highlight the courses she’s taking to improve her relevant skills in customer support.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR RESUME REVIEWED?

Email us with your résumé at globecareers@globeandmail.com and we’ll ask a career coach and an expert in your field to provide their feedback. Names and some details are changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled. We’re especially interested in hearing from those who have had their employment impacted by COVID-19. On the flipside, if you’re a hiring manager interested in reaching out to the person profiled, we encourage you to contact us as well.

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

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