Get a job: 5 tips for crafting a brilliant CV

Even in the age of social media, a resume is still the "centre-piece of an effective campaign," says a Calgary career coach.

A guide to finding employment in Alberta's stiff labour market

Calgary career coach Richard Bucher says hiring managers are looking for specific examples of what you achieved in your previous job. (Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock)

A series of layoffs in Alberta's energy sector means there's some stiff competition for jobs in the province.

To help you get that job, the Calgary Eyeopener enlisted the help of Richard Bucher, a career coach with Right Management.

Bucher says the first step to employment is updating your resume — and not just on Linkedin. 

"It still is a centre-piece of an effective campaign. You need to have a marketing tool."

In our new "Get a Job" column, career coach Richard Bucher offers advice for crafting the perfect resume. 6:53

1. Talk up your accomplishments

Bucher says most resumes today are painfully boring to read.

"A description of every job you've ever had back to the days of school. The job title, the employer you worked for, how long you were there and your job duties."

He says stick to that format and you can guarantee that a hiring manager will toss your CV in the garbage.

Bucher says the best resumes talk about accomplishments and so, for every past job you list — make sure you specifically highlight the key contributions you made in that role.

2. Summary

This should go right at the top of your CV, under your contact information, says Bucher.

"It's your elevator speech."

Bucher created an example of a summary for CBC Calgary radio host David Gray, and broke it down into four key parts: branding, hard-skills, soft-skills and impact.

  • Branding: "An answer to the question what do you do. Senior broadcast journalist with over 20 years experience covering stories locally, regionally, nationally and internationally."
  • Hard skills: "Proven research, analytical and investigative skills."
  • Soft-skills: "Communicative effectively and establish rapport rapidly. Engendering confidence and comfort on the part of of interviewee. Known for getting to the heart of the story in a respectful yet assertive manner."
  • Impact: "Successful track-record of delivering award-winning content including documentaries on topics including business, politics and the arts."

3. Beware of resume inflation

"If you didn't do it, don't say you did. And don't inflate it," said Bucher.  

4. Don't leave gaps

Even if you've lost your job, you should still fill in the blanks about what you've been doing during your search for new employment, says Bucher.

Richard Bucher is a senior consultant with Right Management, a Calgary-based talent and career management company.

He says hiring managers could ask you about that in an interview.

"If you don't have an answer to why you left and then why you haven't found work yet — all of sudden you're in this conversation you didn't want to have and you could be backpedaling."

Bucher says some of his clients say they are on a "sabbatical year" for professional development (i.e. they're doing their MBA) or expanding their world views (i.e. travelling).

5. Format

  • Summary.
  • Related Experience: list all of your previous jobs in reverse chronological order, highlighting your experience related to the new role that you're targeting. And, once again, tell the reader what your key accomplishments were in each of your past roles.
  • Education.
  • Professional development.
  • Community involvement.


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