Centred Content

Dear Joanna

I am a recent graduate from community college as a developmental services worker. With one semester in a co-op placement at Reena, and a few summers as a camp counsellor with a special needs camp, I’m clear about my career goal. What would be the best type of resume in this field?

Signed: Relentless Resume Applicant (RRA)

Centred Content

Dear RRA,
I’ve consulted with Reena’s human resource coordinator, Lisa Perez, who has reviewed hundreds of resumes for multiple positions, to share her expertise and advice regarding your question.

  1. Research. Gather as much information as possible to prepare the preferred resume format and style of your potential boss/hiring managers and industry. What is the company policy? What type of resume catches the eye of the human resource people, the hiring people, and professional employees at the company? What is the company policy? Use social media to find this out. For example, post the question in your Linkedin groups, through your twitter and/or facebook accounts? Search for answers through www.youtube. Talk to as many professional people in your field through information interviews. Information is power. Network!!! Analyze the job descriptions and company websites. Google the employers and the employees.
  2. Understand the employer’s perspective. Employers decide who to invite for an interview after scanning a resume (and cover letter depending on the job) within the first 20 seconds. They first look for the candidates’ relevant education, employment history as well as professional, work and volunteer experience with the accomplishments in the field. Can the candidate actually do the job? Does the candidate have the qualifications, skills and abilities required for the position on paper? Perez adds that employers who use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), will initially screen resumes based on key words signifying the absolute minimum requirements for a position. This is then followed up with a short phone screening interview, before inviting candidates in for an interview. From my interviews with other industry specific recruiters, the financial, banking and business and related profession prefer either a combination, or project based resumes. Architecture, engineering and Information technology recruiters prefer a project based resume with technical skills used as well as achievements. Content and appearance are both equally important in today’s competitive job market. Perez evaluates the resume on its clarity, consistency and above all accuracy. Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and a messy document will impact her decision regarding moving to the next steps in the hiring process.
  3. Pick your format. There are four types of resumes: Chronological, Functional and Combined/Combination as well as a project-based resume. Whereas Perez prefers the chronological style, she is more interested in the content, accuracy and presentation. Please refer to the chart below for the suitable format for your career goal and discuss your choice with your Reena job coach:

Source: Job Search Workshop, JVS Toronto, 2012
Wishing you lots of success that your resume “works”, i.e. lands you a job interview…!


To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org