A Resume to stand out


Did you know that recruiters take on average between 6 and 10 seconds to browse a Resume during the initial reading?

What guides you through your purchasing decisions? The user manual, or the features and benefits that will meet your needs from the different options available to you?

When shopping, what makes you want to enter a business? The showcase or its financial statements?

Your Curriculum Vitae is your business card, your storefront. This is your opportunity to grab the attention of the recruiter and the employer and make them want to know more about you, not get the job the first time. Getting straight to the point, including important information, that will set you apart from other candidates.

Here are some useful tips to help you review your CV.


Types of CVs

We find 3 types of CV. Depending on your job search objective, based on your career ambitions you can adapt the style accordingly.

  • Chronological: When your path demonstrates an evolution within a company or sector of activity, and you wish to continue in the same way (most recent to oldest)
  • By skills: When you have little experience in the desired field (beginning or career transition) to highlight the skills necessary for the desired position
  • Mixed: As the name suggests, a combination of the 2 previous types of CV. This is the most common and, personally, the one I prefer because it gives an excellent perspective at first glance.


Simple layout for easy reading

We usually read from left to right, from top to bottom. Some CVs have a look that seems interesting, with a column on the left, or even 2 columns (left, right, and main section in the center). However, this format breaks the pace in reading and poses the risk that some crucial information will not be read. In addition, this layout may be rejected or poorly recognized when processed by certain automated systems.

An effective CV will be simple, easy to read and will draw attention to the important elements:

– Be clear, and concise with delimited sections

– To be able to present fit on 2 pages (maximum 3)

– Without spelling or typing errors (have someone read it before sending it)

– Emphasizing what sets you apart from other candidates

– Presenting only truthful facts


The most important sections:

– Your contact details – I suggest in the header of the first page to maximize the layout

– Career objectives – If these differ from previous jobs or if you wish to highlight a personal / professional objective. Do not describe your professional career, because the CV that follows is there for that

– Skills: I will come back to that below

– Work experiences: I will get back to that too!

– Studies and training: For recent graduates, this section can even be found higher above in the CV

– Other qualifications, associations, social involvement, etc.

– Interests and hobbies

– References: Do not write this section, but always have a list ready. Above all, do not indicate the section by writing “On request”, as it is already by default


Skills: the opportunity to create immediate interest

It is your career path, the link in your experiences, that makes you who you are today, but also what enhances what the employer is looking for.

So, you must make an impact right here because it is your “label”. I recommend between 8 and 10 skills to be concrete (several can often be grouped together).

Use verbs in the skills identification to emphasize that you are the ones who made them, in short sentences not exceeding one line for each bullet point.


“Demonstrated multidisciplinary team leadership” has a better impact than just indicating “Leadership”

Indicate the skills that are related to the desired position and ideally, in the priority order that the employer is looking for. Keywords are as important to the reader, whose eyes will be looking for these terms, as they are to automated systems. But always by bringing only the skills you really have – because you will have to answer essay questions in interviews!

Another example:

If it is a position with little interaction with other team members, “Teamwork” may not be what you want to demonstrate, at least not at the top of the skill list. If so, please indicate why you think it is important. In this example, it could be “Actively collaborate in team success by sharing information and best practices”


Your work experiences: proof of your skills

One of the causes of CVs with too many pages is that people describe the tasks they performed.

Now is the time to demonstrate your mastery of the skills listed in the previous section.

In the first lines of each work experience, present concrete results, avoiding the details of how you achieved them. Remember that you want to give a good first impression so that you can get telephone and in-person interviews.


“Managing a portfolio of major accounts valued at $ 12M annually” will have a better impact than “Responsible for assigned major accounts”

“Managing a team of 12 representatives across Canada, with zero turnover in the past 5 years” instead of “Managing 12 representatives” thus demonstrates your leadership, ability to manage remotely and engage your teams towards common goals.

If in addition, the next line looks like “Annual growth for the last 3 years in sales between XX% and XX% and profits of X% to XX%” will reinforce that you are results oriented – much more than just “Growing team sales and profits ”

Another example:

Does “Make quotations” set you apart from other candidates?

On the other end, ” Quotations conversion rate of XX% in a context of market saturation ” reveals several qualities such as: understanding customer needs, organization and efficiency of work, rigor in follow-up, and will encourage the recruiter at ” ha yes? I want to know how he / she did!’’

Subsequently, you can include a few responsibilities, which cannot be quantified, but which you believe stand out and are important for the position sought.

If you hesitate, ask yourself this simple question: will this responsibility set me apart from other candidates?


CV for each career opportunity

Each company and each position has specific needs and particularities, requiring skills and competences often similar from one company to another, but at different levels.

Therefore, it is important to read the description of each position for which you have an interest, in order to adapt your CV according to the desired position and your skills. Researching the business is also strongly suggested.

It would therefore be normal for a CV to be assigned for each job applied for, or at least versions with slight modifications if necessary.

Have a generic CV where you can list all your skills, results and accomplishments – don’t limit yourself! This version may be 4, 5, 6 pages or more – it will never be sent, it will be like your information store.

From this CV, you will be able to create new versions, by choosing the elements adapted to the desired position.

For example, if you are a director with international experience, questions arise about highlighting this aspect in your CV if the employer has only a regional footprint. Unless you have identified that he wishes to develop the international market in the medium or long term.


In summary, the CV should create a desire for the recruiter / employer to know more about you and take you to the next step.

To do this, you need to understand what the job is about and how you could make a difference – and express it!


Steeve Pinard

Recruitment Consultant