HamiltonDeanMcCoyPhoto Credit Dean McCoy

If you’re in the Hamilton Ontario area, and looking for a new position, you’ll want to mark January 23rd on your calendar. The Connect to Careers fair, a collaboration between higher education institutions and Hamilton Economic Development will take place at Careport and is open to the public from 1-4pm.

Whether you’re attending this fair or another event in your community, you’ll want to be prepared to take advantage of all those employers in one space. Begin by researching the list of organizations attending. Too many jobseekers make the mistake of discounting a company because their primary industry is outside the applicant’s field, like an engineering or accounting firm if that’s not your background. Remember that medium-large organizations hire people beyond their area of specialization. They have HR professionals, administration, sales, marketing and more. Keep that in mind, and do your homework.

Now that you have a sense of who is coming, ask yourself which employers might be a good fit for you. Use LinkedIn to look up employees and get a sense of their background (go to the company page and see how many employees are on LinkedIn). Did you notice any keywords that appeared regularly? Do those words match your background? How about education? Any similarities there? Make note of any trends you notice in looking at people’s profiles, so you can use this in editing your resume.

You will only have a few moments with representatives at the fair, so your resume will need to make a lasting impression that will help them connect your conversation to your documents. A few quick tips to help you get started:

Figure out what message you want your resume to communicate. Are you an administrative professional with X years’ experience in operations and project management? An engineer with strong technical abilities and recently upgraded coding skills? An experienced program manager in the non-profit sector with a proven ability to secure funding and introduce new services to meet client needs? Whatever your message, make sure that you know what it is before you start editing your resume, because your entire document needs to support that idea.

Include a professional summary under your contact info that includes an overview of your experience and highlights your accomplishments in the field. Use strong action verbs and include results. Leave out the adjectives – e.g. exceptional public speaker. Unless you won the Exceptional Public Speaker award, that’s your opinion of yourself and nobody wants to read that. This section can be written in sentence format (no personal pronouns: I, my, we, you…) or bullets. If you have strong technical or specialized skills, consider creating a subsection for Core Competencies and list your abilities there (try using columns or a table to get 3 across and use less space).

Focus on the relevant. You may not be able to include every single thing you’ve done, or talk about it at length. That’s okay. You only have 2 pages, and it has to be a readable size font with a margin on all 4 sides (standard margin is 1 inch or 2.5 cm). Older entries should receive less attention than more recent experiences, and if you have been filling gaps in your history with volunteering or education, then make sure that is included as well. It shows that you have remained active.

Have more questions that aren’t covered here? Email me at cate@cmcoachingservices.com. Comments & questions are welcome.