Friday Professional Group


The Foot in the Door is Your Resume

Emily, our superstar Client and Candidate Engagement Coordinator, and I were lucky enough to attend Session One of the first-ever Social Summit YYC this week. There was about a hundred other Calgarians there – everyone from a consignment boutique owner to members of a rock band to PR professionals – all coming together to learn more about marketing and social media.

There are a million things I could talk about that we learned from the summit, but one thing mentioned by the media panel really stuck with me. The panel, made up of some of the biggest influencers and hardest workers in Calgary’s print, radio and TV, answered some very interesting questions including the usefulness of sending ‘swag’ to producers and editors. The panel agreed that sending something smart and related to your pitch or story could be very useful to get yourself noticed, as long as you understand that sending a product or gift does not guarantee you coverage from the outlet you’re approaching.

This was great for me to hear and learn as someone involved in communications, but the first thing that popped into my head – and that I immediately leaned over to whisper to Emily – was “but never do this to a hiring manager!” Emily nodded in agreement.

We’ve all heard about the job seeker who sent their resume attached to a shoe “to get a foot in the door”, and one of the media professionals on the panel even shared a story about sending his application materials with socks and then, in a follow-up call, telling the hiring manager he’d sent something “in case I knocked your socks off.” While this is a great story, and worked for him (maybe because he was applying in a creative industry), it’s not something we could in good conscience recommend for any job seeker.As Alison Green, author of my favourite career website Ask a Manager, says: “If you ever find yourself thinking that you’ll try XYZ to help you “stand out” when applying for a job, XYZ had better be one of the following: being highly qualified for the job, writing a great cover letter, having a resume that shows that you’d excel at what the job involves, or being friendly, responsive, thoughtful, and enthusiastic.” Those are, by far, what interviewers look for when you’re applying for a role, and by extension, should be the things you’re most focused on when you’re looking for a new job.

Alison Green has a whole section on her website called “gimmicks won’t get you a job,” and it makes for hilarious and thought-provoking reading. It’s easy to laugh at the jobseeker who sent a framed glamour shot of themselves to an interviewer, but it’s also worth examining why one could think this is a good idea – and using the reminder as a good opportunity, if you’re a job seeker, to reexamine your resume and cover letter to make sure you’re highlighting the things that really land you a job. We have a career tools section on our website that I encourage you to look at; additionally, we are always happy to have a recruiter answer your questions at Ask a Recruiter.

Emily and I are going back to the Social Summit next week, and I can’t wait to share more about it. You can see a photo from the event, held at the gorgeous Parlour Room in The Commons, on our Instagram!

-Rae Sprung
Communications and Engagement Coordinator

Objective: Write a Resume Objective

One of the fun parts of my job is cruising around the Internet finding information that might help our job seekers in their employment search. As I was sniffing around Pinterest today, reading up on ways to write a resume that stands out, I noticed in the comments of this article by Josh Steele a bluntly phrased remark: “The objective is obsolete. Why would you tell someone to put this on a resume?”

Wow – obsolete? Could that be putting things a touch strongly? On our Pinterest page, I keep a board of resume tips – while not all the articles I’ve collected there outright recommend an objective, the ones that do strongly emphasize the same things both a comment moderator on Josh Steele’s article and one of our Professional Recruiters Caitlin Hall-Sharp stated: the objective must be concise and articulate exactly what you are looking for in a job. It needs to add value.

As Arnie Fertig puts it in this article, any resume reader now assumes that the objective of a candidate submitting their resume is to be hired for the job offered. There are other ways, as Susan Ireland says on her comprehensive list of resume objectives, of making clear your career goals; these include letting your job history speak for itself or putting a title at the top of your resume with your name (like “Administrative Assistant”). All sources I’ve found which are in favour of using an objective statement make it clear that it needs to be tailored, specific, and support exactly what you are looking for in your new role. Ireland specifies that an objective may be especially useful when you are making a career change or your work history “lacks focus because you have held many types of jobs” – situations where you want to make explicitly clear what you are looking for. Also, as stated by Amna Masood, the comments moderator on the Josh Steele article, sometimes your resume will be going to someone who may have more than one job opportunity available. There, it is your responsibility to convey exactly what you’re looking for in a job as well as what you’re bringing to the table.

So – do you need an objective? You may not need a section of your resume explicitly titled objective, but there does need to be a clear and unambiguous statement of what you are looking for in your next position and what your contributions will be to your new role. Another of our Professional Recruiters, Jenna Nakamura, recommends this article by Kim Isaacs for interesting tidbits about writing resumes. Visit our Pinterest board for more!

As always, if you have questions for our recruiters, you can submit them at and one of our Professional Recruiters will reply. Happy resume-writing!

Rae, First Impressions Coordinator 

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