A linear set of events occurs between application and job offer. The resume gets the interview, and the interview gets the offer. But it takes hundreds of resumes to yield an interview Find out what another employment counselor did to expedite the process

 The other day a friend phoned to tell me she had two days left on her contract. She wondered whether there were any openings in my agency. I told her there wasn’t, but I gave her my fax numbers. She wondered aloud which of her two resumes she should send.

 “Are you going to apply for the same job twice?” I asked. “I don’t think the Revenue Canada will let you collect two salaries without restructuring your tax bracket.”

 “No,” she said. “I had a consultant redo my resume. He said he scrunched it for me. That’s what you do these days. You take your resume and scrunch it. Unfortunately, I think I like my old one better. Here, I’ll fax them both to you and you can see for yourself.”

 Moments later, I had both documents. Both were two pages long, and both were on letter sized paper. There, the similarities ended. One had tasteful graphics outlining her career highlights. It had lines separating her terms of employment from her qualifications. The other one had only bold-faced type. It looked like it came hot off the rollers of an old Underwood. Worse, a list of her references etched on the last page.

 I have a rule about references.  References are difficult to cultivate and maintain over the course of a career, and you should warn them when they might be called to act as a referee. Make references available only on request. This means that you bring the list with you and give them out only after the interview, and after you decide that you want to work there. In this electronic world, you never know where your resume might surface. If it has a list of references stapled to it, you may never get a chance to warn them. This can backfire. (Is that old bugger looking for work again?)

 I congratulated her for having a professional looking resume. As I prepared to berate her old one on the reference issue, I learned that that was the one the consultant did.

 “But what about the references?” I said. “You’ve got your references splattered all over the back page.”

 “That’s what employers want to see these days,” she said. “They want to see references on resumes, and they don’t want graphics.”

 “Speaking as an employer,” I said, “Employers don’t want to see resumes at all. They want to see people. They want to see people who are ready to go to work with their resumes in their hands. The last thing an employer wants is ending a busy day poring over a stack of resumes.”

 I called in my co-worker for a second opinion. She chose her original as the consultants. Both my friend and my co-worker both come from Nova Scotia. This prompted spirited whooping and exchanges of regional expressions such as. “How’s she goin’ girl? Soon, everyone in the office read the details of both resumes. Both were compared, contrasted and now I=m writing an article about it for a newspaper with billions of readers.

 I hope my friend faxed two resumes as a strategy to get everyone to read them. Without doubt, the woman is a genius of self-promotion. Maybe I should get all my clients to have two resumes – a real one and a crunched one.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine, and the proprietor of The Résumé Doctor in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at

If you’re looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia


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