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A resume that stands out

We’ve all been there. You’re writing up your resume, maybe dropping it off somewhere, and you can’t help but think–Is my resume any different than all the others? And it’s a good question. It’s important to have a strong and effective resume since it can play a key role in helping you score that oh-so-desired job! Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

The task of putting together your perfect resume can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time doing so, but fear not! We have the perfect tips to help you out and achieve your goals!

Before we get into what you can do to make your resume fantastic, let’s start with what not to do. At GEMinar Four: Getting Your Goals the wonderful RBC panel gave us some great tips on this. The most helpful thing that the talented ladies from RBC said when asked what makes a great resume is that less is more. This doesn’t mean that you should have a minuscule resume, but make sure to keep it no longer than a page! An employer isn’t interested in flipping through pages and pages of info on you when they’ve got other resumes to look at. Another tip they gave us is to avoid things like fancy fonts or pretty paper. This takes them away from the focus–which is you! You want to highlight what makes you the best candidate for the job, not why your resume looks nicer than the rest. You also want it to be easy to read. Keep it fresh, clean, and most importantly, professional.

Although you should keep your resume professional, this doesn’t mean you should be communicating like a robot. One of the things that can make your resume stand out is the presence of human language in your document. It may not seem like a make or break aspect, but don’t overdue your industry keywords. Phrases like “I accomplished” or “I manage” will only be effective if they are used in the natural language of the document, not if they are littered all over it. This ties into your resume’s format, too. Use something modern and don’t be afraid to make it look pleasing to the eye as long it doesn’t focus more on visuals than your resume content. You want to be taken as a serious candidate.

One more tip that will prove the most beneficial to making your resume stand out is to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to. Chances are, your employer is looking for specifics–they’ve got a vision of the candidate they want to choose. If you have certain skills/aptitudes and experience that is relevant to the job, then be sure to include that. And the same goes for the reverse. If you’ve got irrelevant information on your resume, get rid of it–there’s no room for clutter.

Lastly, let your resume tell your employer a story. Show them how far you’ve come in your career. Now, this doesn’t mean you should be submitting a biography. Organize your information so that it is effectively customized to show your growth. It should take your reader on a journey of your professional experiences and accomplishments as well as skills and knowledge. Doing this will give your employer the opportunity to see how you’ve advanced over time what you’re bringing to them.

These are just a few tips on how to make your resume stand out. Good luck on crafting that perfect resume! Keep this advice in mind and remember the basics too–don’t lie, have your contact info available, etc. Most importantly though, remember to be confident in yourself. You know what you’re capable of, GEMgirl! Get your goals!

How to build an all-star LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is a great place to start building your personal brand. It’s an online network where you can make connections, gain access to opportunities, and research career paths! But the only way you can use LinkedIn to its fullest potential is to build a great profile! Here are some tips on how to create a great LinkedIn Profile:

HEADSHOT: Make sure your profile has a professional headshot. It’s a given fact the recruiters will most likely view your profile if it has a picture. Don’t use selfies and remember to smile!

HEADLINE: Along with your headshot, your headline is one of the first things people see. You can use your headline to tell people what you’re interested in or what you’re doing now. For example: “Aspiring Engineer,” “Business | Marketing | Operations,” or “Leading Communications and Digital Marketing Strategies.”

SUMMARY: Your summary is your chance to tell your story. It’s also known as your elevator pitch. Make sure to include:
1. Who you are (education and experience)
2. What you have done (skills and achievements)
3. Where you want to go next
4. Your career goals

To stay consistent with your personal brand, it’s recommended to have a professional email such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com.

EDUCATION: Where do you go to school? Be sure to include your extra-curricular activities, additional courses or other programs.

EXPERIENCE: Add all relevant experience to your profile! This will show recruiters what skills you already have and will also give them an insight of what types of jobs you are interested in. Think outside the box –What experiences are part of your professional brand?

RECOMMENDATIONS: Back up what you highlighted in your profile with endorsements and recommendations! Add at least 5 skills, and if you endorse other people, they will most likely endorse you back. This also gives you extra credibility. Ask your managers, teachers, mentors, and classmates to write you a recommendation to strengthen your profile.

LinkedIn is a great way to maintain contact with people and stay in touch. You never know where your network will take you! The best way to meet people is through the people you already know. Send invitations to your friends, teachers, mentors, family members, organization leaders. Always send a personalized note so they know who you are and why you want to connect with them.

Lastly, keep your profile up to date! Similar to Facebook and Instagram, you can post updates on LinkedIn too. You can showcase what you have been doing professionally, share articles and communicate with your network. There’s also a mobile app you can download so you can check LinkedIn on the go!

Photo Credits: TopResume

Roz McLean and her secrets to success

Roz McLean is an Associate at Burgundy Asset Management and was the talented speaker at our GEMinar Three. GEM interviewed her to find out her secrets to success. Here she talks about her motivations, time-management skills, and passions

-Did you always know that you wanted to work in finance when you were in high school?
-I knew that I was interested in business and economics. The difference between what I do now and what I thought it was going to be like is that the field of business and economics has a lot inside of it. People stereotype that in finance it’s just about crunching a bunch of numbers. At Burgundy, we all work in finance, theoretically. However, there are lots of different jobs you can do here. You can be in relationship management, marketing, IT, or the systems and technology department that works on finding the latest innovations and helping us achieve our goals in technology. There’s a lot more diversity in finance that I think people expect.

-At GEMinar Three, you talked about time-management to achieve our goals. How do you spend your time, balancing work and your personal lifestyle?
-Time-management came home for me when I first started studying for my CFA exam because I didn’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted to do.
I had to stop doing certain things –like spend a less time with social media and with friends. It was hard not going out for dinner with my friends on Friday or Saturday night, but I got through it.
I’m most productive in the morning, so first thing when I get to the office I focus on all the thinking work I need to do, all the decisions I have to make, and all the strategy. I usually work out in the morning because my head’s clear, and I can get all that done. Then in the afternoon, I do more mechanical “I just need to get it done” tasks. I also make sure that I go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Typically, during the week, I go to bed pretty early. You feel more refreshed when you sleep for the same amount of time every night. And I spend Sunday reading. So any reading I want to do during the week, rather than letting it take up my day, I just do it on Sunday morning.
Another part of it is a little bit of multi-tasking. I stopped running as much, and I started working out on the bike, and if I’m working out on a stationary bike at the gym, I can read at the same time as biking. So I’m working out and reading the news at the same time, which normally would take up two different chunks of time.

-How can you work smarter?
-Learning to work smarter is important in order to maximize your hours. One important part of this, and I don’t want to suggest anyone to be lazy, is you have to know when to take a break to keep your mind fresh. Let’s say I’m studying for my CFA exam, or I’m working on one project. I’m not productive if I have been working on it for more than seven hours. It would be more productive if I did it for less time, but focused on maximizing the good time. You need to know when to stand up and go for a walk. You need to know when to grab a healthy snack. You need to know when you need to take a break. And make sure you take them. It’s also important not to be distracted; I always make sure to use my phone less frequently.

-How was your university experience? How do you make the most of it?
-Western is such a great school. There are lots of interesting programs. Student life is really good. There is a lot of diversity, and there are a lot of very interesting people. No matter what program you’re in, consider these two important tips. Don’t overwhelm yourself by joining too many clubs. Join a few clubs that you really want to engage with. Make sure that the club is a good fit, with a mission that matches your values, and is filled with committed people. It’s best to work with people you like and are working towards a common goal. Secondly, make the most of your professors. Go to their offices and pick their brains. My economics professor was the thesis advisor for the guy who now works as the governor of the Bank of Canada, and I’m receiving a similar education!

-How do you motivate yourself to finish tedious tasks?
-My biggest motivator is the people around me. I’ve been really fortunate at work, because I think that I’m inspired at least once a day. When I see people around me do really cool things, I try to see how the tasks I need to do fit into the bigger picture. I imagine how those small tasks will achieve the bigger goals of the firm. So when I’m working on an entire communication, I ask myself: how does that contribute to our bigger corporate goal of treating our clients really well? You have to connect all the tiny things you have to do with the bigger things. Why do I have to do my homework right now? Well, if I do my homework, I’ll achieve high marks and get into the program of my choice. Connect it back to the bigger picture! Essentially, think of your short-term goals/tasks as baby steps to achieving your long-term goal. It also helps to have inspiring people around you. If you want to connect it to the bigger task, but you also see someone else working towards a goal in a different way, it helps.

Sadia Khan: Why become a GEMgirl?

Sadia Khan was one of our amazing GEMgirls in 2015-16. Her mentor was Tara Breckenridge. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

 -What did you love about the GEM program?
-I loved the GEMinars. It was very insightful to hear about the different possibilities I had for my future.

-What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-I learned a lot from my mentor, especially about professionalism and the pharmaceutical business. I also learned about time management and the importance of working hard. Something that really stuck with me was learning that women are capable of so much. If you don’t give up and try hard, you will succeed.

-How did GEM impact your life?
-GEM was a big part of my grade 11 life. Attending the GEMinars and meeting with successful women really inspired and opened up my eyes to all the things I can do as a young woman. GEM made the idea of being successful more attainable even though the process may be hard. GEM made the impossible seem possible. It also helped me to be more confident. I thank GEM for inspiring younger women and making the world a better place.

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a grade 12 student at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute. I’m on the prom committee, the external affairs committee and I’m also part of the school’s Business Social Action (BSAP) program.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in joining GEM program?
-DO IT! Apply as fast as you can!  GEM will not only teach you different skills you can use in your everyday life but they will also explain the importance of these skills and how they will benefit you in your future. The GEM staff and participants are friendly. You can be your genuine self at GEM. GEM opens doors for young women who may not have access to these opportunities and it’s important to take part in that.

Ameera Seiyad: Why become a GEMgirl?

Ameera Seiyad was one of our amazing GEMgirls in 2014-15. Her mentor was Leslie Fullerton. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

-What did you love about the GEM program?
-GEM allowed me to have my own ideas. I gained confidence and skills that I use every day. It has impacted me so much and it has also humbled me. GEM also gave me a job! I got hired as a community outreach intern. It was exciting to see and be part of all the planning that goes into the program.”

What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-I was looking to gain support from someone who wasn’t a friend or teacher. I found that support in my mentor, Leslie Fullerton. Having an open communication with her gave me confidence, not only in school but also when applying for summer jobs. Sometimes I still ask myself ‘what would Leslie think/do?’ when making decisions.”

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a second-year student at Wilfred Lauirer University. I’m studying Environment and Business Management.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in GEM?
-Shut up, join it! GEM will give you opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. Girls need support and the GEM program is a great space to gain that support and start with a clean slate. It might seem overwhelming at first, but just take it day by day.”