This year marked a special anniversary for the Out on Bay Street Organization which helps to facilitate the professional development of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Ally (LGBTQA+) students as they transition from school to career in order to build a national network within the LGBTQA+ community.* This year’s theme was #StartingOut and for RBC we were PROUD to be part of the entire event where it all started 10 years ago at the Rotman School of Management/ University of Toronto.
I want to give a “shout-out” to the team of from the Out on Bay Street for organizing a fabulous event and for connecting so many employers, like RBC, to the LGBTQA+ students across Canada. A special thank you to Albert Lam, Marshall Peacock, and Stefan Palios as an event like this takes so much planning and time and the execution was flawless!
By Nina Rakic
It’s official. The walls have been painted, the boxes unpacked – we’ve moved into a digital age. Does that mean that we’ve also moved past the resume and onto the Linkedin profile? In part, yes. Your potential employer will certainly check you out online and cross reference what you publish with what you print. They will also expect you to present a crisp resume in a neat folder on which they can take notes during your interview.
Considering how important resumes continue to be, I suggest you take a preventative approach and make sure that your resume is on point at the time of submission. It’s likely that your potential employer has not met you yet, so their impression of you starts to form through reading your resume. Below are 6 tips to keep in mind this recruitment cycle that will help you help your interviewer form the right image about you.
Making grammatical errors and typos.
“Let’s eat grandma!”
“Let’s eat, grandma.”
Need we say more? Perhaps, though we shouldn’t have to. We live in an age where online, free services are accessible to anyone with a computer or a library card. These mistakes are avoidable and indicate to your interviewer that you don’t really care about the application. Which isn’t true. Arguably, it is hard to catch your own mistakes, especially after having reviewed your resume for the zillionth time. Reach out to a friend or attend our Pre-Conference Workshop for some extra help.
Submitting incorrect information.
“Well, duh.” You might be thinking, and you’re right: this does seem obvious. We aren’t talking about including wild stories of fabricated world travel and the four languages you don’t speak (though you shouldn’t include those points if they’re not true either). We’re talking about that 3.0 GPA that’s actually a 2.8 or a job title that doesn’t quite match the description.
Little mistakes like that are the best way to show your employer that you are not detail oriented. Luckily, this mistake is easy to mitigate. Read, edit and repeat.
Not using keywords that are found in the job description.
A lot of the time a hiring manager or recruiter has dedicated a time block for reading resumes. This means that yours could be the 1st, or the 251st resume under review. At this point your resume is getting a scan, at best, until it truly catches the viewer’s eye.
Looking at the “requirements” or “qualifications” section of the job description you’re applying for and other similar ones will give you a good place to start. The jargon that’s repeated is the jargon you should use and use often (so long as it’s grammatically correct). Be wary of just copy and pasting from the job descriptions as well – it will be noticed and could undermine the hard work you’ve actually done. The same should stand for your cover letter, though, that’s a topic for another article.
Actually, writing things that don’t relate to the job in general is a bad idea.
Yes, this does mean that you’re likely going to be writing unique resumes for each job you’d like to apply to. We never said that recruiting was easy, but the hard work pays off. Hiring managers and recruiters have likely been hiring for a long while and can spot a clone from a mile away. Recycling a resume used for one job might also mean keeping information in it that is not relevant to another job.
Not writing enough
There is a fine line between too much information and not enough. While there is no universal definition of where this line in, here are some things to keep these things in mind and you should be all right:
- Don’t underplay your responsibilities. It’s okay, you’ve done a lot and there is no shame in that. Just save some for the interview too.
- Be specific. The problem/idea was XX I did XX to solve/implement it and XX were the results. Checkmate.
- Quantify as often as possible. This is a good way of showing evidence of your work without being too verbose.
Getting out of hand with formatting.
Simply put, a flashy resume get’s you the wrong kind of attention. It takes away from the content and make it seem like you’re overcompensating. If you are overcompensating, the hiring manager or recruiter will catch on soon enough and your efforts will be for naught. There are ways to beef up your resume like participating in competitions (like our Case or Moot Competitions), volunteering outside of work (OOBS recruitment opens this September!) or taking job-specific training or workshops. Basically, if you’re not there yet, you can be. Even if you’re applying for a marketing or media role, it’s good to err on the side of caution while keeping in mind your audience. The manager will request to see your portfolio anyways meaning your creative mind will have a place to shine.
* * *
These are just a few tips and tricks from a former recruiter, a Out On Bay Street volunteer and a successful hire from the conference. Though, there is so much more to learn! Those that bought tickets prior to August 1st are welcome to do so at our Pre-Conference Workshop taking place on Saturday August 19th.
Leaders To Be Proud Of Awards
Recognizing exemplary achievement and community service within our community helps to provide LGBTQA+ students and young professionals with examples to emulate and aspire to. Sharing the experiences of these individuals helps our community to celebrate Canada’s progress in recognizing LGBTQ+ value to the professional community and society.
By: Nina Rakic
There is something so exciting about packing your bags and embarking to a new world. It is as exciting as it is nerve wracking-the uncertainty that follows such a shift is fundamental. Though with a vision, strategy and diligent execution the international lifestyle can be a rewarding and transformational experience, influencing how a person conducts themselves in business.
Born in Beijing and raised in Vancouver, Lucy learned early on that identity is contextual. She braided together social psychology, cultural anthropology and urban geography in understanding the power of the individual experience. She has applied this lesson to to entrepreneurship and innovation as she evolved in her marketing and tech career.
Q: Tell us about your background and your career so far.
My career has been diverse, that’s for sure. I started off marketing in various fields touching on areas from consumer packaged goods to forensic consulting. Forensic consulting, by the way, is kind of like CSI … except the accident scenes don’t look like they do on TV. Though, the lawyers and the cops are very similar. After that I started volunteering with Out On Bay Street which definitely inspired me to pursue entrepreneurship and a whirlwind of travel. I moved to Beijing where I completed a MBA program, then to Massachusetts for an MSc at MIT and eventually found myself in San Francisco working in Silicon Valley. Initially, life outside of work didn’t exist – I worked 18 hour days with little sleep or exercise. Luckily, my start up became profitable within a year and a half and life balanced itself out again. The growth of the company was addictive and being the only marketing person gave me a serious sense of agency. My hard work paid off and I was able to build my own international team in India. Soon, I found myself on the hunt for more adventure and moved to Berlin with my girlfriend where we both currently work in the tech space. Though, Toronto is exploding and I might find myself back in Canada.
Q: In learning about your past, I noticed that you started your career off in Marketing and Retail. What motivated you to make the transition into tech?
The opportunity of problem solving. Sure, emerging technology is invaluable but there is a lot of already existing tech that can solve many problems and I wanted to be involved with communicating that. Now I’m back in marketing, and I have plans to start another start up. But stay tuned for that… I can’t give away all of my cards.
Q: Your career has been very international so far, having worked in Canada, the US, and China. How has this influenced you and how you do business?
Toronto, Beijing, San Fran, Berlin, Boston, Bangalore.
Now that I’ve gotten a taste of all of these different cultures and work settings, the importance of intrapersonal relationships has definitely been underscored. So is transparency – it’s important to be in a place where you can create transparency of business or it already exists. A strong legal system is so important. Copyright infringement, patent infringement or good old fashioned plagiarism can completely derail your business plans. In places like China you can’t really sue for stuff like that and it’s kind of difficult for you to say that you’re the first one that did it and for the government to back you.
Q: What was it about the US market that motivated you to transition from the Canadian market?
I really wanted to go to MIT because of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that exists on campus. MIT is so vibrant and the business school there is so supportive of entrepreneurship which helped in building my network. Moving to San Francisco was also a very specific move. The startup revival was coming up again and I wanted a piece of that pie. The amount of venture capital money being thrown around was unprecedented – who could resist that temptation?
Q: What advice do you wish you had when you were finishing your first of three degrees?
After UofT? I’d say, “don’t stress about your major.” I was a psychology major and took courses that I just wanted to… it ended up working to my favour and diversifying my portfolio. That said, if you want to become a doctor or something, prerequisites are important. If you’re going into business, keep taking classes that expand your perspective because you can always make up for knowledge gaps in other ways… embrace being a student forever, outside or inside the classroom.
Diversity wise.. I was very out when I was in Toronto and when I moved to Beijing I was really reluctant to be out. After the second semester everyone I knew I was gay and no one cared which is great. Same as in India. Same as in San Francisco. I mean, Berlin is the most open place. Ever. I’ve been really lucky with that, because there are people that have lived in the same places that have been really negatively affected by their queerness.
* * *
This has been an Out On Bay Street Sneak Peek into the Speaker Series for the 2017 conference. If you’d like to learn more about Lucy and her international career click here and buy your ticket now. Lucy will be speaking at the Networking Lunch on Saturday September 16th.