How I Updated My Resume And Got Job Offers After 8 Years Out Of The Corporate Workforce

I’m a big believer in practising what I preach. I’m also very keen on testing, re-testing and testing my resume again.

I don’t think it would be fair of a resume writer to sit behind a desk all day telling job seekers how to write a resume, what to include, what not to include, how to position yourself for a new job, how to change careers, or how to write a resume to re-enter the paid workforce after a career break, if I hadn’t tried and tested any of things I recommend myself.

So, once a year, sometimes twice, I update my resume, tweak my LinkedIn profile, and check that everything is current, just in case I’m asked to send a copy of my own resume for some contracting work. Once a year, I also set up some job alerts on Seek (Australia’s leading online job board), and wait for jobs that sound interesting to me to land in my inbox.

When they do, I get busy yet again with my resume, tailoring it to suit the jobs on offer that I’m pretty confident I could do, and have experience in, or transferable experience and skills, and I send off some job applications.

I get out the guidelines we give our resume clients and work through the steps so I can see things exactly how they do, at the same time updating and amending our top tips for getting a resume that will get job interviews. I also run my own resume through an applicant tracking system so I can test and score my resume against a job advertisement, so I know I have the best chance of getting invited to job interviews.

It’s a brilliant exercise in my mind. Firstly, it puts me right into the very same position my clients are in when searching for a job. Getting back into the head space of my job seeker / career-changer / re-entering the workforce clients keeps my feet on the ground, my advice current and relevant, and constantly reminds me just how hard it is to get noticed in an incredibly crowded job market where employers and recruiters seem to have the pick of the bunch.

It also makes me really anxious – because all of a sudden, I’m riding the job-seeker roller coaster that every single one of my resume clients does when we first connect.

I always learn a few new tricks from the exercise too, that I happily pass on to my clients, so they can learn from my experience.

The response has been amazing, not necessarily in a good way.

As of today, I’ve applied for 8 advertised jobs, all of which I am qualified (or overqualified) for, and have direct experience in. While the sample size isn’t yet significant, it is enough for me at this point to draw some conclusions about the current status of my resume, how my resume is being responded to in the current job market, and the process I’m following in my hypothetical 2017 job search.

For 4 of those jobs, (no longer advertised following 28 days on Seek), I’ve not even had the courtesy of an email of acknowledgement confirming receipt of my application.

I was absolutely convinced that I would get a call back from the very first job that I applied for (just like my clients!) I ticked every single box. I had the qualifications. I had the experience. I even had an extra qualification and medical experience that I was convinced would blow them away when they realised how much value I presented as a candidate. My resume was a 99% match when I ran it through the ATS. I did my research on the company. I found out who to address my letter to, read up on the decision maker, and researched some of the new work they were doing so I could include relevant examples of my experience doing something similar, and how it could help them move this new work to the next level. I actually went to sleep that night feeling a little smug because I was so absolutely sure that they would be on the phone the minute they read my resume and cover letter. Only thing is, that didn’t happen. In fact, nothing happened. No acknowledgement. No rejection. Nothing.

Not only do I find this insulting (as many of my clients do), but it astounds me that these organisations don’t realise the reputational damage they’re doing to themselves. Seek couldn’t make it any easier for recruiters to do this, given that it has a built-in feature that enables recruiters to send a generic email of acknowledgement. Many jobs also list the contact details, including direct email address and telephone number of advertisers, so when that happens, I also apply through Seek, and also send a copy direct.

Many of my clients have told me they quietly make note of those ‘non-responders’, determined to shun them in future as possible employers and product or service providers,  just as they have to them as job candidates.

Personally, I take it as a sign that if this is how an organisation treats a potential employee, the way they treat their paid workforce isn’t going to be any better, so I’m better off right from the start because they’ve already shown their true colours.

Just last week, I spent 6 hours carefully tweaking my resume and a cover letter to suit the job on offer.

You heard right! 6 hours … 6 hours carefully tweaking my resume and a cover letter to suit the job on offer.

I swapped out any irrelevant experience. I re-ordered my skill sets so the ones they were most interested in for the role were top of the list. I added a little over the most relevant key words so they would jump off the page for a skim-reader.

I detailed very specific examples (using the Challenge | Action | Result processalongside each response to the essential and desirable selection criteria.  I included weighty facts and figures to substantiate my claims. I included a recent testimonial to add social proof, and even when to the trouble of creating a micro-website to showcase some experience I had in past marketing career, because the advertisement had asked for examples.

The early bird gets the worm. 

For another advertised position, I received an email response from a recruitment agent advising the role had been filled. It had been advertised for 18 hours by the time I submitted my application.

All credit to the recruitment agent however, because we did enter into a number of email exchanges in follow up, during which it was divulged that they were inundated with applications for the role (30 applications within the first 30 minutes) and as a result, they immediately started screening resumes (using applicant tracking software).

They then telephone interviewed 3 candidates within 4 hours and they even did a face-to-face interview with one candidate later that very same afternoon, and that candidatewho immediately received (and accepted) an offer.

So by the time I had tailored my application the night before pressing ‘apply here’, and emailed it off the next morning, one very happy job seeker was handing in their resignation letter from their previous employer and looking forward to their role starting 2 weeks later. One hour wasted the night before, and my application never stood a chance. The same could be said for the no doubt numerous other applications they received, as the job remained advertised on Seek for another 5 days. As they say, the early bird …

All in a week’s work. 

For another role, I applied for the job at 9:00 am on the Monday. Got the job offer at 3:00 pm on the Friday of that week. For this particular role, ego suitably bruised having had no acknowledgement or responses to my previous 4 applications, I now had no expectations whatsoever when I pressed ‘send’. But then I received an email response and invitation to interview less than 5 minutes after I had submitted my application. 4 days later I was interviewed. 15 minutes into the interview, I received a job offer. Quite possibly the quickest recruitment process I have ever participated in.

My takeaway? The process can be really quick if you’re the perfect job candidate.

It’s OK to ask what the salary range is.

One job for which I was really suited and was made an offer for, came down to salary. Rookie mistake on my part because I always advise clients that they should ensure that no matter how amazing the job will is, that the salary must meet their expectations.

Don’t assume that because you are a perfect match for the role, that you will get an interview.

Back to my 6 hours tailoring my resume and creating a micro-site to showcase my collateral … well, I did get a response. 4 days after submitting my application, and again, while the job advertisement was still active.

While I was ‘grateful’ to at least get the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ email, the thing is, they never bothered looking at 2 pages of the 3-page micro-site (how I know this is for me to explain another time). The email highlighted the high quality and calibre of the candidates, and necessary academic qualifications, the absence of which they used to justify my rejection. But I did have the qualification, along with another qualification that I know only 40 others have in tandem with the very specific academic credentials they requested of the applicants. I can only assume that was an oversight that I received that particular rejection email, or that they didn’t actually read what was on my resume and cover letter and micro-site, where I clearly detailed responses to the very specific selection criteria.

Should I have followed up to point this out? Perhaps. Would it have made a difference? I’ll never know, but it has highlighted yet another obstacle job seekers endure every day, and I can certainly empathise with the predicament.


  • Whenever recruiter contact details are listed on an advertisement, make contact with them (ideally by phone). It could save you hours if the role has already been filled, or the screening and shortlisting process has begun.
  • Just because a position is advertised on Seek, doesn’t mean there is still a position to fill. Recruiters may leave roles advertised that have actually been filled on Seek.
  • If a role does not list a salary*, it is OK to ask what the range is, if you get invited to interview. What waste your time (and the interviewers) if the role was to present a significant downturn in salary for you, that you weren’t prepared to accept, no matter how great everything else with the job sounds? We’re all working to pay our bills and finance our lifestyles, right?

Is your Accent Holding You Back From Getting A Job?

Are you a non-native English speaker? Do you want to speak clearly & confidently in English? Feel like your accent lets you down in job interviews?

CV Saviour has teamed up with Speak More Clearly ,so that in just 15 minutes a day, you can learn correct Australian English pronunciation and ace your job interviews with the confidence that you can be understood clearly.

Improve your Aussie accent with Speak More Clearly’s accent reduction training course.

Speak More Clearly has already helped over 40,000 people from all over the world speak English confidently and change their lives! Created by Esther Bruhl, a world-leading Speech
Therapist, with over 30 years’ experience.

Speak More Clearly can help you: 

 Sound like a native Australian speaker
✔ Understand Aussie’s better and be understood the first time you say something
✔ Improve your job prospects & feel confident in job interviews
✔ Communicate clearly & make a great first impression
✔ No more fear or embarrassment in English

When you download the Ultimate Australian Accent Training Program and begin practising you’ll be able to:

✔ Speak English with an Australian accent
✔ Speak with correct Australian pronunciation
✔ Communicate clearly with your co-workers and get ahead at work.
✔ No more fear of speaking on the phone
✔ Be understood the first time you speak
✔ Change, reduce or neutralise your accent and be clearly understood.
✔ Understand other Australian speakers when they talk
✔ Speak with confidence and don’t pause or freeze when speaking English.

When you follow Speak More Clearly’s easy, step-by-step exercises, your accent will change and you’ll sound like a native Australian speaker – with just 15 minutes of practise a day!

Click here to learn more about our Australian Accent Course & make your dream job possible!


Does Name Discrimination Exist For Job Seekers? Read More Here.

When Did You Decide To Quit Your Job?

Help Business Insider – When did you realise you needed to quit your job?

People quit jobs for all sorts of reasons.

Sometimes the problem is relatively innocuous — you’re not in the right industry, the company’s simply not a good fit, or you’re just ready to move on. Other times, the situation is far more contentious and it’s a terrible boss, stressful environment, or awful pay that’s got you heading for the hills.

The Business Insider Careers team wants to know: When did you realise you needed to quit your job?

Share your story in the anonymous Google form below, and we may include your response in an upcoming article. You get bonus points if you provide some context.

Click here to fill in the form.


Resume Objective Statements

News Flash: Employers don’t care what your career objective is!

What they DO care about is THEIR bottom line.

It’s time to get a little controversial! We’re getting rid of the resume objective statement and bringing in a summary or positioning statement.

We’re getting rid of the resume objective statement and bringing in a summary or positioning statement.

Prove that you’re the best candidate for the job with a laser-focused positioning statement that screams, “I’m the best candidate for the job, and here’s my track record to prove it!”


Am I Getting Paid Enough? What Is My Market Value?

There’s a new website which tells Australians how much they are worth in the jobs market

There are plenty of salary checkers on the market today, but few have been created just for Australian job seekers. Until now. Are you getting paid enough?

Do you sometimes wonder what your true value in the jobs market is if your salary reflected all your education and career experience?

If you do, then a new tool that from online job search engine Adzuna called “ValueMyCV” will help answer that question.

Is ValueMyCV Just Another Salary Checker?

Adzuna says ValueMyCV uses the same technology as Apple’s Siri and Google’s image search. The site works by analysing more than 100 different aspects of a CV when it’s uploaded – including work experience, job title, academic background and location – to calculate an estimate current market salary from that data.

I tried it with my CV and it took less than a minute to calculate a salary which was a little below my last full-time role in banking, but still pretty close.

I’ve been working for 30 years and my CV was optimised a few years back, but Adzuna says the site will make suggestions to optimise a CV if necessary. It will also match people to relevant jobs based on skills and experience, and personalise an interactive “career pathway”, Adzuna said.

Adzuna’s Australian CEO Raife Watson said the free site will answer the question he thinks everyone wants to know – “What’s my value in the market?” It also has an “email my boss” feature which allows users to send their salary estimate to their employer.

“ValueMyCV makes it easier for Australian employees to negotiate their package based on their skills and experience and extensive current market data,” Watson said.

Besides current employees checking their value and discussing it with their boss, Adzuna says it believes the site will be important for the approximately 190,000 women returning from maternity leave each year, close to 200,000 students graduating from University each year, and Australians transitioning from declining industries like manufacturing and mining back to workforce.

So what do we think?

CV Saviour tested this site and found it to be pretty accurate. It does offer some advice through its CV Booster  that we don’t support though. For example, it said our 3-page resume for a job seeker who had 20 years experience was too long (we strongly disagree). It also extracted our job seekers company name instead of their lastname and said the resume didn’t contain any contact details (it did). ValueMyCV claimed that the naming convention we’d used (LASTNAME, Firstname – Advertised Job Title – Month Year) was too long – we disagree and know from research that recruiters (and ATS) LOVE that format; it claimed the didn’t include a summary (it sure did) and it highlighted the fact that we don’t include a full address and said it should (again, we disagree – including a full address can open candidates up for demographic profiling, and at application stage, an email address, mobile number, Suburb, City, State and postcode is more than sufficient.

Last but not least, the Career Explorer tool isclearly based on a candidates most recent job title, so the options for our job seeker were way off mark. Nonetheless, it’s a neat little tool, no doubt poised to offer hours of fun at the office while job seekers plot their next career move.

The site will be officially launched shortly, but you can beta test it here. Enjoy!

This article by Greg McKenna first appeared in Business Insider.

Why Are Australians Leaving Their 9 to 5 Jobs? Virtual Job, Anyone?


Is Virtual Working For You

Our friends over at Virtual Working Hub have come across some interesting statistics that support the anecdotal evidence that Australians are ditching 9 to 5 jobs for virtual jobs and remote employment. Read on for more.

Working At Home, Remote Working, Telecommuting, Virtual Working …

Call it what you will. The reality is that Australians are ditching the 9 to 5 in record numbers for freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they work.

It’s a new era for highly skilled workers who can now use digital technology to work remotely and on their terms.

The world’s largest job site Indeed has released data showing the number of Australians searching for flexible jobs online has more than doubled in the past two years.

Indeed’s statistics show interest in flexible work has grown 42% overall across the world’s 12 largest economies in that time, but Australia tops the list returning 85% more searches for terms like ‘remote’, ‘work from home’ and ‘telecommute’ than the nearest rival – the United States.

The growing trend toward flexible and remote work is beneficial for employers too, providing access to a borderless workforce and the best match for each job, not limited to applicants from a local geographical area.

The Indeed Hiring Lab’s research has also revealed Australia is a jobseeker’s market, with 11% of advertised jobs still vacant after two months.

This changing marketplace is seeing more employers flex to offer greater incentives to lure the best and brightest talent, including work-from-home opportunities and flexible leave.

For a while now, it’s been common for organisations to offer staff incentives like gym memberships, lunchroom entertainment or a day off for their birthday, but office pool tables and PlayStations are fast becoming nothing more than gimmicks to autonomous remote workers who choose their own hours, outfits and office views – café one day, beach the next.

Virtual Working Hub believe this is just the beginning of the future of work – more productive, efficient and cost-effective work arrangements, giving professionals greater flexibility and work-life balance, and employers a stronger, more highly skilled and better suited workforce than ever before.