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ESTABLISHED 1989, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
 

Resume Writing in Toronto: An Overview
BY HOWARD E. HALPERN, MA CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer

Resume writing has changed a great deal over the years. When I started writing my own resumes in 1971, such documents typically listed the jobs applicants had held, without giving any indication of how well they had performed. In other words, the employer, on reading the resume, had no way of knowing whether the applicant had benefited past employers, hence, no way of knowing whether the applicant was a good risk.

There were no good books on resume writing. There were no Certified Professional Resume Writers. In fact, there was no resume writing association.

By 1989, when I founded Résu-Card ®, the situation had improved somewhat. Torontonians had begun to realize that if they wanted to get hired, they needed to give employers a reason to hire them. Markets were saturated with job candidates. Experience was not enough. People had to start selling themselves by distinguishing themselves favourably from their competitors, i.e., other job seekers.

The 1st Resume Writers' Association

In 1990, resume pioneer Frank Fox established the Professional Association of Resume Writers, the first of its kind worldwide. It began certifying its members. The resume industry evolved from an amorphous collection of amateurs to a body of solid professionals with standards and a commitment to serve the public with integrity.

When I started this business, the field of resume writing was not well-known. Most job seekers in Toronto did not even consider engaging the services of a professional writer. But as the job market tightened (increased automation, frequency of layoffs, maturation of the baby-boomer cohort, rising unemployment), the resume industry grew. More and more writers started advertising under the heading "Resume Service" in the Yellow Pages ®, and Toronto bookstores began to devote entire sections to literature on how to score every imaginable kind of job.

Resume writers in Toronto started to offer interview coaching, and their offices became a one-stop shop for job acquisition.

Toronto Writers Take to the Web

Then, in the mid-90s, something happened that was more revolutionary than anything I have described so far. Computer geeks who had been posting messages to each other remotely on what were called "bulletin boards" realized it was possible to develop a common language whereby computers could communicate with each other. Not just some of them, but all of them. And the Internet was born.

This changed the entire resume industry. Job seekers worldwide found it easier to search for resume writers on the web. Practitioners realized they had to create websites to remain competitive. Toronto was no exception. The "Resume Service" section in the Yellow Pages began to shrink, and the number of resume-related websites grew. Samples appeared on the web. Many job seekers used web tools to create their own resumes. Others hired writers to create documents for them.
 
    

 

Rev. Feb. 26, 2013
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Two Kinds of Resume Writers

Basically, there are two kinds of resume writers in Toronto:
  • Those who create a unique document for each candidate
  • Those who work from templates
In the latter case, the resume is pre-written. The words, phrases, and sentences already exist. It is a question of picking and choosing, cutting and pasting, moving things around. Professionals don't do that. We ask questions. We find out what is special about each candidate and craft a document that highlights his or her best qualifications — something original and impressive.

This takes time. This is why we charge more than others for our services.

Some of my Toronto colleagues are contemptuous of amateur writers. I do not share this attitude. In most cases, engaging the services of an amateur is better than writing the resume oneself. Some people would like to hire a professional, but can't afford the fee. What are they to do? As it exists, the present market offers Torontonians a choice. I view this as positive.

Many candidates start with an amateur, don't get result they were looking for, and upgrade to the professional level. There's nothing wrong with that. Besides, although a well-written resume greatly speeds up the job acquisition process, some people who have good connections can get interviews without a resume.

State of the Resume Profession in Toronto

Today, Toronto has five Certified Professional Resume Writers. In addition, we have Career Professionals of Canada, which is based in greater Toronto. Several local writers belong to this organization. Other professional organizations exist, and there are many writers who do not belong to any professional organization at all. Because many writers do not advertise, it is impossible to know how many there are, but the number is huge. Many people love to write. The resume industry gives writers the opportunity to earn a living doing something they enjoy.

This historical overview of resume writing in Toronto is, as far as I know, the only one of its kind available anywhere. I wrote, HTML-scripted, and uploaded the entire article in one sitting. I did so, in part, to give prospective clients an idea of how I conduct research, how I think, how I write, how I push myself to be efficient and productive. I am a complex individual: I look at things from many angles. This is how I distinguish myself from my competition.

    

Criteria for Selecting a Resume Writer

I have respect for my colleagues. Most local, certified writers have become friends. We cooperate as well as compete. Each writer has strengths and weaknesses. It is up to us to put forward our strengths, just as we do for you when writing your resumes and letters. It is important to see how a writer creates prose, because letters are written in prose. Resumes are usually created by using bulleted points. It is through prose that we truly reveal our skill in manipulating language.

Sometimes people call me and ask, "Why should I come to you?" I say, "You should not necessarily come to me. See what I have to offer, compare it with that which others offer, and choose according to what is most important to you." For some, it is price. In that case, I'm not your man. For others, it is speed (turnaround); a clear, crisp writing style; the availability of relevant samples; geographic location. In that case, I may be your man.

Writers Must Distinguish Themselves

If you are going to spend a few hundred dollars or more, evaluate us carefully. Plan ahead, if possible. Do not necessarily believe what you hear about resume writing; much of it is not true. Think. If you want an original document, something about you, not a replica of a document your competitor has already submitted (possibly to your prospective employer), then visit different writers' websites. Ask yourself whether they have distinguished themselves favourably from their competition.

If so, proceed. If not, why would you imagine they could do for you what they could not do for themselves?

This overview has been presented in the hope it will help you make better decisions regarding your job search, in other words, your future. Please let me know whether this section has been useful, regardless of whether you decide to use our services. In truth, if our site helps, you are already using our services; you have become our client. Not all services are paid. As is the case in all human relationships, including that of employment, it is in giving that we receive.
 



 
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