Continuing Education + Job Training // Publishing since 1999
Career Focus

Netflix-ing Your Job Search

By LISA TRUDEL - June 9 2014

Are you a Netflix watcher? Are you part of the new breed of television watchers who likes to binge on three episodes a night of your favorite show? If you are, and you are job searching, it might be time to Netflix, or customize, your resume.

Netflix started a whole new era of television. Whether you watch Orange is the New Black or Lilyhammer, or House of Cards, Netflix-only programming has shifted the way millions of people watch original shows. Viewers demanded the customization of shows and high-quality offerings, and the success of Netflix and its innovative and unique television series and programming continues to grow.

This phenomenon is similar to the job searching shift to customizing resumes and the need to get your applications past computer screening devices when you want to secure a job interview. If your goal is to have a potential employer binge on your cover letter and resume and enjoy them so much that he or she is willing to email you to set up an interview, you need to know as much as possible about how companies sort resumes.

Today, most large to medium-sized companies sort applications by using tracking systems that scan resumes for keywords and expressions before considering a candidate as qualified and therefore worth an interview. Why companies use resume scanners include statistics, disclosed by Amiee Groth, in a 2012 article for the Business Insider.

She reported that 50% of job applicants are not qualified for the jobs they are applying for; as a result of that information about 90% of companies now use scanners.

In Paul Hill’s book The Panic Free Job Search, he called it “direct marketing”. According to Hill “You are the hunter. You take control of your outcomes. You do not sit back and wait; you strategize and take action.” Taking action can start with the following five tips that can help you pass resume scanners and screeners:

  1. Use exact key words and expressions from the job posting. Scanners want you to mimic keywords from the job description as much as possible. For example, if the job posting states “must have 3 years experience” and your resume states “over 5 years experience”, change the digit 5 to the digit 3. Speak the language of the reader and remember that initially the reader is a scanner not a human being.
  2. Research the company website. Before applying to a job posting, try to research the company by reading its website to get a sense of the company culture. For example, are certain words used to describe the company’s values? If a company has stated an interest in environmental sustainability, include relevant volunteer work on your resume. The company might have programmed related keywords into the scanner but not the job posting, so if you mention shared values, you might get one step ahead of other applicants.
  3. Remember KISS: keep it simple and streamlined. The formatting of your resume and cover letter should be all in the same size font, preferably size 12, and in the same font style, preferably Times New Roman or Arial. Many scanners don’t accept BLOCK letters, so instead use bold and underlining for your section titles. The best approach is to not perplex the scanner software. Keep your resume simple and streamlined.
  4. Give value to all your education. Sometimes people start studying toward a university degree and then because life happens, have to drop out before completion. If this happened to you, value can still be added to your professional development without lying and stating that you have a degree. For example, if you studied one year in the commerce program at Ryerson University and had to drop out before achieving your degree, your resume can state “Ryerson University, one year coursework in Accounting and Finance, toward Bachelor of Commerce Degree.                 It is also important to note that many screening systems assign higher scores to certain elite universities and community colleges. If you did not get your degree from a top Canadian university but you attended a continuing education evening class or a Saturday seminar at one, include this type of qualification on your resume.
  5. Make it clear that you are qualified. Your customized resume might be read at first by a scanner system, but eventually you want a person to finally review your application. Statistics show that the average human resources professional spends seven seconds glancing at each application to see if the candidate is qualified. If it is not obvious that you are qualified, your application will be tossed in the shredder and not in the “to be considered” file. If your resume does not connect the dots between job requirements and your qualifications, your application will not move forward, so be clear and concise, and demonstrate genuine interest in the position by making sure your qualifications are highlighted.

These are only five ways to customize your resume. If you want to learn more about how to target your applications, consider contacting the Centre for Education & Training ( to see if you qualify to have a Career Specialist assist you.

Recruiters, Career Counselors and Job Coaches might tell you different things about how to write, or fix your resume; yet one thing most will agree on is the importance of customizing your application. Just like Netflix watchers, employers demand customization if they are going to binge on your application!

Lisa Trudel is a Career Specialist with the Centre for Education & Training. Please let us know what you think about this article at

Digital Citizen Corner
Learning Curves

Navigating the Digital Minefield: Protecting Your Privacy in a Connected World

June 4 2024

In our digitally driven world, technology is deeply intertwined with our daily lives, presenting constant threats to our privacy. From the devices we depend on to the public spaces we traverse, the digital landscape poses significant challenges to our personal information security. 


Learning Curves

Personal Brand: Significance and Development Strategies

May 30 2024

In today's competitive marketplace, personal branding is essential for establishing a deep connection with your audience and differentiating yourself from competitors. By authentically representing your values and journey, you can build a strong, sustainable brand that resonates with people and creates lasting impressions.


Learning Curves

It wasn't just a pizza...

May 26 2024

A heartwarming story from a Lebanese friend highlights the cultural challenges and kindness encountered by immigrants, as two women collecting grape leaves for a traditional dish were unexpectedly gifted pizzas by a compassionate police officer. This anecdote underscores the importance of understanding and supporting the diverse needs of newcomers in our communities.


Teacher’s Voice
Learning Curves

Thinking about Exams

May 17 2024

Some colleagues and I find exams to be stressful experiences for college students who usually cram for them. Given viable options to traditional midterm and final exams, we want to try other learning components for the same marks. We’ve shared with each other reasons for choosing learning over testing. Over time, we’ve also seen administration’s interest in making exams optional.