Here's How To Level-Up Your Job Hunt In Canada & Remove 'Red Flags' From Your Resume

According to experts, there are certain things on resumes that "give employers pause."

Trending Staff Writer
A laptop on a desk.

A laptop on a desk.

Are you looking for a job in Canada? According to the experts, job seekers need to be "increasingly strategic" when looking for a career as companies are re-evaluating their hiring strategies.

Recruitment agency Robert Half has revealed key "considerations" Canadians should keep in mind when applying to jobs, including the red flags that employers pay attention to.

The agency surveyed 900 senior managers in Canada to determine what today's employers are looking for in their hires.

The survey, which was conducted online, included responses from managers at companies with 20 or more employees in Canada.

The results revealed five key points that anyone currently looking for a job should keep in mind.

Resume red flags

According to the results, 80% of managers say frequent job hopping was something that gave them pause, with other "red flags" including insufficient skills for the role (80%) and vague descriptions of previous jobs (79%).

Deborah Bottineau, managing director at Robert Half, tells Narcity that job seekers should include relevant previous roles on their resume to "showcase all of the expertise and experience they can bring to a prospective employer."

If you've held multiple jobs with short tenures that aren’t directly relevant to the position you are applying for, consider leaving those off," she says.

"The best rule of thumb is to include everything that’s directly applicable, while also being prepared to explain any long employment gaps or frequent periods of short employment at the interview stage."

To make sure the hiring manager doesn't think you lack the skills necessary for the role, Bottineau says jobs seekers should "be sure to match the skills and experiences [they] have with specific requirements in the job description, and be clear about past responsibilities and how they can apply to the role."


According to the results of the survey, around 9 in 10 managers are more likely to hire a person who has a referral from a current employee.

If you can't obtain this, your best bet is to use references from current and/or past employers.

Bottineau shares that the best practice is to include references from employers "for jobs where you held similar responsibilities," in particular.

As for the age-old question of whether you should include references on your resume or provide them when asked, Bottineau says to pay attention to the job posting.

"Job postings will have different requirements when it comes to providing references, and following the description is the best way to deliver what the prospective employer is looking for."


Narrowing down the skillset included on your resume may help when it comes to job hunting, Robert Half's survey shows.

According to the agency, 62% of team leaders said that they prefer to hire "specialists" with expertise in a particular field of study, rather than "generalists" who have varied skills and knowledge across multiple areas.

Highlighting your main areas of expertise, rather than an exhaustive list of various skills, could work to your benefit.

Remote compensation

According to Robert Half, companies that hire employees who live outside of their location are setting pay by certain factors.

Around 37% set salaries by the employee's location, while 36% set it according to the company location.

Only 27% set it according to a candidate's experience, not taking location into account. So, how is this information useful?

According to Bottineau, "knowing if the company you’re applying to takes location into consideration when setting salaries can help you determine if the role is right for you," and if not, help you refine your search.

Past employees

In the survey, 65% of managers said they rehired a former employee who left on "good terms."

According to Robert Half, 22% of managers said that one of the biggest benefits of hiring a former staff member is that they bring "in-demand skills, knowledge and experience," with other benefits including proven performance (22%) and fast assimilation (21%).

If you've left a job and regret it, not all may be lost. Bottineau recommends "[putting] out feelers with former managers and colleagues," and letting them know you’re interested in returning.

"Inquire about openings and highlight the immediate impact you could make given your familiarity with the company," she says.

How to get your resume noticed when applying online

There are some things you can do to help make sure your resume is actually seen, Bottineau shares.

“Make sure your resume is tailored to the role and company you're applying for to increase your chances of it getting seen," she says.

"Include keywords from the job description and skills that are directly relevant to the role, and highlight quantifiable achievements."

Lastly, it's definitely a good idea to proofread anything you're sending to a prospective employer.

"Resumes with typos and other mistakes are often the first ones that employers weed out!”

Good luck, job seekers!

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Katherine Caspersz
Trending Staff Writer
Katherine Caspersz is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada’s Trending Desk focused on evergreen travel and things to do, and is based in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario.
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