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Resumé Writing

Tips

Sections

Styles

Technology-friendly

Tips

Create a noticeable resume:

  • Tailor your resumé to each job
  • Use industry-related language
  • Highlight accomplishments by quantifying and qualifying (%, $, #)
  • Use keywords from the job description to match your skills/qualifications
  • Avoid ‘I’ and ‘me’
  • Proofread to make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes
  • One to two pages with an effective use of white space
  • Clear and concise statements
  • Standard fonts and font sizes

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Sections

The sections will depend on your resumé style and the job description. Here are some likely sections:

  • Header
    Your first and last names, address, email address and phone number
  • Highlights of Skills/Qualifications
    4 to 6 bulleted points relevant to the position you are applying for
    List relevant experience, education and skills in order of importance
    Can include: years of experience, certifications, designations, transferable skills, computer/technical skills or language skills
  • Education
    List your education in reverse chronological order (most recent dates first). Highlight major projects completed or the skills, knowledge and experience gained from your course of study.
  • Work Experience or Relevant Project Work
    List work history in reverse chronological order (most recent dates first). Use action verbs to convey the skill(s) used and try to show your transferable skills and accomplishments with each point. See a list of the top transferable skills employers want.
  • Volunteer Experience
    Format in the same style as the Work Experience.
  • Extracurricular Activities
    Only if related to the job.
  • Certifications
  • Training, Associations, Professional Development
  • Awards/Accomplishments
    List any special achievements, including professional, personal and/or academic achievements. 

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Styles

Chronological

  • Positions are listed by recent experience first (reverse chronological order)
  • Can include a summary of skills before work experience
  • Education, certifications and special skills are also included

Skills Based

  • Skills are more relevant than work history
  • Appropriate if there are employment gaps, little or no previous work experience
  • Skills applicable to the position

Combination

  • Designed for job seekers who have extensive and/or varied experience
  • Suitable for entering a new industry 

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Technology-friendly

Some form of Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is used to scan job applications and manage resumé data. To make a resumé technology-friendly, you must tailor it to the industry, company and job. Consider the following:

  • File type
    The system tells you what file type is acceptable. E.g. PDF, .docx, etc.
  • Length
    It does not matter in an applicant tracking system but be strategic on your content.
  • Formatting
    All letters should be clear. Capitalization and use of multiple fonts are common however, avoid overly decorated fonts and condensed words. Do not obscure text with underlining and bolding.
  • Location
    Very important because many systems are set up to search and qualify based on location.
  • Header/Footer
    Never put information in the header. Page numbers can be included in the footer.

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