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PREPARING A RESUME

A well-written resume is crucial. It may not guarantee you the job, but a poorly-composed resume may cost you an interview. Without an interview, you do not stand a chance of securing the job.

Invest the extra time to prepare a current, well-formatted resume that accurately reflects pertinent information required by recruiters and hiring managers. You can also prepare different versions of your resume, tailored to suit the requirements of particular positions for which you apply.

1. Resume Formatting

When formatting your resume, ensure that you include the following:

  • Name and Contact Information (mailing address, email address and contact numbers)
  • Profile / Objective
  • Summary of your work experience
  • Summary of your education
  • Interests / Activities

Contact Information

Also include the following items at the top of your resume:

  • Name (first name, middle name/initial and last name)
  • Street Address or PO Box (use a second line for apartment or suite number)
  • City, Province, ZIP/Postal Code
  • Contact Number (home/work/mobile)
  • Email address

Properly formatted, your contact information should appear as follows:

Michael B. Jobseeker
28 Maple Road
Apartment 77
Toronto, ON M5E 3Y7
Home Phone: (416) 000-0000
Cell Phone: (416) 000-0000
Email: jobseeker@emailhost.com

Profile / Objective

A brief summary highlighting your key skills and experience or an objective statement that outlines your suitability for a position (this should be tailored for every position you apply for).

Work Experience

It is important to list your work experience in reverse chronological order. That is, your current/most recent job first (Job One), followed by your second most recent job (Job Two) and so on. Entering your experience in this order allows the recruiter/hiring manager to see your most recent and relevant work experience first.

For each job/position that you have held, include the following information:

  • Name of Employer
  • City, Province of Employer
  • Job Title / Position
  • Years/months of employment – for your current job/position, use the format “start year – present”. For example, “March 1998 – present”. Do not use abbreviated years. i.e. ’98
  • Summary of responsibilities – list key responsibilities of each position and any accomplishments/achievements

When formatted properly, your work experience should appear as:

Company Name Inc., Location, June 2001 – present
Vice President, Finance (October 2005 – present)
Senior Manager, Finance (June 2001 – September 2005)

Responsibilities:

  • Managed…………………………………………………………
  • Lead a ……………………………………………………………
  • Directed…………………………………………………………

Accomplishments:

  • Awarded …………………………………………………………
  • Achieved …………………………………………………………

Education

As with experience, enter your educational credits in reverse chronological order. For each degree include:

  • Educational institution (name of University/College), City/Province of University
  • Name of degree
  • Major/course of study
  • Graduation date (if you are currently working on a degree, note that your degree is ‘current’ and include the expected date of completion)
  • GPA (only if you are a recent graduate)

When formatted properly, education should look as follows:

M.B.A., Saint Mary’s University
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Major: Finance
Graduated with Honours, May 2000

Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario
Double major in Economics and Marketing.
Graduated with Honours (Dean’s Merit List), June 1995

Skills / Achievements / Interests

Consider finishing your resume with a “Skills” and/or “Interests/Activities” section, including:

  • Language skills.
  • Technical/computer skills (programming languages, software, etc.).
  • Activities, interests and hobbies.
  • Other items such as published work, lecture experience, board memberships, associations, volunteer work etc.

2. Helpful Tips

Here are some helpful tips to successfully prepare and write a resume.

Do:

  • Limit your resume to one or two pages in length – one page is even better, but if you have extensive experience, two pages may be more appropriate.
  • Provide all your current contact information so that you can be reached at any time.
  • Prepare your resume on standard, white letter-sized paper.
  • Avoid small type sizes (which are difficult to read) and allow for adequate margins.
  • Use conventional English.
  • Proofread your resume for spelling and grammatical errors. Spelling and typographical errors are deadly on a resume.
  • Keep your paragraphs short (preferably no more than five lines in length).
  • Use bullets to make your resume as reader-friendly as possible.
  • Quantify whenever possible. Use numbers to let employers know how many people you supervised, by what percentage you increased sales, how many products you represented etc.
  • List all your accomplishments and awards.
  • Consider including a “Summary of Qualifications” or “Profile” section to your resume, which will sharpen the focus.
  • Prepare a brief (half page maximum) customized cover letter to accompany your resume.

Do Not:

  • Lie on your resume.
  • Leave out any important information.
  • Use columns, tabs, and excessive formatting with spaces.
  • List reasons for leaving previous job(s), the names of former supervisors, specific street addresses, or phone numbers of former employers.
  • Use exact dates – months and years are sufficient.
  • Leave out the locations of your past jobs (city and province).
  • Use personal pronouns (I, my, me) in a resume.
  • Include personal information such as age, height, weight, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, sex, ethnicity/race, health or social security.
  • List High School information under education.
  • Provide salary information on your resume.
  • Include information that might be perceived as controversial, such as religious or political affiliations.
  • Include a picture of yourself.
  • List references on your resume. Keep references on a separate sheet and provide them only when they are specifically requested.

Click here to view a sample resume. (PDF file)

 

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