At some point in your working life, you will need a resume, so why not create one that helps you showcase your talents, skills and accomplishments? This e-learning tool can guide you, whether you are in first year or have just graduated, through the process of developing a strong expression of who you are and what makes you a fitting candidate.
Resume Writing Resources
- Resume template
- Resume Writing Guide [PDF - 679 KB]
- Application Samples: Resumes and Cover Letters
- Infographic Resume sample
- Action Words for Effective Descriptions [PDF - 357 KB]
- Transferable Skills [PDF - 364 KB]
- Accomplishment Statements Writing Guide [PDF - 356 KB]
- T-Analysis for tailoring your resume [PDF - 350 KB]
- Additional resume writing resources
Purpose of a Resume
A resume is an inventory of skills and accomplishments and a marketing tool that demonstrates you are qualified to do the job. It also:
- is a personal document that expresses how unique you are; it creates a picture of you
- creates a first impression for the employer
- piques the employer's interest
- presents you as a professional (not as a student)
- gives you confidence in what you have to offer
- summarizes your past but is focused on the future
- gets you the interview
What to include in a resume
An effective resume includes:
- up to date contact information with a professional email address
- career objective – should be relevant to the job (optional)
- summary of skills or highlights of qualifications (optional)
- work experience – targeted to the position with relevant skills taken from your work experience, volunteer work, and extra curricular activities expressed as accomplishment statements
- education, professional development, achievements and awards
- extracurricular activities or activities and interests
- associations of which you are a member
- "references available upon request" (optional)
- Include your name (in the largest font), address including postal code, phone number and a professional email address
- Design your contact information to function as your logo. It should appear in the same format on your resume, cover letter, reference list, thank you letter and all other documentation. A modified version of your logo should also appear on page 2 of your resume including your name, your telephone number, your email address, and the page number
- You can put your contact information in a header but, remember, if you cut and paste your resume into an email, the headers and footers will be lost
You can name the position you are targeting or create a short statement to show how you will benefit the company and the results you will produce
Example 1: A position as a (job title) with (name of organization)
- For the second kind of career objective, highlight the skills you will bring to the position and focus on what the employer wants. Doing this provides you with another chance to market yourself to the employer
Example 2: A position as a (job title) with (name of organization) where I can apply my skills in (skill #1, skill #2, skill #3) to (what result or outcome you can offer your targeted company)
4-6 points that emphasize your strong points; all of these points must be directly relevant to the job:
- How much relevant experience you have
- Your formal education, training and credentials, if relevant, including specific knowledge areas relevant to targeted position
- One significant accomplishment, very briefly stated
- One or two outstanding skills or abilities related to the job
- Provide brief evidence of your accomplishments /skills / abilities – include job related skills, transferable skills, and self-management skills as appropriate
- Match the requirements of the job posting and the targeted organization’s mission / mandate
- Most recent qualification listed first (i.e. reverse chronological order)
- List the qualification, educational institution, date obtained
- Be sure to indicate if it is a Certificate, Diploma or Degree
- Bold the diploma /degree name, not the institution
Example: Honours Bachelor of Arts, Specialist in Economics, 2008, University of Toronto
- If not yet completed, state “in progress” or “2008 to present” for the example above
- If not in progress, state “candidate” or state degree program
- High school is not necessary to list; if you are in university, it is evident that you completed high school
- You can include Professional Development separately or under Education
- Include only the last 5 – 7 years of relevant experience. Prior information that is relevant but does not fit into your resume can be mentioned in your cover letter.
- List your job title in bold, the organization’s name and the dates year to year. Dates can be right or left justified depending upon field and space available on resume. Academia likes left justified dates; employers generally do not mind which justification is used.
Employment Counsellor 2002 – 2004
Ontario March of Dimes
2002 – 2004 Employment Counsellor
Ontario March of Dimes
- List work experience in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent job first)
- List 3-5 accomplishment statements for each job to show that you made a difference to the organization. Include action verb, the action you took and the positive result for the employer.
Example: Re-organized bookkeeping and filing systems for increased clarity and ease of use
- Highlight work-related accomplishments, transferable skills, previous experience and qualifications for the targeted job
- Accomplishment statements always include a benefit to the employer. They are “skills in action”.
Example: make / save money / time, make work easier, solve a problem, make organization more competitive / efficient / effective, build relationships with vendors / customers / the public, expand business, attract new customers, retain customers
- Focus on transferable and work related skills
- Describe your work history so that it relates to your future employer’s needs
- Don’t just describe what you did – tell them how you did it in an accomplishment statement
- Know what skills you will need for this job and use examples from your previous work experience
- Examine your work experience for accomplishments. Write down all the things that you did in each job or volunteer position and identify the skills you used and the accomplishments that resulted. Include only the most relevant and important ones, not your entire list.
- Quantify your tasks to show concrete results.
Example: Led a team of 8; saved $20,000 and increased efficiency by 25% over a one year period by improving inventory management processes.
- Shows leadership and teamwork, reflects involvement in the community, and provides a more complete picture of you, so highlight the skills you developed and your accomplishments
- You can include volunteer opportunities in the Relevant Experience section if relevant to the targeted position you are applying to or include it under its own heading or under the Extracurricular Activities heading
- Provide accomplishment statements
- Include Awards / Scholarships / Prizes etc. for education, sports, community service, etc.
- Involvement in student groups, clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities, both on and off campus
- This section can also include hobbies or interests especially if they are relevant to job
- Demonstrate skills used and accomplishments where you can
- Include if you are a current member or if you held a key role with a professional association in the past
- You can also include if you have or are working towards a professional designation
- This statement is optional. If you are short of space you can omit it or put it in a footer. Remember if you put your reference statement in a footer, it will be lost if you cut and paste your resume into an email.