How do you get a job? Check out our How to Get a Job Flow Chart [PDF].
Resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn/social media, networking, and interviewing are your key tools for marketing yourself to potential employers. See our suite of online resources and career services to prepare!
NEW: See our Job Search Bootcamp module in the Student Experience Course.
NEW: See the St. George Career Exploration and Education team's Career Resource Library for additional materials.
Resume Writing E-Learning Course
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. We also included a resume template to follow!
Our application samples demonstrate how to customize your resume and cover letter to suit a position and company.
Resume and Cover Letter Basics
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/professional document expresses what experiences and skills make you unique
- piques the employer's interest
- gets you the interview
A cover letter explains how those skills and accomplishments connect with the needs of the organization and/or the role you are applying for.
Important things to know as you are writing these documents include:
- Employers spend 15-60 seconds the first time they read your resume and cover letter, so focus on highlights
- Recruiters know immediately whether a resume or letter is generic or tailored to their company/role, so take the time to customize them
- Ensure you proofread your documents for grammatical and spelling errors, because these are samples of your work
- There is no standard way of writing resume or cover letter, but aim for easy readability
What is a CV?
In North America, a CV refers to lengthy document intended for academic work search. It is like a resume, with a very academic focus. Occasionally an undergraduate student may need a CV for a graduate/professional school application. See our Further Education section!
Cover Letter Components
This is a business letter even though it's personal. See our application samples. A typical outline is:
Standard Letter Heading
- Your letter should start with your contact information as it is set up in your resume – you can copy/paste
- Address your letter to a specific person, i.e., “Dear Mr. /Ms. [surname],” not “To Whom It May Concern.” If no name is available then use “RE: [Position Title]”
- State the name of the position to which you are applying and where you saw the position advertised or how you heard about it. If you are not applying for an advertised position, state the type of work you are seeking
Describe your qualifications with evidence (1-2 paragraphs)
- Provide examples of how your skills and experiences relate to the position. Support your statements with examples from work, school, volunteer, or extracurricular experiences. Focus on the contributions you can make to the organization; elaborate on your courses, field work, research, and specific knowledge that relates to the position
Demonstrate your interest (1 paragraph)
- Explain why you are interested in the position and the organization
- Thank the employer for his/her consideration of your application. Invite a conversation.
References do not belong on a resume unless a job advertisement specifically asks for it. You don't want the people who are your references to get a million phone calls!
Alongside reviewing your resume and cover letter, a majority of hiring managers will also conduct an online search of you, including your social media accounts and your LinkedIn profile. What is the impression that employers would have of you if they were to do this search now? Make sure it’s one that’s both coherent and professional. Review your online presence now by reading “How to Google yourself (in the right way)” at https://thedigitalchain.com/google-yourself/
Not sure how to create a personal brand? An easy way to go about it is to brand yourself as though you already have the job you’re seeking. What skills, accomplishments, interests, and extracurricular activities would you be showcasing? What would you be posting on your social media accounts? And conversely, what would you not be posting? This TEDx Talk will help you design “a purposeful personal brand from zero to infinity.” And this practical video will teach you how to build your brand on LinkedIn.
Your online reputation is just as important as your resume. Most of us have an online presence these days! Ensure yours is intentionally professional by Branding Yourself Online [PDF]. See our sample LinkedIn profile to get yours started!
Book an appointment with one of our peer coaches or career advising staff who can help you improve your resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profile.