What is a Resume?
A resume is a summary of all your skills, education, achievements, and experiences that allow the employer to get a brief look into who you are and what you can offer to their company.
A resume usually includes about 5 sections:
1. Contact information
This includes your name, city where you live, telephone number(s), email address, and any other professional information about yourself (e.g., a professional website address or LinkedIn profile).
This section isn’t always necessary, but if you would like, you may want to include a brief section at the top of your resume discussing your career goals. This may not be standard for every field, so you should research if this should be included in your resume. If you choose to include an objective, make sure it is a close match to the job you are applying for.
Education includes any high school and post-secondary institutions you attended as well as the years you attended, the degrees/certificates you earned, courses you took, and any honours or scholarships you received. As is the case with the experiences you include, list them in reverse chronological order; the most recent ones going at the top.
4. Work experience
For each job you have held, include your position, the name and location of the employer, and the dates you were employed. In bullet point form, list any major duties and responsibilities you held in this position, as well as any significant impacts made in the company (i.e., creating a new computer program to boost overall sales). Just like education, work experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order, starting with most recent experience. You may also choose to lump volunteer and internships under this heading, or create difference experience headings for each one.
When writing about past experiences (either paid or unpaid), one effective strategy to write about them is using the C.A.R. technique. This allows the employer to see the duties and responsibilities you performed and how they made a positive impact.
When writing about duties and responsibilities you completed on the job, remember to use strong adverbs to describe the verb (i.e., the duties you performed) to make you resume stand out. For example: efficiently organized items, effectively collaborated with others, or clearly communicated with others.
Here is a site with some great verbs and adverbs you can use for your resume:
5. Skills and achievements
This section is where you list any skills and achievements you have that are related to the position you are applying for. For example: computer skills, CPR certification, multiple languages spoken, etc.; any skills that show that you are qualified for this position.
Note: When writing a resume, do not use a header to type in your name and contact information. Companies often use resume screening software to scan the resumes of applicants, and using a header can jam the algorithm and cause your resume to not even be readable to the employer. Here is a previous workshop from us at Employment Solutions with some great information on ATS resume tracking software and tips for how to apply to jobs online: ATS Resume Workshop.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to write a resume, check out our Writing Effective Resumes and Cover Letters Workshop!