Resume Preparation Tips
If you are seeking a new job, you cannot afford to be without a well-prepared resume. While
writing an effective resume can often be one of the most difficult aspects of job hunting,
following a few basic rules will make building and improving your resume less onerous.
The objective of a resume is to sell your skills to a prospective employer, or at least generate
enough interest to enable you to obtain an interview. Ask yourself "What are the main attributes
that I have to offer an employer?", then make sure that these are covered in your resume. Stick to
the facts and avoid over-embellishment, but don't be afraid to include all relevant factors that
indicate your capability to do the job.
Keep the resume concise; it should rarely exceed three letter-sized pages. Use clear, precise
language and ensure that all spelling is accurate and that there are no grammatical errors. It is a
wise idea to have someone with good language skills proofread the document before you make
copies. (Grammatical and typographical errors make a powerful negative impression!) Always
strive for a clear, uncluttered look. Your resume should generally contain information under the
List your full name, address and home telephone number. If it is appropriate for people to contact
you at your present employment, provide your business number and local, if applicable. Also
provide a fax number and/or e-mail address if available. (Under Canadian legislation, your date
of birth, marital status and number of dependents are considered privileged information, access
to which a prospective employer is not entitled. Therefore, we generally recommend they be
The objective gives focus to your resume. If you are seeking a challenging middle-management
position, an entry-level position, or a career change, then say so. Don't leave the employers to
guess what you are looking for. Be realistic. This isn't the time to talk about advancement
potential or your long term plan.
Overview / Skills Summary
It may be beneficial for you to highlight your skills early in your resume. Depending upon your
field, you could list the specific computer software, the styles of accounting systems in which
you have experience, size of budget controlled, supervisory experience, foreign languages, sales
awards received, etc.
List all formal post-secondary education, giving emphasis only to that which is relevant. If you
have attended a university, community college, etc., note the dates attended, degrees or diplomas
granted, and the major subjects taken. If you are currently enrolled in a program of studies,
indicate what level and/or mention the courses completed (or exempted) to date. If you hold a
professional designation, note the date of qualification or admission.
Other relevant courses include computer software, management training, sales and marketing,
etc. (Be careful when listing self-help or personal development courses, not all employers see
these as relevant.)
Employment History (Experience)
Although functional resumes (which list your lifetime of responsibilities jumbled into one
section) are in style with job clubs and trade schools, we urge you to avoid them. The vast
majority of employers consistently prefer the more specific chronological format.
List each of your full-time positions since graduating from high school or university in reverse
chronological order; that is, put the most recent first. For each position held, state the name of the
company, location, nature of business, your title, and the dates employed. List your duties and
responsibilities and note any significant achievements.
Account for any significant gaps between employment. If you took six months off to travel, say
so. Try and tie in any periods where you were engaged in full-time studies.
Use this section to convey any other facts which you would like a prospective employer to know,
such as "Willing to Travel" or "Willing to Relocate", etc.
Hobbies & Outside Interests
This section is optional, but can be useful since employers sometimes identify with people who
have similar interests. (Religious and political information fall under the same legislative
umbrella as personal information, so we recommend that you refrain from listing them on your
resume as well.)
Under this heading, simply state that business and personal "references will be supplied upon
request". This will avoid unnecessary inconvenience to your references by ensuring that they will
be contacted only with serious inquiries.