Learning how to write a professional resume is a crucial skill. Taking the time to learn this skill can dramatically change the course of your job search.
The key to successful resume writing is to describe what you can accomplish professionally in a manner that also illustrates what you can do for an employer.
Your resume is the ultimate first impression and if it is too long, inappropriate, or contains errors, then it’s safe to say you have made a bad first impression.
Follow these resume writing tips for students from our Career Services team and give yourself the best chance of landing your ideal job!
Make Your Resume Stand Out
1. Remember the Basics
This can be summed up in four categories: Contact Details, Professional Experience, Skills, and Education.
- Contact Details: Your name, address, phone number, and email address.
- Professional Experience: All applicable work experience or volunteer work.
- Skills: Your skills should relate to the job in question. General skills include your proficiency with computer software (ie. Microsoft) and your teamwork capabilities.
- Education: You worked hard for that diploma, now show it off! Include the name of your educational institution and the title of your diploma.
Use these above subheadings to organize your resume.
2. Keep it Clear and Concise
An employer takes an average of seven seconds to skim a resume, so make sure you only include relevant information using clear and concise language. You want the employer to see right away you are qualified for the position. Use simple and plain language so the information is easily digestible. It’s also a good idea to use persuasive verbs such as handled, managed, developed, led, increased, accomplished, when relevant to the position and your experience.
3. Include a Summary Statement
In a sentence or two, highlight some of your biggest professional achievements and one or two of your top skills. To really stand out, your summary statement should be tailored to fit the company’s needs.
4. Highlight Your Accomplishments
Your resume should clearly highlight the best examples of where you utilized your skills and experience. It should speak to what you achieved in previous roles and should demonstrate what kind of employee you are. Include this information in the ‘Professional Experience’ section of the resume. If applicable to the role in question, include your volunteer work.
5. Tailor to Suit the Position
Tailor your resume for each new position you apply for by highlighting your qualifications and expertise that match the specific job requirements. A great way to further enhance this is by reviewing the job description carefully and incorporating some of the verbiage used.
6. Limit to Two Pages
Emphasize your most recent and applicable experience by placing it at the beginning of your resume, ensuring to keep your resume to two pages or less to avoid overwhelming the employer with unnecessary information.
7. Be Honest
Although it might be tempting to embellish the truth in order to make yourself look more suitable for the job, always avoid misrepresenting yourself on your resume. Overstating your skills will mislead the employer and if you land the job, it will soon be obvious that you were lying. Have confidence in what you have to offer!
Errors in punctuation and grammar tell the hiring manager you are not detail-oriented and have not taken enough care in the presentation of your resume. Ask a friend or family member to proofread your resume before you send it to an employer. Fresh eyes are always more likely to catch errors.
9. Alert Your References
Before you start your job search, let your references know that they may be getting calls or emails about you. This way they can prepare what they would like to say about you and will paint you in the best light.
Resume Mistakes to Avoid
1. Don’t Use an Inappropriate Email Address
Make sure your email is easy to read, professional, and non-offensive. Your email address should be based on your first and last name. Avoid using any nicknames, numbers, or special characters – they can make you appear unprofessional.
2. Don't Include Unnecessary Personal Details
It is best to leave out any personal or unnecessary details such as age, weight, height, marital status, religious preference, or political views. Most importantly, never include your Social Insurance Number in your resume.
3. Don't Use Personal Pronouns
Do not use personal pronouns such as ‘I,’ ‘my’ or ‘me’. Write your resume in the third person, as if it is being written by someone else.
4. Don't Just List Job Responsibilities
Instead, of just listing generic responsibilities, highlight your previous experience by putting a personal spin on your job duties and providing specific examples. Personalize your resume!
5. Don't Use Too Many Bullet Points
Make your resume easy to read by limiting each subsection to about five bullet points. This will make it easier for the employer to identify your potential. Each bullet point should only include information relevant to the job in question.
6. Don't Include Hobbies or Interests
Only include hobbies if they relate to the position you are applying for.
7. Don't Include References
An employer only requires references if they are seriously considering hiring you. Keep references on a separate sheet and provide them only when they are specifically requested.
Sundance College is Here to Help!
At Sundance, we are dedicated to supporting our students’ success, and that doesn’t end in the classroom. After all, we’re as excited as you are when you begin your new career!
To propel you toward that moment, our Career Services team provides a full range of supportive services to graduating students, such as resume preparation, interview skills, and job search techniques.
To learn more about how you can start your journey toward your new career, simply fill out this form: Request Info. Your personal Admissions Advisor will be in touch to answer all your questions.