Chapter 2: Revitalize Your Job Search Documents
- Customize your resume to match the job requirements.
Clearly indicate and provide details of relevant experience, qualifications, and education credentials. The employer needs to be able to find the essential information in a short period of time, as often in the first step of the selection process resumes are read or scanned in only 30-60 seconds. Use keywords from the job posting and the occupation specific language/terminology.
- Create a strong first impression.
Keep the format simple and professional. Use 11- or 12-point font size and web-friendly fonts. Avoid using graphics, multiple styles of bullets and fonts, tables, and columns. Use sub headings and a space between sections to ensure that your resume is clear and easy to read. Ensure that your formatting is consistent throughout. For example, bullets and dates should be aligned in all sections, and dates should be presented consistently as full month or abbreviated month. Showcase your skills on a two-page resume: this is the expectation once you are a post-secondary student, graduate, or experienced worker, but can vary depending on individual circumstance and industry preferences.
- Keep it error free!
Demonstrate your attention to detail by being free of grammar and spelling errors. Proofread your resume; do not rely solely on spellcheck. Have a second person proofread your resume; a second set of eyes may see what you have missed. Bring your resume or cover letter to a drop-in session at the Employment Support Centre.
- Emphasize your education.
Review program and course learning outcomes; describe practical projects, labs, assignments, work placements, and co-op experiences that you have completed during your studies. Include your GPA if it is notable: e.g. above 3.0 / 4.0.
- Include transferrable or “soft skills.”
Describe your interpersonal, communication, organizational, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork skills and/or other soft skills that you gained from part-time jobs, volunteer, or extra-curricular activities. Make an effort to identify the soft skills that are mentioned in the job posting you are applying to.
- Be action-oriented and highlight accomplishments.
Add value, provide tangible evidence, and increase credibility by including numbers, statistics, percentages, or figures and by using strong accomplishment statements and action verbs when describing your experiences. Accomplishments can include awards and formal recognitions, but also any contributions you made that had a positive impact on your workplace.
- Focus on compatibility.
Submit your application in the file format that is suggested on the posting, however, if not otherwise specified, submit in Microsoft Word. Avoid using unique fonts and bullets that may not be compatible across different word processing software. Be cautious when using resume templates, tables, or columns, as Applicant Tracking Systems may not be able to read them properly.
- Add relevant links.
Be sure to include website addresses to your online portfolio, a completed professional LinkedIn profile, or other relevant links that demonstrate your work, if applicable.
SERVICE SHOUT OUT!
Visit the Employment Support Centre for a resume review.