Career Corner - Writing an effective resume

Most job seekers appreciate that one of the most important tools required in the job search is the resume and covering letter. First impressions are lasting ones, so your resume needs to stand out favourably.

Much like writing an advertisement to sell something on eBay, your resume needs to be written effectively to promote your product (YOU) to prospective employers. Highlight your skills, education and abilities as they relate to each job you are applying for even if it means more work for you in the long run by having to review and rewrite your resume each time.

We've learned over the years that you can't please everyone all of the time, and this can be especially true with regards to writing a resume. What constitutes a good resume is often subjective, based on the reader's experience with reviewing resumes and personal preference. And, while your resume won't get you a job, it should get you that all-important interview.

Here are some general tips for writing your resume:

1. Ensure that your resume is well organized, easy to read, factual, honest and positive.

2. Keep your resume to two pages. Any longer and it becomes work to read it. A one-page resume may not provide enough detail to arouse interest.

3. It should be to-the-point (you do not have to use complete sentences). Use descriptive verbs to describe your achievements, skills, responsibilities and activities.

4. Proof read and spell check your resume. It should be error free!

Getting Started

Start by creating a list of information about you. Many of the following headings will be appropriate.

Name: If you call yourself Tim Scott, great. If you are Timothy Scott, use that. Above all, just be consistent.

Address & Telephone: Make sure all the information about your postal address is correct — don't forget your postal code. Include all of your phone numbers (land and cellular) as well as the correct area code.

Email Address: Here's where you may need to reconsider that cutesy email address like bigdaddy@ hotmail.com or sexychick21@ gmail.com. You may get noticed by employers, but for all the wrong reasons. Be professional and create an email address that has some elements of your name in it.

Education: Start with your most recent education and work backwards. List college/university then high school, the Diplomas or Degrees granted (or year expected), with the cities, provinces, years attended and years of graduation. List any awards you may have received. It may also be useful to an employer if you mention relevant courses that you have completed.

Skills or Qualifications: Summarize the job-specific skills you have to demonstrate to the employer. Include the job-specific skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Transferable skills are subjective, so if you include them, mention where and how you developed them.

Experience: Again, start with your most recent work experience and work backwards. Include employer/company name, with the city, province, the years and months, your job title, a brief description of your duties and responsibilities, and mention any special projects or initiatives that you completed which are relevant to your career.

Volunteer Work or Community Service: List the names of organizations you volunteered with and include the years, and the position you may have held, and a brief description of your responsibilities.

Hobbies and Interests: Mention your spare-time activities. Don't just say you like to read... most all of us can read, so that isn't all that interesting. However, the authors or the genres may be of interest. The same goes for listening to music; again, most all of us do this too, but if you write, compose or perform, that is of definite interest and demonstrates an actual skill or personality trait.

References: The assumption is that an employer will ask you for references if they are interested in you and are considering a job offer. Few employers check references prior to an interview, so you aren't obliged to include references or a line on your resume stating “References available upon request.” Instead, have a separate page with your complete contact information, list only appropriate references and make sure you contact each of them for permission before you list them. Confirm with them the proper spelling of their name, title or position, company, address and telephone number. Following any interview, make sure to call your references to advise that they may be contacted by the employer. And don't forget to share the good news with them... that being you got the job!

Need assistance with your job search or writing a resume and covering letter? Drop by the Career Services office in D1063. The Career Services staff are available to assist you on an individual basis. Visit the office in D1063 to arrange an appointment with the consultant responsible for your program or call 519-452- 4294. To access job listings for Fanshawe students and graduates, visit www.fanshaweonline.ca or www.fanshawec.ca/careerservices. Follow us on Facebook facebook.com/FanshaweCS, Twitter @FanshaweCS and Pinterest pinterest.com/FanshaweCS.