Your resumé is a personal advertisement used to highlight your accomplishments, skills, and experience. An effective resumé will clearly and concisely highlight your key competencies that meet a particular employer’s needs.
The objective of your resumé should be to secure an interview that will hopefully lead to acquiring employment in your preferred field or industry. The quality and content of your resumé can ultimately determine whether or not you will have an opportunity to be interviewed.
Guidance from the Career Centre
There are various ways in which we can assist you with your resumé:
- You can register for a Rock Your Resumé Workshop or a Resumé 101 Clinic by visiting our Calendar of Events.
- You can participate in special activities such as Resumé Day, which includes pop-up resumé critiques with employers (see our Calendar of Events for details).
Types of Resumés
There are three commonly used layouts for resumés: chronological, functional or a combination of the two. Each highlights and targets an employer's needs in different ways.
This is the traditional and most commonly used layout. It highlights your career progress through your employment history and, in turn, showcases your skills. As its name implies, the set-up involves a reverse chronological listing of your employment history and is often preferred by recruiters and employers. The sections of a chronological resumé are often:
- Name and Contact Information
- Career Objective (optional)
- Relevant Skills and Knowledge (optional)
- Work Experience / Description of Transferable Skills [most recent job listed first]
- Extracurricular Activities (optional)
- Honours and Scholarships (optional)
- Interests (optional)
Example: Chronological Resumé [PDF]
The functional resumé is focused on the professional skills you have developed. There is no chronological ordering, and dates are sometimes even omitted. This layout often works best for students as well as individuals who are attempting to make a career change. In order for the layout to be successful, you must have a thorough understanding of your abilities. Skills are generally arranged under several categories which will vary depending on the individual, the industry, and types of positions held as well as level of expertise.
As the title suggests, a combination resumé is a hybrid of the chronological and the functional layouts. It provides flexibility by allowing you to focus on the strengths of the two layouts to best suit your needs. It allows you to group your key competencies or skills while still providing a chronological history of your various experiences.
Example: Combination Resumé [PDF]
Style and Content
Style, Length and Format
There are numerous ways to structure a resumé – preferences vary. However, if you are asked to use a specific format, then you should respect the request and do so. This does not mean that you cannot still add you own personal touch! Whatever outline you use, your goal is to send a clear and concise message about yourself. Remember, the purpose of a resumé is to get noticed, therefore, it is essential that the document be both professional and dynamic.
Business resumés should be limited to one to two pages in length. Most employers are open to a two page resumé however, in some cases and industries only a one-page resumé is accepted. Do your research! Your resumé should be aesthetically pleasing and easy to read.
- Always ensure that you use a professional font or typeface and conservative colours (Black type on white paper is often best). Being too creative and flashy will detract from your professionalism in most cases.
- Make it visually pleasing with bullets, capitalization, indentations, italics, and bold or underlined titles
- Ensure that your resumé is always typed and formatted properly with consistency. Capitalizations and indentations should be uniform throughout.
- Your resumé should be on good quality standard 8 ½ x 11-business size paper. Your cover letter and subsequent thank you or follow up letter should be on the same paper.
- Be sure that your resumé has no spelling or grammatical errors. Always carefully proofread your resumé and have someone you trust do the same. If you need any assistance or advice, do not hesitate to visit the Career Centre.
- Avoid being too wordy. Your sentences should not exceed more than two lines and your paragraphs no more than six lines.
The content of your resumé will need to be fine tuned depending on the type of position to which you are applying. Your resumé should target the employer’s needs. For the most part, your resumé should:
- Draw attention to your accomplishments and skills; highlight your ability to be a leader and be creative; exhibit your strength in terms of responsibility and professionalism.
- Demonstrate that you are flexible, a team player, and results-oriented; and proficient in time management and customer service.
- Quantify your actions when possible, by including numbers and percentages.
- Highly stress your interpersonal skills and your keen capacity to communicate with people.
The sequence in which you present the sections will vary depending on which layout you choose as well as on the importance that you attribute to each of them. In all layouts, your resumé should begin with your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. This information should be displayed clearly. Below is a breakdown of the resumé.
How can the employer reach you?
Objective / Focus
What do I want to do? Give specific information about some of the following: the field or industry of interest, the type of position you are seeking, the type of working environment you prefer. If the objective is too vague, the recruiting officer will not know what to do with your application. Provide an objective which is clear, concise, gives direction and is "fluff" free.
What type of formal training have I earned? You can also add additional sub-sections such as Major Projects and Key Courses.
- University Degree
- College Diploma
- High School Diploma
What have I done? Start with the most recent experience. Experience can include any of the following:
- Work experience
- Professional experience
What skills have I developed?
Volunteer Work / Extracurricular Activities
What have I done to help my community? How have I been involved in on-campus activities?
Additional Training & Qualifications
Do I have other training or special skills? You can include such elements as computer skills (whether they are self-taught or learned through courses), language skills, seminars, workshops, etc.
Interests and Activities
What do I like to do in my spare time?
Who can confirm my experience and comment on my performance? You can also opt to include the following phrase: "References available upon request" and provide the references at the interview stage instead.
Resumé examples by option/specialization
The below examples should only be used as general content guidelines to create your own resumé. Do not limit yourself to the exact style and format of your option/specialization, find what fits you best.
- Accounting [PDF]
- Finance [PDF]
- Human Resources [PDF]
- International Management [PDF]
- Management-Entrepreneurship [PDF]
- Marketing [PDF]
- MIS-E-Business [PDF]