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Resume Writing Tips

Resume Writing

What are employers looking for?

A resume is an important personal document that reflects your identity throughout your life. It is a summary of your experience, education, credentials and accomplishments used to apply for a job.

Your resume needs to show enough information to indicate that you can make an immediate and valuable contribution to the organization.

Did you know most employers spend 20 seconds or less screening your resume when they first receive it? In other words, you have only a few seconds to impress the employer.

Resume Types:

Which style of resume is best for you?

  • Functional: Use this format if you have lengthy gaps in your working history. The strength of this style is that it is brief, well-structured and highlights you skills. However, some employers are unfamiliar with this format and they are suspicious of any work history that does not include dates or places of employment.
  • Chronological: Employers are more familiar with this format. It is a simple list of jobs and education in reverse chronological order.
  • Combination: This is one of the best types of resume, as it presents a complete picture of you. The strength of this format lies in the emphasis placed on transferable skills and your upward mobility.
  • Targeted: This resume is customized specifically to highlight the experience and skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for. It definitely takes more work to write, but worth it in the end, always target your resume for best results.
  • Digital: This is a resume created in a digital format such as: pptx’, avi’, jpg, png, gif, pdf, mp3, mov, etc.

Some people make videos of themselves and post it as their resumes on YouTube. Others create ambitious fully feature website where they post their work and include design animations. When it comes to creating a digital resume the only real limits are your imagination and skill set. LinkedIn probably is the easiest way to get your resume online.

Choose the most appropriate type depending on your personal circumstances.

What’s in a Resume?

1. Name and Contact Information: Include your full name, address, postal code, telephone number and professional-looking e-mail.

2. Career objective: write either a brief description of your skills and abilities as they relate to the position you are applying for, or simply the job title you are applying for and competition number if it is applicable.

3. Summary of Qualifications: This is a concise overview of your qualifications as they are related to your job objective. Visit the “Qualifications” section of the job posting to determine what information to include in this section of your resume. Quantify as much as you can – numbers speak volumes. Use no more than 5-8 bullet points. Long lists of information invite readers to skim, not read and internalize what is seen on paper.

4. Relevant Skills: determine 3-4 skills based on job duties (listed in the job posting). Create a summary of all your related skills (not limited to one job or experience) by brainstorming. Then narrow down to the most relevant skills.


Organizational/administrative skills:

  • Planned and hosted special event on Campus for 50 students and staff
  • Strong computer proficiency in Microsoft Word, account payable, receivable software

5. Education

  • Include relevant courses, training or certifications, such as First aid, WHMIS, etc.
  • High school is optional
  • List in reverse chronological order, starting with your current degree (specify expected competition date if still enrolled)

6. Work History

  • Follow the same format as in the Education section

For each position state:

Organization name, city, country

Position Title

Period of employment

Focus on accomplishments, it is a results which is not duties. For an effective resume, list as many results as possible.


An administrative assistant wrote: “Greeted up to 26 clients per day promoting connection and smooth communication with each one”

7. Volunteer history


Volunteer title/Organization/dates

If you didn’t have a formal title for your volunteer work, give yourself one that best describes what you did.

8. Awards and recognitions: Include honours, scholarships, and recognitions

9. Hobbies and interest: List your hobbies, clubs, sports, etc., include your role in these activities, especially if relevant. For example, “club treasurer”.

General Tips:

  • Research your job target before writing your resume.
  • Make your name the biggest, boldest item on your resume.
  • 2 page resumes are preferred by most Alberta employers.
  • Well organized and easy to read.
  • Header on page 2 with your name and phone number.
  • Use bullets points, not paragraphs, which make your information easier for employers to scan for key words and phrases.
  • Pay attention to formatting and use consistently.
  • Be honest, not modest.
  • Look at your resume closely, and then have someone read it over for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Don’t include references within your resume unless the employer asks for it.

Book an appointment with Career Services and get more help with your resume. Email or call 780.378.8461.