Tips and tricks that will keep your resumé on point and employers impressed with your expertise
A student’s job is to learn about their field of study and to develop their skills in order to work in their chosen profession post-graduation. Once we’ve graduated, the real challenge that most of us are not prepared for is how to land that perfect job by writing a proper resumé.
A resumé is a carefully written document that describes your qualifications from education, work experience, personal projects and interests.
Natalie Roper, an advisor for Student Learning and Professional Development at the Institute for Co-operative Education at Concordia University, knows the value of writing a proper resumé.
According to Roper, resumés are about demonstrating your accomplishments in a short form, by describing what you have done in terms of jobs and how you have impacted said companies.
Roper organizes many resumé and cover letter workshops and also has one-on-one sessions with co-op students to help them improve their chances of landing their dream job.
Writing a proper resumé takes time. There is no perfect formula but with every resumé, there are elements that must be included to make yourself more attractive to potential hiring managers.
The first element to consider, according to Roper, is that a resumé is usually a maximum of two pages long, Calibri font, size 10-11. Sometimes resumés are even limited to a single page if you are applying to a position in finance or consultation. This is why it is important to look at the job posting carefully and choose specific information and attributes that will make you stand out for each job posting.
Roper explained that resumés often go through a 20 to 30-second scan by employers, so they should be clear and easy to read.
After looking over a job posting, it is time to put together your resumé.
A summary profile, Roper said, is used to showcase a person’s talents and skills that would be directly related to the job they are applying for. Typically, this section is relevant for those with more years of experience, and it is usually written at the top of the page, she said.
Education is considered next. “Depending on your field of study, like engineers and actuaries, projects are a must to include,” Roper said. “They have to put projects prior to work experience, unless they have work experience directly related to the field.”
Finally, include your work experience, volunteer work, awards and achievements, and your personal interests.
“There are so many templates out there, but it is all about branding yourself,” Roper said. “At the bottom, many write that their interests are biking and writing, but instead write about what you are passionate about. What you like about reading will make it more descriptive. It can create a connection between you and a manager.”
There are a few key elements to keep in mind: check for typos, always email it as a PDF file, hyperlink your social media skills, your website and LinkedIn, bold a few keywords in your resumé, and finally, leave a bit of white space on the page so that it doesn’t look overly cluttered with text, said Roper.
“The last thing to keep in mind when writing a resumé is to keep a master version which includes a list of all your projects and work,” said Roper. “You never know when you might need to pull it up for your future job.”