What is a Resume?

A resume is an explanation of your professional career and skills.

 

Drafted on one or two pages, it is a summation of your experience and an itemized list of your skills and qualifications as they pertain to the job you’re applying to. It doesn’t necessarily provide a complete picture, but it’s enough to pique the interest of a prospective employer to secure an interview.

The Difference between a CV or a Resume

Often people will use CV and resume interchangeably, however they are not the same.

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a resume are similar in use, though there is one primary difference. The CV is an accounting of everything you have accomplished, learned, and honed, while a resume is designed to be concise and selective with the information it entails. The CV could be several pages, while the resume is at most two pages, though often you want to keep it to one page only.

The importance of the resume structure
There are seven elements in a resume:

· Contact information
· Summary
· Skills
· Work Experience
· Education
· Volunteer
· Accolades

Typically, your resume will be laid out in reverse-chronological order.

This would apply to your experience and your education. The most recent positions and educational achievements first and then progressing backwards in time.

There are two primary concepts you need to think about however that may affect this alignment. The first is how technical or functional the job posting and the second is how much work experience you have in general.

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Functionality

When it comes to a functional position, you need a functional resume. You may want to forego the standard chronological format for one that displays your most important positions and skills first.

Your competencies

When it comes to the level of your skills and experience, you may want to adjust which element is given more importance than others. For instance, if your education is stronger than your experience, which happens for new graduates, you may want to put your education first. The same holds true for your skills, experience, both work and volunteer, and your education. You can adjust the order as you find necessary, but remember that experience is normally the thing a hiring officer is looking for.When it comes to the level of your skills and experience, you may want to adjust which element is given more importance than others. For instance, if your education is stronger than your experience, which happens for new graduates, you may want to put your education first. The same holds true for your skills, experience, both work and volunteer, and your education. You can adjust the order as you find necessary, but remember that experience is normally the thing a hiring officer is looking for.

Contact Information:

Your contact information should be at the top of your resume. You don’t want to force a hiring officer to search for it, they already have a lot on their plate.

Pro Tip: If you have a lot to put on your resume, you can use the header for your contact info.

Your contact info needs to include:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Email address

When using your email address, remember to use one that is professional in nature.
A simple rule is to use firstname.lastname@provider.com. Any free email provider will work.

Summary of qualifications:

The summary is your elevator pitch. Think of it as a movie trailer. You have only a few sentences to keep the reader’s interest. You want to show off your most important skills or experience that relates to the specific job you are applying for. This section will often change depending on the job you are applying to as the requirements may be different. Additionally, you want to make this section easier to read. While you don’t want it too colourful, this section is about showing how you are the best candidate.

You may also want to add a short blurb about what you are hoping to achieve with the position as it will show the hiring officer your drive.

Skills

When it comes to your skills, you will want to pay close attention to keywords. Employers will often place your resume into a computer program and look for keywords that apply to the position they are hiring for. These digital gatekeepers reduce the workload and make the hiring process far easier.

When it comes to your skills, you will want to pay close attention to keywords. Employers will often place your resume into a computer program and look for keywords that apply to the position they are hiring for. These digital gatekeepers reduce the workload and make the hiring process far easier.

Work experience

New graduates may not have direct work experience and as a consequence reduce the importance of this section in favour of education. In fact, though keywords may get you passed the first round of applicants, it’s your experience and how well it correlates to the job posting that will keep a hiring officer reading.

Each position will need the following information:

  • Position title
  • Company
  • Location
  • Duration
  • Accomplishments

Pro Tip: Make your position title simple and understandable so the hiring officer can make assumptions about the position.

Many people tend to resort to responsibility-based structure for experience, but more often employers are looking to see how you stood out. Instead of laying out what you did day in and day out, try to find up to three things that you accomplished that sets you apart. Quantifiable numbers are a great way to show how you achieved accelerated results. They also show your passion and excitement for a position.

Example: Achieved a 600% increase in retention rate for clients.

Education

This section is simple. You want to highlight the degrees or credentials you have completed. The information should include:

  • School

  • Diploma or degree completed

  • Duration

  • Signification whether you achieved honours

  • GPA if it’s worth talking about

    If the position is technical, you may want to include supplementary diplomas or accreditations.

Pro Tip: Unless you are short on experience, your education section should be short and simple. No one wants to know where you went to elementary school.

Volunteer

While this section doesn’t carry as much weight, if you have enough space, it can add more depth and establish a connection between you and the corporate mission.

A hiring officer may see it as a sign of achieving more than just the day-to-day operations of a position.

Pro Tip: As an extra, only highlight what needs to be shown. You don’t need a full breakdown of the position unless you lack paid experience.

Accolades

You will sometimes have accomplishments that don’t fit into the standard sections. This may include awards you have won, or publications that your written work has appeared in. Make sure the information is relevant and doesn’t make you sound like a braggart.

References Available

If you have room to add this then do so, however most hiring officers will assume you have references anyway.

Pro Tip: If you want to sneak this in, you can use a smaller font and add it to the footer of the document.

Conclusion

There is a lot that goes into a resume and you want it to be perfect every time. Don’t be afraid to have someone look it over before you submit it. You may be surprised what spelling mistakes they may find.

To make your job easier, you can create a swipe file that’s filled with standard information that you can change each time you create a resume. Save the new file each time so you don’t make a mistake like sending a resume to the wrong company.

Belleville Office

Unit 8, 161 Bridge Street W. 
Belleville, ON K8P 1K2

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357

Marmora Office

10 Forsyth Street
Marmora, ON

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357