Writing a Resume

You may also want to see our Resume Handbook with sample cover letters and additional instructions.

Resource Connections


Resume Basics?

Your resume is your greatest marketing tool. A well-written resume enables you to present your qualifications to potential employers.  The purpose of the resume is to secure an interview and the interview is what will get you the job!

The following guidelines will help you develop an effective resume:

  • Keep it short - no more than 2 pages but don't undersell your skills and qualifications.  
  • Showcase what you can do by highlighting what you have done.
  • Write about accomplishments not responsibilities.
  • Don't repeat the same accomplishments under different positions.
  • Be accurate. Discrepancies will be discovered.
  • Make your resume visually attractive and easy to read - most employers will look at it for only 15-30 seconds.
  • Pay attention to the balance of white space and type.
  • If printing your resume, use a laser printer rather than photocopying it.

The Career Development Office is available to assist you. Make an appointment for a resume consultation, or drop in Wednesday afternoons for Walk in Wednesday.

What should I include in my resume?

You may also want to see our Resume Handbook with sample cover letters and additional instructions.

There are several basic components to a resume:

HINT: Develop each component individually. By creating your resume in stages, you can easily put together an effective document.

Personal data

Your resume title should include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail.  A professional sounding email is essential to be included on your resume.  A safe choice is using your mytwu.ca email account.

Don't include information about your marital status, age, race, etc. These could trigger a negative bias in the reader.

For Example:

Sarah Black

932 Maxwell Drive
Surrey, BC
V3S 8Y7
604.532.1124
sarah.black@mytwu.ca

Career Objective

Including a career objective helps you target a specific employment opportunity and increase the effectiveness of your resume.  This section needs to be crafted for every position you are applying for.

A career objective can include:

  • your career goal
  • your strengths
  • where you want to work
  • contributions you will make.
Examples:

A teaching position working with children ranging from seven to 10 years using an innovative approach to child development and learning.                

An executive secretary position that utilizes organizational skills, attention to detail to create an efficient and friendly environment.

Education

List your educational background in reverse chronological order beginning with your most recent achievement. Include the following information:

  • Period of attendance or graduation date
  • Degree or diploma attained
  • Program of study including your specialization
  • Name and location of educational institution
Examples:

20XX-present                                     

.

BACHELOR OF ARTS, April 2010                    
Trinity Western University. 
Langley, BC

Major:  History

GPA:  3.67

You may consider including:

  • Scholarships or academic awards
  • Related courses, workshops, etc.
  • GPA, if greater than 3.2

Work Experience

Work experience will be the main body of your resume. List your experience in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent position held.

Include:

  • Position title
  • Name and location of the employer
  • Major accomplishments to describe your contributions
Examples:

20XX-present

.

ASSISTANT ACCOUNTANT
Custodial Trust Company, Langley, BC

  • Analyzed financial statements, reconciled bank and general ledger accounts, and investment funds.
  • Collaborated on the design of a new billing system.
  • Billed clients, and accurately maintained their accounts.

Begin with an action verb and be specific (e.g. quantify and qualify whenever possible).

To make your resume stand out, use action phrases that hold the reader's attention.

Action Verbs

This list of action verbs will assist you as you write your accomplishment statements. These words can be applied to virtually any field or industry to demonstrate how your skills would be beneficial to an employer.

Action Phrases

To make your resume stand out, employ words that attract and hold the reader's attention. An interview-winning resume contains a balance of job content and accomplishments.

Dull

With impact

1. Raised level of sales previous year.
 

1. Reversed negative sales trend; 
    sales up 41 per cent over prior year.

2. Started new employee programs 
    that lowered turnover.

2. Created and implemented two new 
    employee relations programs. 
    (resulting in a 33 % reduction in turnover)

3. Handled books for elderly 
    pop group.
 

3. Managed bookings, travel and 
    accommodations for sexagenarian sextet.

4. Housewife of household with 
    six people for past 7 years.

4. Managed and organized six-member 
    household (annual budget of $65,000).


Professional Affiliations

List current memberships in organizations that are related to the industry in which you are seeking employment. This will give the impression that you are serious about developing your career.

References

Unless requested, don't include references in your resume. List your references on a separate sheet and provide them to the employer upon request.

Choose your three to six references from employment contacts, volunteer work or education. Personal references are usually seen as a less objective source of information. Use the same header for your reference list as you used on your resume.


What NOT to include in a resume

  • Photographs or illustrations unless they are required by your profession (e.g. actors' composites).
  • Reasons for leaving past jobs.
  • References. Indicate on your resume that references are available upon request.
  • Feelings about travel or relocation.
  • The heading "Resume."
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Marital status, health, age