Do you remember your first resume? I certainly do. I was fifteen years old – applying for my first summer job at the company my father worked for. I didn’t have access to a computer and printer at the time, so I typed up my resume on my mom’s typewriter. I actually used stationary paper with a flower motif along the border. I never took a word processing course at school, so needless to say, my typing skills were pathetic. In the end, my resume was riddled with globs of white out and quite illegible in spots. But, I had a resume and was on the way to financial freedom!
I’ve learned a great deal about resume writing since then. In fact, I’m still learning. My resume is a work in progress – constantly evolving and being updated. It’s a good idea to revamp your resume every three or fourth months. That way, you’re always ready to submit your resume should your ideal job be posted. It’s never fun going into panic mode and struggling to submit your resume at 11:59 pm – one minute prior to the deadline!
Below, is a short list of some of my recommendations for resume writing – the do’s and don’ts from a currently unemployed, stay-at-home mom.
- Resist the urge to use fancy stationary paper with a flower border. It’s best to stick with plain white, non glossy, paper.
- In your personal information section, include a professional sounding email address that you check regularly. For example, don’t use an email address with a cute nickname such as email@example.com!
- Consider including a profile section to highlight your qualifications. Try and sell yourself to potential employers using five to six bullets.
- List education achievement beginning with the most recent. Include the date, degree/diploma, institution and location. You may also wish to include courses you have taken, even if you haven’t yet completed your degree/diploma. Consider including special awards, scholarships and bursaries.
- If you’re an educator, don’t forget to include your additional qualification courses with the date, course title, and name of institution.
- When documenting your work experience, use bullets to list your most important responsibilities and accomplishments.
- Regarding references – leave them out unless you’re called in for an interview. At the bottom of your resume, add the following: References and portfolio available upon request.
- Avoid errors. Double check, no, triple check your resume. Email your resume to friends and family members and have them check your resume for spelling, grammar, and format errors.
Although there is no one way to write a resume, always make sure your resume is easy to read, well structured, and cleanly presented. Consider taking your resume to an expert for advice. Contact MCACES and arrange for Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist, to go over your resume with you. She can offer suggestions and guidance and even help with practicing your interviewing skills!
Renee Morley is a Continuing Education Student currently studying within the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACES offers a comprehensive Employment Advisement program for our students. For more information about Employment Advisement, please visit the MCACES website, www.mcaces.ca or contact Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist at Lidia.firstname.lastname@example.org.