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Help, I Need To Write A Resume!

Feb 11, 2021

Work Integrated Learning Coordinator, Tetyana Khramova, explains the world of resume writing and what is needed when.

Have you ever thought any of the following when needing to write a resume:

I have nothing to say about myself.

How can I fit everything about myself in two pages?

What should I do with gaps in my career or schooling?

What exactly is a functional resume?”

If not those exact questions, you may have had others and experienced the dreaded disease of procrastination as a result. Read on and get the low down on resume writing.

General or Targeted Resumes?

How are you are planning to use your resume? This will determine whether you need a general or targeted document. For instance, if you are scattering your resume far and wide with a generic statement such as, “third year university student looking for an opportunity for a part-time or full-time summer job,” or you are attending a job fair where you will be meeting a variety of employers, you can use a general resume. However, if you have a specific job or sector in mind, then you need to write a targeted resume. A quick google search of “generic vs targeted resumes” will give you plenty of helpful links that flesh out the above. The most common advice is that wherever possible, you should write a targeted resume as it is more likely to bring you success.

 “Gone are the days when applicants tend to have the same generic-looking resume that overly states their past experiences.” [1]

 “Employers now prefer simpler resumes that speak about the specific qualities and competencies of applicants.” [2]

Still, when you do need a generic resume, how can you make it compelling? Check out the resource below for advice. [3]

Resume styles.

There are three basic types of resume.

  1. A chronological resume arranges information in time order, usually with the most recent information coming first. This is perfect if you have had a straightforward linear and progressive career with a single focus.
  2. A functional resume is organized around your skills and achievements with minimal attention given to where these were attained. This style works well when you have unaccounted for gaps in time and you want to draw attention away from those gaps.
  3. A combination resume draws on the other two styles and arranges information chronologically and by achievements. For many, a combination style works well, giving flexibility.

Should I use a template?

A template can be a helpful starting point and there are tons of them out there. However, collecting your thoughts on a blank sheet of paper first, and then finding a template that will suit your information is, in my opinion, more effective.

Here are some headings you could use.

  • Name and contact information.
  • Objective: a personalized statement indicating what type of work you are interested in and why. Avoid generic statements. Instead, consider what you are able to contribute to the organization and your motivation for applying.
  • Qualification highlights: 5 or 6 bulleted points serve as a quick reference for an employer. For a targeted resume, be sure to include all the specific skills you have for the position and any special qualifications or training. For a generic resume, you can include things such as your years of experience, education achievements/awards, general skills, languages spoken and international travel experience.
  • Education: start with your current education, listing it all in reverse chronological order. Include the name and location of your university/school, any achievements/academic accomplishments and club memberships.
  • Work and Volunteering Experience. Document your employment and volunteering history, again using reverse chronological order. Use bullet points and action words. This focuses the reader’s attention.
  • Job Training: Include any training /professional development which might be of interest to a potential employer.
  • Sports: Include your involvement and interest in recreational or organized sports as well as your level of competency or awards gained.
  • Interests: This is usually included if you have little work or volunteering experience. You could combine this with the sports section. List 2-3 hobbies or interests which you enjoy in your spare time, (sports, crafts, music, etc.)

You are now ready to start writing a draft of your resume!

Need help?

The Centre for Career and Calling has a series of workshops coming up.[4] You can book an appointment with Tetyana from the CCC to get you started, and she can advise you on what makes a great cover letter.[5]

[1] Resume Writing: Targeted vs. General Resumes

[2] The 5 Biggest Resume Debates Among Recruiters

[3] General Resume Examples 

[4] Center for Career and Calling - Upcoming Workshops

[5] Book an appointment with Tetyana from CCC

 

 

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