Common Questions About Resumés

What is a resume?

  • A resume is a marketing tool - an outline of your experience and abilities. It is used to apply for jobs and to present yourself to possible employers.

  • The information in a resume is only part of the story. How your resume looks is also an important part of the impression you will make on an employer.

  • Employers use resumes to evaluate job applicants. Employers receive many resumes and are usually in a hurry. They won't waste time on resumes that are hard to read, sloppy or incomplete.

Why do I need a resume?

  • Having an up-to-date resume shows employers you are serious about finding a job and ready to work.
  • A resume can help you complete applications for employment.

Do all jobs require a resume?

  • Resumes are not always asked for by employers. However, providing a resume makes a good impression on employers. It also gives them something to refer to if they want to contact you later.

How long should a resume be?

  • Resumes are generally 1 or 2 pages long.

  • The key to resume length is how well the information fits the jobs you are applying for. Does all information relate to the positions? Have you added enough facts to let the employer know your skills and experience?

  • It is better to add an additional page to your resume than have the information look crowded. A resume should be nice to look at and easy to read.

What should I include?

  • Who you are and how you can be contacted (name, address and telephone numbers).Your job objective (optional).

  • Work history (include part-time, casual and summer jobs or volunteer work if applicable).

  • Education history (include special courses, updated skills and/or workshops).

  • Other areas to consider: special skills, languages, written works/publications, special honours or awards, memberships, personal interests, hobbies and/or volunteer pursuits.

What should I not include?

  • Personal details about marital status, age, Social Insurance Number, ethnic background, religious or political affiliation unless it is important to the job (i.e.: applying for a job at a church where you are a member).

  • A record of how much you were paid at previous jobs.

  • A photograph of yourself (exceptions would be modeling or acting).

  • Long lists (i.e.: awards, sports played or activities pursued). Select only the most significant and recent honours/activities to include in your resume.

  • Cute or "gimmicky" appearances (i.e.: hot pink paper, cartoons or happy faces).

  • An unusual format. Follow one of the common formats. Make your resume "stand out" because of its content, attention to details and good appearance. Keep differences in paper colour, print type or format subtle.


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