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How to Make a Resume

A resume is a written summary of your work, volunteer and educational experience. The purpose of a resume is to show your future employers the skills and experience you can bring to a job.  

Resume Building Steps

Make sure you have the information you will need to make it including:

    • Your contact information. If you don’t have a phone number, consider asking a friend if you can put their number, or ask an organization you visit.  
    • Create a mini-profile, sometimes called a highlight of qualifications. This is the first section the future employer will look at, so include information that you want your future employer to know about you right away. This could be skills, training or strengths that you would use in the job you are applying for 
    • Gather your work and volunteer experience. This includes your current and previous job titles, the name of your workplace, and the start and end month and year.  
    • Gather your educational and training information. This includes the names of your former schools, the programs you took, and when you graduated. 
  • Start making your resume

    • Start on a blank Word document or choose a resume template
    • If you use a blank Word document, start with section titles because this will give you a visual of what is needed. It’s easiest to start with the last sections of the resume and work your way up to the profile section.
    • Sections for your Word document resume in the order they should appear on your resume:
      • Contact information which includes name, address, phone number, and email address.
      • A profile that highlights your experience and characteristics, such as fast learner, having years of experience doing the same type of work, or awards you received.
      • Demonstrated skills highlight the practical skills you have such as can lift 50 lbs, organizing skills, and customer service skills. 
      • Work and volunteer experience can be in 1 section or 2. This will depend on how much experience you have in each. If you have 3 or more activities in work and volunteer experience, separate them into 2 different sections. 
      • Education and Training is where you show what your highest level of education, any training related to the job you are applying for, and your completion dates.

Review your resume, save your document as a PDF, and email it to yourself. 

Tips for making a resume  

    • Employers will look at your resume quickly, so get to the point and make it easy to understand.
    • Tailor your resume for the job you are applying for. Include skills that will help you be successful in the job you are applying for.
    • A 1-page resume is best for entry-level jobs and when you are at the beginning of your career.
    • Check your resume for grammar and spelling mistakes.
    • Make sure the formatting is the same throughout your resume (eg. same text size and font type, spacing between lines and sections is the same).
    • Ask someone to review your resume. 
    • Use an email address that is easy to read, professional, and non-offensive. For example, firstname.lastname@gmail.com. 
    • To make your resume easier to read, limit the number of bullet points in each resume section or sub-section to 5-8. This will make it easier for the employer to identify your potential.  
    • Highlight your achievements by providing specific examples. 

Resumes Do's and Don'ts

Resume Do’s

Tailor your resume to suit the position you are applying for 

Include work experience or achievements that are related to the job you are applying for. Tip: familiarize yourself with the job posting to gain an understanding of the types of skills and experience that would help make you successful in the job role and include your related expereince.  

Highlight what you have accomplished 

Use the best examples of where you demonstrated your skills. In these examples, highlight what you accomplished in your role and demonstrate what kind of employee you are.  

Be honest 

Do not lie on your resume. You have lots of skills and attributes that an employer will value, and they will help you be successful in a job. Also, lying on your resume can backfire. Avoid overstating your skills or results, which will mislead the employer. Try and be confident in what you have to offer.  

Quantify your achievements 

When possible, use numbers that the employer may be impressed by. For example, how many people you supervised, how many products you sold, etc.  

Use simple words and action verbs 

Your resume may be read by a recruiter or Human Resource specialist who is not familiar with your field or the language used in your field. Use simple and plain language, with persuasive verbs such as handled, managed, led, developed, increased, accomplished, etc.  

Include unpaid work that shows off your skills 

Include volunteer work in your resume, especially if it was with a well-known organization, for an important cause or related to the job you are applying for.  

Double check and include your contact information 

Make sure that your contact information is current and correct, including your name, phone number and email address. This way the employer will be able to reach you for an interview.  

Resume Writing Don’ts 

Don’t use an inappropriate email address 

Use an email address that is easy to read, easy to type, professional and non offensive. An email address that is based off of your name is good. For example, firstname.lastname@gmail.com. Avoid any nicknames, slang, numbers or special characters.  

Don’t include unnecessary personal information 

Do not include any personal details such as age, weight, height, marital status, religion, political views, or any other personal attributes that may be controversial. This will prevent potential bias against you by the employer/recruiter. Most importantly- do not include your Social Insurance Number on your resume. This number should only be given/used after you get the job, and you are filling out your employment forms, such as your tax forms.  

Don’t include a picture of yourself 

Including a photo of yourself can lower your chances of obtaining a position and take attention away from your resume. You want the employer/recruiter to focus on your skills and experience, not on what you look like.  

Don’t use too many bullet points 

To increase readability of your resume, limit the number of bullet points in each resume section or sub-section to 5-8. This will make it easier for the employer to identify your potential.  

Don’t use personal pronouns 

Do not use “I”, “my”, or “me.” Instead, use statements like: accurately handled cash, debit and credit transactions in a busy retail environment.  

Don’t simply list job responsibilities 

Highlight your achievements by putting a personal spin on your job duties and providing specific examples.  

Don’t make general statements 

Personalize your experience and avoid unclear statements that don’t highlight your contribution. Statements such as “Responsible for improving efficiencies and making cost savings” does not provide information about what you actually did.  

Don’t include reasons for leaving previous jobs 

The main purpose of your resume is to promote you, your skills, experience and achievements. It should be entirely positive, and therefore should not include reasons for leaving, as they do not add value to you as a candidate.  

Don’t include references 

An employer/recruiter does not need your references unless they are seriously considering hiring you, which usually happens after an interview. Have a separate sheet for your references and provide them to the employer/recruiter only when they are requested.  

Don’t include hobbies or interests 

In general, avoid including hobbies on your resume unless they relate to the position you are applying for. In this case, including them can help demonstrate why you are a good fit for the position.  

Cover Letters

 

How to Make a Cover Letter

A cover letter is something you write to introduce yourself and tell the employer why they should hire you/why you are a good fit for the job. A cover letter will increase your chance of getting an interview. There is a standard format for a cover letter, and it should not be longer than 1 page. A cover letter includes:

    1. Your contact information (matching your resume).
    2. The date.
    3. The name of the hiring manager (or simply put “Hiring Manager” if you cannot find a name), the name of the company, and the company’s address.
    4. A few sentences for an introduction. Include the position you are applying for and where you found the job posting.
    5. 1 or more paragraphs highlighting why you are a good fit for the job and company. Include things such as skills, experience, education, shared values, and feel free to let excitement or passion for the job shine through.
    6. A short closing paragraph.
    7. Your digital signature (can simply type your name) underneath a pleasant farewell (eg. Sincerely).

Interviews

Steps for a Successful Interview

  1. If you are one of the final candidates for the job based on your resume and cover letter, the employer/recruiter will contact you for an interview.
  2. If you accept the interview, you will be given a date, time, and location where your interview will be held.
  3. Practice for your interview. Practice answering interview questions- the more you practice interviewing, the better you will become. Remember to tailor your answers to the job you are applying for.
  4. To help tailor your interview answers to the job, research the company and be familiar with the job description of the position you are applying for. This is part of preparing for your interview.
  5. Choose what you are going to wear for your interview ahead of time. Dress better than you would for a normal day at work if you did get the job.
  6. On the day of your interview, it is best to arrive 10-15 minutes before your interview is set to begin.
  7. Introduce yourself to the interviewer when you meet them.
  8. During the interview, one way to decrease anxiety and nervousness is to remember that the interviewer is a person just like you and the interview is just a conversation between two people. Also, the interviewer chose you as one potential candidate – so that is something to feel good about! They are interested in your experience and what you have to say.
  9. At the end of the interview, thank them. For example “thank you for your time and the opportunity to interview to become a part of your team.”
  10. Send the interviewer a thank you email. 
  11. If you don’t receive an update after 5-8 business days, send a follow-up message.

Job Searching 

How to Find a Job

There are many ways to search for a job. You can find a job you want to apply for by:

    • Look for physical signs/billboards that are advertising hiring.
    • Go into stores and businesses that you might like to work at and ask if they are hiring. Remember to be friendly and professional, as this is your chance to make a good first impression.
    • Use a job searching website like Indeed or the Government of Canada’s job bank.
    • Do an internet search for “jobs near me” and look through the results. You can type something more specific if you have a particular job in mind. Ex. Retail jobs in Winnipeg.
    • Go to the website of companies that you might want to work for and search their job postings. They will usually have a “Careers” tab, or something similar. The Careers tab is often found at the bottom of the website.
    • Networking. This includes asking people whether they know of anyone who is hiring. This also includes going to job fairs and meeting employers.

Looking for help?

Chantelle Chernick

Chantelle Chernick

Employment Facilitator

Can Help With
Resume and cover letter writing, job searching/exploration and interview preparation (including mock interviews).

Favourite Quote: Use what talents you possess; ...

Read Bio
Chantelle Chernick

Chantelle Chernick

(she/her)

Employment Facilitator

Can Help With
Resume and cover letter writing, job searching/exploration and interview preparation (including mock interviews).

Favourite Quote: Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

Post-secondary diploma or degree: B.A. double honours, anthropology and psychology

3 fun facts about me: 

  • I was a Tuition Waiver student at the University of Manitoba
  • I have lived in Winnipeg my entire life.
  • My favourite colours are red and purple.