20 Quick Resume Tips: A Checklist

  1. Before you apply, research the workplace you are requesting to join:
    1. Who are the main players there (search them out on social media but do not contact them that way)?
    2. What do they produce? Who are their clients?
    3. What does the future look like for them?
    4. Drop by their location/ offices/ shop/ factory and get an idea what goes on there.
    5. What do their website and social media reveal?
    6. Can you visualize working there (why/why not)? (take notes!)
  2.  Most importantly, do you have anything to offer them now or in the future? Brainstorm on ways you think they can increase their success, and keep these in your pocket for an interview situation, taking notes.
  3. Keep your resume down to 1 or 2 pages (never more than  2)
  4. Keep your font legible: use the fonts Calibri or Arial; avoid italicization but do use bold and underline
  5. Keep your work experience list within the last 10 years
  6. Choose the best resume format for the job – if you have performed similar tasks among most of your job history and are applying for a similar job, use the Functional style: i.e. list all your acquired skills in a list near the top of page 1 , then keep your employment history simpler by providing (in order of most recent to least recent) your job title(s), the company you worked for (and location), dates you worked from-to (month/year) in chronological order starting with the most recent on top, usually.
  7. Make absolutely sure there are no typos or grammar errors (have your resume and cover letter proofed by 2 different trustworthy people + yourself)
  8. Then- target the job you’re applying for: always refer to the items listed in the job ad or posting, while using similar or even exact wording — especially if you are applying via ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to create a skills-match between you and the job you are seeking to fill.
  9. If you are currently working, explain why you are applying for this job in your cover letter.
  10. Include enough information at the top of page 1 that displays the type of work and duties you can do! Show your accomplishments – whether in education, on the job, volunteering and recreational is this can create a positive impact! Keep it relevant to the overall ‘picture’ of yourself that you are presenting.
  11. Make sure you have no recent employment gaps (or explain gaps in your cover letter).
  12. If you are an out-of-town applicant, include a local address if possible, and address your relocation hopes/plans in your cover letter.
  13. Colour or shading, use of a bold font, blank space on the page, and endorsements are all important. Even video (in addition to a cover letter and resume) can be a nice touch, as can a professional head shot, and link to a portfolio website (again, if it is standard in your industry).
  14. Make sure your social media is up to inspection (73% of employers always check candidates’ social media) – remove questionable material from the web that is linked you your name.
  15. Make sure your email address is professional-looking (i.e. radicalboozehound@whatever.com is not appropriate).
  16. Show personality but also include keywords from the posting; the style of the resume should reflect how you would approach your work and must also reflect the type of work you hope to accomplish with the employer (so, if you hope to be a designer at a company, your resume will look very different from a truck driver’s resume).
  17. Include volunteer activities, interests and hobbies; these become great talking points during an interview and can make you interesting enough to merit an interview at all.
  18. Produce a PDF file (Adobe Acrobat) for your resume when you send it via email or via website uploads. PDFs are readable on all devices, and they maintain the original formatting/font/layout of your original file.
  19. Once you have a great resume, also include a signed cover letter to personalize it further- this is where you specifically mention the job title/code for which you are applying, and where your personality really comes through and allows you to link your interests, skills, plans for the future, education and work history to the position for which you are applying.
  20. Use a formal style for your cover letter, researching the name of the person who will be reviewing your resume (if possible), dating the letter, signing it at bottom and expressing how they should best contact you for an interview or informational session.

Of course, a Career Counsellor would be very happy to review your resume and job plan with you if you are eligible. Give us a call at 604.485.7958 or drop by Career Link Monday-Friday 8:30AM-4:30PM at #103, 4511 Marine Avenue, Powell River, BC.

Alternately, Career Link offers a FREE Resume Workshop every Thursday from 12:30pm-3:30pm. Registration is required; please click here or give us a call.


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