Résumé writing tips
By Leah Ching
The numbers for October are in and Canada’s unemployment rate according to CBC fell 6.5% last month, with 43,000 new jobs created countrywide – showing the lowest rate since November of 2008. With employers hiring seasonally for the Christmas season and beginning to think about summer employment, now may be the ideal time for students to start thinking about perfecting their resume and cover letter.
Even with employment rates falling, many job sectors are riddled with competition and employers are often flooded with job applications. A résumé and cover letter are the first things employers see, and thus they are crucial components to making good first impressions and standing out from the rest of the pile.
First of all, there’s plenty of help online, so a little research might be in one’s best interest to find some ideas about creating a résumé that will have an impact. Custom designs can be downloaded, and they may be as cheap as 99¢– some are even free. These definitely make a resume stand out, especially for those looking for a creative job.
An incredibly important aspect of a résumé is the language one uses. It goes without saying that one will want to sounds professional, use a positive tone and proofread for spelling and grammar. Another key aspect of résumé-writing which is often overlooked is the importance of tailoring a résumé and cover letter to the specific job being applied for. When possible, compose specific cover letters addressed to the individuals who will be reading them. The goal is always to describe why you will be an asset to that particular workplace.
Additionally, the words one uses to describe him/herself will have a huge impact. If looking to stand out, one may want to shy away from cliché terms like “team-player” or “easy to get along with.” Again, professionalism is key, so keep it relatively impersonal and shy away from listing hobbies or personal interests unless they pertain to the specific job opportunity. Look to have a professional email address as well; if it hasn’t changed since the age of 12, it may be time to do that. Finally, have another pair of eyes take a look at it.
An online Thesaurus is free and hard work pays off! Don’t be afraid to emphasize your other accomplishments in extracurricular activities or volunteer efforts. A résumé is more than a piece of paper and the quality of the writing may influence one’s chance of obtaining a career they are passionate about. But don’t be discouraged if writing is not a forte. With tons of online help at the disposal of job-hunters, a bit of editing, proofreading and some feedback, a great job can be found in no time.