At some point in your working life, you will need a resume, so why not create one that helps you showcase your talents, skills and accomplishments? This e-learning tool can guide you, whether you are in first year or have just graduated, through the process of developing a strong expression of who you are and what makes you a fitting candidate.
Resume Writing Resources
Purpose of a Resume
A resume is an inventory of skills and accomplishments and a marketing tool that demonstrates you are qualified to do the job. It also:
- is a personal document that expresses how unique you are; it creates a picture of you
- creates a first impression for the employer
- piques the employer's interest
- presents you as a professional (not as a student)
- gives you confidence in what you have to offer
- summarizes your past but is focused on the future
- gets you the interview
What to include in a resume
An effective resume includes:
- Include your name (in the largest font), address including postal code, phone number and a professional email address
- Design your contact information to function as your logo. It should appear in the same format on your resume, cover letter, reference list, thank you letter and all other documentation. A modified version of your logo should also appear on page 2 of your resume including your name, your telephone number, your email address, and the page number
- You can put your contact information in a header but, remember, if you cut and paste your resume into an email, the headers and footers will be lost
- You can name the position you are targeting or create a short statement to show how you will benefit the company and the results you will produce
Example 1: A position as a (job title) with (name of organization)
- For the second kind of career objective, highlight the skills you will bring to the position and focus on what the employer wants. Doing this provides you with another chance to market yourself to the employer
Example 2: A position as a (job title) with (name of organization) where I can apply my skills in (skill #1, skill #2, skill #3) to (what result or outcome you can offer your targeted company)
Summary of Skills or Highlights of Qualifications
- 4-6 points that emphasize your strong points; all of these points must be directly relevant to the job:
- How much relevant experience you have
- Your formal education, training and credentials, if relevant, including specific knowledge areas relevant to targeted position
- One significant accomplishment, very briefly stated
- One or two outstanding skills or abilities related to the job
- Provide brief evidence of your accomplishments /skills / abilities – include job related skills, transferable skills, and self-management skills as appropriate
- Match the requirements of the job posting and the targeted organization’s mission / mandate
- Most recent qualification listed first (i.e. reverse chronological order)
- List the qualification, educational institution, date obtained
- Be sure to indicate if it is a Certificate, Diploma or Degree
- Bold the diploma /degree name, not the institution
Example: Honours Bachelor of Arts, Specialist in Economics, 2008, University of Toronto
- If not yet completed, state “in progress” or “2008 to present” for the example above
- If not in progress, state “candidate” or state degree program
- High school is not necessary to list; if you are in university, it is evident that you completed high school
- You can include Professional Development separately or under Education
Relevant Work Experience
- Include only the last 5 – 7 years of relevant experience. Prior information that is relevant but does not fit into your resume can be mentioned in your cover letter.
- List your job title in bold, the organization’s name and the dates year to year. Dates can be right or left justified depending upon field and space available on resume. Academia likes left justified dates; employers generally do not mind which justification is used.
Employment Counsellor 2002 – 2004
Ontario March of Dimes
2002 – 2004 Employment Counsellor
Ontario March of Dimes
- List work experience in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent job first)
- List 3-5 accomplishment statements for each job to show that you made a difference to the organization. Include action verb, the action you took and the positive result for the employer.
Example: Re-organized bookkeeping and filing systems for increased clarity and ease of use
- Highlight work-related accomplishments, transferable skills, previous experience and qualifications for the targeted job
- Accomplishment statements always include a benefit to the employer. They are “skills in action”.
Example: make / save money / time, make work easier, solve a problem, make organization more competitive / efficient / effective, build relationships with vendors / customers / the public, expand business, attract new customers, retain customers
- Focus on transferable and work related skills
- Describe your work history so that it relates to your future employer’s needs
- Don’t just describe what you did – tell them how you did it in an accomplishment statement
- Know what skills you will need for this job and use examples from your previous work experience
- Examine your work experience for accomplishments. Write down all the things that you did in each job or volunteer position and identify the skills you used and the accomplishments that resulted. Include only the most relevant and important ones, not your entire list.
- Quantify your tasks to show concrete results.
Example: Led a team of 8; saved $20,000 and increased efficiency by 25% over a one year period by improving inventory management processes.
- Shows leadership and teamwork, reflects involvement in the community, and provides a more complete picture of you, so highlight the skills you developed and your accomplishments
- You can include volunteer opportunities in the Relevant Experience section if relevant to the targeted position you are applying to or include it under its own heading or under the Extracurricular Activities heading
- Provide accomplishment statements
- Include Awards / Scholarships / Prizes etc. for education, sports, community service, etc.
Extracurricular Activities or Activities and Interests
- Involvement in student groups, clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities, both on and off campus
- This section can also include hobbies or interests especially if they are relevant to job
- Demonstrate skills used and accomplishments where you can
Affiliations / Associations
- Include if you are a current member or if you held a key role with a professional association in the past
- You can also include if you have or are working towards a professional designation
References Available Upon Request
- This statement is optional. If you are short of space you can omit it or put it in a footer. Remember if you put your reference statement in a footer, it will be lost if you cut and paste your resume into an email.
What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
For many high school students choosing which university they’d like to go to and which program is right for them is often a much bigger deal than we give it credit. To many it is the first step in this much bigger phenomenon they begin to call life. It begins to a represent a future for many, that is for the first time, uncertain, filled with anxiety, ambiguous, and daunting.
When the time came around for me to ultimately decide what it is I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I remember sitting down one day and just looking at the world and how it has evolved over the past few years and tried to look at what lay ahead. I knew from the outset that business was right for me and ever since I was child I was always fascinated and intrigued by the mysteries of what lay beyond the confines of Toronto. The Management and International Business (MIB) program offered me just that. The MIB program offered me the ability to pursue a business degree while discovering what this immense world has to offer me. I always knew that the world was my oyster and MIB program was the perfect stage to take advantage of that.
The concepts of Globalization and a world without borders were taking foothold and in stepped the rise of multinational corporations. Demand was growing for global leaders who could drive border-less organizations to international success. And, the MIB program offered me a platform upon which to take advantage of this new found demand for international leadership. It meant that what I was studying would have been issues that were prevalent and heavily debated in society at the time, and to an extensive degree still are. More so, it meant that upon graduating I would have had a competitive advantage over those who did not necessarily possess the skill set needed to thrive abroad.
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
The Management and International Business (MIB) program is the only undergraduate international business program offered at the University of Toronto. The program sets out to equip the next generation of leaders with the skills and experiences to view business through a truly international lens. More so, being a part of this program has taught me how to leverage an extensively global mindset through a focus on leadership in cross cultural contexts and demonstrating the commitment, leadership, and problem solving skills to thrive abroad.
The 12 months of co-op work experience prior to graduation, both domestically and internationally is perhaps more important in today’s day and age than ever before in history. Without a doubt, where I have worked has helped shape me into the person I am today. Undeniably, these corporate experiences have made me more mature, more confident and more optimistic about what lies ahead. In some sense, they’ve provided me with stability and reassurance. They’ve given me with a solid ground upon which to tackle all that life will throw at me once I leave university. And, more importantly, they’ve given me more than just relevant corporate experience; they’ve given me direction in life.
There is a whole department of networking and career development professionals to guide your way in finding phenomenal placements in some of the largest and most influential organizations globally. The Co-op program even offers mandatory workshops, seminars and one-on-one mock resume/cover letter/interview sessions to prepare you for job hunting.
One of the highlights of the program is also the ability to study abroad during your four year degree. For my study abroad term I had the unique opportunity to study at King’s College London within the United Kingdom, an experience only made possible through the MIB program. We've leveraged relationships with 150 partner universities in 50 countries to establish a rapidly growing network of academic partners for the Management & International Business program, including:
• Mannheim University – Germany
• Hong Kong University – Hong Kong
• National University of Singapore – Singapore
• Lund University – Sweden
• University College London – UK
• King’s College London – UK
• University of Lyon - France
The curriculum offers a powerful combination of management fundamentals, international work experiences, and exposure to leadership across cultures and borders. Although, rigorous and at times stringent, the curriculum rewards you with a breadth of in-depth knowledge that goes above and beyond preparing you for whatever career path you set off on.
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
1. Get involved. A great aspect of UTSC student life is integrated extracurricular activities into your studies. Despite what you may think, university isn’t all about hitting the books. Along with taking advantage of the numerous learning opportunities that are now accessible to you, enrich your student life by getting involved outside the classroom. Getting involved in extracurricular activities is an excellent way to get to know diverse body of students and world renowned faculty outside of your classroom. It gives you the opportunity to learn and grow from the experiences and stories of your peers and faculty alike and gain valuable insight that should help you navigate your journey through UTSC. These years represent one of the only times that you will have the chance to indulge freely in your hobbies and connect with people from a spectrum of diverse educational and cultural backgrounds – virtually at your front door. To make the most of student life, don’t be afraid to push your comfort zone, try new things and meet new people. Particularly under the reigns of Management, there are a multitude of student activities, clubs, work-study programs, case competitions, networking events, and other volunteer opportunities that are likely to peak any interest.
2. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you ever feel overworked, stressed or just in need of advice or a friendly ear, UTSC has an array of resources on campus to help you through difficult times. Managing the rigors of the MIB curriculum can at times be strenuous, having to deal with a multitude of competing priorities from coursework to extracurricular commitments whilst simultaneously planning for your study and work terms abroad. However, the Co-op department is committed to providing you with outstanding support as you prepare to work and study abroad, and while you are away. Leading up to your international work and study terms, you'll receive one-on-one career coaching and academic counseling, and job search training. If you feel like you need help managing a heavy workload? Head to the Student Center or make an appointment with the university's Health and Wellness Center to search for help. If you feel homesick and burned out? Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you trust.
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
After graduating I hope to leverage some of the experiences I have gained throughout my degree, both domestically and internationally, to land the job of my dreams. One that will allow me to travel the world and discover all that it has to offer. The amazing thing about the MIB program is that it is opened up the realm for me to explore a life after post-secondary education beyond the borders of Toronto. The biggest question for me is not what I want to do but rather where I want to do it?
At some point, I do want to continue higher education and get my eMBA possibly in a country like the United Kingdom, or Germany, Singapore, the US, or Hong Kong. And, the ability to leverage the global reputation of the University of Toronto goes a long way in establishing a successful career and life overseas.
I always tell people that UTSC Management helped shape me into the business professional I am today, confident, successful and ready to tackle what the corporate world has to offer. But my time abroad helped shape me into the adult that I know I needed to be to embark on life after university. It taught me to be independent and self-sufficient and allowed me to grow as an adult.
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
The first academic year of the MIB program is meant to foster the foundations upon which to acquire your first domestic co-op placement. There is emphasis on the basics of management, accounting, economics, organizational behavior, marketing and communications within an organization. The first year is aimed at teasing out what it is you are truly interested in and then seeking out a co-op placement in that respective field. First year is also the time to socialize and explore what UTSC has to offer, in terms of interesting clubs, athletics and other extracurricular such as volunteer positions.
In second year, you will spend a portion of your time working in your co-op placement and the remainder of the year will be spent diving deeper into the core functions of a firm and understanding key concepts in a greater degree of detail. You will also begin to take courses that delve into more detail about how the concept taught throughout can be applied and vary internationally. In addition, towards the end of the year you will begin prepping for your study and work term abroad. This includes attending information sessions and study and work abroad workshops, as well as gathering all the pertinent information required to submit a formal application for your study abroad term. In addition, a few hours should be dedicated each week to applying to international job placements prior to going abroad.
Third year is where you will finally go abroad and have the opportunity to study and work overseas. Another fantastic thing about this program is that it is surprisingly flexible. You can generally choose where and when you'd like to study and work abroad. I have known friends who have worked abroad in their second year and have gone on their study abroad term in their fourth year of studies. In addition, if you haven't already secured a work placement abroad you are expected to dedicate a significant portion of time looking for work.
In your final year of studies you are going to find yourself juggling a lot of very important commitments, along with trying to achieve highest grade possible. By now you would have more than likely accumulated a full calendar year of corporate experience both domestically and internationally and would have most likely gone on your study abroad term. Now it is all about hitting the books and landing that job you've always dreamed of.