5 Ways to Create a Winning Resume

There are thousands of excellent resources available online to help you write a successful resume. This ‘How-to’ sheet takes a quick look at a standard resume format and highlights, section by section, the most important points to remember.

A general note before beginning: Keep it clean

It can take a long time for an employer to read through a stack of resumes. Help yours stand out by making it quick and easy to scan for key facts. Organize it clearly; keep it brief and to the point. Let the information speak for itself. And make sure you have at least one other person review it to be sure it’s free of spelling and typographical errors. You want to make the best first impression possible.

1 – Identification
At the top of your resume, list your name, address and relevant contact information for easy reference. Don’t include superfluous personal data such as height, weight, ethnicity, religion, marital status or age.

2 – Profile
The body of your resume should start with a personal profile—a section that lists your major strengths and expertise. Be sure to include here, under their own subheadings, such information as:

  • Primary career experience (e.g. “Five years’ experience in accounting”);
  • Two to three areas of strength or specialization;
  • Proficiency with computers and technology;
  • Security clearance, if applicable (give just your level of clearance, where it’s held and the expiration date—but not your date of birth); and
  • Languages (list all the languages in which you are fluent).

3 – Career History
Start with your most recent achievements and work backwards in time. Be sure to focus on achievements and not only on tasks—a prospective employer wants to know what you’ve accomplished in your previous working life. A few pointers for this section:

  • Try to keep this section within two pages.
  • Be clear about dates.
  • If you’ve worked for a less well-known firm, include a one- or two-line description of what it does.
  • Include the precise job title for each position documented.
  • For each entry, include four to six key responsibilities—again, with a focus on achievements.

4 – Education and Training
As with the career history section, start with the most recent and work backwards in time. Again, be precise about dates, the names of institutions and training organizations, and be sure to list any awards, commendations or special standing you might have achieved.

5 – Interests
If space permits—and if you feel it may be a helpful way to introduce yourself to a prospective employer—include a brief list of hobbies, interests and favourite activities. Consider your audience: include those things that reflect best on your professional character.

A few final points

  • Write it yourself: no one’s better qualified to talk about you!
  • Always write in the third person—don’t use “I” or “me”.
  • Have your resume typed or printed from a computer file
  • Leave generous margins around your page: don’t make the text too dense
  • Use an active voice and dynamic, energetic words
  • Don’t include a picture with your resume
  • Don’t disclose personal financial information