• Editorial

Resume Tips with Michelle Height

Written by: Tyler Keffer

As seen in the September 2018 Lazy Faire issue

Why is a resume important and how can it be used to “show off” who you are?

The resume and cover letter act as your ambassador to the company when you cannot be there to represent yourself and are an essential tool in helping employer connect your competencies to their needs. They serve to represent you to the employer and help them see how you can be an asset to their organisation. Think of them as a movie trailer that highlights the best parts of your education and varied experiences. If the employer likes the "trailer", they are more likely to want to sit down with you to find out more.

What kind of things set apart a good resume from one that is less good?

An effective resume is more than a listing of your experiences and education. More than a catalog of what you have done, it should show what you are capable of doing. It should convey your potential through your varied experiences by focusing on the skills you have acquired and the knowledge you have gained. This is most successful when targeted to a specific goal: a specific career path, job, company or industry. Generic cover letters and resumes do not generate results.

Is there a one-size-fits-all approach to crafting a good resume, or how should one approach its creation?

While each resume and cover letter should be unique, the following are some basic recommendations that will help you to be more effective and impactful:

  • Two pages maximum – no exceptions.

  • Focus on relevant transferable skills when writing your bullet points for your work and volunteer experience. Show them what skills you gained that you can transfer to a new role and employer. Show tangible results whenever possible, for example: “consistently exceeded sales quotas by 10%”.

  • Include any awards, hobbies, volunteer activities and interests that provide information about your initiative, leadership skills, energy, versatility, or dedication. This is NOT filler – this tells them about who you are when you aren’t working

  • Include hard skills such as computer skills, language skills and relevant certifications. You never know what might help differentiate you from the other applicants.

Any other general tips or remarks that students can benefit from?

Remember that this is more than a marketing document that is trying to sell your suitability to a potential employer. It is also their first indication of your ability to communicate as a professional. Therefore, it is critical that your application materials be absolutely professional, clear, concise and accurate both in terms of content and presentation. Be authentically you but present your best and most professional self.

Bear in mind that not being selected for an interview does not necessarily mean that your cover letter and resume are not effective. It may mean that this position or employer was a poor fit for you.

Finally, ensure your cover letter and resume ARE effective by accessing the resources and advising services available through Business Career Services. https://www.ualberta.ca/business/careerservices

We are here to help you succeed.

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