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4 Tips to Perfect Your Resume

Summer may be a couple of months away, but employers are looking to fill their summer staff now! It’s time to dust off those resumes, references, and cover letters and set out on your hunt to obtain your ideal summer employment.  It’s time to find a job that in your field of study and will add value to your resume for your potential career. Take a look at these four tips for buffing up a rad resume.

1. REVISE and REJECT (anything that is over two years old and is not relevant)Think about your resume as if it were your closet or your room.  If your mother is anything like mine she tells you to bin everything that has not been worn or used within the past six months.  With your resume you have a bit more wiggle room, but I highly recommend not keeping anything that is over two to three years old depending upon when a) you last interacted positively with your previous supervisor and b) you last participated with anything in conjunction with your activity. 

For instance, if you were a tutor in grade ten during high school and you’re applying for a peer tutoring position by all means keep that, but ensure you still have a valid contact reference for that position. 

If you still have grade eight valedictorian, grade nine swim captain, or grade twelve “Most Likely to be Prime Minister” award on your resume it’s time for a major clean up.  Your employer will care about what is relevant and what is most recent.  Where and when you went to elementary and high school also can be trashed.

2.  Reorganizing and RestructuringWeed out all of the unnecessary pieces in your resume which includes any fancy words that you included to sound intelligent.  Take them out.  It does not make you sound smarter; it’s better to word everything simply and clear. Save the flowery prose for your cover letter.

Always tailor and tweak your resume and cover letter to the exact position you are seeking.  If the application asks for previous experience with children do not spend time outlining your time as a student painter.

Then re-order all of your relevant past jobs or volunteer work in order of most recent to least.  Once you have that list go through and determine whether some of your previous employment might be more relevant but less recent.  It is up to you whether you place the more relevant but less recent information at the beginning of your resume or not; however, it is strongly recommended.

3. The Right ObjectiveDo not simply print off a stack of resumes and submit them to various establishments around town.  Applying for jobs requires a fair amount of work and if you are not willing to put in the effort at the beginning how to you expect to find the motivation to give 110% if you’re hired? 

The biggest mistake people make are spelling the company name wrong on the cover letter, the wrong date, or even addressing the wrong company, which makes your application intentions seem careless. Do not do this!

I know it can be a tedious process to create new cover letters when it’s easier to recycle them, but in doing so make sure you change the tailored sections – there are no second chances when competition is so high for summer employment. 

4. EDIT! RE-EDIT! EDIT!I cannot repeat this piece of advice enough. Always have someone re-read your resume to point out minor mistakes and receive a second opinion on your formatting.  Carleton offers resume building workshops, resume reviews and mock interviews at 401 Tory building every day until 4pm. I highly suggest you take advantage of these free services to perfect your resume and kill that interview.


I am a third year student double majoring in humanities and English. I love to drink tea, talk to people, and write.
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