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How to Refresh Your Same Old Resume


We often see resume writing as an obligation, an annoyance, and a necessary evil. But going into writing a resume with that mindset is the worst mistake you can make! Employers can tell when a person is enthusiastic, energetic, and excited to work for them, so making your resume stand out is crucial. Imagine finding a stack of resumes on your desk and having to go through each of them. Most of them would quickly be tossed aside if they are boring or unorganized.

Here’s how to write a resume that will impress your future employer.


1. Categories to include:

Header — Start with your name and contact information (phone number and email) centred at the top of the page. You can also include your address. Make your name a larger size and in bold.

Objective — Write a concise sentence or two to describe what your goals are with the job you are applying to. For example,

“Ambitious, mature, and focused university student looking for part time work in the afternoons, evenings, and/or weekends. Backed by excellent interpersonal skills and a commitment to customer service that has been described as ‘second-to-none’ by employers.”

Skills — List anything like first aid certification, computer skills, experience with a POS system, additional languages, etc. Just make sure it’s related to the job.

Education — Include any degrees or certifications in reverse chronological order. Include your GPA only if it’s 3.5 or above (UVic uses a 9-point scale for GPA, so students can use an online GPA converter to change their GPA to the 4-point scale for their resume).

Experience — In reverse chronological order (most recent work first), list relevant work experience. Include the company, the location, your position, and the period of time that you worked there. Make a short list under each work position describing your duties and what transferable skills you gained there.

References — Including references is a good idea. Inconveniencing your potential employer by making them ask you for your references is not.

If you don’t have much work experience, you can make the skills section more elaborate and add more information about your education.



2. Keywords:

Make sure you keep the details about your work experience and skills concise. Write as few words as possible while still being emphatic and precise. Using keywords or action verbs will help to make you seem more energetic and exciting, and will make the person reading your resume want to meet you! Many companies use programs that scan resumes for keywords, particularly those listed in the job posting.

Use words like: coordinated, produced, established, implemented, pioneered, achieved, generated, demonstrated, exhibited, outpaced, enhanced, mentored, advocated, ensured, surpassed.


3. Aesthetics

First impressions are important! This is what makes the difference between a throw-away resume and one that will grab the reader’s attention. Use a professional font, like Cambria, Garamond, Helvetica, or Tahoma. Times New Roman is already overused.

Make sure that your resume is organized and clear. If it looks messy, it will be tossed aside. Use uniform spacing between each category.



4. Refreshing your resume for each job:

Sending the same resume to 20 different workplaces is not the way to go. Every job is different, and every employer is looking for different things. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it to change up your resume a little bit for every application. People say that it’s okay to lie a little bit on your resume, but risking it could make your resume worthless. It’s pretty easy for the person reading your resume to verify what is written with your past employers.

Also, write a cover letter for each job you apply to, even when they don’t require one! If you keep a cover letter outline, it’s not too much work to fill in the blanks to customize it for each job, and it appears very professional.  


5. Length:

Short and concise is best. Make your potential employer interested, but leave them wanting to know more about you. In general, keep your resume to one page. Make sure to proofread, because spelling and grammatical errors can make you seem careless.

A resume that appears professional, organized, and includes all relevant information will make you stand out among the rest. Writing a great cover letter and resume is the first step to getting your foot in the door and being asked to come in for an interview!

Use the resources available to you to make your application great. Ask someone you know who hires people at their company to read over your resume and give you some suggestions. Also, you could check out some examples of awesome resumes at http://www.vault.com/resumes.


Abby spontaneously moved to Victoria 2 years ago with her partner, her cat, and a full SUV. With no plan, no jobs and no place to live, they soon gained their footing in this wonderful city. Abby is in her first year at the University of Victoria, and is an aspiring Art and English teacher. As her goals suggest, she likes reading, drawing and painting. Abby is passionate about travel, environmental issues and veganism (but she's not annoying about it, promise!)
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