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Make Your Résumé Shine!

by Melissa Small

Job searching within a competitive labour market takes skill – and where better to show your skills than your resume! Writing a resume can be a challenging part of your job search and is worth the effort to find the format, style and words that will make it shine. After all, your resume is the marketing tool to sell you, your skills and your experience to an employer so they will want to interview you.

One of the ways you can make your resume stand out is to find the right keywords to use. This often starts by looking at the job posting to find words, phrases and skills the employer used that match your skills and experience. When you have those skills and words identified, add specific examples or details in your resume. For example, if your skill is being able to operate a forklift, you could tell them which types of forklifts you have operated, how many years of experience you have and mention your good safety record.

Showcase your skills and experience in a way that doesn’t just state the obvious such as “duties include” or “responsibilities”. Try to get creative in the words that you use instead of including passive or vague words such as “handled”, “helped” or “worked”. Use action words such as “implemented”, “evaluated” or “assessed” to describe what you did. Listing your accomplishments on your resume also helps you to distinguish yourself from other applicants.

If you need additional space to share your skills, experience, accomplishments and interests, consider removing the phrase “references available upon request”. This phrase is not necessary as employers expect you to have references and will ask for them later in the process if they are interested in hiring you. You can still use this phrase to fill some space, however, if you are just starting out and don’t have as much content to share so early in your career.

Your next potential employer will form their first impression of you based on your resume, so make sure it sells your strengths and speaks to who you are. Be creative and try to avoid duplicating the job posting or a standard template. If you need help with your job search including writing or perfecting your resume, contact one of our employment service locations for free assistance.