The Hub 10 things to consider when writing a resumé

10 things to consider when writing a resumé

By: Nikki Pawlitschek, counsellor

Athabasca University counsellor offers tips to kick-start your career search and get noticed.

November is Canada Career Month and this year’s theme is “amplify.” This month, Athabasca University’s (AU) Counselling Services team is sharing career-focused resources for students and alumni to help them grow and advance their careers. 

An effective resumé is one that is easy to read, looks visually pleasing, and highlights your key skills, education, and accomplishments. Here are 10 great tips to help you sell yourself so that your resumé stands out from the rest!

1. Look for keywords in the job posting that highlight what the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate, and make sure you mention those words in your resumé.

2. Review other resumé examples for your industry. These will be helpful and serve as inspiration and best practices for your own resumé. 

3. Use a basic, clean font. Calibri, Times New Roman, or Arial are good examples. Keep your font size between 10 and 12 points. I normally use 12 points, but 10 or 11 points is acceptable if you have more information that you need to fit in.

person using laptop, who is looking at different profiles and comparing.

4. Include only relevant information. Keep it simple! Try to only include education, work experience, accomplishments, and skills that are the most important to the employer.

5. Use active language. This means that when you are describing your job duties, use power words, such as “accomplished, completed, and led” in bullet points, instead of complete sentences. Power words are words that introduce accomplishments in your resumé and cover letter. They are usually verbs but can also be adjectives.

6. Highlight your top accomplishments and put them under a separate heading, like “Achievements,” or “Skills.” Highlight skills, education, work experience, and achievements that are important to the employer. You can find these out by reading the job posting closely.

7. Use headings and subheadings that are applicable to you if you are working with a resumé template. You might want to combine sections if you can only fill one section with two bullet points.

8. Choose appropriate margins and spacing. Normally, you use one-inch margins all around the sides of your resumé with single spaces. However, if you have too much white space, consider increasing the line spacing to 1.15 or 1.5. How your resumé looks is just as important as the content.

9. Proofread, proofread, proofread! I cannot stress this enough. While you can use proofreading programs and tools, nothing beats the human eye to catch things that these programs miss. It wouldn’t hurt to ask friends, family, or an objective third party to look over your resumé.

10. Make multiple versions of your resumé in case you need a detailed one for one job and a shorter, simpler version for another job. I would also make backups of these versions for yourself using cloud–based storage, like iCloud or Google Drive, or an external drive like a USB stick.

More resources to help your career planning and job search

If you enjoyed this article, check out our entire Canada Career Month series!

Nikki Pawlitschek is an academic counsellor at AU. She has a master’s in mental health counselling from City University, a bachelor’s in liberal arts from the University of British Columbia, a bachelor’s in psychology from Open University, a certificate in modern languages (English, French, German), a diploma in brief systemic family therapy, and a certificate of counselling science. She also completed a two-year training program in Hakomi professional skills. Her passion is helping individuals find out what they truly want to do and to explore all the various options. She strongly believes that nothing is impossible and that with the right planning and support, everyone can achieve their goals. 

  • November 1, 2023
Guest Blog from:
Nikki Pawlitschek, counsellor