Unit 4 – Ready to Work

What are Resumes?

Writing a resume when you’re a high school student who doesn’t have much – or any – prior work experience can seem daunting. A good way to get started is to look at examples of resumes and read tips on what to include in your resume and how to format it.

You probably have more information to put on your resume than you think. Experiences like babysitting, lawn mowing, and volunteering because all of these activities help to show valuable work skills that employers want to see.

A good resume is an important step towards finding a job. Writing a resume is your way of telling others about your accomplishments, skills and work experiences. So take your time when creating one and if you get stuck, remember many different resources are available. Whether it’s at your school, your local library or your neighbourhood community organization, you can get help on preparing a resume from a variety of sources.

Just because you haven’t had a job like the one you are applying for, doesn’t mean you haven’t acquired the skills necessary to succeed.

What is a Resume?

  • Your resume is your marketing tool that you will use to impress a potential employer.
  • The resume is a summary of your education, skills, employment history, accomplishments and personal references.
  • It provides a “snapshot” of what you have done and what you can do for your employer.
  • Resumes are also referred to as a “CV” or Curriculum Vitae.
  • Employers often have only 15-30 seconds to read each resume so they must be clear and easy to read.
  • A resume is often accompanied by a cover letter.
  • There are three types of resumes:
    1. Chronological: lists education, skills and experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent.
    2. Functional Resumes: lists skills and talents in order of importance.
    3. Combination Resumes: combines skills and experience. The best format to start with is a chronological resume.
  • The best type of resume for you to start out with as a student is a Chronological Resume.

What to put in a Resume!

Objective Statement:

A concise statement outlining your specific employment goal – a reason you are applying for this position. Be unique!

E.g. With strong writing skills, international volunteer experience, and a drive to succeed, I am seeking a challenging internship at a dynamic advertising agency that values and engages its employees.

Work Experience:

List any related work experience chronologically with your current or most recent position first. Provide company name, your title, dates of employment and a description of your tasks and responsibilities using bullet points. Begin each bullet with an action verb and include accomplished-based statements.

E.g. Guitar Teacher, ABC Music School, London, ON, June 2005 – December 2006

    • Taught private and group Level One Beginner Guitar classes to students under 12
    • Created lesson plans used by 60 students for all Level One classes that resulted in passing grades for all students and raised Level Two enrollment by 50%

Remember: Use action verbs in present tense for current position and past tense for previous positions.

Volunteer Experience:

List any volunteer experience the same way you list your work experience. Include skills that support the position you are applying for.

Education:

List your education, training and other certificates. Include level of education, area of study, school name and year of graduation. Begin with your highest level of education OR the most relevant to the job you are applying for.

Skills & Accomplishments:

List any skills and/or accomplishments you are proud of and that your potential employer may be interested in.

Hobbies & Interests, etc.:

List your social activities, hobbies and personal interests. Do you play soccer in your spare time and are applying for an office job? List it. This section does not necessarily have to be relevant to the position you are applying for, it allows potential employer a glimpse into your personality.

References:

List the name, title and contact number of two references. Alternatively, you can write “References available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. Be sure to have this information typed on a separate piece of paper should an interviewer ask you for references.

Writing Cover Letters

Example of a Resume & Cover Letter. Click the following link –

Key points of this cover letter are that it:

  • introduces you to the reader
  • responds to the requirements of the job
  • attracts the reader’s interest and refers him/her to your resume
  • doesn’t include too many “I” statements, which can run the risk of disengaging the reader

A good cover letter should include:

  • your name, email address and phone number at the top of the page on the right
  • the name of the business and the contact person’s full name on the left
  • a reference line (e.g., “Re: Application for Administration Assistant position”)
  • a direct address to the reader (e.g., “Dear Mr. Moyle” – try to avoid using “To whom it may concern” if you can)
  • an opening statement that briefly introduces you to the reader
  • a main body that highlights your qualities and characteristics that are relevant to the job
  • a closing paragraph asking to arrange an interview

If you don’t have any formal work experience, other information you may include in your cover letter include:

  • general skills that help you work in a team and as part of an organization
  • personal attributes that help you learn to work in a professional work environment
  • key strengths and contributions that reveal you as a stand-out applicant
  • school work experience or volunteer work that demonstrates your strengths and attributes
  • any sporting or community club participation (if relevant)
  • any hobbies or interests that are relevant to the job or demonstrate your professional experience