Your resumé is a 1- or 2-page summary of your qualifications. An effective resumé draws attention to your skills and accomplishments and motivates an employer to interview you. Most employers expect you to submit a resumé when you apply for work.
Use the checklists below to make sure your resumé includes all of your relevant information, and that you present it clearly and professionally.
Answer the following questions to check that the content of your resumé is complete:
- Have you included your contact information: name, mailing address, email address and phone number?
- Did you include your objective statement to briefly describe the kind of work you want? You don’t need to include an objective if it’s obvious, or if you have already put it in your cover letter.
- Have you listed your education and training that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for? Have you included the school name, program, areas of study and credential (certificate, diploma) you earned?
- Have you included your work history or experience? List job titles, employer names, dates of employment and work responsibilities. You can include volunteer work, especially if you don’t have much paid work experience.
- Do you highlight your work-specific skills, focusing on the ones that relate to the position you’re applying for?
- Have you listed the languages you speak, read or write?
- Does your resumé highlight any honours or awards you’ve been given?
- Have you included school or community projects that showcase your skills and leadership, especially if you don’t have much work experience?
- Did you mention activities and interests that involve relevant skills or knowledge?
- Does your resumé include your volunteer activities and community involvement? This kind of information can show an employer that you’re well-rounded. Be aware that mentioning religious or political memberships is usually not appropriate.
- Make sure that your references are not on your resumé. Bring your references with you to the interview on a separate sheet of paper.
Answer the following questions to help you polish your resumé up to professional standards:
- Is your resumé direct, simple and 1 to 2 pages long?
- Have you made sure not to include a title such as “Resumé,” the date, your signature, your photograph or personal information such as age, sex, height or ethnic background?
- Does your resumé clearly show that you can meet the requirements of the specific job for which you’re applying?
- Have you listed your strongest qualifications first?
- Did you describe how you’ve solved problems and achieved goals in your work?
- Did you use action words to describe what you’ve done? For ideas, check out Use Action Words to Get the Job?
- Have you avoided filler words, such as “I was responsible for . . .” or “My duties involved. . . "
- Does your resumé honestly describe your experience and skills? Most employers check and will find out if you’ve misrepresented your accomplishments. On the other hand, have you been too humble?
- Are there any errors in spelling, grammar or typing? Check, ask a friend to check and then check again.
- Does your resumé look professional and inviting to read? Have you used point form to create lots of white space? Have you used bold to highlight your strongest qualifications?
- Have you printed your resumé on good-quality white or off-white 8.5” by 11” paper using a printer that makes clean, clear copies?
If you answered "no" to any of the questions above, review and revise your draft.
Ask for feedback
When you’re sure you’ve written the best possible draft you can, ask your family and friends to check your resumé for errors and give you their feedback.
Show your draft to people who work in the field in which you’re interested. Review the feedback you receive and make the changes that seem right to you.
When you mail, email or deliver your resumé to an employer, always include a cover letter or message. If you meet the job requirements and your cover letter and resumé show the employer that you’re a good fit for the position, chances are you’ll be invited for an interview.