Resume Guide

Nov 20, 2016

Disclaimer:

This represents tips and tricks gathered from past and present members of the You’re Next Career Network. Use this as a general guide to start and improve your resume, but remember that your resume is something unique to a person, and in some cases, the advice given may not apply.

Why Should I Care About My Resume

Your resume is not just a required document for a job application; your resume is the first impression you will leave on employers (or second if you actually met with them first). Either way it is your first real opportunity to convince them why they should hire you.

General Tips and Tricks

· Every word you write is entirely dependent on the job that you are applying for! This means researching the company and reading the job description for skills to emphasize certain skills. Be sure to always personalize every resume you send out

· If this is the first time you’re writing a resume, you likely don’t have all your past experiences in a nice database. Take a minute and write out a list of all your previous jobs, club positions, projects, volunteer opportunities, etc

· It may be wise to try to keep your resume to 1 page . Most students do not have enough experience to fill 2 pages with relevant material. Keep the attention on your highlights!

· On average, recruiters skim over your resume in 6 seconds. Ask yourself: If only 3 lines will be read, am I okay with this line being one of them?

· Make sure your resume is read-able, and not huge blocks of text.

· Blank space is valuable because it makes the resume easier to read, and highlights your important points

· Save your resume in PDF form to prevent formatting errors on different computers

Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

Don’ts

· Research the company and job description to see what are some common skills/type of people they look for. Rewrite your bullets to emphasize those traits.

· Be Concise. Enough said – no one wants to read a novel (Overall length typically 1 or 2 pages).

· Don’t be afraid to add colour and personalize. It not only helps your resume stand out, but also adds personality.

· Go beyond writing about your responsibilities. Employers would rather see where you took initiative on a project and went beyond expectations.

· Brag a little..

· Use slang. Always be professional in a resume.

· Include everything. It is not a CV; you only need to include experiences relevant to your position.

· Skip the fluff. As much as having “good communication skills” is important, it is better if that is proven (through your experiences and the way your resume is written) rather than told.

· Lie. EVER. The quick lie of knowing how to code might get you an interview, but it will definitely not get you past the interview. It is better to just admit you don’t know how to do something.

General Sections

Personal Information:

· Be sure to include your full name, e-mail, phone number. You can also include your address, a personal website, or a LinkedIn profile which includes additional details. Links to your past work such as Github can be very useful as well

Education:

· Start by listing your degree, name and location of the institution, the date started and expected date of graduation. You may want to include your GPA, especially if it is above 3.0

· Specify any minors or certificates that you might be working to complete

· If you have taken any courses that you think are relevant to the job, you can list them here. Do this only if you think they are very important! Otherwise, recruiters can look at your transcripts if they are interested

Skills

· If appropriate, list a few key skills that are very relevant to the job. CAD software, programming and spoken languages, and other technical skills fit well here

· For any important skills you list, be sure to substantiate them later on in your experiences. It’s one thing to know how to draw a block in Solidworks, but using it to prototype your design project is another level of proficiency!

· Try not to list any soft skills or personal traits like “leadership” or “team-player.” These should instead be demonstrated later through your experiences section

Work/Relevant Experiences

Choosing relevant experiences:

· Relevant experiences can be projects done in class, or on your own time, previous work experiences, participation in a design club, a project done for a competition/hackathon

· Start by scanning the job description for your tasks and responsibilities. Then, select experiences you can use to prove you have the skills required to do the job

For example:

Job Requirement

Matching Experience

Strong communication skills and ability to work well in a team

Leading a team in Engineering Strategies and Practice

Experience with Solidworks, CATIA, AutoCAD

Creating a CAD model of Blue Sky Solar Car’s chassis

Python, C, and Java programming

Coding a program to play connect 6 in APS105

Describing Experiences:

· Write about your experiences using the Action, Goal, Result (AGR) model. Start with the actions you took to exemplify the skills you’re trying to showcase. Then write a little content about the goals so the reader understands why the actions were necessary. Finish with a quantified result to show how you performed relative to your goals. This progression will show your individual contribution and its importance, proving to employers that you have a track record of achievement.

Action

Goal

Result

Created detailed Gantt charts and meeting agendas...

...to lead a team of 5 students in a database system design project...

...producing 3 candidate solutions for industry clients, of which one was selected for continuation.

Researched and implemented a new melt blending method...

...to optimize the manufacturing process of sustainable plastics...

...increasing annual revenue of company by over $2 million dollars.

Prototyped design by using Solidworks to create a CAD model...

...to produce accurate technical drawings...

...ensuring manufactured products met 99% of client specifications.

Reallocated and redesigned the annual budget...

...to manage club finances for the year...

...allowing the club to perform with 43% cost savings from last year.

· Instead of “telling” the employer what you can do, demonstrate it through your actions. Start off every bullet point using powerful verbs to help your resume stay action-oriented.

· Avoid job descriptions and focus on what you were able to achieve. Why were you better than someone else who did the same job? Identify specific accomplishments and areas of improvement in order to impress the recruiter

· Be as specific as possible and quantify your impact. Recruiters love numbers, as it is the best way to measure exactly how big of an impact you can make.

Sample Resume

The YNCN Handbook from 2014 gives a sample resume, cover letter as well as other useful resources. Find it at the following link: YNCN Handbook