Your resume and cover letter are your introduction to your potential employer. They create the first impression that will either lead to an interview or to the trash can. Any employer will tell you that a good resume and letter will make or break an application, so ensure that yours is the one that stands out.

Designing your Resume:

Before you write your resume, invest in some decent-quality paper. Job-seekers often mail out resumes on standard white copy paper; while this is not necessarily wrong, it is also not the best way to catch an employer's eye. Likewise, avoid flashy colors or cute motifs, such as flowers or clouds. Your choice of paper should reflect your professionalism and competency, not your fondness for beautiful sunsets!

Your best bet will be a 28 - 30lb. stock (weight) in soft grey, pale blue, cream, off-white, even pale peach or marble. The idea is stand out visually without screaming for attention.

Like your paper, the font or type-face you use on your resume should be clean and distinctive without being too ornate. Choose a font that is easy to read and stick with it. Do not use several different font styles on one page; to accent or highlight your name or certain elements of your resume, use italic or bold options.

You can experiment with the lay-out of your resume, but keep a few guiding principals in mind:

Try to keep plenty of white space around your text; cramming too much information onto one page will make your resume messy and hard-to-read.

Try to keep everything to two pages maximum. Employers do not have time to read several pages of information.

Keep the most important items of information up front and bulleted. This way they will stand out and attract the eye more readily.

Do not use less than 10 point font for your text, as it will be too small to read easily.

Do not use graphics, pictures, etc., to decorate your resume. Simple lines with a few dividers will add enough visual appeal to your page.

Writing your Resume:

As with the visual design, you can experiment with how you would like to present the written information in your resume.

There are 5 basic "elements" in a resume:

: This is the first piece of information on your resume, after your name, address and phone number. Under Objective, you will state the position you are hoping to find, along with the kind of experience you hope to gain or a highlight of the skills you expect to use.

Skills: In this section, you will outline the different skills you have that would make you a good candidate for the job. Divide your skill set into headings, such as Computer Skills, Supervising Skills, and Problem-Solving Skills. Under each heading, describe in one sentence or less the experience you have had that gave you or contributed to that particular skill.

Education: Here you will list the all institutions which you have attended, along with the levels of education you have received, beginning with your most recent, and ending with high school graduation.

Experience: List your work experience from your most recent job to the least recent. Include the dates, position and duties encompassed by the job, as well as the name and location of the company.

Note: Some university graduates may not have work experience relevant to the position they are applying for. But unpaid work, volunteer activities, internships, student committee involvement, and association memberships are valid and important examples of your on-going career experience. List these unconventional experience items with a brief explanation of how they have contributed to your skill set.

For example, volunteer work as an assistant Lab Supervisor demonstrates that you are trustworthy, and able to handle responsibility. Volunteering for APEGGA's Student Outreach Program indicates good presentation skills, interest in your profession and community advocacy. All of these things are of interest to employers.

References: It is not necessary to send reference letters with your resume unless it is specifically requested by the employer. Simply write "References are available upon request" otherwise.

To view a Sample Resume, Click Here [or in PDF Format]