Content and Sections

Separating your resume into sections makes it easy for employers to read. Strategically order your resume to showcase your skills and experience.

Jump to a section:

Contact Info

Include the following information:

  • Your name- use a 20-24pt bold font
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number(s)
  • Professional-sounding email address (like your uleth.ca address)
  • LinkedIn address (if applicable)

If posting to an online job board where anyone can view your resume, remove your phone number, address, and references for confidentiality purposes. Keep your personal information safe.

Ensure that your voicemail message is appropriate and professional. Check your messages often.

For tip-sheets, videos, and tutorials on crafting a strong LinkedIn profile and using it effectively in your job search as a student or new graduate, see LinkedIn University.
 

Profile (optional)

Write this section last. Think of this section as a succinct summary of who you are and what you have to offer the employer. This section introduces you to the reader, evoking a strong first impression on your fit for the position.

  • If you include this optional (but effective) section, place it near the top of your resume, right under your contact information.
  • Typically include 1-3 statements including your education and/or level of expertise relevant to the position, background areas of work or skill, and specifically mention of the job title and organization name to show focus and initiative.
  • You may also include passion statement(s) or career goals to show strong interest in the position or type of work, and phrases to describe soft skills or personal qualities of relevance.

Education and/or Training

  • List the educational program title first and on the left side of the page.
  • Use bold or underlined text for emphasis.
  • List the name of the school, city, province, and completion date.
  • List the full title of your degree, as well as your major (e.g. Bachelor of Arts: Psychology).
  • Add bulleted sub-points to highlight relevant accomplishments during your school years. Some examples include:
    • relevant courses, projects
    • GPA (if strong)
    • scholarships and awards
    • club memberships
    • extracurricular activities
    • athletic or intramural involvement
    • school and professional conferences attended
    • Students Union roles and activities
  • Move these accomplishments to a separate section if you want to highlight it or reduce the size of the education section.
  • Describe specific projects you completed, if they are directly relevant.
  • Remove your high school credentials from your resume once you’re in your second year of post-secondary, unless you have a very specific reason to leave it in.
     

Summary of Qualifications (optional)

If written well, a summary section can have a very positive impact on employers by showcasing your relevant skills and experience immediately on the first page.

  • Focus on skills identified in the job posting and include concrete examples of how you’ve demonstrated these skills.
  • Use bullet points to make the information easy to read. Formatting choices like bold or italic text can emphasize key words, but don’t overdo it. If everything is bold, nothing stands out.
  • If needed, create multiple sub-headings with information grouped under appropriate categories.
  • Pull from all areas of your life to fill in this section. Include relevant information from your previous employment, academic background, volunteer or extra-curricular activities, and personal traits and characteristics.
     

Relevant Experience

  • Combine relevant paid and unpaid work, project, co-op, internship/practicum, and volunteer experience under an appropriately descriptive heading. Some examples include:
    • Research Experience
    • Banking and Finance Experience
    • Nursing Experience
    • Teaching and Instructional Experience
    • Human Service Experience
    • Customer Service Experience
    • Career-related Experience
    • etc.
  • List the job title first with some type of emphasis (e.g. bold text). Include the name of the organization, location, and your start and end dates.
  • Try to include at least one experience entry on the first page of your resume.
    • If your experience was not paid, clearly state that in your job title to help the reader understand your role (e.g. “Marketing Intern”, “Project Coordinator (volunteer)”).
  • Include bullet points explaining activities performed, responsibilities taken on, skills developed, special accomplishments, compliments from supervisors, leadership roles, committee work, etc. See the Writing Effectively section for ideas of how to include relevant information.
  • Mirror the language of the industry and job posting you're seeking, and focus on the skills and abilities that will match the needs of the position.
     

Additional Experience

This section includes less relevant job entries and can be located on the second page of your resume.

  • List the job title, organization, location, and dates without any further details if the job title explains the role clearly.
  • If you choose to add detail in these entries, focus on the transferable skills you developed and how you can apply them to the position you’re seeking.
  • Leave older, less relevant work off your resume if you have more current relevant information that you want to highlight instead.
     

Volunteer and Extra-curricular

Volunteerism and extra-curricular activities show employers that you contribute to your community, are generous with your time, and take the initiative to get involved. Many employers view this favourably.

In addition to building your skills and experiences, volunteering is a great way to network! Many professionals volunteer in their communities, so getting involved is a great way to meet people and build relationships with potential employers and colleagues.

  • List the job title first and format with some type of emphasis (e.g. bold text). Place the name of the organization, location, and dates on the second line.
  • If you add detail in these entries, focus on the transferable skills you developed and can apply to the new position you’re seeking.
     

Interests and Activities (Optional)

This section shows employers that you’re well-rounded and can help them understand your personality and how you may fit with their team.

  • Listing unique interests may also make readers remember you and help you build rapport with an interview panel.
  • Add 3-4 bullet points to help build a connection with the reader.
  • Each bullet point should have a unique theme (e.g. travel, active lifestyle, creative arts, etc.)
     

References

Including references signals to the reader that you have strong references who are ready and willing to speak well of you.

  • The best references are the most recent and relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  • Supervisors and academic references are stronger than personal or character references, which are seen to be more objective.
  • If you choose to include personal references, do not include family members or peers.
  • Potential references might include former employers, supervisors, professors, volunteer supervisors, coaches, professional mentors, teachers, or neighbours.
  • Include the person’s name, job title, organization name, and phone number. If their job title does not make your relationship clear, add a statement to define how the person knows you (e.g. “Previous supervisor at X”, “Character reference”).
  • Email addresses are optional and should not replace phone numbers – employers doing reference checks will want to actually speak with your references.
  • If you choose not to include references on your resume, make sure you bring a list of them to your interviews.
  • Always ask your references (in person if possible) for permission to include them on your resume. Talk with them about what they might say about you to potential employers.
  • If you choose to upload your resume to a website that can be accessed by the general public, protect yourself and your references by removing any personal information.