Amanda C's Peer Connect Blogs

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5 Things to Avoid Doing on a Resume

Tuesday November 15th 2016 - Amanda C

A resume is an outline of your skills, experiences and accomplishments. Think of it like a first impression; it’s typically the first thing employers see or read before they actually meet you. Therefore, it’s important that you take the time to construct and format your resume in a way that will appeal to the reader and catch their eye! In order to make that first impression a good one, there are a few things that you should probably avoid doing. Here are 5 things that you should be mindful of when constructing your resume…

1. Avoid weird fonts


When it comes to fonts, it’s better to keep it simple. Leave out the fancy cursive fonts and creative word art. Stick with consistent and easy-to-read fonts, and try to use a maximum of 2 types of fonts. Too many styles of fonts may affect the formality and consistency of the resume.  

2. Watch out for an excess of white space


The balance of typed versus white space on a resume plays a major role in the overall impression of the resume. Of course, it all depends on how you decide to space out your bullet points and titles, and what resume template you decide to use. But on quick glance, if there is an imbalance between the space with words on it and the space with no words (ie. white space), then it may come across as less visually-appealing. Additionally, wasted space is like a wasted opportunity to further explain yourself and your skills/experiences on the resume.  

3. Don’t forget to spell out acronyms and short-formed organization titles


There are so many acronyms and short-formed organization titles out there that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them all! This is especially true at the University of Guelph because we have so many departments and student organizations with acronyms in place (ie. SHS, CECS, CSA, SLGs, etc.). It can be overwhelming and frustrating for an employer if they don’t know what that acronym stands for, so take the time to spell out the title of the organizations and companies you are a part of. It can be as simple as spelling it out once in the initial company/job position title, and then using the acronym every time after that.  


For example,
Support Learning Group (SLG) Leader                                   Sept 2016 – present
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
•    Skill developed as an SLG leader, and outcome #1
•    Skill developed as an SLG leader, and outcome #2
•    Skill developed as an SLG leader, and outcome #3

4. Avoid the overuse of bolded, italicized and underlined words 


Incorporating bolding, italicizing, and underlining into your resume can be good thing! It helps create consistency and uniformity among headings, subtitles, company/organization titles, and dates. However, be mindful of overusing them. Too many styles can make the resume look cluttered and distracting. Bottom line – use appropriately and when necessary.    

5. Don’t forget to incorporate strong action verbs into your bullet points


Neglecting to include strong action verbs like, “analyzed,” “budgeted,” “planned,” “developed,” “demonstrated,” “facilitated,” “improved,” and “implemented,” means that you are missing out on an opportunity to strengthen your bullet points. Aim to include at least one action verb in every bullet point on your resume. These verbs improve the richness of language on your resume, and help to meaningfully explain your skills and experiences.

I hope these tips helped! If you would like to have your resume reviewed, come see a Peer Helper at Co-op Education & Career Services (CECS) for a drop-in resume critique. We are available to help students every Monday to Friday from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm. Don’t forget to bring a hard copy of your resume!

More information about Peer Helper critiques can be found here: https://www.recruitguelph.ca/cecs/students-alumni/drop-sessions

Sincerely,

Amanda C | Click here to return to the Peer Connect Blog homepage


5 Ways Volunteering Improves Your University Experience

Monday October 17th 2016 - Amanda C

Volunteering – it’s something that we have been encouraged to do since the day we stepped foot in high school. It’s something that everyone knows they’re supposed to do...and yet, not everyone does it as often as they should. Volunteering during university, however, is quite possibly one of the best ways to improve yourself as a student and as a young adult. Think about it: if a university student can find a way to balance volunteering a few hours a week on top of classes, essays, group projects, etc., then is there anything they can’t do!?

All jokes aside, here are five honest reasons why volunteering during your time at university is the best thing that you can do for yourself…

1. Volunteering can help you manage your time better

Volunteering a few hours a week promotes better time management for students. The physical act of taking out a calendar or agenda and setting aside time each week to volunteer helps a student better organize and prioritize the other hours in the day for things like schoolwork and extra-curriculars.

2. Volunteering gives you a great sense of purpose

The #1 reason why I volunteer five hours a week with Career Services is because of that amazing and rewarding feeling I get when I help another student out. Feeling like you genuinely helped someone succeed at something is the best confidence booster because you know that you made a difference. In other words, volunteering helps you become more aware of your purpose on this planet and the impact that you alone (or your team) can have on an individual or community.

3. Helping others gives you the chance to learn about interesting topics, speak to diverse people, and gain new experiences

When you give up a few hours of your regular weekly routine to help others out, you end up getting a lot more out of it than you expect! By this, I mean when you are given the opportunity to connect with people of different backgrounds and experiences, you really gain a new understanding of the word “diverse.” You get to learn about different topics, perspectives and experiences that totally change the way you see the world around you.

4. Offering a few hours a week to volunteer can greatly improve your interpersonal skills

Simply put, volunteering helps you become more comfortable interacting with others. You learn very quickly that talking to people doesn’t have to be the scariest thing in the world, and that your written and verbal communication skills can seriously improve the more you practice having conversations with others. Essentially, volunteering can help you become more confident with yourself and your speaking abilities.

5. Volunteering can help you figure out what values and beliefs you support, and what things matter most to you

Volunteering can help you figure out what matters most to you. By regularly setting aside time to focus on others and not yourself, you figure out what traits you value in others, and what values you think are important to possess - honestly, fairness, respect, transparency, etc.

For example, when I volunteer as a Peer Helper with Career Services, I really appreciate when students come in and clearly communicate that they want their resumes to accurately and honestly represent themselves as professional individuals. This always makes me stop and realize that honesty and authenticity are two values that I strongly believe in, and that I tend to show more respect to people when they demonstrate these values. It seems that volunteering can help you figure out what values you believe in, and which ones you might want to strengthen by the time you graduate from post-secondary studies.

For more information on how you can get involved at the University of Guelph, or in the City of Guelph, check out these resources below:

Student Life @ the University of Guelph - https://studentlife.uoguelph.ca/

Student Volunteer Connections @ the University of Guelph - https://studentlife.uoguelph.ca/cegc/local-learning/student-volunteer-connections

The People and Information Network - http://volunteergw.ca/

The Peer Helper Program @ the University of Guelph - https://studentlife.uoguelph.ca/cegc/peer-helper-program/become-peer-helper

Now go out, volunteer, and gain the skills & experiences you need to become the best university student you can be!

Sincerely,

Amanda C


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