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3 Things Wilbur Learned About Resumes 

Monday February 26 – Ellie Y

Who Is Wilbur?

University of Guelph’s Student Life has a giant paper mache pig, a mascot if you will, that “travels” around to each Peer Team for a week every year!  Wilbur spent the week before winter break with us peer helpers of the Co-operative Education and Career Services.  While here in the Peer Hub, Wilbur took advantage of the opportunity to learn about resumes, and how applying this knowledge can help give him a competitive advantage in the job market.

1. Skills

The first section of every resume is typically dedicated to the highlights and qualifications that a person has.  In this section it's important to include any relevant technical skills that have been acquired through experience or certification.  These can include things such as being CPR certified or having taken a course on using Microsoft (or any other specific computer programs).  It’s important to list these ‘hard skills’ (as they’re typically referred to) in order to show that you are knowledgeable in various areas and give yourself a competitive advantage over others.  Remember to list skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for and to only list these skills and qualifications if you are confident in your ability and knowledge of them.

2. Education

Education is typically the second section in a resume, but it may be different depending on what type of resume you are constructing.  Regardless of the format, your education section should list your educational history in reverse chronological order, which just means having the most recent schooling at the top of the section.  For many this will be ones’ university career, followed by listing ones' high-school (although listing your high-school is optional).  To give yourself a competitive advantage when applying to different jobs, you can list specific courses that you’ve taken that may be relevant to the job.  For example, if you’re applying to be a research assistant, you may want to list the various research and statistics classes that you took.  You can simply list these in a bullet point beneath your University heading.  Remember, don’t just put the course code (i.e., PSYC 3470), but list the full name of the course (i.e., Putting Psychology to Work) so that whoever reads over your resume will understand why you’re listing those relevant courses.

3. Work Experience

After these first two sections typically comes the section where you get to list your experience on the job market.  For many people, they may think that their past job experience is either lacking or it doesn’t seem to relate to the job they’re applying to.  Whatever the case is, there are things that can be done in order to showcase your skills.  For each job you want to list on your resume, it's recommended to list the position, the company, and the location in that order.  Underneath each job you can list two to four points describing what you did, how you did it, and a positive outcome which resulted from that. 

The goal is to essentially display to who ever is reading the resume that you have acquired transferable skills that will make you a valuable employee for the position you’re applying to.  For example, if you’re applying to an administrative position but think your retail experience won’t help on your resume, think again!  Perhaps you had great time management and organization when you worked retail by always showing up on time for shifts.  Or maybe the store owners trusted you enough to responsibly close the store and handle large sums of money when reconciling the daily sales.  The list could go on but the important takeaway is that you need to use these bullet points to briefly but effectively show a possible employer how the skills you used in a past job are related to the skills you would need for the job you’re applying to.

What now?

Now that you have read about some of the tips and recommendations that go along with these three sections on your resume, what can you do?  The first thing you can do is to use these recommendations to beef up your resume on your own.  That’s exactly what Wilbur did!  He took all the things he learned from the CECS Peer Helpers and applied them to his resume.  After that, he took advantage of the awesome opportunity to meet with peer helpers to look over and edit his resume.  It’s a great opportunity to acquire some free, quality advice from people who have been trained to give the best and latest recommendations on resumes.  Better still is the fact that Cooperative Education and Career Services at the University of Guelph offers an unlimited number of meetings that you can set up in order to look over your resume, cover letter, or conducting mock interviews.