Build Your Resume/CV

Your resume or CV is a marketing tool to help sell you. It is not your autobiography, thesis or a historical document outlining everything you have ever done. Its sole purpose is to land you an interview, so it must be customized, concise, factual and organized by relevance.

It should demonstrate your capabilities, responsibilities and interests as it relates to the specific job/industry in which you are applying. Developing one resume (or CV) and using it to apply to different industries, employers or positions is not effective because it will sound generic and won't speak to the specific employer requirements. 

Think like an employer. Imagine that you have 30 resumes sitting in front of you and it’s your job to narrow the pile down to interview 4 people. What would you look for? How much time would you spend trying to find the information?  Making your resume specific to the job and easy for an employer to find your skills and accomplishments is an important part of writing any resume.

Resume Do's. Focuses on skills and accomplishments. Vocabulary is simple and uses industry jargon correctly. Concise and focus is on job requirements. Speaks to skills you do have and doesn't try to explain ones you don't. Most relevant information (for the job) is at the top. Free of spelling and grammatical errors. Uses bullet points instead of writing in paragraph format. Maximum 2 fonts are used throughout. Always factual and truthful!   Resume Don'ts. Add pictures or personal details. Write one resume and think you're finished. Use personal pronouns (I, my, me, we). Provide reasons for leaving previous jobs (unless it was contract/summer). Use multiple fonts or highlighting techniques. Use templates - they are not easy to customize. Write in paragraphs - it's harder to find information. Speak in terms of duties and responsiibilities - speak to skills and accomplishements. Provide references unless requested. Lie or stretch the truth. It's easy to find information these days.

Action Verbs 

Resume Checklist 

When you're satisfied with the design of your resume, attend an appointment with a Peer Helper to review the content and discuss ways to further enhance your resume. 

Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is in some ways similar to a resume, but differs in that it is a more comprehensive document detailing your qualifications and experience.

In Canada a CV is often used when applying for:

  • Graduate studies
  • Professional programs (law school, medical school)
  • Academic positions
  • Executive or advanced level positions
  • Field specific research positions (Science, Engineering)
  • Performing and studio art positions
  • Professional association membership or designation

Like the resume, your CV needs to be logically organized and have clear headings so that information can be easily accessed by a potential employer. Depending on your experience, there are a variety of headings that may be applicable. Click here for a list of headings to consider.

Some employers use the term resume and CV interchangeably. If an employer is requesting a CV and you are not applying in one of the areas listed above, it is more than likely a resume is required of you. Ask for clarification regarding the desired format if you are unsure. 

                                                                           Resumes vs. CV's. Resumes. Usually no more than 2 pages in length. Provide a summary of relevant skills and qualifications as they relate to the job in which you are applying. Used in most industries at many levels. Used to quickly screen candiates. CV's. Typically 3 - 10 pages in length, or more, depending on experience. Provide a comprehensive listing of all qualification. Highlights teaching, research, service, awards, publications and more. Used for academic and higher level executive positions. Used to study credentials, area of specialization, immersion in a field and biographical information.

When you're satisfied with the design of your CV, attend an appointment with a Career Advisor to review the content and discuss ways to further enhance your CV. 

Additional CV Resources:

CV or resume: A beginner's guide to non-academic applications 

Your Academic CV