Create your document

Once you have a sense of what the position requires and what you have to offer, develop the best resume possible. There are two elements that go together to make a resume stand out: format and content.

Format

Visual Appeal

Be both creative and professional with your design so your resume sets you apart. For example, create a custom letterhead that gives a consistent, professional looks across your resume, cover letter and reference list. Choose a font and use colours and lines (in moderation!) to have your resume ‘pop’ out of a sea of black and white. 

Readability

Employers won’t waste their time on a hard to read resume. There are no minimum or maximum font sizes, but ensure text is legible and well-defined by use of surrounding white space. Ensure headings clearly stand out and text is consistently aligned vertically. Incorporate the CRAP principles of design.

Strategic Ordering

Based on what you know about the position, place the most important sections on your resume first, starting in descending order from the top of the first page. Consider using targeted headings to highlight relevant experience. For example, “Accounting Experience” or “Community Engagement” is more targeted than “Work Experience” and “Volunteer Experience”.

Content

The best way to show an employer what you can do for them is to tell them what you’ve already accomplished. That’s why it’s so important to not only tell readers what you've done in your past roles, but also the impact of your actions. 

Make every word count!

Accomplishment Statements

Consider using this formula to develop strong bullet points:

What + So What?

  • What: The task you accomplished or were responsible for
  • So What?: The result or impact of your actions, or the rationale behind what you did 

Use specific examples, and quantify results when you can to illustrate the scope of your work:

  • What: Built a website  
  • So What: Develped an intranet site that helped increase inter-office communication between twenty staff members across three locations

Action Verbs:

Start each bullet statement with a powerful action verb to make your content more dynamic. Incorporate key verbs mentioned in the job posting, but identify others as well. Use this Action Verbs List for inspiration.