Tip #1 – Put the Most Important Information that You Want an Employer to Read in the First 1/3 of Your Resume

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Tip #1 – Put the Most Important Information that You Want an Employer to Read in the First 1/3 of Your Resume
An employer will scan your resume for about 15 seconds or less, paying the most attention to the first 1/3 of your resume to see what kind of skills and experience you have before making a snap judgment that will usually hold true for them.
Tip #2 – Pay Attention to Your Job Titles!

Which set of headings do you think will impress the employer the most??
Employers can receive hundreds of resumes! You have to make sure that your resume hooks an employer’s attention. A good start is to use job titles and skill headings that actually relate to and match the job that you want.
For example:

Before Resume After Resume

Salesperson Customer Service Representative

Assistant Secretary Administrative Assistant

Babysitter Childcare Attendant

Tip #3 – Use a Design that Grabs Attention
Employers make quick judgements! If they find job titles or skills that don’t relate to the position, they might just make the assumption that you aren’t directly qualified for the job that you are applying for. Furthermore, often employers don’t read through each of your job descriptions, which sometimes results in them reading the wrong things.
This is why you should do it for them! Highlight with the help of formatting the most important information. The employer should be able to immediately form an image of your SKILLS and abilities.
Tip #4 – Create Content That Sells
Although resume design should get attention, it’s really the content of your resume, the descriptions you include of your skills and abilities, that determines how well your resume does. Which of these examples would make you sound more qualified?c:\documents and settings\ppaoluzzi\local settings\temporary internet files\content.ie5\q0xqhjfv\mc900388906[1].wmf

Before Resume:
Took care of my neighbour’s children, and talked to them about school.
After Resume:
Organized and participated in activities to provide amusement and exercise for 3 children, twice a week. Instructed children in personal hygiene and social development.
Tip #5 – Quantify and Use Power Words

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As we just demonstrated, using numbers to describe your achievements and responsibilities can improve your image. Using numbers and quantifying creates images in our mind when we read them, while general statements are easy to skip over or forget. Usually the more specific you can be the better.

Example: As a member of the Trout Lake Community Centre Youth Council, I actively participated in a fundraising initiative that resulted in raising over $1,500.

Another strategy is to use Power Words or verbs that match the level of the position you want.

Which example below do you think is the strongest?

Typical Verbs:

Took money from customers, sold food.

Power Words:

Co-ordinated the preparation of products, communicated with customers, worked in a team. Processed money, debit, and credit card payments.

Tip #6 – Analyze Ads and Job Descriptions to Find Key Words
Employers tell you what they are looking for in their job ads, job descriptions and on their websites. Read the qualifications carefully and for each skill/attribute that they list, if you have it, make sure that you include it on your resume
Large companies often use specialized software that screens resumes for specific words and phrases. Finding a way of working key words into your resume would make you come across as a good candidate---you would match their description perfectly!
But, you should only include a key word if you have that skill or attribute
Example #1: I visited the London Drugs website and found a job posting for a part-time, Sales Service position:

The successful candidate will have the following:
• High degree of social skills (courteous, sincere, articulate, well groomed).
• High level of tolerance while interacting with the public.
• Good cash handling abilities.
• Efficient and knowledgeable in cash register operations, scanning and bagging techniques.
• Mature, positive, and professional attitude.
• Previous experience in a customer service role (consideration will be given to those applicants with related, non-work, experience)

Tip: Make your resume stand out by finding a way of working key words and phrases from this ad into your resume. You could use your cover letter to expand on your related, non-work experience.
Example #2: I visited H&M’s website and here’s the advice they give to job applicants.

1. Do your research

  • It’s important that you do your research and are well prepared when applying for a position. At hm.com, you can read all about us, and under FAQ you’ll find the answers to the most common questions about a career at H&M.

Take our (on-line) quiz to find out if you share the H&M spirit!

2. Your application

  • Always read the ad carefully to make sure you match the requirements.

  • Have a look at your CV and personal letter and, if necessary, adapt it to the position you are applying for.

  • Explain why you’re applying for the position.

  • Make sure you emphasize why you’re a great fit for the position.

  • Don’t make your personal letter too long. One page is sufficient.

  • Make it clear in your application what you know about H&M.

If you follow these instructions, it will increase your chances of being contacted for an interview!
Tip #7 – Identify and Solve Employer’s Hidden Needs
As well as the skills or qualities listed above, the employer will have a few other needs that you want to identify and address in your resume and/or cover letter. For example, being in the retail industry, H&M would want someone that:

• gets along well with other members

• loves to compliment people

• is very sociable and outgoing

• is good at multi-tasking
To beat the competition, it is important that you identify or anticipate the wide range of needs that the employer might have, and then show them how you can solve these needs.
Tip #8 – Sell the Benefits of Your Skills
Many resumes provide a list of skills that the applicant has, without explaining the benefits of their skills. For example:c:\documents and settings\ppaoluzzi\local settings\temporary internet files\content.ie5\02ezxooc\mc900240373[1].wmf
Quick at learning and are very calm
This statement lacks an explanation of how this would help the employer’s bottom line. You could say this:
Quick at learning resulting in high efficiency immediately.

Acts calmly and logically in fast-paced environment and to problem-solve.

Tip #9 – Prioritize the Content of Your Resume
One mistake many job seekers make is to list very important facts in the lower sections of their job descriptions. When you put together statements for your resume, prioritize them by importance, impressiveness, and relevance to the job that you want. After all, a strong statement which uses power words and quantifies will affect every statement after it. Which of the two examples below has the most impact?

c:\documents and settings\ppaoluzzi\local settings\temporary internet files\content.ie5\9wj0un82\mc900322837[1].wmf

Example: Unprioritized

Processed money, debit and credit card payments

Co-ordinated the preparation of food products

Communicated with customers

Worked in a team

Communicated with customers

Co-ordinated the preparation of food products

Worked in a team

Processed money, debit and credit card payments
Tip #10 – Get Feedback on Your Resume
Once you’ve got a first draft of your resume, get some feedback from a friend, an adult, your teacher or Career Advisor. Check for spelling and punctuation errors (don’t just rely on spellcheck)! Make sure that your email address looks professional. If you have a cute sounding email address from elementary school, now is the time to set up a new email account for job searching. First initial and your last name @domain name looks professional. c:\documents and settings\ppaoluzzi\local settings\temporary internet files\content.ie5\q2v0gav0\mc900289941[1].wmf
e.g. jbwinters@gmail.com
Now – Make or Improve Your Resume!
And remember, you will get many more interviews by tweaking your resume and cover letter so that they address the specific skills and attributes that each employer requests.

Adapted from a Top 10 Tips for Resume Writing handout, author unknown
Sample Resume Template

Name (First, Last)

Address, Postal Code, Phone number, E-mail address


  • List skills/attributes that you have that are relevant to the position

  • Prioritize them by importance, impressiveness and relevance to the job

  • Same

  • Same

  • Same


School, City

Highest level completed

Any relevant courses

Position Date

Company, City

  • Action Verb + Task → Result

  • Action Verb + Task → Result

  • Duties and responsibilities

Position Date

Company, City

  • Action Verb + Task → Result

  • Action Verb + Task → Result

  • Duties and responsibilities

Position Date

Company, City

  • Action Verb + Task → Result

  • Action Verb + Task → Result

  • Duties and responsibilities


  • Name of Award, year received

  • Name of Award, year received


  • Relevant hobby or interest

  • Relevant hobby or interest

  • Relevant hobby or interest

More on Power Words:

  • When a hiring manager is seeing the same old resume time and time again which includes the cliché words and phrases such as “highly dedicated individual” or “great team player,” your resume will not stand out and may likely be deleted

  • Poorly chosen words and clichéd phrases can destroy the interest of the reader.

  • When chosen correctly, power words, can have the opposite effect of motivating and inspiring the reader

Examples of Power Words:

  • Benefited • Operated

  • Collaborated • Obtained

  • Demonstrated • Promoted

  • Developed • Presented

  • Efficient • Provided

  • Enhanced • Recommended

  • Excelled • Skilled

  • Exceeded • Supported

  • Guided • Secured

  • Helped • Streamlined

  • Implemented • Strengthened

  • Increased • Troubleshoot

  • Initiated • Tutored

  • Innovated • Trained

  • Maintained

Now Let’s Take a Look At Some Resumes Samples…..

This student is seeking a part-time job as a Guest Service Agent in a high end spa


3506 East 24th Avenue

Vancouver BC V5G 4N3

P: 778- 600-2288 mariatan@live.ca

Enthusiastic and responsible high school student with several years of experience in customer service. Friendly, confident, and enjoys interacting with the public and learning about new products and selling strategies to meet company targets.

  • Strong interest and knowledge of skin care, loves to learn and try new products

  • Three years of experience in the hospitality industry as a Server

  • Enjoys using customer service skills to help people and create a positive experience

  • Strong ability to juggle multiple tasks and stay calm and organized resulting in high efficiency

  • Quick learner, reliable, punctual, able to adapt easily to new environments

  • Able to work independently, take initiative and follow established procedures

  • Works cooperatively with others and pays attend to detail to ensure smooth operations

Currently in Grade 12 Grad 2013

Gladstone Secondary, Vancouver BC

  • Electives in Marketing and Accounting

  • Food Safe Level 2

Server/Cashier 2011 – 2012

Great Han Mongolian BBQ, Vancouver BC

  • Provided efficient and friendly food and beverage service to guests

  • Processed payments

  • Ensured customer satisfaction through maintaining store cleanliness and following procedures

Cashier/Server/Barista 2010 – 2011

Iced Cafe, Richmond BC

  • Greeted customers, took food & drink orders and processed payments

  • Made hot and cold beverages, sandwiches and desserts

Sales Associate 2010 – 2011

Forever XXI Metrotown, Burnaby BC

  • Used product knowledge and customer service skills to sell store items

  • Unpacked clothing and stocked shelves

Resume of Maria Tan Page 2

Customer Service Representative 2009 - 2010

Bubble World, Vancouver BC

  • Took orders, prepared drinks and handled payment

  • Ensured work area was kept cleaned and well-stocked

Crew Trainer 2008 - 2010

McDonald's, Vancouver BC

  • Provided quick and efficient customer service and processed payments

  • Promoted to crew trainer within five months of commencement of employment

  • Trained and supported new hires on learning established procedures for cash, order taking, putting orders together, and maintaining a clean and sanitary work station

Makeup, skin care, pets, cooking, piano, reading fashion magazines, travelling, badminton, sewing and photography

This student is seeking his first part-time job in customer service.
First Name Last Name

1234 E. 33rd Ave Vancouver, BC V5N 3E7

Cell Phone #: (778)-333-3333 your email address@hotmail.com

Skills & Attributes

  • Completed Cafeteria training course, skilled in customer service, food preparation, safe handling of food products and maintaining a clean work environment

  • Work with team members to achieve customer service goals of efficiency and satisfaction

  • Good attitude, committed to continuous improvement in customer service

  • Hardworking, organized, friendly, energetic, responsible, fast-learner

  • Speak fluent English, Mandarin, & Cantonese

Education & Training
Grade 12 Graduating June 2013

Gladstone Secondary School, Vancouver, BC

  • Knowledge of Graphic Art Design, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop

Volunteer/ Experience  
Program Assistant, Cedar Cottage Community Centre, Vancouver May 2011 - Present

  • Assisting in various programs for youth and seniors

  • Work collaboratively with team members to develop ideas for new events and activities

  • Baking cookies and engaging in crafts with children to support their social development

Student Worker, School Cafeteria, Gladstone Secondary, Vancouver BC 2011-2012

  • Cafeteria training in a professional kitchen in a school with more

than 1200 students and 140 staff

  • Catering, safe food handling, food service, kitchen helper, sandwich maker

  • Help prepare main course meals for lunch hour


  • Food Safe Level 1 Certificate - 2012

  • Good Work Habits Award, Gladstone Secondary


  • Cooking and baking

  • Graphic Art Design

  • Sports: badminton, skating, swimming, music, internet

  • Looking forward to make new friends with co-workers

Recent high school graduate looking for a part-time job in retail related to sports

123 Success Street

Vancouver, B.C. V3C 6B6

Tel: (604) 777-7777

Email: cyoung@hotmail.com


  • Acquired excellent customer service and teamwork skills as a Cashier for Shopper’s Drug Mart and through more than 200 hours of sports and recreation-related volunteer work

  • Processed money, debit and credit card payments

  • Passionate about the outdoors and continuous learning of outdoor equipment and gear

  • Positive attitude, friendly, confident, reliable, enjoys interacting with the public

  • Leadership skills, able to take initiative, work hard and be a strong team member

  • Voted “Most Valuable Player” of the Junior Basketball Team in 2010

Grade 12 Diploma (Academic average of 86%) 2012

Gladstone Secondary, Vancouver, B.C.

Focus areas of study: Sciences, Physical Education
Foodsafe Certificate, Vancouver School Board 2011

Superhost Certificate, Tourism B.C. 2011
CASHIER (Part-time) 2010 - Present

Shopper’s Drug Mart, Vancouver, B.C.

  • Communicating with customers and handling customers complaints and returns

  • Handling cash, debit and credit transactions of over $8,000 per shift

  • Following opening and closing procedures

  • Unpacking new inventory and stocking shelves


2011 Canadian Gymnastics Championships

  • Responsible for timing of the warm-up time on bars and a fall on bars


Dunbar Community Centre, Vancouver, B.C.

  • Assisted at a summer youth camp with organizing various sports and recreational activities

SUMMER CAMP ASSISTANT (90 hours) July 2010

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.

  • Assisted the camp counsellor full-time, over a three week period, to run a successful summer camp for children aged 9-12

  • Organized and supervised a variety of activities with the goal of maintaining a high level of engagement and enthusiasm


  • Member of the Junior and Senior Basketball Teams 2009 – 2012

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