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20 Tested Resume Tips From SLN Members

Written by Lauren Marinigh
Best Resume Tips for Students

The art of the resume is one that no one seems to have mastered—not because we’re short on tips and advice, but because every employer is looking for something different in a resume. Kind of annoying, right?

Thankfully, there are ways around the roadblocks.

Peter Vogt of weighed in on ten common resume mistakes that you should avoid and asked you what your top resume tips and tricks were. Here are some of SLNers’ favourites that will help you create a kickass resume and help you land your dream job:

1. “Read your resume out loud to catch any grammatical mistakes! You’ll be surprised at how many mistakes you can make and avoid.”
– Curtis Lul

2. “Include quantifiable data. For example: ‘Implemented ____ to increase _____ by 70%.'”
– Natalie Wong

3. “If submitting your resume electronically, make sure you have a unique, yet professional file name. ‘FirstnameLastnameResume’ is boring. Make it something they’ll pick out of a list of 100+ resumes.”
– Emily Poirier

4. “Have another set of eyes look over your resume. It’s amazing what you miss because you’ve read it over so many times!”
– Sonath An

“Read your resume out loud to catch any grammatical mistakes!”

5. “Don’t use silly email addresses! Employers know what ‘420’ and ’69’ are, and don’t really want to see email addresses with sexual connotations or immature themes. Yes, managers read these, and they can often create a strong first impression.”
– Shauna Burns

6. “Ensure that your references are expecting a call, and make sure to ask permission for them to be listed on your resume. Remember, they aren’t obligated to say anything positive about you, so choose wisely, and ask the person first if you can list them (they may not be so impressed with a call they weren’t expecting and this may not result in a positive review).”
– Aaryn Lynham

7. “Include volunteer work too. A lot of students don’t have years of job experience, so putting volunteering experience will give the employer an idea of your work ethic and interests.”
– Helen Chen

8. “Make sure to include a cover letter. Call the company ahead and find out who you should hand your resume to, then address your cover letter to that individual. Make sure you include a personal signature at the bottom. This will be a quick verification to the employer that you took the time to make your resume more personable.”
– Carissa Berner

9. “Don’t be afraid to give yourself credit where credit is due. This is a perfect time to boast about all the things that make you wonderful and unique, don’t be afraid to utilize it.”
– Erica Hill

10. “Formatting is huge—think of your resume like an ad for yourself. You want it laid out in clear, concise language in a way that’s pleasing to the eye. Employers get stacks of bullet-point resumes, and that little bit of visual flare is a similar technique to wearing professional attire to an interview. It’s all personal branding.”
– Paige Morrison

11. “When you write a resume, make it specific for the job that you’re applying for. Don’t make one resume for 10 different jobs, because each job is looking for something different. Put in skills and achievements that will relate to the job you’re applying for, and change it for when you apply to a different position or at a different place.”
– Maddie Gibson

“Think of your resume like an ad for yourself.”

12. “Keep a document of all your jobs, committee commitments, positions, skills learned, contacts, dates, etc. Also, always keep every version of all your resumes! I like to recycle the sentences or section that I get questioned about in interviews or get general compliments about.”
– Jolaine Arseneau

13. “Check out the criteria/qualifications for the job and make sure that you include key words from there into your resume skills section. Tailor it to every job and submit your resume the way they ask. For example: don’t email it if they say to drop it off in person.”
– Kaleigh Allan

14. “Including your hobbies in your resume can be an advantage. Employers want people who are well-rounded. Plus, it could give you an edge if you share something in common.”
– Tiffany Pejic

15. “You have about 5 to 10 seconds to catch the employer’s eye. That’s generally about how long you can expect them to look at your resume. So you need to set it up in such a way as to draw their attention to the main items immediately. Keep it neat, simple, and to the point.”
– Rachel McGowan

16. “Include a qualifications section at the top of your resume. Within it, list a handful of skills and experiences that are specific to why you are qualified for the position you are applying for. It will quickly display your best qualities and it will help engage your employer to thoughtfully read the rest of your resume.

Pro tip: include qualifications that are listed as required or desired in the job description provided by the employer.”
– Monica Schlote

17. “When dropping off your resume, try to speak with the manager or supervisor. They will most likely be the one to hire you. If you are daring enough to talk with them, it might get you the job and put you a cut above the rest. We don’t always sell ourselves well enough in the resume, and sometimes it’s better to meet face-to-face.”
– Hannah Blais

“When dropping off your resume, try to speak with the manager or supervisor.”

18. “Don’t overstuff your resume. Sure, you might have been Employee of the Month at McDonald’s eight years ago, but it’s so old that it’s probably not relevant to the job you’re applying for. Employers aren’t looking for your life story. Make it short and sweet, even if that means cutting some stuff out.”
– Seth Johnson

19. “If you don’t have relevant experience, use the majority of the first page to go over specific courses you took that allowed you to obtain the knowledge that would qualify you for an entry-level job.”
– Nadeen Hamdanieh

20. “Take your resume to the writing centre or career centre at your school. They will be able to give you some good advice on how to make your resume the best it can be!”
– Vysnavi Vijayakulasingam

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.