Charles Freeman


Tailor your resume to suit the position you are applying for.

Specify work experience or achievements that are related to the position you are applying to. This can be done by reviewing the job description or the employer website.

Make your resume clear and concise.

An employer takes an average of 30 seconds to skim read a resume. You want them to immediately see right away that you are qualified for the position. Your resume must clearly, concisely, and strategically present your qualifications to get a recruiter interested in speaking to you. It should convey your skills, work experience and assets.

Job opportunities can arise unexpectedly so always maintain an updated resume. An updated modern resume is the key to a successful job search. Here are some do’s and don’ts of how to write a good resume and what to include.


Select a format that is appropriate for you.


Those who have had a steady career path in the same field for a long period of time or are applying for jobs in similar fields and has few, if any, gaps in their employment history.


Those who have started and stopped their careers and are facing gaps in their work history or are making a significant career change. Functional resumes are also great for people who are targeting a position.


Those who are looking to make a career change and move from one industry to another.


  • Use clean and simple formatting that organizes the sections of your resume well.
  • Choose a font style and size that is professional and legible.
    • Use a simple ATS (Applicant Tracking System) friendly font (e.g. Arial, Helvetica)
    • Use a font size between 10-12.
    • Use black as your font colour.
    • Use the same font throughout.
    • Be consistent in your use of fonts, font sizes, alignment, bold, underlines, italics, date formats, and bullets.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Keep your margins to between 1⁄2 to 1 inch on all sides of the paper.
  • Single spacing usually works the best.


Keep your resume short, 2 pages maximum. Place the emphasis of your resume on your most recent experience. Older jobs and experience that are more than 15 years old should either be cut out or minimized. This way, the employer can focus on more relevant information.

1 page if you are early in your career.
2 pages if you are mid to senior in your career.


Beyond the layout and structure of your resume, grammar is very important. Here are some points to consider when writing and reviewing your resume:

Use simple words and action verbs.

The person reading your resume may not always be the employer. Resumes can be reviewed by recruiters or Human Resources specialists who may not be familiar with your specific field. Use simple and plain language, but also persuasive verbs such as handled, managed, led, developed, increased, accomplished, leveraged, etc.

Past Tense Vs Present Tense.

Use the correct tense — past or present — when describing your duties and accomplishments. Use present tense (example: ‘analyze user data’ or ‘coordinate events’) when talking about a current role. Use past tense (example: ‘analyzed user data’ or ‘coordinated events’) when talking about a past role. You should also do the same on your LinkedIn profile, to ensure it matches your resume and accurately reflects your current employment situation.


Your resume is a form of professional writing. Avoid using slang, textspeak, abbreviations, and other forms of informal language. You may be tight for space, but simplifying and being concise with your descriptions is better than substituting ‘w/’ for ‘with’ or ‘&’ for ‘and’. Abbreviations may be acceptable in certain cases, such as industry-specific titles or certifications. When in doubt, use formal.

Bullet Points

Use bullet points when describing employment experiences. Each bullet should convey a single key point and be one or two lines long. Specificity is important. Fewer but precise words will meaningfully convey your experiences and expertise while ensuring each bullet point is digestible for recruiters and potential employers to skim read. A thesaurus is very useful in helping to condense your words and avoid repetition.


Review your resume after completion, but also proofread each line as you go along. Ensure that spellcheck is set to the appropriate dialect of English (i.e. Canadian) and be wary of its suggestions for revisions, autocorrect isn’t always right. You should also seek additional external resources. These include professional resume services, help from recruiters, and obtaining a second opinion from a trusted friend. There are also programs and plugins you can download that go beyond default spellcheck. Grammarly is a good example – while the paid version oders enhanced grammar revision suggestions (such as context awareness, vocabulary enhancement, etc.), the free version oders critical grammar and spelling checks across your personal computer.

Grammar and spelling errors in your resume reflect poorly on you as a candidate. They can give the impression to recruiters and potential employers that you are lacking in communication abilities, attention to detail and time management skills. Remember to keep your resume skimmable, but do not skim when editing it!

Each resume should be written to reflect the specific job that you are applying for. However, there are a few keys that will get your resume noticed:

  • Load it up with relevant accomplishments. Be sure to include tangible and measurable impacts on the team, customer or organization.
  • Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Key competencies and accomplishments that help the reader imagine you doing well in the role are edective ways to be seen as the right person for the job.


Recent graduates and new in career:

  • Personal Information
  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Extra-curricular Activities
  • Additional Info (Skills, Languages, Interests, Volunteering)

Experienced professionals:

  • Personal Information
  • Work Experience
  • Projects/Activities (Optional)
  • Education
  • Additional Info (Skills, Languages, Interests, Volunteering)


A brief sentence or two highlighting your skills and explaining how your accomplishments will
benefit the company receiving your application; try to match this information with the qualifications
and general tone of the job description.

For newcomers to Canada include Visa status if not currently working in Canada


Include all universities/colleges/institutions you’ve attended, along with your major, minor and
graduation year. If a recent graduate, include your GPA if it’s above 3.5 out of 4.


  • A quick outline of the skills (both “hard” and “soft”) that relate to the position and company you
    are applying to.
  • Always include keywords to get past resume screening software and ATS.
  • Google examples of great action words and keywords to use.


  • The most important part of the resume. If appropriate, you can split this section into ‘Relevant
    Experience’ and ‘Other Experience’.
  • In general, reverse chronological order, current or last role first.
  • Within each job, organize your bullets by importance and relevance.
  • Include your company name, a very short summary about the company, location, positions
    held, plus a short description where necessary.
  • Your first bullet point should either describe your most impactful experience at the company, or
    the experience that is most relevant to the job you are applying to.
  • Ensure each line is accomplishment oriented, not responsibilities oriented and are not just
    listing your responsibilities. You want to be able to identify the best examples of where you
    demonstrated your skills. These examples should speak to what you achieved in your role, and
    should demonstrate what kind of employee you are. It is best to include this information in the
    “Work experience” section of the resume.
  • Quantify your achievements – Use firm numbers that the employer will understand and be
    impressed by. For example, how many people you supervised, how many products you sold, by
    what percentage you increased sales, etc.
  • Start each bullet point with an action-oriented words and verbs (e.g. Developed, Managed etc.)
  • For newcomers to Canada, include all relevant experience, regardless of location.


Include languages, technical skills, volunteering, professional associations, memberships or interests.

Include unpaid work that show oS your skills. If you have volunteered with a well-known organization or worked for an important cause, put it in your resume. You should include these experiences under the “Work experience” or the “Volunteer work” section, especially if they are related to the position you are applying for.

Double check and include your contact information. Your resume should list your name, address, email and phone number. This information should be placed at the top of the first page. Also, make sure this information is accurate. Otherwise, the employer won’t be able to contact you.


  • Photo: Some companies Applicant Tracking Systems reject resumes with a photo.
  • References: Not necessary to include on the resume. Don’t waste space with “References Available Upon Request”.
  • Personal information: Religion, marital status, ethnicity, age, gender, political adiliations.
  • Graphics/Icons/Logos: ATS systems may have a hard time parsing resumes with images. The only exception is for creative jobs, such as graphic design, where the resume is almost considered part of the portfolio.
  • Colours: Avoid using multiple colours. A dark header may be used.


  • Have I exaggerated anything about my skills (or anything else on my resume)?
  • Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?
  • Are all resume sections clearly labeled?
  • Have I had someone proofread it? Submitting a resume that has spelling or grammatical errors indicates low attention to detail. A simple spelling mistake on a resume can give a negative impression to the employer. It can even prevent you from getting the job.
  • Is the resume targeted to a specific career goal, as opposed to a one-size fits- all document?
  • If this is a resume for a career change, does it include supporting details that show how my experience is relevant to the new job?
  • Am I happy with how it looks?
  • Save it as an Acrobat pdf file.
  • Email your resume and rename the file to an appropriate name. For example, ‘Jane Smith Resume.’
  • Triple check that your contact details are correct.
  • Apply using a professional email address.
  • Accompany your resume with an attention-grabbing cover letter either as an attachment or in the email body.


  • Lie. Lying on your resume is never a good idea. You don’t want to overstate your skills or results as it will mislead the employer. Have confidence in what you have to oder.
  • Don’t address the reader incorrectly. Try researching who the hiring manager is. If you are unable to find a specific name, you can address the cover letter to a general hiring manager.
  • Don’t apply for a job that you are clearly not qualified for without backing up your experience. This often demonstrates:
    • Your attention to detail is low.
    • You have not done your research about the role you are applying for.
    • You don’t know how to sell yourself on roles you are underqualified for.
    • Your coverletter and resume must explain to the reader why you want to get into that field, what transferable skills you have and how you will excel in the role.
  • Don’t include a photo of yourself. Although this is common in some countries, it is not appropriate in North America. It can actually lower your chances of obtaining a position and divert the whole focus of your resume. You want the employer to focus on your skills and experience, not what you look like.
  • Don’t exaggerate accomplishments or skills. Hiring managers will be able to tell if you’re exaggerating your sales growth or profit increases, or inflating your responsibilities.
  • Don’t make your resume too long — one to two pages is ideal. More than two pages indicates that you may struggle with being concise. There’s no need to include exhaustive details; if you’re the right fit, you can go into more detail during your interview.
  • Don’t use an inappropriate email address. Make sure your email is easy to read, easy to type, professional and non odensive. In general, your email address should be based on your name. Exclude any nicknames, numbers, or special characters.
  • Don’t include unnecessary personal information. It is best to leave out any personal details such as age, weight, height, marital status, religious preference, political views, or any other personal attributes that could be controversial. This will prevent any potential bias. Most importantly, never include your Social Insurance Number in your resume.
  • Don’t use too many bullets. Make your resume easy to read by limiting each section to 5-7 bullet points. This makes it easier for the employer to scan your resume and identify your potential. Each bullet should be used wisely by keeping the information relevant and concise.
  • Don’t use personal pronouns. Do not use “I,” “my,” or “me”. Write your resume in the third person, as if it’s being written by someone else.
  • Don’t simply list job responsibilities. Your job duties will be obvious from your job title. Instead, highlight your achievements by putting a personal spin on your job duties and providing specific examples.
  • Don’t make general statements. Avoid vague statements that don’t highlight your actual contribution. Unclear statements such as, “Responsible for improving ediciencies and making cost savings”, does not provide any information to an employer. Personalize your experience!
  • Don’t include reasons for leaving previous jobs. The main purpose of your resume is to promote you, your skills, experience and achievements. It should be entirely positive, and therefore should not include reasons for leaving as it does not add any value to you as a candidate. The exception can be made for contract work, as you may want to clarify job movement or short tenure.
  • Don’t include references. An employer only requires references if they are seriously considering hiring you. Keep references on a separate sheet and provide them only when they are specifically requested.
  • Don’t include hobbies or interests. It is not recommended to mention hobbies because of the judgments potential employers can make. However, if your hobbies relate to the position, you may include them as they can demonstrate to the employer why you are a good fit.

Keep in mind that you are trying to move the process along, essentially selling the reader on the fact that you will be a great candidate for the job. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader, keep it relevant and don’t forget to diderentiate yourself from the rest of the pile.

First impressions are made in a matter of seconds. It’s important to remember that your first impression to recruiters and potential employers isn’t made when you shake hands in an interview; it’s made almost immediately after eyes are laid on your resume.