General, How-to

Working the Resume

If you have ever had a job or wanted one chances are that you have probably written a resume or a cover letter at some point throughout your adolescence. I remember sitting in Careers and Civics class in grade ten learning about “Relevant Experience” and what fonts are most appropriate for your cover letter and thinking to myself that the class was pretty useless. I already had a job and my resume-writing skills had been good enough to land myself two jobs since I was old enough to have one! My 15-year-old brain had decided that I had mastered the art of getting a job, no need to pay attention… Ha. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My approach to writing cover letters had a simple and successful algorithm; “Hello, Sir/Ms, I am Madeline. I want to work for you because… You should want me to work for you because… Hope to hear from you.”

But when I started university, it came as a shock to me when three job opportunities came and went in the first two months of first year.

I needed a job and so using my old resume tricks, I was able to land a position at an espresso bar near campus. Sure, I had lots of food industry experience, heck I could make a double shot, no foam, skinny, extra hot latte with my eyes closed but being a barista for another year wasn’t what I wanted.

A GIF of a snobby girl saying "I like my pumpkin spice lattes extra hot!"

Ah, the joys of customer service.
– Taken from Giphy.com

What I wanted was a job at the university to expand my job experience, but it was becoming clear to me that my resume and cover letter were simply not cutting it.

This is how I landed myself at a resume workshop put on by the Career Centre on a Wednesday night of last year. There was a summer job being offered at my residence building that I was determined to get and I was not going to let my resume hold me back.

I cannot stress how helpful the workshop was. As a group, we were guided through the differences between a good and an excellent resume, how we could showcase our own skills and previous work experience, what made a work or volunteer experience relevant and how we could strategically write a cover letter that won’t be tossed to the side.

I learned that it’s okay to have a two page resume (but only two!), that it isn’t childish to include high-school experience if it is truly applicable to the job you’re applying for and that it is crucial to write an all-new cover letter for each position you’re interested in. We were given a lot of free resources on resume building and even examples to use as a template. It was probably one of the best uses of a Wednesday evening I can think of to date. Best part? I got the job. 

- Taken from Giphy.com

– Taken from Giphy.com

If you are struggling with writing a resume/cover letter or just need some guidance in updating your job-getting strategies the Career Centre is an amazing resource that you can take advantage of for free. 

If you don’t have the time to go to a workshop, the Career Centre website has a lot of great tips and resources that you can easily access, including a printable resume toolkit, online guides and pointers on how to land a job while in university and once you’re out in the workforce.