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The Write Stuff: Resumes

advising and career development at the Student Services Centre help students write resumes that turn into jobs

By Emily Devereux

As the fall semester comes to a close and students come a step closer to graduation, many are anticipating the inevitable job search that will come afterward. Even before graduation, students might be looking for a summer internship or a job to help support themselves through school.

Along with a job search comes the question: is your resume good enough to land you the interviews you need to move forward? Fortunately, NAIT has resources that can help you present yourself and your skills in the best way possible.

Kristina Lysova is the supervisor of advising and career development at the Student Services Centre. Lysova and her team of advisors work to prepare students for successful job searches.

Lysova recommends getting specific in a resume by giving examples. Instead of listing “hard-working” as a skill, one could write that they worked part-time 20 hours a week while completing their program to demonstrate their diligence.

If there’s a new career you’re trying to break into, there are ways to frame skills from previous jobs or volunteering activities to make them relevant.

Lysova gave the example of someone having experience working in a coffee shop and trying to move to a financial advisor position.

“You could say things like: ‘I had to handle large amounts of cash’ or ‘I closed out my cash register with minimal discrepancy.’ Or if you were promoted to shift manager, that could be telling a lot about your work ethic and attention to detail.”

She also suggests that job-seekers outline their most valuable qualifications underneath a “Highlight of Qualifications” header at the top of their resume. If a job posting specifies that a particular education or skill is required, it’s best to check those boxes right away to entice an employer to read further.

As far as the layout of the resume itself, Lysova recommends no more than two pages, and to make sure it’s easy to read. Depending on the industry, you may be able to get more creative with colours and designs—as long as you don’t go overboard—but certain employers may prefer a more traditional approach.

“The bottom line is it needs to be readable. According to statistics, the typical employer on the first initial screening is going to spend no more than 10 seconds looking at our resume,” said Lysova. “If they can’t skim through it easily, then it’s hindering our chance for a second consideration.”

It’s also a good idea to match the header design of your resume and cover letter. That way, if the employer prints them, they can easily pair them back up if separated.

To get feedback on a resume, cover letter or LinkedIn profile, students can access Rapid Reviews on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and Fridays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Students can also make an appointment with an advisor by calling 780-471-6248 or in-person at the Student Service Centre (CAT 180).

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