Résumés and cover letters are an essential part of your job search. Here you can find out how to write effective résumés and cover letters, including samples.
What is a résumé?
A résumé is simply a summary of who you are, what you have done, and what you can do. You can get help with your résumé at YES Toronto or your local youth employment centre, usually for free.
Is there more than one kind of résumé?
There are three basic types of résumé: chronological, functional, and a combination of the two. Click the links to see usable examples of each: chronological , functional, combination
What information goes on my résumé?
Your full name, address phone number and — if you happen to have them – fax number and e-mail address. Your resume should describe your skills, abilities, work history, volunteer experience, education level, interests and strengths.
What are some common do’s and don’ts of résumé writing?
- Do list other languages you speak if you are going to be dealing with the public. Candidates with more than one language are an asset to companies and organizations because they can provide better customer service.
- Do list all the computer programs you know.
- Do have someone you trust proofread your résumé for spelling mistakes and grammar.
- Do use professional wording; for example, “child care” sounds better than “baby-sitting”.
- Do send a clean, neat, and tidy résumé.
- Don’t list your date of birth or your social insurance number or references.
- Don’t attach a photograph of yourself unless it is specifically required.
- Don’t print your résumé on coloured paper. Use only white, off-white, or light grey.
- Don’t send a résumé that has been photocopied so many times that it is blurry or crooked on the page. Print a fresh copy that has been updated with your latest skills and experience.
- Don’t ever lie, mislead, or inflate your actual skills and experience.
- Don’t overdo fonts, boldface, underlining, or italics.
- Don’t squish your résumé onto one page if you have enough to fill a second page. A second page is fine as long as you don’t have too much white space left over at the bottom.
Which kind of résumé is right for me?
The functional kind is best choice for people who haven’t had many jobs. Combination résumés are for those who have had one or two jobs. More experienced workers would usually choose a chronological résumé.
What’s a cover letter?
A cover letter is a short, professional-looking business letter, written with a personal touch, that accompanies your résumé.
Do I need a cover letter?
A strong cover letter may be what sets you apart from the competition.
Even when the job has an application form, a cover letter along with your résumé may give you the edge over other candidates and get you an interview.
What does a cover letter look like?
See the examples below.
Sample cover letters
Here are three samples of great cover letters for first jobs. Don’t copy them; follow them as examples. Make your cover letters reflect who you are, what you can do and offer, and what you enjoy. There is no “perfect” or “right” cover letter because everyone is different: sample 1, sample 2, sample 3
What are some of the do’s and don’ts of cover letters?
- Do have an answering machine or voice mail hooked up to the phone number you provide in your letter.
- Do tell friends or family members to take detailed messages for you while you are job searching.
- Do use an e-mail address that is proper (avoid nicknames or slang) and be sure you check your e-mail often during your job search.
- Do have someone you trust (teacher, parent, friend, employment counsellor) proofread your cover letter. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are unprofessional. Take the extra time to ensure they are avoided. Write a new cover letter for every job you apply for.
- Don’t say how much you want to be paid in your cover letter, unless an advertisement asks you to give a salary expectation.
- Don’t put your references in your cover letter.
- Don’t rush your letter. After you’ve written it, wait a day, then look at it again with a fresh perspective.
- Don’t forget to sign your letter in blue or black pen.
- Don’t oversell yourself. It’s important to be confident, but don’t overdo it.