Most employers scan your resume and cover letter in 10 seconds or less for the first time.  
Make a strong first impression by linking your skills, strengths, and experiences to what they are looking for.  Here’s how to do it.

Format and design your document

  • Use bolding, italics, spacing, and different alignments (left-align section headings, right-align dates) to organize content
  • Use an easy to read design font (10-12 points)
  • Write in bullet points to make it easier for an employer to scan for keywords
  • List experiences in reverse chronological order
  • Maintain consistent formatting
  • Keep to two pages maximum

Contact Information 

Include the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Address (optional)/City
  • Email (professional - use your ulethbridge account if you are a Co-op student)
  • LinkedIn (optional)


  • Ensure that your voicemail message is appropriate and professional. Check your messages often.
  • For support in crafting a strong LinkedIn profile and using it effectively in your job search as a student or new graduate, see LinkedIn University.

Julia Tanz      
Lethbridge, AB


Skills Summary

Alternative titles Highlights of Qualifications or Profile

Think of this section as a succinct summary of who you are and what you have to offer the employer. This section introduces you to the reader, evoking a strong first impression on your fit for the position.

  • Create a bullet list of 5-10 of your most relevant experiences, education, training, and key skills.
  • Focus on skills identified in the job posting and include concrete examples of how you’ve demonstrated these skills.
  • Formatting choices like bold or italic text can emphasize key words, but don’t overdo it. If everything is bold, nothing stands out.
  • Prioritize professional competencies and technical skills (e.g. Lab skills, programming languages, research methods, certifications, etc.) that are essential to the job
  • This area is adaptive to your program and the job posting - choose the layout that makes sense for your industry
  • Highlight of your technical and transferable skills that meet the job posting requirements
  • Pull from all areas of your life to fill in this section. Include relevant information from your previous employment, academic background, volunteer or extra-curricular activities, and personal traits and characteristics.


Describe yourself

Find descriptive words and connect them to CONCRETE EXAMPLES of times you have demonstrated these skills.

Descriptive Words


  • B.A. in Art with a public relations and social media communications expertise in government and in the tech industry
  • Advanced research and writing skills with demonstrated experience creating press releases, executive summaries, briefing notes and newsletters
  • Confident public speaker to small and large groups, ranging from 30-200 people
  • Strong background in running successful social media campaigns and using analytical reporting tools
  • Fluent in English, Cantonese, and conversational Mandarin


  • Graphic design tools: Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator) | MS Publisher
  • Social media platform: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Snapchat | LinkedIn
  • Web analytics software: Google analytics | Hootsuite | MailChimp


  • Extensive Knowledge Base: Human Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry 
  • Laboratory Management: Troubleshooting technical equipment, supervising new laboratory students, accurately stating results, operation of lab software 
  • Research: Assessing and summarizing information, presenting relevant findings 
  • Highly Organized: Prioritizing and completing tasks in a efficient and accurate manner 
  • Problem Solving: Identifying and assessing a problem, find appropriate solutions 
  • Communication: clear communicator and experience with presenting and public speaking 
  • Adaptable: Working in various environments, being an effective team player but ability to work independently 
  • Accurate: Resolving issues appropriately and strictly following guidelines in procedures


  • List the full title of your degree, as well as your major (e.g. Bachelor of Arts: Psychology) in bold
  • List the name of the school, city, province (add country if outside of Canada)
  • Completion date
    • List either the expected completion date or start date to present/current
  • Add bulleted sub-points to highlight relevant accomplishments during your school years. Some examples include:
    • relevant courses, projects
    • GPA (if strong)
    • scholarships and awards
    • club memberships
    • extracurricular activities
    • athletic or intramural involvement
    • school and professional conferences attended
    • Students Union roles and activities
  • Move these accomplishments to a separate section if you want to highlight it or reduce the size of the education section.
  • Describe specific projects you completed, if they are directly relevant.
  • Remove your high school credentials from your resume once you’re in your second year of post-secondary, unless you have a very specific reason to leave it in.


Bachelor of Management - Marketing                                                             expected graduation June 20XX
University of Lethbridge | Lethbridge, AB

Add relevant education information:

  • Major and Minor (optional)
  • Overall GPA (3.0 or higher should be shared, and make sure to include the scale.  (Example: 3.4/4.0 GPA)
  • Scholarships/Awards (Dhillon School of Business - Dean's List | 20XX, 20XX)
  • Relevant courses - max of 6 (Biology 2000 - Principles of Genetics, Biology, Marketing 3215 - Introduction to Marketing Communications and Social Media) 
  • Co-op students should list that their current enrolment in the program
  • Club memberships (optional)



Relevant Experience

  • List the job title first with some type of emphasis (e.g. bold text). Include the name of the organization, location, and your start and end dates.
  • Try to include at least one experience entry on the first page of your resume.
  • Mirror the language of the industry and job posting you're seeking, and focus on the skills and abilities that will match the needs of the position.
  • Include bullet points explaining activities performed, responsibilities taken on, skills developed, special accomplishments, compliments from supervisors, leadership roles, committee work, etc. 
  • Use concrete details and quantify your statements whenever possible (e.g. “Supervised a team of 5 employees”, “Increased sales by 15%”, “Presented to a group of 100 students”, etc.).
  • Do not use personal pronouns or introductory phrases (e.g. “In this position, my duties included recruiting and training 3 volunteers.”). Instead, start your statements with verbs (e.g. “Recruited and trained 3 volunteers.”).


Describe your Skills

Find words and connect them to your resume phrases' knowledge, skills, and attributes.

Action Words

Include the results of your work in each description of your experiences.  This tells a prospective employer not just what you have done, but why it mattered.  Be specific and highlight the strengths, skills, values, and knowledge that will be most relevant to this particular employer who is hiring for this specific job.  

Verb + Task + Result


  • Composed and published effective magazine advertising copy, press releases and letters as part of a successful fundraising campaign that generated $10,000.
  • Researched timely issues, keeping in mind local interests and our target audience in order to increase readership of a weekly newsletter and quarterly magazine.  

You can also invert the formula to more strongly emphasize the result and de-emphasize the details of the task itself.  

  • Create a welcoming environment for customers by thoroughly & efficiently cleaning equipment at the end of each shift, encouraging them to return. 

Tip: There may be multiple results you can think of for a single task!  You can choose which result to highlight depending on what you think will be most relevant to your employer.

Tip: Use the following questions to help you craft more descriptive statements:

  • What was the purpose of specific duties? 
  • What made you stand out? 
  • How did you make a contribution? Did you contribute to client or customer satisfaction or any other end results in the bigger picture of the company and its goals or values?

Optional Sections

These headings can be used to shows employers that you’re well-rounded and can help them understand your additional experience and how you may fit with their team.

  • If you have work or volunteer experience that enhances your qualifications for employment, that does not match the job positing exactly.
  • Follow the same outline as in Relevant Experiences. 
  • If you choose to add detail in these entries, focus on the transferable skills you developed and how you can apply them to the position you’re seeking.

If you have a robust award/scholarship that is relevant to the job posting, include a more detailed summary.

  • Name of the award
  • Organization award is connected to
  • Date (year)
  • One sentence to summarize what the award/scholarship was regarding.

Projects that display skills and professional experience relevant to the job posting

  • Name of the project
  • Organization project is connected to
  • Date (year)
  • Include citations and links if relevant 
  • bullet point reflecting transferable skills and knowledge
  • List the job title first and format with some type of emphasis (e.g. bold text). Place the name of the organization, location, and dates on the second line.
  • If you add detail in these entries, focus on the transferable skills you developed and can apply to the new position you’re seeking.

If you have participated in Student Union or another student leadership experience follow the same pattern

  • List the position title first and format with some type of emphasis (e.g. bold text). Place the name of the organization, location, and dates on the second line.
  • If you add detail in these entries, focus on the transferable skills you developed and can apply to the new position you’re seeking.
  • List the training or certification title first in bold text.
  • Place the name of the organization, location, and dates on the second line.
  • List the name of the membership first in bold text.
  • Place the name of the organization, location, and dates on the second line.

This section shows employers that you’re well-rounded and can help them understand your personality and how you may fit with their team.


Blogger | Blogging about minimalist living with two articles featured in the the Daily Hive Calgary
Runner | Trained for 6 months and ran the MBO Vancouver Half Marathon 20XX

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