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Building your Resume

Although there is no perfect resume template, there are steps you can take to make your resume the best it can be and increase your chances of landing your dream job. When properly completed, a resume provides prospective employers with a snapshot of your skills, accomplishments, and ability to perform.  It is important to keep in mind that employers have plenty of resumes to review and often spend less than 30 seconds reviewing yours. This means that you have to craft a resume that uniquely catches the employer’s attention quickly and provides them with a positive first impression of you.

Self-Assessment

The first step of crafting an effective resume is self-assessment. This means looking at yourself and asking what you really want. Asking yourself questions about what you want your future to be like and what an ideal job is for you is a good place to start.  Once you have critically assessed where you want to work and what employers and industries are right for you, you have the ability to decide how to tailor your resume for your preferred types of jobs. As well, being self-aware will enable you to identify and categorize your strongest skills and interests on your resume.

Skills Inventory

Many people can easily compile a chronological list of their academic or work history but have a harder time presenting their experiences in a meaningful and accurate way. Identifying and effectively describing your history will help you create a collection of skills and abilities that employers are looking for in an ideal candidate. Critically evaluate your past jobs and ask yourself how this impacted the employer you were working for? A resume is more than a task list and if you can, find exact numbers, dollar values, percentages, or other quantitative figures to support your skills and note them on your resume. Your goal is to communicate your accomplishments in a concise way that emphasizes how your actions were successful and how they will benefit the employer.

Resume Format

There are several resume formats used by job hunters and the one most commonly used by people new to a profession is the combination resume. The combination resume blends together the functional and chronological format in a way that exhibits your skills, attributes, and credentials instead of just listing your experiences chronologically. For your internship, it is recommended that you refer to the Internship Resume Template found on the D2L Internship Prep Course. You may self-register to gain access to the course after attending the mandatory sessions. This example should be used as a guide when creating your resume.

Resume Content

Internship resumes usually contain the following content:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your internship objective
  • Education and/or professional development (i.e. degrees, certificates, diplomas, continuing education such as business and professional seminars/workshops, academic or professional conferences attended)
  • Internship status
  • Skills
  • Work experience
  • Volunteer experience
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Honors/Awards (i.e. significant awards such as merit-based scholarships, or other academic or external awards that reflect your skills and abilities)
  • Memberships (i.e. Student Member of APEGA, Engineers Without Borders)

Internship Objective Statement

An internship objective statement is similar to the career objective statement many job hunters include in their resumes. The internship objective statement is another opportunity to convey more about yourself to a prospective employer. Like a cover letter, this should be customized to each employer you apply to. An internship objective is typically one sentence, positioned at the beginning of your resume, and states a well-defined objective. You need to be specific, but brief, and keep the emphasis on how your objective will benefit the employer. If you have limited experience, you will need to focus on maximizing your background and education. If you have lots of experience, you will need to concentrate on filtering the information, highlighting the data relevant to position you are applying for, and tailoring your document to the needs and interests of the employer you are sending it to. With your resume, your goal is to convince a potential employer that it is worth their time to interview you.  It has to highlight why you are best fit for the job and how you can contribute to the organization's needs. The person reading your resume is looking for two things:

  • How does the information in the resume measure up to the criteria for the position posted?
  • Does the experience outlined in the resume convince them you could handle the work responsibilities?

What about References?

Do not include references on resumes unless specifically asked to do so in a job posting. You should type and print out several copies of your references on a separate piece of paper to bring with you to job interviews.

Resume Building Tip: When creating your resume, it is important not to be modest about your abilities but don't exaggerate or falsify them either.  Remember you will need to be able to speak to and elaborate on the content of your resume if you are called for an interview. If you make claims you can't back up, you will destroy your credibility and damage your professional reputation!

Remember your resume - like your career - is always a work in progress. You will be continually revising it and tailoring it throughout your internship search process and your career. 

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