Resume Tips

Objectives and Planning

The central tool in job searching is the résumé. The résumé is your key to making a great first impression.

It is essential that it be concise, well structured, well written and interesting. The résumé should highlight your capabilities, interests and goals. Therefore, devote as much time as it takes to create the best possible résumé.

Keep in mind that you are applying for a professional engineering position and your résumé should include skills that are directly relevant or transferable to such a position. Tailor your résumé to each position or different type/size of company.

The résumé is not a life history of your achievements and experiences. As a first step you should make a comprehensive list of all of your skills and then consider including those that are specifically relevant to the types of positions for which you are applying, including: technical skills, problem solving skills, organizational skills, research and writing skills, conflict resolution skills, communication skills, creativity and reliability.

Remember to have someone or a few people proofread your résumé and evaluate it honestly. We strongly recommend that you bring your resume into Engineering Career Services to have it edited prior to sending it out to any employers.

Format and Appearance

Letter sized bond or high quality paper in white or a neutral colour

Keep it neat, logical and professional

One or two pages (two pages should be treated as an absolute maximum for undergraduate students– only using a third page to list references) Masters students' resumes can be 3 or 4 pages depending on the information that needs to be included.

Number the pages on your résumé (except the 1st page) and indicate your name and e-mail on each page

List information in reverse chronological order

Visually highlight the most important information in a consistent style without overusing graphics and formatting

Use wide margins and leave a sufficient amount of white space to ensure that the résumé does not look cluttered and to allow the reader to skim the contents quickly

Organization and Contents

Generally, "Education" and "Academic Awards/Achievements" follow your personal data. The remaining categories may be ordered according to your most marketable qualities. Use your judgment to order activities in a way that is logical and that emphasizes your own personal strengths and personality. For instance, Engineering experience through summer employment or internship should be included on your first page and could be in a separate category from the rest of your work experience.

Personal Data Comes First: First and Last name, complete address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

Education: Engineering graduate and undergraduate, and all other post secondary, including name of degree/diploma, date conferred, institution and city, and noting areas of specialization for completed degrees or your current program of study. Exclude your high school education unless it carries significance.

Academic Awards/Achievements Engineering Experience: Paid and unpaid, internships, volunteer work (eg. Student projects, research assistance to professors, teaching assistant, engineering competitions, special projects or assignments). Include title of position, name of organization, location, dates, description of duties, skills, abilities and accomplishments.

Work Experience: (same as above); all jobs which have provided you with transferable skills should be listed.

Skills: computers, languages, research, and writing.

Activities, Interests and Affiliations: Professional (eg. Faculty of Engineering committees, competitions, projects); personal (eg. travel, sports, music), community (cultural, charitable). Be careful not to list too many activities or unnecessary information that might obscure the information you want the employer to notice.

References: Optional, however if you choose to include references, make sure you obtain permission from your references and include their name, title, place of employment, telephone number, e-mail address and mailing address. Many people choose to have their references available on a separate sheet to forward to the prospective employer if requested.

Resume Handout