Printed resume

Resumes, Cover Letters & Curricula Vitae

You have more experience than you think. Share who you are and what you're capable of.

Resumes

Most employers spend approximately 7 seconds scanning your resume for the first time. In those few seconds, you need to clearly demonstrate how your skills, experience, education, and characteristics match what they are looking for. 7 seconds isn’t long to make that kind of impression. Here’s how to do it.

Accomplishment statements

Accomplishment statements are the foundation of an outstanding and competitive resume. By the end of this short video, you will be able to identify the components of an effective accomplishment statement and will also provide you with a step-by-step guide for creating powerful accomplishment statements that uniquely reflect your skills, abilities and potential.

Take a minute to reflect on what you just watched. Here are some questions to consider:

How have you described your experiences? What accomplishment statements already exist in your document?
What about your experience can be better described with the VERB + TASK + RESULT formula? Where are opportunities to quantify and qualify your experience?
How can you apply “fast numbers” (e.g. service to over 250 clients, collaborated with a team of four classmates, raised $4,000 dollars, supervised 10 volunteers, etc.) to your statements?

Cover letters

Always write a cover letter to go with your application. It personalizes your application and is a chance for you to emphasize your most relevant qualifications for the position.

What to put on your cover letter

Contact information
  • Include your name, address, telephone, and e-mail
  • Keep the format of this section consistent with your resume
Date
  • State the month, day, and year (e.g., May 15, 2018)
Employer’s information
  • Include the name of the contact person, job title, company name, address, and postal code
  • Try to obtain as many of these details as possible through research or by calling the company
Salutation
  • Begin with “Dear” or “To”
  • Address the contact person by the last name starting with “Mr.” or “Ms.”
  • If you don’t know the person’s name, address the person by their job title or address your letter to “Human Resources”
  • Avoid “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”
Opening paragraph
  • Open with strong sentences that grab the employer’s attention
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the position: say why you are interested, mention two or three strengths that qualify you for the position
  • Mention the position you are applying for and how you learned about the job
  • Name your referral if relevant, e.g., “Joe Davis, Manager of Customer Service, suggested I write you...”
  • If you are responding to an advertisement, refer to the ad
Follow-up paragraphs
  • Describe specific accomplishments from your past work, volunteer, and academic experiences that show your strengths
  • Target your strengths to the needs and requirements identified in the ad or from your research
Next-to-last paragraph
  • Explain why you are interested in working for this employer
  • Do research to show you know something about the organization’s values, culture, or areas of prospective growth
  • Describe how these values are similar and relevant to you and your previous accomplishments
Closing paragraph
  • Mention your interest in an interview or discussion about opportunities
  • Provide information on your availability and how the employer may contact you
  • When appropriate, take a more proactive approach by arranging to call the employer

Curricula Vitae

Think of the curriculum vitae (CV) as an “academic resume”: it is a document intended to highlight education and accomplishments in order to persuade someone to offer you an opportunity ( a place in a graduate program, funding, a role as a professor or post-doc, etc.)The term, Latin in origin, means “the course of one’s life or career.”

A CV is typically used when applying to graduate or professional programs, and for research-related funding opportunities or academic postings (post-docs, tenure-track employments, etc.). In some  parts of the world (for example, Quebec and Europe), "CV" is used more generally to mean the document one uses when applying to any type of opportunity. In that case, the distinction between "academic CV" and "non-academic CV" might be quite important.

How is a CV different from a resume?

Curriculum Vitae Resume
Audience Academics in your field of study Employers hiring you for a specific position
Length Highly flexible 1–2 pages
Focus Represents your academic achievements and your scholarly potential Represents skills, job-related experience, accomplishments, and volunteer efforts
High Priority Content List of publications, presentations, teaching experience, education, honours, and grants Skills and experiences related to the job you’re seeking
Low Priority Content

Activities unrelated to academic discipline, teaching, or research

Technical details unrelated to the field in which you are applying
List of references Include Don’t include
Goal Present a full history of your academic credentials, including teaching, researching, awards, and services Present a brief snapshot of your skills and experiences that communicates your ability to perform the job you’re seeking
Guidelines for the CV
The following categories reflect common CV sections; however, there can be significant variations in the structure  and sequencing of the CV in different disciplines. It is important to seek advice from mentors in your academic discipline in regards to their recommendations for structuring your CV.
If you are preparing your CV for a specific opportunity, you will also likely need to consider the following in order to customize it:
a) The geographic location of the insitution where you are applying
b) The focus of the role (primarily teaching, primarily research, a combination)
c) Your own particular strangths and accomplishments
Contact information

List name, address, email and telephone at the top of the CV.

Education

List degree, school, dates, city, province/country in reverse chronological order. You may include the name of your advisor and thesis title in this section, or include a separate section about your thesis.

Thesis/Dissertation

Include the title of your thesis/dissertation and the name of your advisor. In some fields, it is expected to include the names of additional committee members and/or a short summary of the thesis.

Research Interests

This section is typically used to show your compatability with a particular role and should be tailored to align with the position you are applying to. Not all fields include it on the CV.

Scholarships, awards, honours, achievements

List these items including: name, grantor (for example, NSERC, NIH etc.), date, and project title if appropriate. In some fields, you may wish to include the dollar amount. As you advance in your scholarly career, you may remove some older awards; so, someone at the PhD level should only include an undergraduate award if it was very prestigious. You may also wish to create subsections in this category to distinguish, for example, "Fellowships" separately from "Awards."

Publications

Include publications you’ve authored or co-authored. Provide title, authors, dates, and publisher using the citation style appropriate to your discipline. If you have different types of publication, you may wish to use subheadings to organize this section: for example, "Book Chapters" "Articles" "Monographs" etc.

It may be strategic to include sections for "Forthcoming" or "In-Progress" publications. Consult with your advisor to determine if it is appropriate to do so.

Presentations

In some fields, you may combine presentations with your "Publications" section, but in many cases, this should be a separate section. Include the title of the presentation, the name of the organization, the location of the meeting or conference, and the date. List the presentations in reverse chronological order (most recent first).

You may use subheadings to distinguish different types of presentation: "Conference Presentation," "Invited Talk" "Public Lecture" etc.

Teaching experience

If the position you are applying to will involve a strong focus teaching responsibilities, you may wish to include this section quite early in your CV. Use subheadings to distinguish between different types of teaching experience: "Teaching Assistant," "Instructor," etc. List the title of the course and the institution and the department where it was taught; including the course number (eg. CHEM 399) is optional.

Since you are writing to other academics who will typically have a good understanding of what is involved in post-secondary teaching, it is often not necessary to include bullet points describing the nature of your responsibilities (eg. "Delivered lectures, graded exams etc." Consult others in your field to determine if you need to describe your teaching responsibilities or simply list the courses.

Research Experience

In some fields it is common to include a section describing the projects you have worked on, often with the use of bullet points. This may include your work as a research associate or research assistant. Depending on your field and the position you are targeting, this section may appear considerably earlier in the CV. If you have experience with research outside of a university setting, consult with your mentor to determine if it should be located here or in a separate setting.

Work Experience

This section is optional, and should only be used to highlight work that is relevant to your academic discipline. Some fields have a close relationship with industry, and highlighting industry experience in this section can be very useful. You may also use this section to highlight how you are practitioner as well as a scholar.

List your experience in reverse chronological format. Includes job title, employer, dates, city/country, and possibly a brief statement or series of statements about your accomplishments in the role.

Skills, Techniques, Languages etc.

Depending on your field and the nature of your research, it may be useful to include a point form list of the skills and techniques that are relevant to your research interests. This section is most common in STEM and social science fields, but many humanists will want to list  skills related to digital projects and their fluency in relevant languages (indicate written, read, spoken.)

Additional Training

This section is optional but it can be a convenient place to list seminars, summer schools and relevant professional development opportunities (for example, a pedagogical training workshop).

Memberships

Membership in related scholarly and/or professional associations attests to your career commitment and professionalization. List the memberships with the dates.

 Service

Include  any service to the university or discipline in this section, such as participation in committees, organizing conferences, reviewing for journals, participating in graduate student associations. You may use subheadings to create categories if necessary. You do not typically need to describe the activity (ie no bullet points).

Community Involvement/Outreach

This section is optional; it may be included if you have community activities relevant to your scholarly interests (eg, public talks at museums, volunteering with science education programs in local schools.)

References

List the names and titles of three references. Include their email and phone contacts.

Highlighting Graduate Student Experience

Highlighting your thesis/dissertation

The following video follows on from Resumes 101. It is specifically designed for students who want to showcase their research and academic experiences in ways that capture the attention of employers within and beyond the academy.

The following example focuses specifically on how your experience undertaking a thesis or dissertation project can be used to highlight key competencies that employers are looking for when hiring for academic positions.

Highlighting an academic project

This tutorial follows on from Resumes 101. It is specifically designed for students who want to showcase their research and academic experiences in ways that capture the attention of employers within and beyond the academy. The video focuses on how your experience undertaking an academic project can be used to highlight key competencies that employers are looking for.

Highlighting community based experiential learning

This tutorial follows on from Resumes 101. It is specifically designed for students who want to showcase their research and academic experiences in ways that capture the attention of employers within and beyond the academy.

This example provides guidance on how you can showcase your experiences gained through experiential learning projects.

CareersOnline

Career events

Drop-in career coaching

Visit the CSIC for a 30 minute career coaching session

  • Coaching with the Career Peer Coaches (Resume, Cover Letter, C.V. and Interview Support for Undergraduate Students)

Drop-in sessions with the Career Peer Coaches make it easy to get support with your job applications and interview preparation. They'll help you develop strategies to stand out from the crowd. These student leaders have gone through rigorous training and are excited to support our campus community - meaning you! 

Our current hours are:

Monday - 10:00am - 11:30am; 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Tuesday – 10:00am - 11:00am; 12:00pm - 5:00pm

Wednesday – 11:00am - 2:00pm; 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Thursday – 10:00am - 6:00pm

Friday – 10:00am - 11:30am; 12:30 - 3:30pm

Please note: Sessions begin on the hour and half hour and are 30 minutes in duration. You are welcome to drop by or call the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers on the day of your preferred visit to secure an available time for the same day only. If you arrive late for a secured session your session may be forfeited to another student. Coaches are not available on statutory holidays, dates that the university is closed, during the exam periods or over reading week. 

  • Arts Drop in Coaching (all topics - Arts Undergraduate Students)

 Wednesday: 10:00 am-12:00 pm  (beginning on September 19th 2018)

Whether you want to chat about how your discipline connects to your career exploration journey, or how to pick the right involvement and experiential opportunities to match your learning goals, drop in advising is available.

*Please note Arts Drop in Advising will not be available on November 21st 2018.

  • Engineering Drop in Coaching (all topics) – Engineering Undergraduate Students

Summer Term:  Wednesdays, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Winter Term:  Mondays, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location:  Fred Kaiser Room 1100D
*A sign-up sheet will be made available at 9:00 am on the day of and will be posted on the door of Room 1100D.

*Please note Engineering Drop in Advising will not be available on November 19th 2018.

Whether you want to chat about how your discipline connects to your career exploration journey, or how to pick the right involvement and experiential opportunities to match your learning goals, drop in advising is available.

  • Graduate Drop in Coaching (all topics- Masters and PhD)

Fridays 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Please note that Graduate Drop-In services will not be available on November 2, 2018.

Book an advising appointment