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Create a Dynamite Resume - Part 1 Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit

The resume is one of the most important tools of a job seeker. It's a vital part of your marketing strategy and when written and formatted properly will jump out at prospective employers to say 'invite me in for an interview!' The resume is basically a written summary of your education, work experience, past achievements and interests that are assembled in a standardized manner. When putting together your resume it's important to keep it short, focused and accurate.

The resume itself contains certain components that are common to all. These include:
  • contact information
  • a career objective statement or personal summary (one or the other is acceptable)
  • education
  • skills and abilities
  • work experience
  • volunteer work (optional)
  • activities and interests, and
  • references (optional)

Parts of the Resume In More Detail Each of the above-stated parts is of significant importance:

Contact Information: Place your full name at the top of your resume, and include your address and telephone number. If you have a fax number or e-mail address include this as well.

Career Objective: This is a statement that outlines your career goals. It should be very brief, a sentence or two, and give a strong sense of where you are heading in your career path. Personal Summary: A concise review of your skills and expertise, particularly as they relate to the position being applied for.

Education: Any relevant education should be included here, such as college, university or any technical schools you may have attended. Your high school education can be included as well, however, do not include elementary school. Any awards or scholarships can be outlined separately. Courses you have taken and workshops you have attended outside of school can be listed as well if they are relevant to the position you're applying for, and demonstrate your willingness to be a 'lifelong learner.'

Skills and Abilities: This section allows you to highlight all those attributes you have been honing through school, past jobs, volunteer work and personal activities.

Work Experience: In point form list your past jobs in chronological order. Include the dates, name and location of the company, as well as the responsibilities and duties you had in each position. Any volunteer experience you may have acquired can be included in this section.

Activities and Interests: Some employers prefer a candidate who appears well-rounded and has varied interests, including some diverse activities. This will signal to employers that you have gained some effective personal skills.

References: Indicating that 'References available on request' is appropriate, though not essential (it's understood you'll supply them if asked). Ensure that you have prepared these references from your academic, employment, or personal background should you be asked to supply them.

Types of Resumes There are three different resume formats depending on those components you would like to emphasize. The most common style is the reverse chronological resume. Two other versions are the functional and combination format, which we will look at next week.

Chronological Resume : Organized in reverse chronological order so that your latest schooling and most recent job are listed first. This style emphasizes your job achievements and may be used if you have a fairly steady work history, and if your most recent experiences relate to your desired field.

Tips on Preparing Your Resume Try to keep your resume organized, easy to read and brief. Use point form beginning with action verbs that accentuate your strengths and positive experiences. Avoid the use of 'I' when emphasizing your accomplishments.

Sample Resume

Chronological Resume Sample

102 Pape Ave.
Toronto , Ontario , M79 3B4
(416) 555-9233


2001 -- 2005
York University North York, Ontario
Relevant courses: Sales/Marketing, Accounting, Business Law, Microeconomics


June 2005 - Present
Drake Office Systems, Mississauga, Ontario
- processed orders and prepared end-of-month statements for clients
- assisted in designing new accounting software package for the firm
- responsible for customer inquiries concerning their accounts Summers 2002- 2004


Triumph Advertising, Scarborough, Ontario
- conducted telephone interviews with clients regarding new, innovative consumer products
- achieved top sales award for the month of June in 2003 and May 2004
- diligently performed routine duties such as filing and photocopying


Canadian Business Association -- Associate Member


- Enjoy reading many business magazines including 'Canadian Business' and 'Fortune'
- Recently awarded first prize in fourth year business simulation project at York University
- Active member of the Toronto East Softball Association


Available on request

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