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Resumes and Cover Letters

Building a resume

Your resume is an advertisement for yourself. It should make an employer interested enough to want to interview you.

An effective resume will highlight what you have (education, skills, achievements, experience, etc.) that is relevant to what the employer needs.

Building a cover letter

An effective cover letter will offer a glimpse of you that is positive and relevant to the position and employer you are applying to. It should be brief and motivate the reader to look at your resume.

Share enough that the employer wants to interview you. Make it easy for them to pick you out from the crowd and you'll find yourself called to interviews more often.

How can the Career Centre help?

An Employment Consultant can critique your resume or cover letter. It's not a drop-off service but rather an interactive consultation. You'll need to develop a rough draft to show the Employment Consultant. If you can bring a sample job posting of the type of work you're looking for that will be helpful.

The Career Centre also has a wide range of reference books on resumes and cover letters as well as a collection of samples we've developed for various industries.

Tools available through Optimal Resume

Optimal Resume is the newest resource in our ongoing assistance to Sheridan students and alumni. It's a toolbox of resources, including modules that explore preparing resumes, developing portfolios, and practicing interview techniques, to name a few. Create an account today using your Sheridan email address and access these resources whenever you need them.

Frequently asked questions about resumes and cover letters

How can I create a resume?

Start by making a list of your education, work and related experience (field practicums, co-op, volunteer, etc.). For each job you've held, try to recall the main things you did and any accomplishments you can back up with examples or numbers. What are the skills that you've developed that any employer would appreciate?

Always keep in mind that your resumé is a marketing brochure about you, and that the purpose of the resumé is to make the employer confident enough in your potential to want to call you for an interview.

Is it enough to use one, generic version of my resume?

Each employer and each position is different, so it only makes sense that their needs will be different. You should personalize every resume you send to an employer.

Can someone in the Career Centre review my resume and cover letter for me?

Book an appointment with an Employment Consultant for a one-on-one critique of your resume or cover letter. If possible, bring a copy of the posting for the job you are applying to.

What's the best way to communicate skills acquired at school on my resume?

This is a very individual question and something best to discuss with our Employment Consultant. In general, it will depend what other relevant skills and experience you have. If what you've learned or worked on at school is the most relevant experience you have, then put it up front on your resume. If you have actual work (or volunteer, etc.) experience that's relevant, then list that first. Looking back over your Course Outlines can help you identify key learning outcomes like skills, knowledge, attitudes, etc.

Why do employers only want resumes sent by email?

Employers usually request this as a way to manage the flow of responses to their job ad. In other cases, it's because they're using some type of resume scanning software that converts your resume into a text file, and adds it to a database that they can search based on combinations of keywords.

I sent out a lot of resumes. Why haven't I heard back from anyone?

There could be many reasons. A common one has to do with quality versus quantity. You're better off sending out several targeted resumes rather than many generic ones. If you're sending them to every HR department you can get an address for, and responding to every ad that looks even remotely like something you can do, your chances are slim. Each resume should be customized to that particular employer, designed so that you demonstrate how you can meet their needs.

Should I include my website on my resume?

If it would be relevant to a potential employer, feel free to include your website.

Is it okay to use my hotmail email account when job searching?

We recommend that you don't use at hotmail email account when sending out resumes or reaching out to employers. Many organizations have now implemented security features to block any email or attachment with the word “hotmail” from entering their computer system due to the high volume of spam that's associated with hotmail. If you're using hotmail then your communications with an employer may never be received. Consider using your Sheridan email account (it will stay with you for life), or create an email account from your home internet provider.

Looking for more information? Check out our online resources.