Overview of Experiences

This information is generally considered the most important section of the resume. Your task is to show that you have the skills and experience that the employer needs. If you do not have much work experience, then including volunteer experience will enhance your resume. Focus on including experiences that demonstrate your accomplishments and indicate that you have the required skills for the position.

Once you have your information down, you should decide on what type of format to use. There are three basic types of resumes:

1. Chronological

This is the most popular format. It places information in reverse chronological order (i.e. from most to least recent). Employers tend to prefer this format as it (hopefully) demonstrates a candidate’s steady and upward career growth. Thus, the focus is on time, job continuity, growth, and achievements.

2. Functional

A functional resume focuses on skills, credentials, and accomplishments over the course of all jobs held. Emphasis is on what you did, not when or where you did it. Accomplishments, qualifications and experience are grouped together, to emphasize your experience in specialty areas.

3. Combination (Uses a Career Profile)

A combination resume uses a career profile, which is a functional style listing of relevant skills and accomplishments, and then proceeds to describe employment and education histories in reverse chronological order. In other words, it is a combination of the above two concepts. The experience section directly supports the functional section.

NOTE:  Unless a functional resume conveys your suitability significantly better than the other types, a chronological or combination format is suggested for entry-level positions. We recommend that you avoid using a functional resume unless an employer specifically requests that format.

Job postings examples:

no experience required   1-2 year experience  
2-4 years experience   more than 5 years experience  

What goes first – education or experience?

In general educational information follows the job experience section. However there are three situations in which education should precede work experience:

1. You are currently in school or a recent graduate.

2. You are changing careers and your education is more pertinent to the new career than your job experience.

3. You are seeking a position where specialized education is a prerequisite for employment.

Remember that whatever information is first will be what catches the employer’s attention. This is why we suggest that you put your greatest asset first – whether that is education or experience.

Your education can also be listed in a chronological or functional format, so we recommend you read these sections first before typing up your education section. Even if education is your biggest asset, it should still come after the career profile section, if you are using one (but before the work experience section).

Job postings examples:

no education required   high school level  
post secondary school level or above    

How long should my resume be?

Usually most resumes are one page long. Your employer is going to be reading a lot of resumes so a long resume will not be greeted with enthusiasm. However, sometimes you will have more information that will help you land a job that simply cannot fit on one page. In those situations, by all means go to two pages. You do not need to completely fill the second page if you use one.

Whatever you do, do not go to three pages or more. The employer will feel that you lack communication skills and will most likely start reading your resume with exasperation.