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How To Write a Resume (from Scratch!)

How to Write a Resume (from scratch!)

In this downturn, a strong resume is a must.  Depending on the role, employers can see north of 300 resumes per posting.  How does your resume stack up?

  • Is it clean, easy to read, and not overwhelming to look at?
  • Are your points made in bullets as opposed to paragraphs?
  • Is your tense consistent throughout?
  • Does it summarize your experience as opposed to your soft skills?
  • Can it communicate in 30 seconds or less what you want it to?

If you don’t feel confident in your resume, or you have found yourself in a position that you need to create one from scratch, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, it just means that you need a game plan.  So here it is – a step by step guide of how to get what’s in your head onto paper, in a way that will inspire your future employer to call you.


Set the template, without using a pre-set template (they often get re-formatted depending on the system it is opened in).  It is simple and a great way to get started.

  • Choose a font, keep it uniform, and keep it professional… Don’t use comic sans. It’s not okay. 
  • Do the easy stuff first and start with your name, address, email (make sure it’s a professional email and not sexygurl @ hotmail.com or ilovepuppies @ yahoo.com), as well as the best number to reach you at, don’t put your cell phone if it is always on silent, and for goodness sakes make sure your voicemail is not full. Should look as follows:

Fist Name Last Name (slightly larger than the rest, same font)

Address line 1

Address line 2

Address line 3

Email/Best contact phone number


Below, create the following titles in this order: Skills, Work Experience, Education

Under Work Experience, list your jobs chronologically beginning with the most recent (not going back over 10 years) in the format:

Name of Company                                                                                                                                                           Month, Year – Present

Title of Role 


  • Bullet points to be inputted later

Accomplishments: name your biggest accomplishment that you achieved in this role

 Name of Company                                                                                                                                                  Month, Year – Month, Year

Title of Role 


  • Bullet points to be inputted later

Accomplishments: name your biggest accomplishment that you achieved in this role


Now you start filling in the “meat” of your template.  In your mind, go through a typical day and create bullet points, not worrying about grammar, tense, specific wording.  At this point just get it from your brain onto paper.  It may look like this:

  • Cover phones
  • Emails, voicemails – respond to urgent
  • Organize invoices by vendor
  • Find POs – match
  • Invoicing (10/day?)
  • Code, data entry (125/day??)
  • Check run if check run day (2/week)
  • Complete AP recs
  • Print aging report use in accomplishments?
  • Make collection calls (10/day?)
  • Post all payments – j/e
  • AR recs
  • Bank recs
  • CC recs (4 credit cards)

If you hit a road block, go to Indeed.ca and type in the title of your role, pick a job and check out the qualifications, this will prompt your memory of tasks you’ve done in the same role.


Once your skeleton is complete, it’s time to make it uniform in format and tense, as well as rearrange your responsibilities to reflect the most important/relevant items on the top, and the more basic items near the bottom.  There is no rule for how many bullets you should have, just keep it fairly consistent throughout.

Basically you can write in full sentences (appropriate for more administrative roles) or in point form.  Either way you must explain what you did, and not just have a duty as a bullet.  Examples of Insufficient vs Sufficient:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Performed AP duties
  • Accounts Payable – matching, batching, coding and check runs; 100 invoices/day
  • I performed the full cycle of Accounts Payable including matching invoices to POs, batching invoices, and performing check runs; processing 100 invoices daily


Now go and complete the education section in the same format as with your individual companies:

 Name of Educational Institution                                                                                                                                                           On-going Title of Certification, Diploma, Degree

 Name of Educational Institution                                                                                                                                                            End Year Title of Certification, Diploma, Degree

 Please note, should your education end date extend past 15 years, there is no need to include a date.


Once the rest of your resume is completed, it is time to complete the Skills section.  Very simply, if you cannot prove it – lose it:

  • You CAN prove that you have 5 years of experience.
  • You CANNOT prove that you are an excellent team player.

Important things to have in your Skills section:

  • Years’ Experience (you can have a couple if you want to break it down into specific areas of expertise)
  • Industry Experience
  • Software Experience – always include level of expertise for Microsoft Office Suite
  • Education
  • Typing speed – if role is administrative
  • If you are applying to a very specific role or industry, list your specific industry here as well

Additional points:

  • There is no need to make a note about References, because it is assumed you have them. But it’s a great time to ensure you have spoken to them recently and that you still have their approval to use them.
  • Resumes should be about 2 pages, this is not written in stone, but if you are up to 4 pages, rethink your formatting.
  • Don’t specify reasons you have left jobs on your resume, it comes across defensive.
  • If a role was a contract, make sure to note that very clearly, an example:

Name of Company                                                                                                                                                           Month, Year – Present

Title of Role (Contract)

  • Do not leave jobs off your resume – someone will know someone who will know someone’s cousin’s brother who knows you used to work at Company ABC. Keep it on your resume, otherwise you may be perceived as dishonest.
  • Don’t put your picture, or any personal information other than your address, phone number, and email address.
  • Keep any additional formatting (borders, clip art, etc.) off your resume.


Lily Brewer | Recruitment Consultant |  Recruitment Partners

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