Whether you are looking for a summer job or your first full-time position, write your resume with the same care and effort. An effective resume is a launch pad for landing your dream job. Here are 5 essential do’s (and a few don’ts) to help you craft a polished resume.

1. Be precise

Define your professional goal and state it clearly.

Don’t just recycle the wording from the job ad: explain in your own words why you are interested in the position and how, if relevant, it aligns with your long-term career plan.

If you are bilingual, say so! Avoid using clichés such as “functional English” which can be interpreted in various ways and which, frankly, is a bit vague.

Also avoid stating the obvious, such as saying that you are “highly motivated,” “hard working” or have a “strong work ethic.” Unless you demonstrate this with specific examples, such statements hardly make you stand out from all the other candidates.

2. Make it relevant and be honest

According to JobIllico, a recruiter spends between 7 and 11 seconds looking at a resume. Avoid making yours into a smorgasbord of your life because the recruiter is likely to quickly lose interest and move on to the next resume.

Instead, focus on describing the tasks you did in your previous jobs that are similar to those of the position you are applying for.

Do not lie on your resume; it will catch up with you sooner or later. You don’t have the required experience specified in the job ad? Be honest. Other aspects of your resume might swing the balance in your favour.

3. Give your resume oomph

Long scripted sentences are likely to make the reader tune out. If English composition is not your strong point, simple sentences consisting of a subject, verb and object will get the message across just as well.

Action verbs make a presentation more lively and concise.

Highlight your own successes, accomplishments and results rather than those of the companies where you might have done an internship. If you have contributed to the company’s success, then don’t be modest and say so!

If you had no hand in the success, then don’t bring it up.

4. Read and re-read your final resume

Pay special attention to spelling mistakes, repetitions or omissions. Typing errors don’t impress anyone.

Read and re-read your resume. Put it down for a few hours, even a few days, then come back to it. You will look at it with fresh eyes and perhaps see where you can make improvements. Any mistakes will jump straight out at you.

If you are unsure about an expression you’ve used, check the dictionary or online. Your resume has to be impeccable.

If you have any doubts, ask someone with a good command of English to read through your resume.

5. Presentation matters

You’re 16, you’re looking for your first summer job and you don’t have much in the way of work experience to show on your resume. Recruiters understand that. There’s no need to use a big font just to fill up the page. Use a font that is easy to read and neither too small nor too big.

If you want to vary the fonts, one for the section headings and another for the text will be enough to make your resume look sharp.

If you fancy using different font sizes, apply the same rule as for the font: one for the headings and another for the text.

Don’t go overboard with bold, italics or other forms of emphasis, or you’ll make the reader boss-eyed!

It is essential that your resume look professional; this is not the place for smileys!

Even if you want to let the recruiter know how great and energetic you are, there is no need for a photo of yourself on your resume.

Also avoid including personal information such as your social insurance number or your marital status. All the recruiter is looking for is whether to contact you by email or phone.

Your resume is your foot in the door

Write your resume with care.

The effort you put into job seeking reflects how you work. Be meticulous … and good luck!