Resume writing: Tips and myths

A friend of yours asks you to help her with her resume. Why not see this as an opportunity to update yours? Beneva, like so many other companies, are looking for good people like you! A relevant, professional resume is the ideal passport into any company.

These tips will make the resume-writing process for you (or your friend) simple and effective. They will also help you make a strong first impression. Let’s go!

The Basics

When reading resumes, recruiters look for specific information. The headings and their order, however, will vary depending on the resume template.

  • Contact Information: name, phone number, email address and website (if any).
  • Studies: schools attended, diplomas earned, graduation years.
  • Professional Experience: current employer (if applicable), all previous jobs including start and end dates, brief task description—be sure to include parental leaves (more than 6 months) or sabbaticals to fill in any gaps (to show that you were not out of work).
  • Skills: languages spoken and written, proficiency with specific tools.

Consider including optional sections, like personal accomplishments, interests and career objectives, as applicable

The Right Template

A quick internet search will reveal a near infinite number of resume templates. Not all templates are created equal though. Choose one that reflects your career path, experience and field of activity.

We will focus on four popular templates, but you could consider others, like video resumes.



Presents relevant work experience from most to least recent

Focuses on simplicity, pertinence and clarity Is easy for recruiters to peruse

People who have been working in a given field for several years or who want to put the emphasis on their work history

Presents relevant professional skills before work experience. Skills include driving heavy machinery, organizing events, etc.

Focuses on the skills required for the desired position

People who have very little experience in their field, who have a non-traditional career path or who want to change fields

Presents projects and professional achievements. Accomplishments include creating an SEO-optimized website and a major project at work.

Focuses on achievements in specific fields like sales, project management, IT, graphic design, etc.

People who want to show what they can do or the results they can get

Presents diplomas and training at school or on-the-job

Focuses on studies rather experience or skills

People who recently completed their training or who are applying for a job in a specialized field like engineering, law, medicine, etc.

Information Filtering

Don’t over-embellish (because you’ll have to walk the talk). In fact, don’t go into too much detail. Focus on how your career path makes you the perfect candidate for the desired job. A pertinent, adapted resume increases your chances of standing out.

Follow these tips to avoid writing too much..

Contact Information – Don’t write your age or date of birth. You should be considered for your merit, not your age.

Professional Experience – Don't write more than five tasks. Focus on what’s most important for your desired job or your preferences. Don’t include past employment that is irrelevant to the job you are applying for

A Real World Example

Ski instructor, essential oils vendor, waitress... Marjorie had a number of student jobs. After graduation, she began working in her field of study. She doesn’t include her past employment in her resume, opting instead to focus on what’s most important.

Personal Aptitudes – Don't write them in your resume to avoid repetition. Write them in an email or cover letter or mention them at the interview: dynamic, diligent, creative, etc.

Personal Interests and Hobbies – This section is optional. Include it when you feel that your interests or hobbies are assets to your application.

Let’s Bust Some Myths

There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to resumes. Let’s examine a few!

Myth #1: One page only

Let’s be realistic. One page is not enough to lay out a person’s career path. Two or three is ideal… never more.

Myth #2: References available upon request

Some might feel obligated to include a phrase like the above in their resume. However, experts agree that it is unnecessary and takes up valuable real estate for nothing. Keep this for the interview.

Myth #3: Your online persona is totally distinct from your professional one

Not true. Most recruiters will consult an applicant’s social media presence, most notably LinkedIn. Try to maintain an image that is consistent with your resume because your social media presence is an extension of that.

Choose Your Words

  • When talking about your experiences, use specific verbs: oversee, execute, train, improve. Refer to a list like this (or countless others available online) to choose verbs that are adapted to your profession.
  • Use plain, clear language. For example, use takes initiative rather than go-getter, and check rather than verify.
  • Replace vague terms with actual numbers and concrete examples. For example, use weekly rather than often and 3,000 clients rather than lots of clients.
  • Avoid negative or pejorative words and phrases.


  • Divide the resume into sections with clear headings: Studies, Professional Experience, Skills.
  • Use bullets to list tasks (like the ones we are using here).
  • Don’t make it too busy (too many colours, icons, text boxes, frames). Recruiters won’t know where to look.
  • Use black text on white background (unless you’re a skilled graphic designer). The important thing is for your resume to be easy to read.
  • Avoid reducing the font size to fit more text in—no one should have to squint to read it!
  • Don’t underline, keep it for hyperlinks only (clickable text). For emphasis, consider using bold (but don’t overdo it).
  • Leave empty spaces for a streamlined professional look.

Read and Reread

Avoid typos at all costs. Use reliable spell-check software and have it proofread by a qualified person.

English mistakes will destroy your credibility. Why? Because they reek of carelessness.

Be Methodicalt

Preparing an effective resume takes time and requires some strategizing when highlighting your talents. For other best practices, consult job-searching websites in Quebec and Ontario.

Once your resume is done, we’d love to see it!