Resumes (sometimes known as CVs) and cover letters are written documents that you create to show your work experience and education. They are important as a first point of contact between you and a potential employer. You can give your resume to an employer online or in-person. They will review these documents when deciding whether or not to ask you to come in for an interview.


Your resume lists your skills, work experience and education. It includes your name and contact information. Resumes are usually no more than two pages. It is meant to be a quick snapshot of your professional life.

Tips for writing resumes:

  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Use bullet points when listing your experience. Avoid full sentences or paragraphs if possible.
  • Use headings to separate sections of your resume.
  • Do not put false information or exaggerated facts on your resume.
  • Include a list of references who the employer may contact.
  • Do not include outdated or irrelevant experience.
  • Do not include personal information (Social Insurance Number, date of birth, marital status, photos).
  • Do not include reasons for leaving previous employers or your previous salaries.
  • Do not include the date your resume was prepared.

Cover letters

A cover letter is a document sent with your resume that provides more information on your skills. It provides you with the chance to use your own words to describe yourself. Use this as a means to make yourself stand out from the rest of the people applying. Be sure to include why you would be great at the job you're applying for.

Tips for writing cover letters:

  • Include the address of the company and date the cover letter at the top.
  • Make sure to personalize the cover letter to the receiving individual. Don't use "To Whom it May Concern" if you know the person's name. Ask for the spelling of the contact name if necessary.
  • Address the specific position you are applying for in a subject line (e.g., Re: Administrative Assistant).
  • Try to make your points quickly and succinctly.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Sign your cover letter.
  • Use the same formatting and font as you use for your resume.
  • Don't use a generic cover letter or repeat cover letters for different jobs.
  • Use plain, white paper.
  • End your cover letter by thanking them for the opportunity or by saying you look forward to meeting with them, but try not to appear too eager. This may come off as being desperate.

The Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre and the YMCA of Greater Toronto can help you write your resume and cover letter.

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