Sample résumés: To use or not to use

Career & Education

Sample résumés: To use or not to use

Sunday, August 11, 2019

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Dear Career Advisor:

Good day, I am seeking your urgent assistance. Please send me a sample résumé and cover letter.




Dear Lurline:

Thank you for contacting us and for re-opening an area that is of interest to many readers.

Without the benefit of background information in respect of your training, experience, interests, and career aspirations, it is very likely that any sample application document that would be provided might more likely be a miss than a hit. What we do in this column is guide readers through the mechanics of developing their own winning résumés and cover letters.

You will be able to find hundreds of sample application documents in online sources. Bear in mind, however, that in the same way that you are unique, your application documents should not appear to be a cookie-cutter reflection of online samples and templates.

If, for expediency, you must use a pre-developed sample or template, search for the ones that are aligned to your area of training or career goals, and tweak to fit your specific situation. Look at several samples to get ideas as to possible approaches and writing styles.

Be sure to avoid samples or templates that:

• are difficult to manipulate. • do not make adequate use of the space on your page

• use heavy indentation and large font sizes

• suggest or require the inclusion of information that could potentially be prejudicial to your being recruited, such as a photograph (except you are in creative fields such as modelling), your age, gender, or religion.

Your application should portray you as a professional. Your goal is to create a favourable impression in the mind of your prospective employer by highlighting your strongest attributes which will be of value to the organisation.

In the next few weeks we will take a break from our mailbox questions and again review the principles for developing excellent application documents.

All the best.


Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice president of student services at Northern Caribbean University, in Mandeville, Jamaica. Submit your questions to her at

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