Frequently Asked Questions (continued)
screened based on gaps in work history. Very few job seekers offer a perfectly
steady work history. If you participated in activities such as volunteer work, self-
study, formal training or education while you were out of the workforce, include them
on your cover letter and résumé (if this experience is relevant to the qualification of
the position you are applying to). If long-term gaps are a concern to you, consider a
functional résumé style, which emphasizes relevant skills rather than focusing on
9. How do I write a cover letter and résumé to change careers?
Your career-change cover letter and résumé should highlight your qualifications that
are most relevant to your new career goal. You may have transferable skills,
education and training, volunteer work or other important credentials that will interest
hiring managers. A good starting point is to research job advertisements in the
career category you are interested in and look for frequently mentioned
qualifications. Write down your matching qualifications, and work them into your
résumé. You can also consider different types of résumé formats (e.g. functional).
10. Why am I not screening in for an interview for a job that I feel I am qualified for?
It is important to remember that the person who is reviewing your cover letter and
résumé does not necessarily know you and can’t make assumptions. If you have
applied for several positions and have not yet been successful, remember that there
are many qualified candidates applying for a limited number of positions. Applicants
whose cover letters and résumés best demonstrate how they meet the qualifications
to do the job will be invited to continue in the hiring process. It is recommended that
you provide detail about your skills and qualifications that are directly linked to the
qualifications in the job advertisement, and that you provide information to show how
you have demonstrated or applied these skills. Also, you should review and update
your cover letter and résumé for every competition in order to demonstrate that your
skills and qualifications are closely associated to the qualifications of the positions
which interest you.
11. I have applied to multiple competitions for the same position and I was interviewed
for some and not others, why?
The pool of applicants differs for each competition. All applications received on or
before the posted closing date, that meet the area of search identified in the job
advertisement are reviewed and rated against the qualifications outlined in the job
advertisement. Candidates whose qualifications are rated highest against the
advertised job requirements will be invited to continue to the next stage of the hiring
12. How do I apply to French designated positions?
When you are applying to positions that are bilingual and require you to have
proficiency in both English and French, it is a good practice to emphasize your level
of French proficiency (e.g. advanced, superior) in your skills summary/profile on the
first page of your résumé, as well as in your cover letter. It is not necessary to
submit your application in French.
13. What formats should I submit my résumé in?
Save your résumé file as a MS Word (.doc), PDF (.pdf), Rich Text (.rtf) or Plain Text
(.txt) format, and less than 1MB in size.
Lasting Impressions – Top 10 Résumé Tips
1. Be concise. Your résumé and/or cover letter combined should not exceed five
pages total (or less). Focus your application on how your skills and experience fit
the role you are applying to.
2. Be selective. You don't have to "tell all." Stick to what's relevant and marketable
that speaks to the qualifications required for the job you are applying to. Don't simply
write a list of job duties from your job description.
3. Keep it current. Continually update your résumé as your skills, knowledge and
experience expand. It is a good idea to review and update your cover letter and
résumé for every job you apply for.
4. Construct an effective résumé. Organize your information in a logical fashion and
keep descriptions clear and to the point using plain language. Include relevant work
experience to demonstrate that you are qualified for the job you are seeking.
5. Be honest and accurate. False statements on résumés hurt more than help.
6. Proofread and pay attention to detail. Take the time to make sure the information
that you are using to market yourself is correct and error-free. Review your
application at different times with rest periods in between readings. When your mind
is fresh you will be much more effective in catching typos and other grammatical
7. Follow the application instructions. If the ad has asked for you to provide a
reference or Job ID or other specific information (such as writing samples or
references), ensure that you include them. Be sure that you apply by the closing
8. Format your application.
Prepare your application within the five page suggested limit.
Use a simple, easy-to-read font such as Arial or Times New Roman in size
10 - 12.
Set your margins to 1 inch (2.54cm) for ‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’ and 1.25 inches
(3.17cm) for ‘Left’ and ‘Right’.
Avoid using the remaining part of a page of a résumé to start a cover letter
and vice-versa. Always start each item on a new page.
9. Be professional. Use professional language in your cover letter and résumé.
Use a skills summary or profile to provide a concise overview of your qualifications as
they relate to the job you applied for.
University of Waterloo Career-related resources –This is a great resource for job
seekers at all stages of their careers.
Purdue OWL: Résumé Workshop – This workshop provides detailed explanations,
and step-by-step processes for creating an effective résumé.
Résumé Resource - Cover letter and résumé samples all in one spot.
Monster Canada - Monster’s résumé centre provides résumé samples in different
formats, cover letters, dos and don’ts of résumé writing and the main components of
résumés. The most essential section here is the résumé builder to help you create
your résumé from scratch.
The Elements of Style - Elements of grammatical style, including commonly misused
Employment Ontario/Résumé and Employment Ontario/Cover Letter - Provides you
with various additional tools, resources and sample résumés and cover letters to
help you prepare your application. In addition, these two sites provide you with
valuable resources for career planning and development.
McMaster University Career Services - McMaster University Career Service provides
you with an excellent overview of how to prepare and write a good résumé and
Sample Cover Letter and Résumé
Sample Job Advertisement
Ministry of Government Services
Regional Administrative Assistant
Administrative and Support Services
Demonstrate your professional administrative and organizational skills to provide
administrative and clerical support in an efficient manner, with a focus on service
In this role you will:
• manage the director's calendar
• arrange travel and review travel expense claims
• schedule meetings
• coordinate agendas and meeting materials
• coordinate communications within the branch
• manage circulation of briefing notes and other decision documents for approvals
• maintain office supplies inventory, purchases and reconcile invoices
• coordinate with facilities management and building security
What we are looking for:
(The text within the sample application has been noted accordingly in order to
demonstrate where each skill has been identified).
• you have proven administrative and secretarial experience
Analytical and Problem Solving Skills:
• you have demonstrated analytical, problem-solving and organizational skills to
evaluate information, proactively resolve problems and prioritize workflow
Communication and Customer Service Skills:
• you have excellent communication skills, tact, resourcefulness and strong customer
Computer Skills and Knowledge of Office Equipment:
• you are proficient using computer equipment and software packages (i.e. Microsoft
Office, electronic calendars, etc.)
• you are able to use standard office equipment (i.e. photocopiers, scanners, facsimile
machines and printers)
Judgement and Discretion:
• you have proven judgment and discretion in dealing with sensitive and confidential
As you prepare your application, consider the experience you have to determine if it
matches the skill level of the position you are applying to. Tailor your cover letter and
résumé based on the skill level of the position you are applying to. For example, the
oral communication skills required for an Administrative Assistant position will not be the
same as the oral communication skills required for a more senior position e.g. an
Executive Assistant position.
Sample Cover Letter for Sample Job Ad
123 Resume Way, Toronto, ON | A1B 2C4
Home: 905.555.6543, Business: 416.555.6789
WIN # 123321
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: Job ID 12345, Administrative Assistant, Ministry of Government Services
I am very interested in the above-noted position that was advertised on the Ontario
Public Service (OPS) website. I believe this position would fully utilize the administrative
and clerical skills that I have developed over the past 11 years supporting various levels
of management across a diversity of office settings. I believe that my current role as an
Administrative Assistant within the Ministry of Government Services has prepared me
for a position as a Regional Administrative Assistant. My experience, combined with my
passion for the Ministry of Government Services vision of meeting or exceeding
customers’ expectations, would make me a valuable asset to your Division.
In my current role as an Administrative Assistant with the Ministry of Government
Services, I have developed the following skills that meet the qualifications you are
I have further developed my strong administrative skills in my current role by
managing the day-to-day administrative operations of the Ministry of Government
Services. This includes ensuring that the operational and administrative policies,
procedures and standards are consistently applied to support the achievement of the
Ontario Public Service objectives. Note: the applicant demonstrates
I have developed strong organizational skills as well as learned how to prioritize
workflow when faced with various conflicting priorities. In situations where there are
conflicting priorities, I will take a proactive approach to solving the problem, by
drawing on my knowledge of the Ministry’s priorities, goals and key initiatives. I am
able to quickly identify the priorities appropriately and action them accordingly. The
knowledge of Ministry and Divisional priorities also aided in organizing daily workflow
to ensure deadlines are met. Note: the applicant demonstrates analytical and
problem solving skills.
I have organized and maintained confidential personnel files. This also included the
safekeeping and archiving of the files based on the OPS’ retention schedule. When
confidential files needed to be transferred for off-site storage, I consulted with the
Ministry Freedom of Information and Privacy Act coordinator to ensure that the
necessary protocols were followed to ensure the proper recording, handling and
transfer of confidential documents. Note: the applicant demonstrates judgement
I support the communication and distribution of new corporate initiatives. As the
main point of contact for new initiatives, I respond to queries from Ministry staff
(including Regional Directors and front line Managers) promptly and courteously.
Note: the applicant demonstrates communication and customer service skills.
I would be pleased to have the opportunity to attend an interview to discuss how I could
contribute to the success of the Ministry of Government Services. I feel confident that I
would be an asset in the position of Administrative Assistant. You can reach me during
the day at (416) 555-6789 or in the evenings at (905) 555-6543. Thank you for your
Jasmine Candidate, WIN ID# 123321
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested