Series One: Resume Writing Tips

I can’t tell you how many different resumes I have written and updated throughout my working life.  My skills, education, and experience are fluid and ever-evolving such that I am constantly having to make updates and revisions in order to keep my professional profile as current as possible. 

There are a number of great online resources that provide tips on resume writing.  If you don’t already have a resume and are worried about proper formatting or if you just want to update an existing resume, some of these sites also offer free downloadable templates you can use as a guide.

The five tips outlined below should set the foundation of your initial, basic resume.  Use this as a template and add or subtract from the details you share based on the job you are applying for. 

Fashion Business/Fashion Business Management students at the Dex showroom with Coordinator Anna Cappuccitti.
  1. Create a basic resume 

A basic resume is your foundation piece to build upon once you begin applying for jobs.  This should include clear contact information so that you can be easily reached by potential employers.  I would suggest creating a professional email address that consists of some combination of your first and last name (eg., not and include your preferred phone number (likely your mobile number).  

Make a note to set up a professional voicemail message that states your name and a brief message for your callers.  This is the first time the hiring manager will hear your voice, so you will want it to sound pleasant, calm and clear.  I suggest preparing your voicemail greeting by writing out a brief script of what you want to say before recording to avoid forgetting important information and having to re-record multiple times.

Your basic resume should also include your hard and soft skills (see last week’s post on self-assessment), your job history and education in chronological order, starting from most recent.

2. Use easy-to-read font

I suggest using Arial font in size 12pt. If you absolutely have to, you can go as small as 10.5pt, but no smaller. Make sure your font is clean, simple, and most importantly, easy to read. I would stay away from creative font styles unless you are aware of the company culture and confident it would be acceptable.   Otherwise, keep it simple and stick to Arial.

3. Proof read and edit your resume

The biggest distractions for employers reading resumes are spelling and grammar mistakes.  A hiring manager is not likely to continue reading a resume that contains typos and other errors.  They are looking for your ability to communicate strongly and effectively as this is a skill needed for most jobs.  Always make sure to re-read your resume with a critical eye.  I always ask a friend with impeccable editing skills to read my resume and cover letters before sending to any prospective employers. 

4. Resume length

Keep your resume 1-2 pages in length.  Some hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes for a single job and if your resume is too long, it may get dismissed as too convoluted or time-consuming to read thoroughly.  You need to sufficiently showcase your skills, education, achievements, and current and previous work experience that are relevant to the job posting requirements in a way that is clear, concise and avoids confusing or unnecessary jargon.

Note: Once you begin applying directly to job postings, you should customize your resume and cover letter to each application.  I suggest saving the job posting along with your custom resume and cover letter in a folder for safe keeping.  It can take weeks or even months to receive a response from a potential employer and you will want to be able to reference and refamiliarize yourself with the posting and files you originally sent to the hiring manager in the event they reach out to you. 

5. Highlight your achievements

This is your time to shine.  List all of your achievements!  Give yourself credit for all the hard work you have done to get where you are today.  Now is not the time to be humble.  In fact, I encourage you to boast.  Whether you’ve been recognized for academic excellence, volunteering or extracurricular activities, acknowledgement of your dedication and achievements is an indication to a hiring manager that you are a motivated individual who works hard and can rise to any occasion.

Join me next week when I will be posting Series Two: Cover Letter Tips.

Until then, take care.


Introduction to the 8-part Series – Personal Assessment

The objective of this 8-part series is to provide you with some key steps that you can take to help you create and establish your profile as a professional in your field and start your career by finding a job. Over the next 8 weeks, I will be sharing tips on various career-building topics ranging from creating a strong cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile, to navigating job searches, preparing for and following up an interview, building professional social media accounts, networking and building engagement in your industry.

Personal Assessment

Personal assessment is an important first step you need to take before you even begin writing your resume. This is the time to consider which career path you would like to take within your designated field. It also gives you a better idea of the types of workplace environments that might suit you.

Let’s get started!

Clear your mind and reflect on what area of study, within your college program, you enjoyed most or in which you performed best.  If this can be narrowed down to a specific course, what was the focus of that course?  If you worked with an industry partner while studying, what did you do that brought you the most satisfaction? 

After you have done this, also ask yourself which courses, if any, you had some difficulty with and why?  Answering this question will allow you to identify any weaknesses within your acquired skill set and reflect on how to improve upon them.

Begin Brainstorming

I want you to begin brainstorming your skill set and reflect on times you were recognized for your achievements, values, and interests.

There are two kinds of skill sets: hard skills and soft skills.

Hard skills are knowledge and expertise you have gained through your education and any additional forms of technical training. These skills are measurable.

Soft skills are skills that you have gained through life experience, such as the way in which you communicate; your interpersonal skills. These skills are often transferable to many different careers. 


What awards or special recognition have you received?

Why were those awards given to you?

How did your hard and soft skills help you to achieve this recognition?


Values are important to your career because they help describe the type of person you are.  They can be a key indicator of behaviour and how you might respond to different situations in the workplace.  For example, if you value trust, you are likely someone that would be able to keep information confidential.

Describe your character.  What type of personality do you have?

What are your values?

Are you a “people person”?

What type of attitude do you have? For example, do you typically look at things in a positive way, a negative way etc?  Are you typically an optimist or a pessimist? 

How do you react in stressful or challenging situations?


Interests are made up of anything and everything you enjoy doing or want to learn about.  Interests can be broad, such as having a general interest in reading or music, or they can be more developed hobbies such as knitting or painting. Identifying what your interests are also has the added benefit of helping you figure out what you are not interested in.  Narrowing down your interests will help you decide what to focus on and develop going forward.

Your task is to review the questions above and answer them. Having a better understanding of who you are and what you enjoy are crucial to your job search.

Join me next week when I will be posting Series One: Resume Tips.

Until then, take care.


Series Three: Setting Goals

Now that you have completed Series One: Finding Happiness During Uncertain Times and Series Two: Creating Routines, welcome to the final series: Setting Goals!  Setting goals is an important tool, not only to help you stay focused, but to inspire and motivate you to pursue your dreams and put yourself on the path to achieving them. 

Designed by a Fashion Arts student

Exercise One:  Make a list

As you may have noticed, I love making lists, but making a list of goals is always especially fun and exciting because it gives me something to work towards!  I like to start by writing out a list of 10 goals.  These goals could be any combination of things I want to accomplish.  Some could be modest, short-term goals such as successfully completing a course, while others could be big and outrageous, long-term goals such as designing and planning a Grammy after-party for Beyoncé. Once I have my list of 10 goals, I will select one that I want to start working on and map it out. 

Now, you try it!

Exercise Two:  Goal Mapping

Once you have your list of 10 goals, grab another piece of paper and write that goal at the top, big and bold.   Start mapping out your goal by answering the following questions: 

GOAL MAP: Career in Law

  1. What is your goal? e.g. To be admitted into a graduate law program.
  2. Why this goal is important to you? e.g.  Becoming a lawyer is my dream career.
  3. What is your deadline to accomplish this goal? e.g. September 2021
  4. What are the three action steps you must take to complete your goal?

e.g. a. Finish undergraduate degree with a 3.7 G.P.A.

       b. Earn a 160 LSAT score.

       c. Apply.

5. What is your deadline for completing each of the three action steps?

Be as specific as possible when answering the questions above. You want to have a clear idea of what your goal is and how you plan on achieving it.  Once you have established your deadline, you can break down your action steps even further if need be and give those smaller tasks additional due dates.  Refer back to last week’s series: Creating a Routine to help you stay on track and don’t get discouraged if your goal map needs revising along the way.  This is a normal process and as you delve deeper into the development stages of your goals, things often change course and sometimes for the better.  The most important thing is to keep an open mind and embrace new paths this journey may take you on.

Photo credit: Adobe Spark

It is completely up to you to decide if you prefer to share your goals with others or keep them to yourself, but if you know that you sometimes have a hard time staying on track, try telling a close friend or family member about them.  This can help keep you accountable to your goals and motivated to succeed.  

Best of luck!


Series Two: Creating a Routine

Photo credit: Adobe Spark

Finding a routine can be key when attempting to achieve some kind of normalcy in your day-to-day life.  It can help you feel in control by adding some structure to your day and making sure you are devoting enough time to yourself and your loved ones.  My favorite part of creating a routine is the organization involved.  It takes planning and flexibility to adapt to changing schedules and deadlines. 

Time allotted for work schedule:

When I build my routine, I look at my calendar and begin by plugging in any regular or fixed obligations, such as my work schedule.  I will enter my start time, end time, and lunch break. Since these events take up the most significant part of my time during the week, I block them in my calendar first.

Make a list of priorities for the week:

Prioritizing tasks week-to-week allows me to stay focused and more effectively pace exciting projects, while keeping me from procrastinating others.  I write this list at the beginning of the week (my week begins on Sundays) and include five of the most important tasks I need to complete.  Once I have narrowed down my five top priorities, I estimate how long each task should take to complete and tentatively plug them in to my calendar. 

Move your body for 30 minutes a day:

Once my schedule is prioritized, I can begin filling in the rest of my calendar for the week.  For me, this means deciding when I am going to spend time exercising!  I aim to move my body for at least 30 minutes a day.  Spending some time walking outside (remember social distancing!) while enjoying the sunshine and nicer weather always makes me feel better.  I also like to take advantage of a number of strength training, yoga, and pilates classes that instructors are offering for free through their Instagram accounts.  If you are interested in knowing which free accounts I use, please send me a message and I will get back to you with the details. Exercising each day, even for a short time, acts as an instant mood booster. 

Refer to your happiness list:

Last week I posted Series One called Finding Happiness During Times of Uncertainty and Looking Forward to the Future.  In the blog post, I discussed an exercise that concentrated on listing ten things that currently make me happy.  When creating my routine, I refer back to that exercise and review my happiness list.  I schedule time in my calendar to do one of my happiness activities each day of the week. 

Sleep schedule:

We know that getting enough sleep per night is beneficial to both our health and our productivity. Making sure we go to bed and wake up at the same time every day may seem boring and predictable, but since the average adult generally needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep out of 24, it becomes an important consideration when planning our daily routines.  

Spend time reflecting on your day:

Reflection is a way to deconstruct the past and learn from our experiences.  I always set aside some time each evening to reflect on what happened during my day.  Is there a way I can celebrate that moment? On the other hand, was it something I wish had gone differently and could the outcome have been affected if I had planned my routine another way?

Okay, your turn!  

Build a routine that works for you.  Create weekly goals for yourself, prioritize them and find ways to incorporate the things that make you happy. 

Next week, I will post Series Three where I am going to share how to map out your goals.

Until then, take care.


Series One: Finding Happiness During Times of Uncertainty and Looking Forward to the Future

We are living in a strange and uncertain time. Under normal circumstances, I would not write a blog post that is this personal.  However, as we all sit at home trying to adjust to this “new” normal, I thought I would take this moment to share some of the things that are helping me get through my day-to-day life in isolation with the hope that it might offer even a few of you, some comfort food for thought.

To start, I have acknowledged and come to terms with the idea that it is okay to not be okay. Experiencing a million different emotions is something I am contending with on a daily basis. If you are feeling anything similar, just know that you are not alone.  Everyone’s situation might be different, but we are ultimately in this together and there are things we can do to help one another along the way.  

One exercise that I have found helpful is to write a list of ten things that currently bring me happiness. These are things that I do for myself, that make my day a little brighter and bring me comfort.  We all have different coping mechanisms, and what makes you happy and brings you joy is unique to you.  These are mine:

Stephanie’s Happiness List While Social Distancing During a Pandemic:

  1. Drinking my morning coffee. I enjoy the flavour and scent of a freshly brewed cup.
  2. Having a short dialogue with my tabby cat, Bacon. He is vocal and will respond with meowing and cooing sounds to my morning interrogation: “How are you, Bacon? Did you enjoy your catnip?”.
  3. Watering my plants; I have many and love seeing them grow.
  4. Taking a long bath.
  5. Reading.  I read every night. I am currently reading  For Small Creatures Such as We, by Sasha Sagan.
  6. Drawing.  I enjoy drawing still life of florals.
  7. Going for a walk in my neighbourhood (while social distancing!).
  8. Lighting candles; the scent and flickering flame is relaxing.
  9. FaceTiming my friends and family.
  10. Yoga.  I have been practicing Kundalini and restorative yoga.
This is “high fashion” Bacon the cat.
Photo credit: Stephanie Valadao

Now, you try it.  Take a few minutes to find yourself a quiet space in your home, grab a piece of paper, pen and your favourite warm beverage.  Spend the next ten minutes making a list of ten things that bring you happiness; the things that currently bring you joy.  Tape your list up somewhere you will see it every day and make time between your daily tasks for one or more of those things.

One of my many plants.
Photo credit: Stephanie Valadao
For Small Creatures Such as We, by Sasha Sagan.
Photo credit: Stephanie Valadao

Through all of this and no matter how I’m feeling, I remain hopeful for the future.  Writing down what I plan on doing once the pandemic is over has also helped me stay positive.  This brings me to my second happiness exercise; a future happiness list:

Stephanie’s Future Happiness List:

  1. Hugging my family.
  2. Enjoying a wonderful meal with friends at a new restaurant.
  3. Being back at work and sharing my office space with my co-worker, Ginny.
  4. Swimming at an outdoor public pool.
  5. Watching a live sporting event.
  6. Travelling to South America (destination yet to be determined).
  7. Having a picnic.
  8. Exploring the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum.
  9. Seeing a movie.  I like comedies.
  10. Grocery shopping at St. Lawrence Market on a Saturday morning.

Okay, your turn. Take some time to list the ten things that you will look forward to doing once the pandemic is over. Once you are done hang your list somewhere you will see it often and be reminded that you will get to enjoy these experiences in the near future. This is a great list to keep building on when you have new ideas! Refer back to it whenever you feel you need to.

Next week, I will post Series Two where I am going to share tips on how to build a daily routine that works for you.

Until then, stay safe and be kind to yourself.

Take care,


FIELD – Celebrating 10 Years of Industry Partnership

This year the School of Fashion proudly celebrates 10 years of FIELD and offering our students valuable experiential learning and networking opportunities.

FIELD (Fashion Industry Educational Exchange and Leadership Development) is a unique collaboration between the fashion industry and graduating students of Seneca’s Fashion Business Management Advanced Diploma program.

Each year, student teams partner with a fashion industry client who challenges them to assist with a real-life business opportunity.

Student teams apply their knowledge gained in their final year of study to develop strategic and creative solutions for the ‘client’. They present a summary of their findings to the industry partner and a panel of industry judges at the FIELD gala event and a winning team is chosen.

Now in its tenth year, FIELD offers an experiential learning and networking opportunity for students. For the industry partner, it’s a chance to give back to the community, work with emerging professionals in the field, and potentially gain insight into their own operation.

“I highly recommend like-minded brand stakeholders to consider partnering with the Seneca Field program as I am confident it will prove to be a positive disrupter, capable of elevating the passions and energies of everyone involved.” Robin J. Yates, VP, Nobis Inc. FIELD Partner, 2018.

Pictured above: Robin J. Yates.

“I left (the FIELD event) inspired and in awe of these amazing students! Their presentations were first class; professional, succinct and articulate. On behalf of all of us at Walmart, thank you for allowing us to be part of this amazing program — it was an honour!” Marlise Wilson Senior Director Merchandising, Apparel Kids & Family Basics Walmart Canada FIELD Partner, 2017.

Pictured above is the winning team from 2017: Liza Downs, Victoria Peulic, Janelle Villapando and Brittney Palmeri, along with representatives from Walmart Canada, Jennifer Holgate and Marlise Wilson. 

“Seneca’s 2015/2016 Fashion Business Management students have proven to be an incredibly talented, passionate, and ambitious group of our industry’s future leaders.” Kathy Cheng Founder & President Redwood Classics FIELD Partner, 2016

Pictured Above Kathy Cheng and Alex Wong

“The students repeatedly presented themselves as keen individuals with focused minds and ambitious intention. It was an impressive and creative experience.” Franco Mirabelli President & Creative Director Franco Mirabelli Design Inc. FIELD Partner, 2015

Pictured above: Franco and Nancy Mirabelli

“Their… innovative ideas, fresh perspectives and collaborative efforts contributed to an overall experience that is unparalleled.” Krista Love Vice-President, Women’s Wear Sales Haggar Canada Co. FIELD Partner, 2014

Pictured above: Anna Cappuccitti Fashion Business Management Co-ordinator, Krista Love, and Michel Côté, Chair of the School of Fashion.

Thank you to our FIELD industry partners for 10 years of student support and educational excellence.

Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer A. Buabin

Photo credit: Jennifer A. Buabin

Full name: Jennifer A. Buabin

Program: Cosmetic Techniques and Management

Grad Year: 2019

Current Position: Entrepreneur & Brand Ambassador

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

My favourite Seneca College memory was when I found out that I got accepted into the Cosmetic Techniques and Management program.  I remember the moment like it was yesterday.  I was so happy to start my journey in the cosmetics field and excited to be able to gain knowledge from teachers within the program that had many years of experience.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same program as you, what would it be?

Have an open mind.  Be ready to learn all aspects of the Cosmetics industry, from makeup and skincare to learning about different types of ingredients in cosmetics.  You will need to put your full concentration hat on because from the moment you start the program, there will be a lot of information to grasp.  Don’t worry, the teachers have your back.  Ask questions!  If you don’t understand what information is being put out there, just ask and don’t be afraid; maybe someone else is thinking about that same question you are going to ask.  Get to know your classmates because forming a study group is something that will also benefit and enhance your understanding of the course materials.  Make notes after each class and read ahead so that when it comes to midterms and exams, you will not be overwhelmed.  Communication is key!  You need to be passionate about what you’re doing and it will all pay off in the end.

How has your career evolved?

As a result of expanding my knowledge of make-up, skincare and other essentials, I now have the ability to educate my clients.  My knowledge and confidence has definitely empowered me to reach for more and share with others what it means to be determined.  Makeup artistry has brought me closer to my clients and allowed me to help them with their cosmetic situations.  I’m proud of what I’m doing and continue to blossom.

How did your Seneca program help you get to where you are now/your current career?

  • By giving me access to career fairs where I could interact with industry professionals.
  • By facilitating role-playing exercises that prepared me for the industry.
  • By building my confidence.
  • By giving me access to excellent teachers that have open-door policies.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

The in-class make-up demonstrations and practical components of the program created amazing memories that encouraged me to become more creative in my craft and gave me the confidence to do what I do.  Getting to know different styles of makeup artistry was something that I carried on into the real world, where I could explore and share my knowledge with others.  My favourite class was Portfolio Development where I had the opportunity to explore which avenue of the industry I was interested in.