Yes, it absolutely is possible to write the perfect resume and the following article will show you how. Before going any further, let us just separate what the role of the resume is versus what a resume is not designed to do.
The primary role of a resume, when done right
- acts as a summary of all your important experiences, accomplishments, and skills
- acts as your first impression to a hiring manager and your potential colleagues
- convinces the recruiter or hiring manager to give you an introductory call
- aides and supports you during the interview
Also, do you know the difference between a Resume and a CV?
What a resume, will NOT do for you
- guarantee you an in-person interview
- speak for you during the interview
- convince the hiring manager they should hire you
- act as a reference for you
- negotiate your salary
So now that we are on the same page as to what is the primary role of a resume, let’s go through how you write the perfect resume.
While you’re here, make sure to also check out 8 Resume Writing Mistakes You Must Avoid in 2021
Research the company
- spend at least an hour researching the company’s website, LinkedIn page, and product pages
- try to understand who their target customer base is, and who they sell to
- try to understand the tone, voice, and culture of the company
Your goal is to incorporate your findings into the resume and cover letter.
Key skills and experience section
- ensure your resume has a key skills and experience section
- come up with at least six to nine bullet points
- match the key skills and experience to the “require responsibilities” or the “ideal candidate will have…” section of the job posting
As tempting as it may be, do not use the same skills and experience for every job!
Use chronological job history
- start with your current or most recent job at the top and work your way back
- try to use quantitative (versus qualitative) facts when describing your previous responsibilities
- adjust qualitative job details to match what the company does and focuses on
- think of your job history as a reverse pyramid shape — have the most bullets for the most recent job and reduce as you go down
Again, you want to customize the information for each job, making your experience match what the employer is looking for.
When you are ready for the cover letter, take 30 seconds and read Pro Cover Letter Tips from a Hiring Manager
Include a section for education and certifications
- typically this should go at the bottom/end of your resume
- keep it to a maximum of three points, ideally two — one point for each degree or certificate
- start with your most recent degree
Include everything after high school.
Leave out the following sections
- hobbies and interests
- “references upon request”
- personal information
These fields used to be standard 10-15 years ago when so much weight was placed on a resume. But with more companies focusing on the interview process and applicant tracking systems to do some of the initial screening, these fields should be avoided.
Make it user friendly
- for each of your previous employers make sure to link the name of that company to the company’s website
- if your experiences included things like setting up a tradeshow, or designing a website, make sure to link to those projects
- if you include your LinkedIn, and you DEFINITELY should, make sure to add a link as well
The vast majority of resumes are always previewed in soft (digital) copies either in email or applicant tracking systems. This section is all about making it easier for the hiring manager to interact and engage with your resume.
And when we say proofread, we don’t just mean run it through Microsoft spell check. We mean actually go through your resume line by line. For example, spell tell you that you should have used the word “past” instead of “passed”, or the word “led” rather than “lead”.
The final touches
- double-check the instructions for submitting your resume
- PDF your document and check your margins and fonts
- name the file appropriately
- BCC yourself
Rinse and repeat, kind of
- keep the momentum going by applying to at least one or two other jobs one after another
- make sure to customize the resume for each job
- save the resume file to match the company name