These are the parts of a perfect resume

Here’s everything you need to make sure your resume checks all the boxes.

These are the parts of a perfect resume

Learn the key elements of the perfect resume.

Think your resume is nothing more than a few sentences and a handful of bullet points? Think again. The perfect resume is crafted with care, each line contributing to a larger snapshot of who you are, what you do, how you’re prepared to blow your prospective employer out of the water with your one-of-a-kind skillset.

Okay, maybe we’ve oversold it a bit. Still, your resume is the document that does the heavy lifting in a job search, the meat and potatoes to your cover letter’s amuse-bouche. It’s not something you slap together in 30 minutes—in fact, you’ll probably want to tailor at least a few items to each potential job on your list.

Sound intimidating? Don’t worry, it’s not that bad. And no, we won’t use the term “amuse-bouche” again in this article. Let’s take a moment to break down the key elements of a perfect resume.

Contact info

This is pretty basic. If someone has any interest in hiring you, they need to be able to get in touch with you first. That’s why you need to include your contact details, preferably at the top of your resume: name, address, phone number, email, the whole kit and caboodle. Even if you submitted a resume through Monster or another site where your account may auto-submit some basic information, don’t expect an HR person or hiring manager to do any digging. They’re more likely to go with someone who didn’t forget to include their cell number at the top of their resume.

Career summary

Before you dive into your job history, it’s a good idea to write a sentence or two that serves as your resume’s personal statement. “After your name and contact information, create a well-branded headline that provides a sense of who you are professionally, summarizing both your background and career objectives,” says John Dooney, an HR knowledge advisor with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “Include any industry experience and credentials that set you apart in your field.”

Relevant skills

The emphasis here is on the word relevant. Remember what we said about tailoring each resume to the job at hand? Most job listings will mention a few of the key skills the employer is seeking out, and your resume is the ideal place to note that you have those abilities in spades. A perfect resume judicially highlights skills that are applicable to the job at hand; it’s not a laundry list of your talents. So when you’re trying to decide which skills to mention, pick and choose based on which are most closely aligned with the role. While you may indeed have many talents, the likelihood that an employer needs to know about both your fluency in Javascript and your award-winning sourdough skills is probably pretty low. If you need some job-specific guidance, check out Monster's library of sample resumes

Work history

Now we’re getting down to the detail-rich, Ben and Jerry’s-like core of your resume. This is the part where you list, one by one, the jobs that make up your career history. But rather than simply enumerating your basic job duties (scrubbed dishes, prepared amuse-bouches—oops, sorry), a better approach is to frame each position around a measurable accomplishment. “Just don’t speak about job duties and tasks performed, but highlight successes and achievements,” says Dooney. “When possible, quantify each one, such as noting increases in sales, reduced time to bringing products to market, and company commendations or industry awards you won for your work.”

Education and certifications

Speaking of awards, feel free to give those their own section, along with any professional certifications you may hold (if you have a few of both, we’d prioritize the latter). As with your skills breakdown, be judicious and only include items that are relevant to the job. Finally, under a separate heading, don’t forget to include some details about your education history, leading with the highest level of education you’ve completed (including degree, if applicable). Unless you’re currently a student, you can probably leave your GPA out—and even then, it’s typically not an absolute must.

The perfect resume needs one last thing

Now that you have all the elements in place, it’s time to call in the reinforcements. Don’t send your resume to hiring managers without first getting a professional review. Could you use some help with that? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. It’s a quick and easy way to fine-tune your resume details to help make sure you’re ready to impress employers.