How to Write Perfect Resumes
Here’s everything you need to make sure your resume checks all the boxes.
Think your resume is nothing more than a few sentences and a handful of bullet points? Think again. Perfect resumes are 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.
Perfect Resumes: The Key Elements
- Contact Info
- Career Summary
- Relevant Skills
- Work History
- Education and Certifications
1. 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 spot-on perfect 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.
2. 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. Beneath your name and contact information, consider leading with a well-branded resume headline to give hiring managers a sense of who you are professionally. Then write a few sentences that summarize your background and career highlights. Add your industry experience and credentials that set you apart in your field.
3. 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.
4. 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.
But take care not to simply write down your job duties and daily tasks—mention your successes and achievements. Numbers are always good to have, so quantify each accomplishment you put on your resume whenever possible. Examples include increases in sales, reducing turnaround times, and number of people you oversaw and/or trained. Don't forget to include any company commendations or industry awards you won for your work.
5. 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.
Your Perfect Resume Needs Exposure
Now that you have all the elements in place, it's time to get hiring managers to pay attention. You're going to be competing against other people with impressive qualifications, so take every advantage to get noticed. Want some help with that? Start by creating a free profile on Monster. It's simple and only takes a few minutes, and the rewards are worth it. We can connect you to recruiters in your field who are hiring for open positions. Additionally, you can sign up for custom job alerts to stay ahead of the game. Sounds pretty perfect to us.