How to Write the Perfect Resume – 10 Simple Tips

Having seen thousands of Resumes, littered with the same mistakes, here are 10 things you must get right in order to have the perfect resume.

1. Make Use of Keywords

We live in a world where technology is available to almost all headhunters, recruiters, HR departments and hiring managers. Chances are that your resume will be one of hundreds if not thousands received. So how do people sort these resumes? They store the resumes in a database and then do keyword searches. So if you’re applying for a specific role then make sure you are using words that relate to that role. By researching the company’s website you can easily find ‘repeated words and phrases’ ‘taglines’ and information about what the company stands for. More than 85% of all resumes have a keyword search applied, don’t be left out.
Over the next few months we will develop resources to help you choose the best keywords for your field of work. Make sure you subscribe below and remember to check in for updates.
2. Your Resume Must be About Accomplishments and Results
Too many resumes list duties and responsibilities and read more like the job description for the role. They start with ‘Responsible for’, ‘Required to’ etc. Nobody wants to employ a person who can tick boxes, we all want to hire someone who can kick goals.
What a perspective employer wants to hear is how you ‘increased revenue’, ‘grew a portfolio of customers’, ‘took a company to number 1 in the market’ etc. What they are looking for are results driven, high performers who know how to sell themselves and the company they will potentially work for. Make every role about the things you did that were above and beyond and see what a powerful difference it makes.
3. Never use a Standard Template Resume for Multiple Roles
Most of us will apply for multiple roles when we are looking for a new job. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, in this day an age, employers can smell a standard template resume a mile away.
Put yourself in the employers shoes for a minute. Would you rather a person who has spent time and made sure their resume is focused on the achievements and skills relevant to the role and company you run? Or would you accept a ‘Vanilla’ resume that looks more akin to a brochure handed out at a supermarket in the hope that everyone might be interested?
Make sure you focus on the role you are applying for. Learn about the role by doing a Google search on the company, its primary products, mission statement or any relevant information available and/or acquire a job description for the role. Make sure you talk about the accomplishments you have achieved that directly relate to the role you are applying for. A well researched applicant reads like the perfect person for the role to a perspective employer. Never worry that your resume looks different for different roles, it needs to.
4. Format, Format, Format
Your resume should always have bullet points, this way the reader can distinguish between accomplishments. Too many resumes have good content buried away from the employer in what appears a tangled mess. Make sure your accomplishments are separated and stand alone.
Be consistent in the way you format too, ensuring that the bullet points are uniform throughout the document and there are no significant changes to structure throughout the resume.
The same thing can be said for ‘font types’, this is especially important when you are updating a section of the resume or changing information at a later date. Attention to detail is paramount. Also ensure you have a resume in electronic format as most job sites, recruitment firms and large companies require you to paste your resume into their site.
5. References Should Always Be Available on Request
Never list your referees on the resume itself. If you’re applying for multiple roles the last thing you want is your referees called needlessly on multiple occasions. If the employer is serious about you and you progress to a stage of consideration, then they will contact you and ask for these details.
6. Never go Back Too Far in Your History
The age old question of ‘how far should I go back in my resume?’ is an easy question to answer. You go back approximately 10 years. There are of course exceptions, for example, you have had the same role for the last 18 years. The general rule of thumb though is about 10 years because anything longer really isn’t relevant to now and some employers may exhibit aged bias, which is in reality something that does still happen.
7. Make Your Resume Easy to Read
Many different sites quote many different numbers, but the rule of thumb is that when going through a resume the reader will look at it for approximately 10 seconds before sorting your resume into a ‘yes’, ‘maybe’ or ‘no’ pile.
What does this mean for you? Keep an employers attention by making the resume easy to read. Ensure the important information is viewable at a glance. Start with the Title or Position of the role. Again, so many people put the dates of their last roles first, which is confusing and also frustrating for the reader. As an employer I want to see what you did, then where you did it (for which company), followed by where you were located (country and state or territory) and then finally the dates.
A poorly set out resume means the 10 second glance you get can eliminate you from consideration. Don’t let this ever happen to you.
8. Hobbies and Interests are Irrelevant Unless Job Related
Too many people write a section explaining weird and wonderful past-times and interests that have no relevance to the role they are applying for. To use an example, a person applying for a Senior Management role for an Auditing Firm who lists their love for long romantic walks along the beach, only opens themselves up to exclusion rather than inclusion. As the interest has no relevance to the role, it can only count against you.
9. Include an Objective
Again, we can use language and terminology specific to the role we are applying to in this field. Never use a blanket objective for all roles you are applying to however, as this is the fastest way to become stereotyped and could count against you.
Alex Douzet, CEO of TheLadders, tells us that everyone should include an objective and compare it to a ’30-second elevator pitch’ where you should ‘Explain who you are and what you are looking for’
A smartly written and targeted objective could be a decisive move in getting you that all important interview.
10. Where Possible Talk in Numbers
We have previously talked about the importance of making your resume accomplishment based rather than duties based. So where possible back the accomplishments up with numbers. For example, ‘increased sales from $34,000 to $74,500, in the space of 1 year’. This gives the reader a sense of comfort in your accomplishments and also shows the potential you bring to their business.
We hope this article will help you to go further in your quest for your perfect role. Please feel free to tell us how this worked for you and share your success with our readers.

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