The Perfect Resume

Your resume is only as good as the information you provide. Make sure you’re prepared with this list. Your resume has one job: To convince the reader that you’re a candidate worth interviewing.

This guide to resume writing includes advice on how to create a professional resume, how to choose an appropriate resume format, how to write customized and targeted resumes, and what to include in your resume.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth (although with age discrimination laws now in force this isn’t essential), telephone number and email. Select one email address and one phone number to include on your resume. We recommend setting up an email address that’s dedicated to your job-search activities and using your cell phone number on your resume, as this gives you the ability to control the voicemail message, who answers the phone, and when.

EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Create a record of all your education, beginning with your most recent degree. List the institution, its location, the name of your degree, your course, your graduation year, and any honours associated with the degree. Do the same for any relevant certifications you’ve obtained or additional training opportunities or workshops you’ve attended.

SKILLS AND HOBBIES

  • Don’t use the old boring clichés here: “socialising with friends”.
  • Don’t put many passive, solitary hobbies (reading, watching TV, stamp collecting) or you may be perceived as lacking people skills. If you do put these, then say what you read or watch: “I particularly enjoy Dickens, for the vivid insights you get into life in Victorian times”.
  • Show a range of interests to avoid coming across as narrow: if everything centres around sport they may wonder if you could hold a conversation with a client who wasn’t interested in sport.
  • Hobbies that are a little out of the ordinary can help you to stand out from the crowd: skydiving or mountaineering can show a sense of wanting to stretch yourself and an ability to rely on yourself in demanding situations
  • Any interests relevant to the job are worth mentioning: current affairs if you wish to be a journalist; a fantasy share portfolio such as any virtual stock trading if you want to work in finance.
  • Any evidence of leadership is important to mention: captain or coach of a sports team, course representative, chair of a student society, scout leader: “As captain of the school cricket team, I had to set a positive example, motivate and coach players and think on my feet when making bowling and field position changes, often in tense situations”
  • Anything showing evidence of employability skills such as team working, organising, planning, persuading, negotiating etc.
  • The usual skills to mention are languages (good conversational French, basic Spanish), computing (e.g. “good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills” and driving (“full current clean driving licence”).

 

WORK EXPERIENCE

Identify Accomplishments not Just Job Descriptions. Start with your most recent job and work your way backward. The perfect resume should detail out all your professional positions within the past 15 years. If you recently graduated from college, include your internships and any work experience that took place since you entered college.

For each role, list the following information:

  • Company Name and URL
  • Job Title:If your title is very specific to your organization, you can include a translation of sorts in parentheses next to your official job title.
  • Start and End Dates:Include the month and year for each of these dates.
  • Job Description:Think about your roles and responsibilities as they relate to your target role. This is especially important if you’d like to change careers. Include details such as how many people you managed or supervised, the territories you covered, etc.
  • Achievements:Brainstorm a list your accomplishments and major contributions that benefited the organization during your tenure. The number of achievements you provide will depend upon how long you remained in that role and how relevant it is to your current job goals. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible; for instance, how did you help save the company money, generate revenue, improve customer satisfaction, increase productivity, and so forth.

USE KEYWORDS

Here’s an awful truth: Resumes, in many cases, are not even read. Rather, they’re scanned (either by a machine or by someone who is not the hiring manager). What they’re scanning for is keywords or phrases that match their hiring criteria.
Not sure what keywords to put in your resume? Read the job description for a position that interests you, as well as descriptions for similar jobs. Then read your target companies’ web sites. Certain words and phrases will come up again and again – those are keywords. Work them into your resume to make it easy for the scanner to spot what’s important.

KEEP IT CONCISE

The old rule about resumes never exceeding one page is not necessarily true anymore. If you can fit it all comfortably on one page, that’s ideal. But after you’ve been in the working world for a while, your resume will probably need a second page. A third page (or more) is almost never a good thing.

Use our Resume Builder to build your Perfect Resume.