What Should the Perfect Resume Include?

what should the perfect resume includeThe perfect resume might look slightly different for two different job candidates, depending on how far along they are in their careers, what industry they’re in, etc. But in general there are a few things that you should include in almost any resume you create though.

The checklist below highlights some of the most important areas that the perfect resume should incorporate.

For a more comprehensive resume creation guide, click here to view our free career guide, which contains an entire section dedicated to writing an outstanding resume.

What should the perfect resume include?

  • Your current job on the first page. There are some exceptions (researchers, scientists, etc.) but for 90% of us, you’re doing something wrong if a hiring manager has to turn to page 2 or 3 to see your current job. Make sure it’s on page 1. If you’re unemployed, begin with your most recent job. It’s a good idea to include dates of employment too.

 

  • Skimmable content. If you think your resume will be read thoroughly like a book, I have some bad news- It’s going to be skimmed. Even if it ends up being read, it will be skimmed first. What should you do about this? Use this knowledge to your advantage and write your resume in a way that allows for efficient skimming. You should be utilizing bullet points and short lists, not long paragraphs. Create a resume that’s enjoyable for the hiring manager to skim through. This will allow them to pick out the details that they’re most interested in.

 

  • Clean formatting. Avoid unprofessional or silly fonts. Avoid using too many fonts on the same document. Use spaces and paragraph breaks to make your resume more readable (and more skimmable). Think of your resume as a brochure or business presentation. Utilize the white space on the page to make it easier on the eyes. Use bold headings to make the information clear and easy to navigate. I’d rather see a 2 page resume that is properly spaced than a 1 page resume that’s crammed and difficult to read.

 

  • Reasons for leaving previous positions. This is very rare to see on a resume, but you can gain the hiring manager’s appreciation if you include this information. If you’ve held a few jobs previously, the interview team will be curious about your reasons for leaving. Adding a note on your resume next to each recent job you’ve held to explain why you left will go a long way. There’s no wrong answer here- anything from being laid off to leaving a job for an increase in salary is acceptable. It’s okay to tell a bit of a white lie here too. If you changed companies because you couldn’t stand your boss, you might say that you took a position with a company that provided a better cultural fit.

 

  • Customization based on the job you’re applying for. It’s essential to customize your resume for the job you’re applying for. Hiring managers aren’t using your resume to judge whether you’re a hard worker or whether you’re smart. They’re looking for direct experience or skills that are related to the job you’re applying for. You should be looking at the job description and adding bullet points to your resume that are as closely related to the job requirements as possible. Don’t lie of course, but do emphasize your relevant experience.

 

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2 comments
Mary says November 12, 2013

Resume customization including the correct combination of skills and/or keywords is critical. In this age of computer resume scanning jobseekers must customize the skills listed on their resume to match each job application. In other words, if the employer has listed several specific key skills on the job description you better make sure those key skills or keywords are included in your resume.

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