10 Secrets to Writing a Perfect Resume

It’s amazing how individual sheets of paper can determine our professional careers. First, we spend four years, give or take, to earn a diploma. Then we have to write a resume that can either be the key to our success, or a diving board into a job slump.

Well, we’ve decided that enough is enough. It’s time that our paper overlords get the reckoning they deserve. So we’re dissecting the resume of champions and putting its innards on display. Here are 10 stunning secrets to creating a spectacular resume:

1. Action words

In a page full of technical terms, job titles, and dates, the not-so-humble verb is king. More specifically, we’re talking about the kind of verbs that convey action.

You didn’t lead a project – you executed the plan. You didn’t increase efficiency – you accelerated the growth of the company. Action words are also the superheroes of the semantic world. At the very least, they’ll rescue recruiters from complete and utter boredom.

2. Bullet Points

Yes, we know. It’s a professional resume and not a PowerPoint presentation. But what you don’t see is the enormous stack of resumes on the table of a recruiter. 

In an ideal world, your resume will get the full treatment: a candlelit dinner, Thai massage, the works! But in reality, all they’ll get is a skim. Maybe a second skim-through if they show promise. But really, the first impression is also the last. 

You have about a minute of a recruiter’s time. The last thing you want is a wall of text that takes 10 minutes to decipher. Using bullet points allows you to focus their attention on your most impressive accomplishments. And it makes their job a lot easier, so help a recruiter out and use bullet points.

3. Cascading Results

Your 10 years of experience in the industry becomes a moot point if you don’t include the results of those years of hard work. This is where those action words come into play. And don’t forget to put them in bullet points! 

It’s also a good idea to limit the number of results you’re jotting down. The more recent the job, the more results you should list. Hiring managers don’t really need to learn much about your first job after college if it’s been a decade since you graduated.

4. Appropriate Metrics

All right, you accelerated the growth of your previous company. How fast was this growth? Was it fast in comparison to the previous year or the year before that? How exactly do you define growth? Too many questions? Annoying, right? Well that’s what recruiters will be thinking if you don’t provide tangible results. Don’t annoy the recruiter. Use the appropriate metrics.

5. Tailor-fit Information

Remember when we said that we don’t need to know much about your first job after college? That might not be 100% accurate. Sometimes even outdated information can be useful if it’s something that is relevant to the company you’re applying to.

We all visualize having a be-all and end-all resume. Don’t even try to hide that resume_final_final.docx. But the truth is, our resumes exist in a spectrum, and there’s one for every company you apply for. Don’t be afraid to refine as you go along in your job search.

This means there’s an extra step you need to do before figuring out what to put on a resume – research. You want to be accepted into the ranks of a particular company? Figure out what they consider relevant to the position you’re gunning for. Then sort the details in your resume by relevance and promptly delete the rest of it.

Read More: How to Write A One-Page Resume

6. Interests and Hobbies

Companies don’t just look for skill and talent. They’re looking for someone who can fit in with their work culture. Sounds suspiciously like a relationship, we know. These modern companies are a tricky bunch! Anyway, it might seem weird to include interests and hobbies in a resume but it significantly expedites the getting-to-know-each-other phase. 

It’s better to figure out if you’re a great fit at the first step of the process than it is two months into the job. At the very least, it gives the recruiter some talking points. 

7. Technical Skills

It may seem redundant to have a separate resume section for technical skills when you’ve already included the accomplishments produced by those skills. But the technical skills section serves a more vital role than a resume objective or summary. 

Your technical skills are specific, objective, and serve as better summaries than anything you can write. Proficiency in Adobe Photoshop is hard to misunderstand, unlike some resume summaries we’ve seen throughout the years. Remember to specify your experience level as well. Remember rule number four: metrics matter.

8. Professional Email Address

We know you’ve been using [email protected] for a decade or two now, and it served you well when you applied for your first job. But we’re afraid it’s time to retire it from professional use.

Recruiters have a lot in common with private investigators. They can find out a lot from the mere choice of words in an email address. They also have super strength and resistance to mind control… Well, maybe that’s a one-off.

Just to be safe, create an email address for professional use and go with your first name and last name. It’s boring, yes, but it’s better than unemployment.

9. Honesty

Being too honest can sometimes get you into hot water. The Miranda rights are there for a reason, after all. And since you can’t plead the fifth in a job interview, we’ll understand if some sections of your work history are sleeping with the fishes.

We’re not saying that you should write every single professional mistake when you create your resume. What’s important is that you don’t lie. The advantage that lies can give you will never be worth it WHEN you’re caught.

Besides, you don’t have to lie in order to liven up your resume. Not if our friends, the Action Words, have anything to say about it.

10. Professional File Name and File Type

The first thing that a recruiter sees when you send in a digital copy of your resume is the file name. Resume_final_final.docx might seem like a reasonable file name after editing it for the hundredth time, but a recruiter might see things differently. 

And according to Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. So it’s better to nip this in the bud and go with a foolproof file name. Firstname_lastname_resume.pdf works quite well in that regard.

Why PDF? Docx files can be wonky when they’re opened with Word editors. The way Word editors display information can vary depending on the screen used. Proper formatting in your computer screen might show up as a jumbled nightmare on another. Using a PDF file ensures that your hiring manager will see your resume the way you made it.


Template Monkey’s Offer

So there you go. We bore the secrets of a spectacular resume so that your professional career can keep improving. You’ve got resume content all figured out, but we regret to inform you that you’re still not bulletproof, nor are you made of titanium. Writing your resume is but the first step, now you have to format and design it.

Luckily for you, you landed on a website that houses a multitude of resume templates. There are enough designs here to last you a lifetime of job applications and then some! Not that we’d wish that on anyone.

Please go on, browse our ready-made templates. We’ll stay here and clean up. Resume guts stain the carpet like nobody’s business.

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