10 Tips to Writing the Perfect Resume

Shane Serra - Monday, March 28, 2016

1. It is a marketing document

Design it to generate a response. Define your audience and speak directly to them. Make it easy for the reader to decide who you are.

2. It is a business document

Be legible, credible and properly structured. 99% of resumes are now saved digitally, the content is far more important than the paper you put it on.

3. You are your brand

Deliver a clear message right off the top. Who are you? What makes you unique? (Tip: Who you are isn’t always what you’ve done)

4. Create a profile vs. stating an objective

Your objective is less important to the person reviewing your resume than their objective. State not what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company. Give them an Executive Summary that answers the question “Why should I hire you?”

5. Be who you are

Use authentic words, genuine wording – not clichés. Be specific. Stay away from vague, all-encompassing statements. Your honesty will create a bond without you being there.

6. Chronological over functional

Prepare a standard chronological order so that people are clear on where you’ve been, when, and for how long. (The exception to the rule is career transition – but you still want to make it easy for the reader to fill in the gaps).

7. Less Is More

Your resume should be be too busy. A busy resume adds a frustration to the reader, especially when the reader is reviewing a number of resumes. First impressions are important and a busy resume can effect that feeling.

8. Education

Your education should be listed in reverse chronological order as well, with your most recent achievements at the top as well as the associated dates. Usually, your high school education doesn’t need to be listed if you have post-secondary education.

9. Balance your responsibilities vs. your accomplishments

Don’t just tell the reader what you did – how will they know you did it well? Prove your success by using numbers, accomplishments or demonstrate before and after results.

10. Bookend your resume with personality

People hire the people they best ‘relate’ to. (i.e. assuming 5 equally qualified candidates, a hiring manager will always hire the one they like the best or remember the most). Use an “Interests” section to distinguish yourself and continue the theme of “being real”. Don’t put “References available on request” (everybody’s are). Instead, end with something of curiosity, interest or playfulness – get people to remember you.

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