Making the best resume for every application should be the aim of every job seeker. But how do you write the perfect resume?
What makes a perfect resume?
A perfect resume targets the position you’re applying for and clearly demonstrates why you’re the best fit for the role. It should also have perfect resume formatting — avoiding mistakes like, typos, unclear spacing, and complicated fonts that distract from the message you’re trying to convey.
We’ve created this guide for perfecting the content, formatting, and design of your resume so you can impress employers with a clear overview of your qualifications and get more interviews.
Use the entry-level and senior-level resumes below as perfect examples, and follow our 6 tips for writing the perfect resume.
The perfect resume example for an entry-level position
This entry-level nonprofit resume is a great model for new grads and applicants with minimal job experience.
The perfect resume example for a senior-level role
This resume for a graphic design position does a great job summarizing over six years of experience on one page.
How to make a perfect resume in 6 steps
Here are six steps to creating the perfect resume:
1. Tailor your resume to the target position
A resume isn’t a one-size-fits-all document. Submitting the same resume to multiple employers hurts your chances of getting asked for interviews because a general resume may not highlight the exact skills hiring managers are looking for.
Instead, show employers how motivated you are by tailoring your resume to their job description. Each time you apply for a new position, you should:
- include skills-based resume keywords from the job description throughout your resume
- research the company and customize your resume to match its needs and company culture
- place your most job-relevant qualifications in a resume objective that states how you can add value to the company
Taking these steps to write the perfect resume for each position will show that you possess the exact skills and qualifications hiring managers are looking for in a candidate.
2. Choose the perfect resume template
A perfect resume has clean fonts and aesthetically-pleasing design features that draw attention to your most important qualifications. To save yourself the hassle of formatting and designing your resume from scratch, simply download one of many free resume templates available online.
Choose a template that’s appropriate for your industry. Stick to a simpler design and more neutral color palette for fields like law and medicine, but feel free to show your creative side with a more modern template if you work in graphic design, tech, or similar industries.
3. Keep the wording throughout your resume concise
The ideal resume length is one page, so make sure to cut any unnecessary words and make your resume easy for the hiring manager to skim. If possible, keep your work experience bullet points to one or two lines of text.
One great way to reduce the length and wordiness of your resume is to remove unnecessary adjectives, modifiers, and prepositional phrases. For example, see how the following excerpt from a resume summary can be edited to reduce wordiness and still communicate the same message:
Highly driven, I am motivated at work by the fact that I can empower my patients to overcome their daily challenges and live more connected, fulfilling lives.
Highly motivated by empowering my patients to overcome challenges and live more fulfilling lives.
Opting for more concise and direct writing in your resume has the additional benefit of making you sound more confident to potential employers.
4. Use action verbs to perfect your experience bullet points
In the experience section, emphasize your accomplishments on your resume by using language that shows hiring managers what impact you had working previous jobs or projects.
Instead of passive phrasing like “responsible for”, which takes the focus away from you, opt for strong action verbs such as “managed” or “established” when describing your job activities. This way, the person reviewing your resume knows that you added value, even if your work was part of a team effort.
5. Highlight your career achievements with hard numbers
To write the perfect resume, quantify your achievements with examples that include numbers. Tying your successes to actual data gives hiring managers a better idea of your ability to do the work.
Plus, including numbers is much more impressive than simply listing job responsibilities for each work experience bullet point because they back up your contributions with a success metric.
Here are examples of quantifiable data that could increase the impact of your resume’s accomplishments:
- Amount of resources saved
- Percentage of profits increased
- Number of direct reports supervised
- Customer satisfaction rates
- Times recognized for achievements
6. Triple-check your resume to ensure it’s error-free
If your resume has the smallest typo — an extra space after a period, for example — it gives the impression that you didn’t put much thought or effort into your application.
Here’s how to make sure your resume is perfectly clean and free of errors:
- Read through your resume slowly (even out loud) to make sure you’re not overlooking any typos or unnecessary words
- Use an editing tool like Grammarly (but use logic to double-check suggestions!)
- Step away from your computer for a while, then come back and read it again with fresh eyes
- Check for parallel structure in lists
- Ask a friend to check it for you
Frequently asked questions about perfect resumes
Here are a few frequently asked questions about making the perfect resume:
What is the perfect resume format?
The perfect resume format for most job seekers is a chronological resume, because it makes relevant experience and accomplishments the main focus of your application. Hiring managers and employers are usually most interested in your experience and professional background, and this format is best equipped to showcase these details.
With the chronological format established as the most commonly used type of resume, it’s the easiest structure for hiring managers to understand at a glance.
For some job seekers, especially those making a career change, other formats like combination resumes or functional resumes could be more suitable.
Why is having a perfect resume important?
Having a perfect resume is important because it helps you present your qualifications in a way that’s easy to understand, and shows employers that you’re highly motivated to work with them.
In some cases a good resume is enough, but companies with desirable openings often receive dozens if not hundreds of applications from qualified candidates. Writing a perfect resume ensures you stand out amongst these candidates, and increases your chances of getting interviewed.
How should I print off my perfect resume?
Print off your perfect resume using professional resume paper. You should ensure your word processor is set to print out your resume in US Letter size if you’re in the US. It’s a good idea to print off a practice example in black and white before printing out in color (because color ink is pricier) so you can check that your resume layout is perfect.