Resume Guidelines: How to Write the Perfect Resume
Writing a resume can be one of the most stressful tasks of a job search.
Knowing what to write, how to talk about your accomplishments, and how to format your resume so it looks professional… all of it can be a headache. Especially if you’ve never had guidance on how to write one.
There are many aspects to writing a good, professional resume. Because everyone is unique, no resume will look the same. However, there are certain guidelines that everyone can follow to create the most well-written resume for your work experience.
Let’s begin with the basics of what should be on your resume:
(To follow along, here are two examples of resumes that meet all of the criteria I’m about to list. Feel free to use them as a reference.)
1. Your First and Last Name
2. Your Contact Info
You should include your phone number, email address, and city and state/province of residence.
3. Summary Statement
Your summary statement should be at the top of your resume. In a few sentences, it should describe what makes you different from other applicants, your primary skills and your experience. Most recruiters only take a few moments to scan through a resume, so having a summary statement can give them the information they need upfront.
4. Your Work Experience
In reverse chronological order (beginning with your most recent), list your relevant work experience. Depending on how long you’ve been in the job field, you probably won’t need to list every job you’ve ever had. Include the jobs and positions most relevant to your current job search or where you feel you accomplished the most.
For instance, your high school job at McDonald’s might not be necessary to add to your resume if you’re a 28-year-old looking for an accounting position. But maybe you were once a manager at McDonald’s and are now looking for a managerial position at another company. In that case, you might want to keep that job listed.
5. Years You Worked at Each Job
In most instances, you only need to list the years you were at each job, not including the month (i.e., 2017-2022).
I would argue that your accomplishment statements, or the bullet points underneath each job you list, are the most important part of your resume. They show the reader exactly how qualified you are and what you’ve done for other companies in the past.
Each job you list should have a few accomplishment statements underneath (more for the more recent jobs, less for the more distant jobs). These statements should include the action (what you did) and the result (what you accomplished). Try and use real numbers and figures, if you can.
For example, instead of:
Was in charge of sales team and increased company sales.
Managed and trained 20 sales associates, generating a 50% sales increase over three months.
List any degrees, majors, and schools you attended. If you have relevant certifications, put those, as well.
List any skills or competencies you have that are related to your career. These could be soft skills, like communication and problem-solving, or hard skills, like Java and writing.
And there you have it! You now know exactly what you need on a resume. We also offer resume-writing packages for those who need or want more in-depth help and guidance.
Some last-minute tips:
- A resume should be no more than 2 pages
- Keep the formatting simple, especially if you’re submitting it online
- Avoid using personal pronouns (I, me, my)
- Proofread your resume multiple times and have friends look over it for any mistakes
Happy resume writing!