What’s the perfect resume?
The perfect resume is the one that lands you a maximum-salary offer for the job you want by using:
- the best format for your purpose and experience level
- fine-tuned details
- information that targets a specific job
- data to highlight achievements
- an appropriate introduction
- error-free, concise wording
4 perfect resume examples
Here are four examples of perfect resumes:
Customer service resume
This customer service resume is perfect because it uses hard numbers to give context to the applicant’s relevant customer service skills.
College student resume
Below is an example of a perfect college student resume. The applicant doesn’t have much work history, so they place their relevant skills and education above their work experience section.
Medical school resume
This real-world example featured in U.S. News & World Report successfully netted medical school acceptance. It’s a really good resume because it’s formatted for easy reading and filled with relevant experience.
While this resume isn’t perfect as is, it includes expert tips for perfecting it:
This resume is perfect because it landed an interview with Google:
How to create the perfect resume: 6 steps
Here’s how to perfect your resume:
1. Choose the perfect resume format
You know that you need to include the following sections in your resume:
- your name and contact information in a resume header
- a resume introduction
- a work experience section
- an education section
- a skills section
How you order those sections takes your resume from passable to perfect. You have three resume formats to choose from:
A chronological (or reverse-chronological) resume emphasizes work history, starting with your most recent position and working back from there. Chronological resumes are perfect if you want to:
- show your career progression
- apply to a job within your current industry
A functional (or skills-based) resume prioritizes your skills over work experience and education. Write a functional resume if you’re:
- applying for an entry-level position
- changing careers
- looking to highlight relevant skills
- covering gaps in your work history
A hybrid (or combination) resume features robust skills and work experience sections. The combination resume format is ideal if you’re:
- a highly trained worker with lots of experience
- changing careers
After you’ve picked the ideal format, consider your resume’s length. The perfect length for most resumes is one full page unless you:
- have 10+ years of relevant work history
- are a manager or executive with enough relevant experience to fill multiple pages
- are applying to a job that requires you to write a curriculum vitae (CV)
- are submitting a federal resume for a government job
2. Fine-tune the details
The difference between a great resume and a perfect resume is in the details, including the following:
Some resume templates include splashes of color in the background and header fonts. If you’re applying for a job in a creative industry like graphic design, use bold colors to show your style. However, if you’re seeking a more formal position, pick subdued colors like gray or dark green, or stick to black and white. A neutral color scheme makes you appear serious and professional.
Choosing the best font for your resume is essential. Follow these rules to make the perfect resume font choice:
- Never try to differentiate your resume with an odd font — readability is everything. However, if you work in a creative field, you can use a stylized font for your name to highlight your creativity.
- If you submit a digital copy of your resume, use a sans serif font like Calibri or Arial because they’re best for on-screen reading.
- If you print your resume, use a serif font like Cambria or Georgia for the best readability.
The perfect resume font size is 12 points because larger fonts are easier to read. However, if a 12-point font bumps your resume onto a second page, you can reduce your font to a minimum of 10.5 points.
A perfect resume has margins set between ½” and 1”. If your margins are outside that range, your information will either appear squished together or overly spread out.
Format your resume’s headings to create a clear hierarchy. Use bold text for your main headings and italic text for subheadings.
Here’s an example of a clearly structured resume work experience section:
Also, use extra-large bold text for your name in your resume’s header. Highlighting your name makes your resume stand out from others with similar formatting.
3. Target a specific job
The hiring manager is the ultimate judge of how good your resume is. To make a resume they’ll see as perfect, you must:
- include skills-based resume keywords from the job description
- research the company
- place your most relevant qualifications in a resume introduction to immediately capture their interest
4. Show your achievements
To write the perfect resume, list your career achievements with examples that include hard numbers. Showing your success with data makes you appear more impressive than other applicants who merely wrote their job descriptions.
Here are examples of hard numbers that increase the impact of your resume’s accomplishments:
- Amount of resources saved
- Percentage of profits increased
- Number of direct reports supervised
5. Pick the right resume introduction
Your resume’s introduction is important because it summarizes your qualifications for hiring managers who don’t have time to study every detail of your resume.
Make the perfect resume by choosing the right summary for your situation:
Applying to an entry-level position or targeting a specific job: Write a career objective. This 2–3 sentence paragraph explains how your skills will benefit the company you’re applying to.
Switching careers or highlighting skills: Use a summary of qualifications to detail your top position-relevant achievements and skills in 5–6 bullet points.
Emphasizing achievements or versatility: Create a resume summary that uses data to give context to your most notable qualifications.
Uploading your resume to a job board or LinkedIn: Craft a resume profile that features your skills and achievements that make you attractive to the widest range of recruiters possible.
6. Eliminate typos and unnecessary words
If your resume has the smallest typo — an extra space after a period, for example — it’s not perfect. Here’s how to ensure your resume is error-free:
- When you write your resume, use a word processor with the free Grammarly plugin enabled to underline issues as you write
- Next, paste your resume into the Hemingway App to check for unnecessary words and hard-to-read sentences
- When you’re finished writing your resume, proofread it
- If possible, proofread it again after a good night’s sleep
- Then, ask a friend to proofread with a fresh, unbiased set of eyes
- Finally, proofread again to ensure your friend’s edits are error-free