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11 Golden Rules to Write The Perfect Resume CV

Updated on July 14, 2009

I have a feeling that most tips to write a resume (cv) come from people who rarely have written their own resume with a good rate of success at job interviews. Maybe this is why so many people continue to write their resumes in a terrible way?

My personal statistics is 99.9% success rate in writing resumes that bring job-interview invitations and 100% success rate (I was hired) after those interviews. These numbers give me the confidence to share with you the 11 golden rules to write a perfect resume that I invariably follow.

1. The main purpose of your resume (cv) is to win you a job interview

Remember that when creating your resume (cv). Any other idea or attitude to a resume is absolutely useless.

Imagine a situation in which the employer's desk is a pile of 40-50 resumes. Only 8-10 people will be invited out of the pile to an interview for the job.

You may be a great professional with appropriate education, experience and skills, but if your resume does not cost a dime they will hardly invite you for an interview, unless you are the only candidate. If this is the case, it's too sad for your employer, and especially for you.

2. View resume (cv) as a sales tool

Yes, with the help of your resume (cv) you sell yourself. If the employer likes what you sell, he will buy it, ie will meet with you to talk to you about the position and how you can work together.

Most people write standard resumes. The only thing they achieve by doing so is to send their employer a message: "I need you, I need a job, please ..." These are bad resumes, like all those bad advertising spots on TV.

It is critically important that your resume demonstrates why and how you are valuable to the employer. There should be enough evidence that you are the exact solution to the problems of your employer.

3. Select the most appropriate format for your resume (cv)

Each vacant position is different. Each employer is different. The situations are different. This requires that you are able to evaluate and choose the right resume (cv) format.

Chronological Resume (cv) Format - use it if you want to focus on growth in your career. This resume will speak to the employer that you are a person with experience in the specific field.

Chronological Resume format is suitable when your former job titles and / or name of employers are impressive.

Do not use the chronological resume if you have changed too much jobs in the last months and years, as well as if you are looking for job for the first time, as well as you are in a process of change in your career path.

The chronological resume format is the most common format, but too often - used inappropriately.

Functional Resume (cv) Format - use it if you want to emphasize that you have strengths and achievements in specific (functional) areas such as sales, marketing, advertising, design, programming, etc.

This format is suitable if you are looking for a job for the first time or you have changed too many jobs.

A minus of this format is that through it you can not demonstrate progress in your career. The functional resume format is not a felicitous choice for people who have a limited number of tasks performed in the past.

Targeted Resume (cv) Format (my favorite) - it focuses on a specific job position. This implies that you know well the requirements of the position for which you apply!

The Targeted Resume format will do an excellent job for you if you want to make a strong impression, if you are aware of the job (the company, the position) and if you have real skills, even if you lack some experience.

Do not use this format if you want to have a resume for all possible cases. When you lack the skills and when you do not have a good idea of the position you apply, try to use another format, like chronological and/or functional.

4. Write a new resume (cv) every other time

Many people use the same resume for different vacant positions over and over again. Some of them even make paper copies and dispatch them to employers whenever they can.

Such behavior is a prerequisite for a failure and is predetermined by the attitude of the failure of the job applicant. He does not believe that he will receive an invitation for an interview and behaves in accordance to the Law of Large Numbers: "The more resumes circulated here and there, the more my chances to receive an invitation for an interview are going up. What can I lose? "

Such people really increase their chances - the chances of their big failure and their lost time.

Before sending your resume (cv) to a new employer, take a look at it and examine it with a critical eye. Are there enough attractive things in it for the employer? Is there something new in your professional life, which is worth adding? Are there any outdated, useless or inadequate facts, figures, names in your resume?

5. Fit your resume (cv) in 1 page (!)

Yes, I know there are people who believe that it is not important how long is the resume as long as it works well for the job-aplicant. However, I believe in this one: "The longer a resume, the less useful it is."

A resume (cv) of 1 page will make you more focused and will allow your potential employer to have a clearer, more precise picture of you.

Furthermore, by not reporting about yourself to the last detail, you force the employer to want to know more about you and to invite you to meet each other. By the way, this is exactly what you want, right?

A longer resume can easily bore many employers and they can stop reading your cv. Especially if the pile on the employer's desk is big.

If you really like to focus on some facts, but failed to do so within a page, consider the possibility to prepare 1-2 annexes to your resume.

For example, if tomorrow I decide to apply for an assistant in a university, I can put the titles of all my published articles in a separate annex, entitled "Publications."

6. Use powerful words

As stated in Rule #2, a resume is a sales tool. This is why you have to sell via powerful words, especially verbs, because with their help your potential employer can make some valuable conclusions about you.

Here's a list of powerful words (verbs) that every employer could dreams of seeing:

  • Manage
  • Organize
  • Invent
  • Optimize
  • Develop
  • Improve
  • Coordinate
  • Yield
  • Expand
  • Review
  • Create
  • Control

These verbs will show clearly that you are an employee that can solve problems, you can take advantage of various opportunities... and you not only work, but bring results.

7. Be specific

When writing your resume - be as specific as possible! Do not write hollow CV - one which talks much but says nothing!

Try to refer to number of sales, growth rates, number of clients served, number of new customers won, names of geographical regions, names of major customers, number of inventions, savings, etc.

Someone might say: "Impossible! All those things are company secrets! The employer will think that if I share data about my ex-employer, I'll do the same with him in the future!"

Do not worry so much about it - not everything is such a great "business secret", not at all! Have in mind that any professional will get quite a lot of numbers and names from you during the job interview. So do not be afraid to be specific - with numbers, percentages and names if needed.

Bear in mind that your potential employer will want to know how valuable and useful you are. Help him to find out!

8. Create a first class impression

The way your resume looks may dramatically affect your chances to achieve your main goal - to get an invitation for an interview.

Here are some tips to create a first class impression:

  • Leave enough white (blank) space in your text. Make your text "breath" and you will catch the eye.
  • Use bullets (without excess) - they help the reader to highlight important points, to understand better and to remember more.
  • Highlight or bold key headings, subheadings, or certain words (without excess).
  • If possible, use a slightly thicker paper, A4 size with a classic color and light. This way your resume (cv) will become a unique piece of paper that can be found easily in the "pile".

Most resumes use the standard Times New Roman font, but I guess that you do not want to be trivial and prefer to make a good impression. In this case, use non-serif fonts like Verdana (this article is written with Verdana).

9. Do not write bulshit

Ideally, your resume (cv) will contain three types of information - work experience and skills (1), education (2) and your contact details (3). The ratio between the first two types of information should be approximately 80%: 20%.

To this respect, do not write bulshit (useless information) in your resume. This is stupid, because it steals your space on the page.

I mean, do not write the following:

  • Gender
  • PIN or date of birth
  • Marital status
  • Children
  • Eye Color
  • Height
  • Health
  • Hobbies
  • Any irrelevant knowledge, skills, courses, interests, etc..
  • Exotic
  • Addresses of former employers
  • Photo
  • Flags or other graphics
  • Titles such as "Resume", "CV", etc. - it is clear without saying it. Just start with your first and last name.

Make sure your resume does not contain spelling, grammatical, stylistic or purely technical errors.

10. Write a killer cover letter

Write a specific cover letter every time you apply for a job. Good cover letter reinforces the effect of your CV and stresses employer's attention on some specific points in it.

Bear in mind that even the best resume can be underestimated by the employer if he receives a standard cover letter like "Dear Mister XYZ, please find enclosed my resume and diploma for blah-blah-blah ... I hope that blah-blah-blah ..."

Such cover letters say nothing. At some point employers stop reading them.

I will write a special article about perfect cover letters. Just remember that those cover letters must identify specific abilities, skills or achievements that are mentioned in some way in your resume.

Finally, a good cover letter should be interesting to read and must sound enthusiastic. Such a letter will provoke the employer to look at your resume again and most likely - to arrange a meeting with you.

11. Be honest

It is a very bad idea to lie or exaggerate numbers, facts and other information in your resume, only to achieve your main objective - to get an invitation for an interview.

Such an approach is your 1000% guarantee that you will not receive the desired job and will never go for an interview in this organization again.

Being honest does not mean that your resume must be a detailed history of your life. It is OK not to mention certain moments of your experience (it is not a lie).

For everything else, however, honesty is the best policy.

These were my 11 golden rules for a perfect resume. I stick close to them in the last 9 years and they have never let me down.

So why don't they bring success to you, too?


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      very useful ,thank you

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i like ur rules

    • axeny profile image


      9 years ago

      Very useful article (thumb up)


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