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How to write a perfect resume for the job you want

Updated on October 8, 2010

What's the purpose of a resume?

A resume is intended to get your foot in the door. It should grab the attention of a potential employer and make them want to talk with you more about the possibility of hiring you. It should not replace a job interview, you still need to do that as well for any decent job.

First, the resume basics. Use a nice paper, but nothing "too nice". The paper stock you use should have a watermark, but it shouldn't be glossy or extra thick. You may think that's classy, but it just comes off as tacky. If you're spending that much extra on the resume paper, what are you trying to hide in the stuff that's actually printed on that paper? Don't use any crazy fonts. If you have a friend who is a typographic expert, you can try something interesting in your header, but don't do anything like Comic Sans or any of those other weird fonts that are included in Microsoft Word. Finally, DO print your resume. Handwritten resumes likely will be placed directly in the trash.

What should my resume say?

There are 2 things that should be included on all resumes: educational background and relevant employment history. Noticed I wrote "relevant". If you're applying for a job at a law firm, don't include the babysitting job you had when you were 14. Employers like to see a job history that includes positions of management and also jobs where you made significant achievements. Include facts like large projects you oversaw and budgets you were in charge of.

Don't include unnecessary details about your educational background. Employers want to know things like what college you went to and what you majored in. They do not need to know your GPA unless it was exceptional. They also don't need to know you were an A- student in high school.

Customize your resume for the job

You should not print 50 different copies of your resume and submit them for 50 different open jobs. Each resume you submit should be customized for the job you're applying for. If you're applying for a position of quality control inspector at a factory and one of your past jobs was similar, highlight that particular experience and include details of any positive accomplishments you had there.

Include a cover letter

A lot of people say you don't need to include a cover letter. Unless you were specifically asked by upper management to apply for a position (in other words: you were recruited by the company), you should include a cover letter explaining why you are applying and how you can help the company. I've written another page just on writing cover letters, so be sure to check that out.


Submit a Comment

  • DTR0005 profile image

    Doug Robinson 6 years ago from Midwest

    Very informative. I may get to use your advice soon.

  • Sally Dillon profile image

    Sally Dillon 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

    Those are good points. Important points. Thx!