Unless your current job is also the only job you’ve ever held, you’ve probably conducted a job search more than once in your life. You may even be in one right now. Either way, you know how much work a job search can be.
Even more to the point, you have had to figure out the ultimate challenge: how to write a perfect resume.
But just because you know how to make a resume doesn’t mean you know how to make an effective one! Writing a perfect resume is hard work!
If your current search is taking longer than you’d like, all of this becomes even harder.
As many job seekers have discovered, a long job search causes your confidence to wane, your enthusiasm to decrease, and the next thing you know weeks have turned into months, and you’re no closer to a new job than you were when you started.
How do you break the cycle?
You are not alone in asking these questions!
While your resume is just one piece of the puzzle, it is a big one. Pursuing even the most desirable and competitive jobs with the perfect resume is certain to make a positive difference.
Here then, are some action steps you can take right now to write a perfect resume, reignite your motivation, and revive the pursuit of your dream job.
A Perfect Resume Always Start With Crystal Clear Focus
The first step to a job search must always include taking stock of who you are and what you want as your career path and current job search goals. Once you’ve gone through this process, take advantage of your newfound clarity to fine-tune your job search efforts.
What does that mean for you as you update your resume? Experts agree: the best, most effective resumes are focused resumes. Review these good resume examples to learn how to focus your resume.
While most job seekers are tempted to include a resume objective statement, a resume headline, as shown in the example resume summary above, should be used in place of a resume objective.
This resume technique still provides clear focus while placing more emphasis on your desire to meet the needs of the hiring manager than on your own career path.
Whenever possible, use the job title you are targeting as your resume headline. You can usually find this in the job ad.
Also, set the tone and focus for the resume summary by including your key strengths and value proposition phrased in a way that will most appeal to hiring managers.
If you are targeting a specific industry, make sure this too is crystal clear in your resume summary, as shown in the good resume summary example below.
A Perfect Resume Uses The Right Resume Format
Job seekers are often tempted to use a functional resume format to create their resume. They’ve heard that a functional resume or skills-based resume will help them emphasize critical skills.
While this is true, most career experts advise against using functional resumes except for career changers.
But, even if you are switching careers, a combination resume format is probably a better choice for you. This resume style is far more preferred by hiring managers.
A combination resume is more similar to what is known as a traditional resume. It begins with a good resume summary emphasizing relevant skills (both hard skills and soft skills listed as desired or required in the job ad), followed by your work history in reverse chronological order.
The perfect resume format for your own resume will depend on your specific career goals and work history. But keep in mind that a combination layout is generally preferred by hiring managers and will perform better in applicant tracking systems (ATS).
The following example two-page resume shows the recommended resume layout. As you may have guessed, these resume formats are called combination resumes because they combine the best of both the chronological resume format and functional format.
If you aren’t sure which resume formatting might be best for you, try updating your resume to use a layout similar to this combination resume layout.
A Perfect Resume Will Tell Your Career Story
Take the time to think through each career experience (or education, if you are a student or recent grad).
Write out your success stories. What challenges did you face? What did you do to meet those challenges? What were the results? Be as detailed as you possibly can.
Writing your career stories in this way is known as the CAR approach. The more accomplishments you include, the better.
This exercise may even help you remember some qualities you possess that you’ve long forgotten about that are relevant to the job ad you are targeting. More importantly, you will have great material to enhance both your resume and interviews.
A great resume is more than just listing each job title, job description, and day-to-day responsibilities. The best resumes are focused on professional achievements and results because it is the results that will be of interest to the hiring manager.
Accomplishments Are Essential in a Perfect Resume
It is essential to include the basics of your job description, and both the hard and soft skills used in your job. These skills serve as important keywords in your resume and will improve the performance of your resume in keyword searches of ATS.
But, the hiring manager will be more interested in how the skills you have will produce benefits for them if they hire you. Focusing your perfect resume on achievements and results communicates this.
When possible, it is an excellent practice to bullet point your career accomplishments. As shown in this example resume excerpt, writing in this way makes your resume much easier for the hiring manager to read.
In addition to giving you a much greater appreciation of your skills and the value you have brought to employers, this exercise can also develop an increased level of self-confidence when submitting each job application.
One or more of the accomplishments you identify during this process may be what ends up distinguishing you to the hiring manager from the other applicants for the job title you’re targeting.
The Perfect Resume Has Eye Appeal
The best resume in the world won’t get results if it is unattractive and hard to read.
Great resumes balance eye appeal with smart formatting to ensure applicant tracking system compatibility.
Most people do not have the graphic design skills to create a resume with eye appeal. While looking at great resume examples is enough for some, resume templates are an excellent option for people with less graphic design ability.
While the content of your resume will always be most important, good resume templates will help you take that content and present it in an eye-catching way.
Do be very careful as you shop for a professional resume template. The best of them will act as a resume builder aid, guiding you in entering your own resume.
Unfortunately, while some beautiful resume templates are available, many are not ATS compatible.
Distinctive Resume Templates are all professionally designed to be ATS friendly in addition to looking great. With multiple resume formats available, there is something for everyone. Check them out. You are sure to find a resume template that is perfect for you.
This before and after resume example is a perfect example resume that is both eye-appealing and ATS-friendly.
But Don’t Forget…
Before you submit your job application, make sure you write a persuasive and convincing cover letter.
The perfect cover letter will be personalized and customized for the specific job. The best cover letters will emphasize relevant experience, addressing each point made in the job ad.
Generic cover letters will do more harm than good. Always take the time to write a targeted and personalized cover letter, for each job.
Last But Not Least
Now that you have your perfect resume and cover letter, it is time to start actively job searching.
But, you know the next step. As we stated at the beginning of this article, your resume is just one piece of the puzzle, albeit a critical one.
Now that your resume is updated and perfected, it is time to begin networking.
Reconnect with your business acquaintances, friends, and relatives.
It’s human nature to withdraw a bit from others when under stress, and there is no doubt that a job search can be stressful and anxiety-producing.
Don’t fall into this trap. Rather than retreat from others, reach out. You’ll find that the more you come in contact with others and reestablish ties, the less you’ll be stuck thinking about your job search.
Sharing in the lives, successes, and even the failures of others can help you break out of your self-imposed mental and/or emotional exile and open yourself up to a broader range of career opportunities.
The more you talk to people, the more you learn: About life, about them, and about yourself.
People you talk to talk to others who speak to others (and each is a prospect for expanding the reach of your now perfect resume). In other words, taking the time and effort to reconnect with your network will increase the reach of your network.
It is a well-known saying that it’s not what you know but who you know. Maybe it’s also who they know.
In addition to your perfect resume, expanding your network is just one more way to bring new energy to your job search.
Feeling Overwhelmed About Updating Your Resume?
Leave the overwhelm to others and reach out to us to schedule a free resume writing consultation. We are here to help you! Reach out today.