perfect resume

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.

how to focus your perfect resume example 1

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.

how to focus your perfect resume example 2

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.

Perfect Resume Example Combination Format Resume Page 1

Perfect Resume Combination Format Page 1

Perfect Resume Example Combination Format Resume Page 2

Perfect Resume Combination Format Page 2

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.

example of CAR storytelling in the perfect resume

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.

Example accomplishment bullets in a perfect resume

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.

Financial Planning & Analysis ResumeFinancial Planning Analysis Resume Page 1

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key elements of a perfect resume?

A perfect resume incorporates a balance of relevant content, professional presentation, and a tailored approach that aligns with the specific job or industry you’re targeting. It should effectively showcase your qualifications, experiences, and unique value proposition. The resume must also be ATS-friendly.

How can I make impactful changes to perfect my resume?

To perfect your resume so that it stands out, focus on highlighting your professional achievements using metrics to illustrate them. Utilize action verbs and tailor the content to the specific job description. Ensure a clean, organized layout, drawing inspiration from resume templates. Remember, the goal is to create a resume that not only showcases your qualifications but also resonates with hiring managers.

Why is customizing my resume important for my dream job?

Tailoring your resume ensures that you write a resume that aligns perfectly with the specific requirements and preferences of your dream job. A customized resume with tailored keywords describing your relevant skills will likely perform better in Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and resonate with recruiters and hiring managers. By customizing your content to match the job description, you demonstrate your attention to detail and genuine interest in the position.

How can I ensure my resume is perfect when applying for my dream job?

To ensure your resume stands out in the competitive job market, use resume templates as a foundation and customize them to highlight relevant qualifications, professional achievements, and skills. Draw inspiration from professional resume examples, use industry-specific keywords, and maintain a clean, organized layout. Tailor the content to the specific job description, ensuring it’s free of errors and inconsistencies. For added impact, accompany your resume with a cover letter emphasizing your fit for the role.

Are there any common mistakes to avoid when aiming to write a resume that's perfect?

Common mistakes to avoid when writing the perfect resume include using a generic or one-size-fits-all approach, not leveraging the best resume format, and including irrelevant information. A cluttered layout, failing to showcase professional achievements, and not proofreading for errors can also detract from the effectiveness of your resume. It’s essential to learn from resume examples and avoid these pitfalls to create an impactful and professional resume.

Is the perfect resume ATS compatible?

Yes, a perfect resume is not only tailored to appeal to human readers but is also ATS-compatible. This means it’s designed to be easily parsed by Applicant Tracking Systems, which many employers use to screen resumes. An ATS-compatible resume incorporates relevant keywords and follows a clear structure. Ensuring ATS compatibility increases the chances of your resume making it past initial electronic screenings and into the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager.

What is the best format to create a perfect resume?

The best format for a perfect resume depends on your career history and the position you’re applying for. The three primary resume formats are: • Chronological: Lists work experience in reverse chronological order (most recent to oldest). Ideal for those with a strong work history in a specific field. • Functional: Focuses on skills and qualifications rather than chronological work history. Suitable for those with gaps in employment or changing careers. • Hybrid/Combination: Combines elements of both chronological and functional formats, highlighting relevant skills while also showcasing work history. Choose the format that best showcases your strengths and aligns with the preferences of your target industry.

How do I create a perfect resume?

To create a perfect resume, start by understanding the job requirements or industry you’re targeting. Gather all relevant information about your qualifications, experiences, and achievements. Begin with a compelling resume summary or profile, followed by sections detailing your work experience, education, and skills. Emphasize quantifiable achievements and use action verbs. Target the resume content to align with the specific job description, ensuring relevance. Proofread meticulously to eliminate errors and ensure consistency in formatting. Lastly, seek feedback from mentors, peers, or professionals in your field to refine and polish your resume.

What does the perfect resume look like?

The perfect resume boasts a clear and organized design that ensures easy navigation and comprehension for readers. It employs a consistent font style and size throughout, strategically using bold or italicized text for emphasis. The layout utilizes ample white space, preventing a cluttered appearance and guiding the reader’s eyes naturally from one section to the next. Headings are distinct and well-spaced, making it simple to locate specific information. While the resume design remains professional, subtle color accents or borders can be incorporated to add a touch of individuality without overwhelming the content. Bullet points, short paragraphs, and clear section dividers further enhance readability. Overall, the design and layout of the perfect resume seamlessly blend aesthetics with functionality, ensuring the content shines through.

How do I write the perfect cover letter to submit with my resume?

To write the perfect cover letter to accompany your perfect resume, research the company and the role you’re applying for. Address the letter to the hiring manager by name, if possible. In the opening paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and explain why you’re a great fit. Highlight your professional achievements and experiences that align with the job requirements, drawing parallels with the resume examples you’ve studied. Be concise and focus on how you can add value to the company. Conclude by expressing your eagerness for an interview and thanking the reader for their time. For added inspiration, review cover letter examples that align with your industry or role.

How can Distinctive Career Services assist me in creating a perfect resume?

Distinctive Career Services offers professional resume writing services, leveraging years of experience and expertise. They provide tailored solutions, ensuring that your resume effectively communicates your qualifications and stands out in the competitive job market.

About the Author: Michelle Dumas

Michelle Dumas is the founder and CEO of Distinctive Career Services, one of the internet's longest-standing and most respected professional resume writing firms. Michelle is a 6X certified and 7X award-winning resume writer and career consultant. To learn more about the services offered by Distinctive Career Services visit

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