What can you do to make sure your resume is professional and stands out against your competitors?

Consider the following 10 tips for writing the perfect resume.


1. Use Keywords

Many people overlook the need to use keywords in their resumes. What are resume keywords?

Resume keywords work a lot like search terms you type into your favorite search engine. When you Google something, the search engine gives you a list of matches, with the most relevant at the top.

Today, most resumes are fed through computer programs called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These systems search the resumes for matches to pre-programmed keywords. If your resume has them, it ranks well. If it doesn’t, it may be discarded.

Where can you find resume keywords? Look for them in the job listing. They may include skills, experiences, education, qualities, or technologies.

For example, a substitute teacher resume job description may contain potential keywords like “lesson plans,” “grading,” “classroom management,” “special education,” “testing,” “attendance,” “remote learning,” and  “K-12.” Use these keywords from the job description in your resume.


2. Look at Resume Examples from Your Industry

Accepted and expected resume best practices can differ from industry to industry. For example, a simple, classic resume may be best for a law or C-suite position, while a creative position with a Silicon Valley startup may call for a bit more personality.

If you’re a part of the travel industry, look up travel agent or hospitality resume examples. If you are a chef, an accountant, a daycare worker, or a teacher, look up corresponding examples. These can be found on many websites. They will also give you inspiration as to what to include and what wording to use.


3. Keep It Simple

There are a number of ways in which you should keep your resume simple.

Use a serif or sans serif font such as Times New Roman or Arial, between 10 and 12 points in size. Avoid cursive, Comic Sans, or other fanciful fonts.

  • Be consistent in your formatting. If you bold your headings, for example, be sure to bold all of them.
  • Don’t write too much. You don’t want your resume to be a solid block of text.
  • Don’t include photos, clipart, or unnecessary graphics.
  • Don’t include more resume sections than you need.
  • Don’t include references.
  • Keep the resume to one page in length.


4. Keep It Relevant

In your job descriptions, highlight the skills and experiences you will need for the job at hand. If you are changing from one industry to another, focus on transferable skills. If your most relevant experience occurred in the distant past, consider using a functional resume format.

If you choose to include optional resume sections, make sure they are value-added. For example, include Hobbies and Interests only if they relate directly to the job.


5. Be Descriptive

Be specific in your job descriptions, including as many keywords as you can. Use action words.


6. Be Honest

Never lie on your resume to make yourself look better. Don’t even embellish or stretch the truth. If you get the job, your deception will likely be discovered. At the very least you will lose credibility; as worst, you may lose your job.


7. Use an Online Resume Builder

Formatting a visually appealing resume can be challenging. Including all the right information can seem overwhelming. Using an online resume builder can solve these problems.

Here’s how it works: enter your information when prompted. You’ll put in your contact details, skills, work experience, and education. You can add optional sections if you want. Then, choose a design style that appeals to you. The resume maker does the rest, plugging the information into all the right places.

Check out this free resume builder from ResumeGiants.


8. Proofread

One typo, spelling error, or grammatical mistake can hurt your credibility. Reread your resume, look for errors, and use a proofreading program like Grammarly.


9. Tailor Your Resume to Each Job

Did you know that you should edit your resume for each job you apply to? This little-known fact can make or break your job application. Why is tailoring your resume important?

Even if the jobs you are applying to are similar, each will have slightly different requirements. The keywords, discussed above, may differ. Even something as simple as changing “manager” to “managing” to match the listing keywords can make a difference.


10. Save It as a PDF

After you download or complete your resume, be sure to save it as a PDF. Some file types, such as .doc, can lose their formatting when opened on a different device - making them look like a mess rather than a professional resume. PDFs retain their formatting so the hard work you put into making your resume is not in vain.