The Anatomy Of A Perfect Résumé

- By Novorésumé -

1. Header

Firstly, the focus should be on presenting your skills and personality traits but at the same time remember that it is important not to lie or exaggerate the abilities that you do not posses.

Always keep in mind that sometimes “Less, Is More!”

The first part of your résumé is the Header which needs to include the following information:

  • Picture: this is optional, depending on the country/culture you are applying.

  • Email Address: your email should be just your name or some professional variations of it.

  • Phone Number: make sure to write the number where you are available most of the time.

  • Address: listing your City/Country is mandatory. This is especially needed when your application is being scanned by an ATS software.

  • Social Media Profiles: Make an audit of your social media profiles and be sure you do not have any content that might create a bad impression about you.

2. Work Experience

The first section of your résumé should be Work Experience in the case you have a couple of years of related work experience for the job you are applying for.

The mandatory information for this section is:

  • Employment Period.

  • Position/Title.

  • Name of the Company/Organisation.

  • Accomplishments/Responsibilities or Tasks.

You may include as well the following optional information:

  • City/Country of the previous company.

  • Company Description.

  • Contact Info of a supervisor or colleague.

General tips for Work Experience section include:

  • Switch the positions around your résumé if some particular experiences are more relevant to a certain job you are applying for.

  • Include between 2-4 jobs that are relevant to the one you are applying for.

  • Try to begin each sentence with an action verb when you write the Accomplishments/Responsibilities or Tasks.

  • Quantify your Accomplishments/Responsibilities or Tasks whenever this is possible. (E.g.: “Increased customer base by 25% following a series of dedicated sales campaigns.”)

  • You need to make it clear in this section how your current work experience makes you the ideal candidate for the position you are applying for.

  • you the ideal candidate for the position you are applying for. If you did not have any Accomplishments in the previous job and decide to list previous tasks, remember not to list the ones that are too general or vague, but rather focus on the specific ones.

3. Professional Skills/Skills & Competencies

The second most important section is “Skills & Competencies.” Try to keep them targeted for the position you are applying for. If for example, you are applying for a job as a Marketing Manager you should not list a skill such as “breakdance” that is not relevant for this particular job.

General tips for the Skills & Competencies include the following:

  • Read the job ad many times and understand what skills are sought by the employer before writing this section. Most of the time you will find the skills that are required for that specific position in the ad.

  • Using industry or job specific skills in your résumé will enable your application to pass through an applicant tracking system (ATS).

  • Search on the internet for the skills that are most needed in the industry you are applying for a list the ones that you possess.

  • Include as well the “Soft Skills” that are demanded by almost all the jobs. E.g.: Self-motivation, Communication, Time Management, Public Speaking, Leadership, Storytelling.

4. Education

In case you are a student, recent graduate or do not have any work experience, we suggest to include the “Education” section at the top of your résumé instead of Work Experience. Remember to arrange this section in reverse order. If, for example, you have a Master’s and a Bachelor's Degree, make sure that you list first your Master’s Degree. If you already have a Bachelor’s Degree, you should not include your High School details.

General tips for Education include the following:

  • Include the Universities/Colleges/Academies/Schools, the name of the program and the courses that you took and are relevant to the position you are applying for.

  • Do NOT falsify anything when it comes to your education. It comes without saying, that if you exaggerate or lie about it, somebody will eventually notice it.

The following sections are optional, and you should include the ones that are relevant to the job you are applying for and add value to your application:

5. Projects

  • Include the most important personal project that you have worked on. These could be semester projects or projects that you worked on in your own free time.

  • List the name of the project, a short description of what the project was about, what kind of knowledge did you apply, and what skills did you develop while working on it.

6. Languages

  • When creating a professional résumé, the languages that you master can make you more competitive. It will also show that you are open to change, learning new things and that you can work with people outside your culture.

  • Include all the Languages that you know and the level of your knowledge. Knowing an uncommon language can help you stand out from other candidates.

7. Achievements and Certificates

List all your important Achievements and Certificates that you have obtained and are to some extent related to the job you are applying for.

Examples of Achievements:

  • Employee of the Month - January and March 2016

  • Nominated as a team leader in various projects across 3 departments.

  • Finished “X” project 2 weeks before the deadline.


Examples of Achievements:

  • Certified Professional Crisis Manager for ISO 292 Security Management (2011)

  • Risk Management course at Novoschool (2016)

  • CPL - Commercial Pilot Licence (2008)

8. Volunteer Experience

For the recent graduates with minimal or no work experience there should be an emphasis on this section, even make volunteerism a central part of your résumé.

This section can highlight important skills, such as Communication, Leadership, and Planning while showing as well that you are adaptable and self-motivated.

You can also research the employer and see what causes they care about, then mirror those in your volunteer experience if you had related experiences.

9. Honors and Awards

Along with mentioning your awards, you need to offer a short explanation of the meaning of that award. It is important to separate and make a distinction between your professional and personal awards.

Do not include awards that are too old. For example, it is not recommended to include an award from high-school when you already have 5-10 years of work experience.

10. Honors and Awards

It is important to include the conferences and professional courses you have completed, especially the ones where you held a presentation or were part of the organizers.

Conferences add value especially for the fresh graduates who lack work experience.

11. Supported Causes & Interests

Including the causes you care about will offer the employer a glimpse of your personality. You should be able to prove and talk about the causes you support if needed.

If you have space left after writing the most important sections in your résumé, you can add an extra section to list your interests. Listing them will show the employer a more personal part of you. In some cultures, it is even mandatory to include this section.

Remember to be short and concise, just mention the main activities that interest you but do not go into details. If your interests stirred their curiosity, they would ask you more during the interview, therefore be prepared to talk about them.

12. Checklist

DO’s

  • Tailor your summary to include elements of the job description for each position you are applying for.

  • Focus on specific results of your work, significant achievements and recognition received.

  • Remember that “Less, is More!” Keep your résumé to one page if you do not have more than 5 years of relevant work experience.

  • Tailor your résumé for each specific job you are applying for.

DON’Ts

  • Submit the same résumé to every employer, regardless of the position.

  • Mention “salary negotiable” or “reference available upon request.”

  • Use acronyms or jargons.

  • Include routine job duties, such as: “making copies.”

  • Overuse the personal pronouns “I,” “me” or “my.”

  • Say you were laid off or fired from your last position.

Do not submit your résumé before checking the points on the following Checklist:

  • Is your name, address, phone number and email address at the top of the page?

  • Can an employer understand the main sections within 7 to 10 seconds?

  • Did you write your résumé for each specific position by including the key skills and experiences the employer wants?

  • Is the information listed in order of importance and relevance to the requirements listed in the job description?

  • Do most phrases begin with an action verb, such as “conducted,” “implemented,” “increased,” etc.?

  • Have you been accurate and truthful about your accomplishments rather than being too modest or exaggerating?

  • Did you double check the spelling of every word and made sure the grammar and punctuation are correct?

12. Are you ready to create yours?

If you need more inspiration, you can check our professional résumé examples here!

Now that you know how to build a perfect résumé let’s build your own and get that dream job!

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