6 Steps for the Perfect Resume to Land Your Next Job

Review your resume for errors.

To ensure that you’ve covered your bases, proofread and then proofread again. Then have a trusted friend or family member review it for you as well. You don’t want to risk sending a resume that has spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or formatting issues. Run your resume through a spell-checker or have it scanned by one of the many online tools available before sending it off to the hiring manager.

When you’re writing out the information on your resume, be sure not to use any abbreviations, acronyms, or slang terms. Use professional language and keep in mind that everything will be read by someone who might not understand industry-specific terms or lingo. Keep it simple when describing your skills and job duties as well so that anyone who reads it knows exactly what you did in each position listed on your resume.

Print your resume on quality paper.

You don’t have to go crazy, but print your resume on quality paper. It makes a great first impression and it's a small investment that helps you stand out. They're going to notice the difference! Plus, it shows you’re serious about your job search.

We created our Resume Paper to be just what you need for this step. The rich colors and smooth texture set the tone for an eye-catching resume no matter how it gets printed or distributed.

Use a standard font.

  • Use a standard font.

From your resume, you want to convey being professional and presentable. A good way to start is choosing a readable font. Some acceptable fonts include: Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, Helvetica, etc. Avoid any fancy or hard-to-read fonts such as Comic Sans or Papyrus. You don’t have to be boring when it comes to fonts; just make sure they are professional and readable!

Make sure your contact information is clear and up-to-date.

  • Stick to the basics of font and layout. You should print your resume on quality paper, and use a standard, easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Arial in size 11 or 12 point. Avoid long paragraphs. Stick to a single page if you can, but don't make the type so small that it will be hard for the employer to read.
  • Make sure your contact information is clear and up-to-date. Write down your first and last names, address, email address and telephone number at the top of your resume. Include links to work samples if they are available online — such as a blog or website with writing samples — but make sure you keep these sites professional in nature (this means no drinking photos on Facebook).
  • Use bullet points instead of paragraphs for job descriptions
  • Focus on accomplishments, not just duties! Listing tasks that you performed does not always mean much to an employer who doesn’t know you from Eve; however listing accomplishments that show how well you did those tasks makes all the difference between getting hired and being sent home dejected after failing one more interview!

Avoid long paragraphs.

To land a new job, you need to present your resume in the most attractive way possible. But it's not enough to craft the perfect cover letter and then send it off into the abyss. The key is making sure that every single aspect of your resume will pique the interest of an employer and compel them to seriously consider giving you a call. Here are five steps for getting it right:

Step 1: Use headings. Headings help break up long paragraphs and make your resume easier to digest. If a recruiter reads only one paragraph of your seven-paragraph resume, do they want to read three or four? Make sure you know what information belongs in which heading—a vague heading like “Work Experience” can turn off employers who may be seeking candidates with specific experience in a particular field or for a specific type of work.

Step 2: Use bullets, lists, and abbreviations sparingly. To quickly convey all the information you've included on your application, use bullet points instead of using whole sentences that go into tedious detail about each item (and leave room for error). Lists are also useful—they give potential employers an idea of how well rounded your skillset is and how much time they could devote to teaching you new skills while working with you at their company. Keep them short—never use more than two items per list (if there are more than two items listed on a list, it should be broken down into more short lists).

Step 3: Keep it simple and clean. Your resume shouldn't sound like an academic treatise on the history of Anglo-Saxon culture or include any references to obscure pop culture figures like Hermione Granger (Harry Potter's sidekick), Angelina Jolie (actress), or Shaggy from Scooby Doo (an actual dog). Instead, focus on keeping things relevant as possible so readers don't have much trouble grokking what you're saying about yourself and how great your qualifications are for going forward

Stick to a single page if you can, but don't make it too small.

There is a lot of conflicting advice out there regarding resume length. Some say you should keep your resume to one page, while others argue that a longer resume is acceptable if you have relevant experience. The truth is somewhere in between: a single-page resume works best when you have limited professional experience, but once your career begins to take off, it's okay to stretch things out a bit.

However, the key here is "stretch." Don't go overboard and fill the page with tiny fonts just to make everything fit! If you can't get all of your information on one page without making it unreadable, then it's okay to go to two pages—but don't add any unnecessary information like hobbies or political affiliations. If you must use more than one page for your work history alone (say, because many of your jobs are still ongoing), do not cut corners by shrinking font sizes or margins below 10pts. Otherwise you will be creating more problems than solutions for yourself.

Your resume may be the first thing an employer sees when they consider whether to hire you, so make it look great!

Your resume may be the first thing an employer sees when they consider whether to hire you, so make it look great!

  • Make sure your resume is error-free. Typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are red flags for the employer. One company in a national survey reported that just one typo on a resume was enough for them to reject an applicant immediately. Take the time to run your resume through spell check, use Grammarly or read it aloud to ensure that your punctuation is correct and easy to follow.
  • Print on quality paper. If you’re going to print resumes out on paper, invest in high-quality stock – ideally a heavier paper than standard copy paper. Don’t use colored paper because it can be distracting or hard to read.
  • Convey your commitment to quality by using a standard font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Georgia (in 10 point or 12 point) or Calibri (11 points). Avoid fancy fonts because they can be distracting and even harder for some people to read than smaller fonts.