Most people believe that there is this perfect resume standard that will land you any kind of job. But the definition of the word "perfect" means the presence of all the required elements, qualities, and characteristics, which assumes there is no universal definition of a perfect resume because requirements of employers differ. In other words, you can't find that perfect middle ground that will help you get any type of job with just one resume because different positions have different requirements. That said, we have to say that there are some common elements that will inevitably make your main marketing document more attractive in the eyes of hiring decision makers. Will that be a perfect resume? Depending on what's in there...
Elements of a Perfect Resume
Relevance. When job seekers think of resume elements, most of us are surfing through different resume sections in our minds. But before you ever get to choosing what kind of sections an effective resume should have, there is a principle that should be guiding that process. If a resume can be perfect, it should speak to the needs of a particular employer the resume is sent to. If it just talks about how awesome you are in terms of your professionalism or soft skills but no required qualifications are addressed, then you can just save your time and that of prospective employer by not bothering anyone with your resume.
Results. The resume that doesn't have specific results of your work cannot be perfect by default. Hiring managers are always looking for results - those things you accomplished. Unfortunately, most of what HRs see is either job descriptions copy-pasted from the internet or customized list of duties and responsibilities under each job. A perfect resume will be focused on accomplishments - things you achieved, not just did as a routine. The simple example of that could be "Saved $140,000 for the company by implementing new accounting system and controls in 6 months".
Simple Format. Because more and more companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to assist with managing recruitment needs and save time for HR employees. So when we say simple format we mean by that a format that can be read by applicant tracking systems which do the initial screening out of the candidates. But also for hiring authorities it is much easier to navigate through a document that has a clear format and structure. Recent studies confirm the fact that the majority of HRs prefer old style resume format to fancy layouts with graphic elements.
Summary Section. We are not going to explain in details why the outdated objective statement is no longer considered a good beginning of your resume. It will suffice to say that it is not employer-oriented and brings no valuable information whatsoever. Instead, the summary (overview of qualifications) section should start off every effective resume. But the point is not just to have one, but to develop it in a way that would engage employers right off the bat. In order to accomplish that you really have to do your homework and research the company you are applying to. Keep in mind, that a resume is skimmed through by HRs in about 6-8 seconds. This section is the one hiring authorities will check first. Needless to say, that if you fail to impress there, unlikely you will have a chance to land that interview.
Mitigating potential screen-out factors is an important step as you write your resume. That means you think one step further than just your experience and skills. Being aware that such things as age, employment gaps, frequent job changes, and even business ownership can disqualify you from the competition will give you an advantage over other candidates. Now these factors may actually seem as those you can do nothing about. You can't change your age, right? Lying is another bad option to go with. So what can one do to mitigate potential screen-out factors?
Making sure you will not be disqualified due to your age, you can actually organize your content in a way that will your age will never be disclosed. There are many things you can do about it: don't include graduation dates, don't list all of the previous employers (especially those you worked for over 15 years ago), create a separate section for the outdated jobs, etc.
Addressing employment gaps can be tough but you still can use academic skill conversion as well as volunteering, training, and freelancing experiences. There are also some things you can (and in most cases really should) do about job hopping.
A perfect resume is concerned not only with your qualifications and how they are organized but also about how hiring managers may perceive you and your potential weaknesses. Being one step ahead will always help you in the job search and every perfect resume anticipates what kind of questions a prospective employer may have providing specific answers.