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There's no better feeling than a win. And if you’re participating in the application process, that win can mean a complete change in your life. New job, new salary, new place, new colleagues, new challenges, and new wins.
But first, you need to get the job. And before you can impress your recruiters during an interview, you need to secure their hearts. The best way to do it? By writing a job-winning resume, of course. Read on and see how it’s done!
This guide will show you:
- Winning resume examples that will inspire you to create a resume that wins.
- What makes winning resumes.
- How to write a job-winning resume.
- What to do after you’ve written a job-winning resume.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume examples here.
What Makes a Winning Resume?
Did you know that, on average, a job opening attracts around 250 resumes? So whenever you apply for a job, you can assume you are among 250 candidates. And your resume is on that 250-page long pile, assuming everyone has delivered a one-page resume. And let’s not forget that hiring managers usually spend around 7 seconds looking at a single resume.
So to make your future employers look at your resume bit longer, browse it entirely or even read it carefully, your resume must stand out. But that’s only the first step that catches the eye. After you’ve done that, you want to convince your recruiters that this is a resume they're looking for.
A winning resume is a flawless resume. There are many ways to achieve it. Let’s see them all.
Pro-tip: Ask for feedback from your colleagues, friends, and family. They might suggest improvements, additions, or changes you haven’t considered.
How to Write a Job-Winning Resume?
To write a job-winning resume, you must cover many areas. You should choose some of them, some can be found in the job ad, and others you must think about. Without further ado, let’s see what a winning resume includes.
1. Look for the Job-Winning Resume Templates
That’s the first thing your recruiter will notice about your resume. What it looks like after one swift glance. So here’s where you make it stand out. And you can be sure: making a resume in Word might not get you there.
How to choose the job-winning resume template?
- Make sure it’s easy to read. Having something that stands out doesn’t necessarily mean having a flashy template that hurts the eye.
- Make sure it highlights the most important information about you. After all, it should be advertising you as an ideal candidate perfectly.
- Make sure you can add a consistent-looking cover letter. Here’s where an online resume builder might come in handy.
Selecting a resume builder doesn’t only mean choosing some templates. Other advances go along the way. For example, you’d get tips and examples created by resume professionals, the ability to upload your already-written resume, a cover letter builder, a resume checker, and a resume score.
On top of that, you’ll get easy formatting options allowing you to change colors, fonts, sizes, section order, headings, spacing, and resume margins. Formatting can be crucial, as it allows your reader to easily learn more about you from your resume.
So let’s take a closer look at those formatting options.
Looking for some eye-catching resume templates? We have them here: 15+ Unique Resume Templates for 2024
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
2. Format and Structure Your Winning Resume
After being amazed by the template you’ve picked, the second thing your recruiter will see is how you have formatted and structured your resume. There are some simple steps you should take to shine with your resume format.
How to format your winning resume?
- Select a modern resume-friendly font that will make the entire resume elegant and professional.
- Apply the right margins for your resume. That’s a great way to boost its readability.
- Go for single or 1.15 line spacing and double line spacing after subheadings.
- Divide your resume into sections and categories. It’s another trick that boosts your document’s readability. There are several sections to consider:
- Resume Header
- Resume Summary Statement or Career Objective
- Resume Work Experience Section
- Resume Education Section
- Relevant Skills
- Extra Resume Sections (certificates and licenses, courses, awards, languages, hobbies, publications, etc.)
- Follow the reverse chronology resume format. That’s the best way to highlight your latest accomplishments.
- Add your contact information (phone number and professional e-mail address) in the resume header. Don’t let the recruiter miss that!
- Keep your resume on one page. However, if you have much relevant experience, you can also write a two-page resume.
- Name your resume correctly, including your name and the position you’re applying for. You don’t want it to get lost amongst other files titled “Resume”, do you?
- Save your resume as a PDF file unless the job ad requires a different format. PDFs work on most devices, so you’re not risking any errors when opening your documents.
Now that you know the right structure, what sections to include, and how to format a resume, you can start writing. But keep one thing in mind: one resume answers one job opening. Let’s see how it works.
Wondering what's the best layout for a resume? Read our guide: How to Make a Great Resume Layout
3. Tailor Your Winning Resume to the Job Opening
You need to fully understand what the company you’re about to apply for is looking for. And then, you need to write a tailored resume to look like it was made especially for this job at this company. Which it was!
How to tailor your job-winning resume to the job offer?
- Re-read the job ad. All the necessary information should be there. That way, you’ll easily figure out what to put emphasis on.
- Reply for this specific job offer. That way, your resume has a better chance of passing the ATS resume test.
- Visit the company’s homepage. Follow the company’s social media. You might find more clues about what to include in a resume there.
That’s a great start for avoiding a generic resume. Making it personal by answering the requirements listed in the job advertisement makes a recruiter think that you’re an ideal candidate. They are looking for someone who checks all the boxes, so be that person.
Is your employer looking for something communicative? Include communication skills in your skills section. Are they looking for a social media coordinator resume that will show them a candidate who knows how to engage the Gen Z audience on TikTok? List a specific achievement related to that.
And once we’re at it…
Pro tip: Keep the tone of your resume enthusiastic, upbeat, and professional. Use industry-related keywords, some action verbs, and resume power words to replace boring phrases and cliché words. That's how you boost readability and avoid being another candidate who managed, assisted, or was a team player. Avoid clichés at all costs.
4. Focus on Your Achievements
The experience section is perhaps the most important section on your resume, unless you’re writing a student resume or a new graduate resume. However, listing only the companies you were associated with and your responsibilities won’t take you far in the recruitment process. What you need to focus on are your relevant achievements. That’s because every employer has responsibilities and duties. Those worth hiring have achievements.
How to impress your recruiters with your professional achievements on a job-winning resume?
- At each entry, put down the job title and company’s name.
- Remember to follow the right resume date format.
- Use up to 6 bullet points in every entry in your work experience section. Focus only on achievements that are relevant to the position you’re after.
- Start each bullet with an action verb. Include some power words. That way, you’ll prove you’re not just a doer but an achiever.
- Quantify your achievements whenever possible. You can do it by frequency, scale, or range.
- Add a “Key Achievement” section at the bottom of each work experience entry. Portray your most impressive professional win that will blow the recruiter away.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
Winning Resume Example [Experience Section]
Los Angeles, CA
- Increased annual revenue by 23% by attracting 5+ new clients from various industries, including beauty, health, pets, and IT.
- Achieved a 15% improvement in client satisfaction by implementing a streamlined feedback process and incorporating client input into design concepts.
- Reduced production costs by 15% while maintaining the high quality of creative work by implementing cost-saving measures, optimizing the production process, negotiating favorable vendor contracts, and sourcing more cost-effective materials.
- Awarded the 2022 AIGA Excellence Award in the Print Design category for the SaveTheWhale campaign
Assistant Art Director
Acme Designs, Newark, NJ
- Managed a creative team that consistently met or exceeded project deadlines, resulting in a 20% increase in project completion rates compared to the previous year
- Facilitated team meetings to increase revenue for a top e-commerce client, which resulted in boosted sales by 25% in 6 months.
- Achieved a 30% increase in client satisfaction scores through effective communication, understanding client needs, and delivering creative solutions that exceeded expectations.
- Shortlisted for the 2016 Leibowitz Branding & Design Award for the development and design of a BigBadBrain startup website.
Impressive, isn’t it? Detailed, with numbers, focused on accomplishments. And that’s how you win.
So that’s how you show off your professional achievements. But what about things that can make a winning resume but happened before you started your career?
Pro tip: To grab your recruiters’ attention with your professional achievements, use the PAR (Problem-Action-Result) formula. Notice the problem you faced, the action you took to overcome it, and the result it brought. Let’s say you’re a UX designer, and testing a feature took too much time, but you’ve introduced a new test automation tool, which led to cut testing time by 30%. In this case, write something like, “Successfully optimized the testing process by introducing an AI-based automation tool, which reduced testing time by 30%.”
5. Don’t Forget About Your Education
You might have amazing job-related achievements in your working history. But there can be other things worth considering in writing a winning resume. Things that might have happened prior to the first job you’ve taken.
And just imagine: your recruiter finished the same university. That’s an incredible conversation starter and an immediate ice-breaker! Mentioning your education can really make a job-winning resume.
Let’s see how to add achievements to an education section of your job-winning resume:
- At each entry, include the school name and date of your graduation as you put your degree on a resume. Don’t forget to include your major and minor on a resume to show more education details.
- Add academic achievements, such as making the Dean’s list, achieving an exceptionally high GPA, or graduating with honors.
- Include information about your memberships and activities, such as extracurricular activities, Phi Beta Kappa, or study abroad programs.
- Mention your relevant coursework and academic projects that might demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and predispositions to take the job you’re applying for.
Now that you’re done with the sections regarding your past, let’s focus on the present and highlight those job-winning skills!
Did something stop you from finishing college? Don’t worry, there’s still a great way to make it work on a job-winning resume! Here’s how: Putting Unfinished College Degree on Resume in 2024
6. Add Your Relevant Skills
Achievements can be impressive. But to achieve them, you must’ve had certain skills. Having a separate skill list on a winning resume is a must. But you probably have so many talents… No worries, here’s how to do it correctly!
How to make a resume skills list on a job-winning resume?
- Start with making a master list of your professional skills. Write down everything that makes you great at your job. Focus on both hard and soft skills.
- Seek for skills-related words and phrases in the job ad. Pay attention to the requirements and professional skills, as most job ads list them separately.
- Compare your master list with those in the job ad. All the matches have to be included in your resume.
- If the job ad mentions something you forgot to include in your master list, add it to it.
- Limit your list to the top 10 skills. Put priority on those listed in the job ad. Dividing them into soft and hard skills might be helpful at that point.
- Remember, you can include some of your skills in the experience section as you describe your achievements.
- Transfer the most relevant skills into your resume summary or resume objective.
You might think that everything that matters is already included in your job-winning resume. But there’s more to understanding how to create a winning resume!
Pro tip: There are skills that you can transfer from one job to another. They are called transferable skills, and they are versatile. Thanks to that, they are attractive to your recruiters. They work magic for career changers. You already have many transferable skills as you develop them all your life in personal and professional contexts. Identify them, cherry-pick the ones the employer is searching for, and include them in your resume.
7. Include Some Additional Sections
There are some things that were hard to include in any of the sections listed above but are still impressive and relevant to the job you’re trying to land. Some of them will position you as an authority, others will be perfect proof of your skills. Let’s find out what you should also remember when writing a job-winning resume.
What should you put in additional sections on your winning resume?
- Awards on a resume are impressive, as they show you’re an achiever and you follow your career goals.
- Certifications and licenses on a resume can work magic in proving your hard skills.
- Conferences you attended can show you’re really passionate and eager to keep developing.
- Publications on a resume are saying one thing: Recruiters! You’ve got an authority resume on your desk!
- Hobbies on a resume can prove your soft skills and work as a great ice-breaker with your recruiter.
- Language skills on your resume are always impressive and valuable for recruiters, as they show you’re a quick learner who can communicate interculturally.
- Volunteer work is something you can’t miss. Recruiters simply love this bit, as it shows you’re a positive candidate who’s motivated not only by money but is also willing to help others.
Now you’ve probably said all you wanted to. Let’s highlight what’s the most significant in the introduction to your winning resume.
Pro tip: Highlight the value added in the extra sections. Give your additional information context, so the employer knows how much you’ll bring to the company.
8. Open Your Winning Resume Perfectly
After completing those four resume sections, it’s time to rewind and return to your resume's opening. Let’s find out how to write a resume introductory paragraph. But first, you need to decide which one you should choose.
- Select a professional resume summary if you’re a candidate with more than a year of relevant experience.
- Select an objective for a resume if you’re a candidate who writes a resume with little or no experience or a career change resume.
Even though it’s a couple of sentences, it can be challenging to write that from scratch. That’s why you should write it last. The entire content is already in your resume, waiting to be used here. And luckily, there are simple formulas to do it.
How to write a summary statement?
Adjective + Job Title + Years of Experience + Achievements + Skills + What You Want to Do for the Employer
How to write an objective for a resume?
Adjective(s)/Certificate(s) + Your Job Title or Degree + seeking employment as + Position Name at + Company Name + to apply my + Your Relevant Skills + to help + What Do You Want To Help The Company Achieve
Let’s take a look at a great summary of a job-winning resume:
Job-Winning Resume Example [Summary]
Summary of Qualifications
Art Director with 10+ years of experience in Graphic Design and 3+ years of experience in management. Supervised the development of 300+ graphic design projects. Won the 2022 AIGA Excellence Award in the Print Design category for the SaveTheWhale campaign. Seeking to join GraphLabz to continue spearheading the creation of visually challenging ideas that will catch the eye, gain attention, and change the world.
As you can see, it clearly follows the formula of having an amazing summary of qualifications.
So there you have it. A job-winning resume. But before you hit that send button, take a quick look at two more steps we’ve covered.
Pro tip: You might think that stretching the truth can work well. But it’s never a good idea to lie. Your job application process is no different. Think about the consequences of being caught lying on a resume. Best case scenario? You will never work in that company. Worst case scenario? You might have trouble finding a job in your industry.
9. Boost Chances of Winning by Adding a Cover Letter
Here’s a fact: There is no job-winning resume without the accompanying job-winning cover letter. Especially since 83% of recruiters claim that cover letters are important in your application process. So no guide on creating a job-winning resume is complete without a short paragraph about how to write a job-winning cover letter. Let’s get to it!
Here’s how to write a job-winning cover letter:
- Follow the right cover letter structure. You start with your name, position, and contact information, followed by a date and recipient’s information.
- Begin your cover letter in a way that will grab the reader’s attention. Make it personal from the top by telling the reader you want to work for their company, not just any other company.
- Format your cover letter into 3–5 paragraphs. Anything longer than that might come across as too long.
- Finish your cover letter with enthusiasm and propose a precise meeting date. What seems like a bold move can actually work magic.
- Add a post scriptum and promise to share insightful information during the meeting you just offered.
Do you want to know what tops the chances of having a job-winning resume? Adding an amazing cover letter. Read our guide and ace it: How to Write a Job-Winning Cover Letter
10. Double-Check It
It’s a short and simple step, especially if you use an online resume builder with a built-in resume checker. But it’s a step that, if avoided, can turn a job-winning resume into a job-losing resume.
After you’ve done writing your document, take a step back from the computer. Go for a walk, take a nap, rest. Then go back and read it from A to Z. That way, you’ll be able to pinpoint every grammar, punctuation, and spelling error and see improvements you can make. Maybe a new relevant skill will come to your mind. And maybe you’ll remind yourself of another impressive accomplishment.
Or maybe, just maybe, that impressive accomplishment will be the winning point of your job-winning resume. Don’t take that chance. Take time and revisit your resume.
Trying to land a job but lack the experience? There’s a way to still ace your cover letter! Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter with No Experience
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
You’re ready to write a job-winning resume that will change the course of your career. Let’s just make a quick recap of what you should remember:
- Stand out from other resumes. The competition might be fierce, and being noticed can lead to victory.
- Format your resume properly. Being noticed is great. But having a document that reads is the next step you simply have to take.
- Structure your resume correctly. Put your most important achievements on top and make every section count.
- Speak about your work experience, education, and skills. Summarize it briefly in a resume summary or objective statement.
- Add a cover letter. Done well, it will only boost your chances of impressing the recruiter.
- Double-check everything. You don’t want any errors, and you might come up with something new while doing it.
- Consider choosing an online resume builder. They come with customizable templates, tips from experts, suggestions of what you can write next, an option of uploading your already-written resume, and a resume checker. All those features can make a difference and will make the entire process faster and stress-free
You’re up against other candidates, but following those steps will help you create a job-winning resume and win the job of your dreams. Good luck!
Thanks for reading! Would you like to talk more about how to create a winning resume? Let’s talk in the comments section below!
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