6 Simple Steps for Writing Winning Resumes

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October 26, 2023
Edited by
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min read

3 key takeaways:

  • What qualities make a winning resume? 
  • How to make a winning resume with the Teal AI Resume Builder
  • Mistakes to avoid while writing a winning resume 

Nobody likes coming second in a race, especially when the prize is the job you’ve been waiting for. And like any competition, the current market demands not just participation but a compelling strategy to win. 

In this guide, you’ll find the tools and insights you need to craft that job-winning resume so you don't just participate but truly compete. 

What makes winning resumes?

The job market is competitive. You’ve likely seen this trend first-hand on LinkedIn, with many people sharing they’ve been “let go,” “lateralized,” or “decruited” (which are all lovely ways to say “let go”).

In other words, if you’re job searching, you’re certainly not alone.

And as the competition for each open role is higher, so is the bar with which you need to compete. So, when it comes to writing a resume, slapping together a bullet-point list of your skills and education simply won’t cut it. 

You need to take a few moments and ask yourself, “What would actually make my resume stand out?” 

The answer lies in crafting a job winning resume.

A winning resume goes beyond listing experiences. It's a strategic document tailored to highlight your unique skills, experiences, and qualifications in the best light. It should immediately communicate to employers that you're not just a good fit—but the perfect fit for the role.

Let’s take a moment to understand what makes a winning resume so crucial to the job search process.

First impressions matter 

First impressions are everything. 

Before you even get the chance to shake hands with a potential employer or introduce yourself in an interview setting, your resume speaks on your behalf. A winning resume not only details your experience but also conveys your professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to the role. 

This can instantly set a positive tone, making recruiters more receptive to exploring the possibility of bringing you on board.

Gateway to opportunities 

In the world of job applications, your resume is a lot like your passport. Without it, you're essentially grounded. And learning how to create a winning resume is what will get you off the ground.

Many job opportunities, especially in established companies, demand a resume right at the get-go. It's the first indicator to recruiters and hiring managers that filter who gets considered and who doesn't. 

A compelling resume doesn’t just meet this requirement; it maximizes your chances of moving to the next phase. And since you have to have one anyway, why not make it the best you possibly can? 

After all, you can be sure other candidates will be trying to put their best foot forward, too.

The ATS challenge 

Many companies today rely on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to handle the influx of resumes they receive. Human hiring professionals use these digital filing systems to search resumes for keywords and criteria. Then, they prioritize those that are the best fit. 

A winning resume is strategically crafted with this in mind. 

It seamlessly incorporates relevant keywords and presents information in a structured format that can be scanned by the ATS and searched by a hiring professional. By optimizing your resume for these systems, you significantly increase your chances of standing out as qualified.

Personal branding 

Your resume is a platform to showcase your personal brand—the unique combinations of experiences, skills, and values you bring to the table. This personal brand differentiates you from other candidates, so it’s important to understand how to make a resume your own. 

A winning resume ensures your application is unique and memorable, making you a candidate that hiring managers are excited to connect with.

Write your winning resume with Teal

Now, if all of this sounds a little (ok, a lot) daunting, don't worry! 

Teal’s AI Resume Builder is a dynamic tool that uses these modern best practices, making the process streamlined, simple, and easy. 

With step-by-step expert guidance, Teal ensures that your resume makes a great first impression, opens the door for more opportunities, and makes your skills and qualifications stand out as unique and memorable—all in one central location.

Winning resumes
Make your winning resume with Teal's dynamic, intuitive builder.

How to write a winning resume

Navigating the world of resumes can feel like uncharted territory, but with the right guidance, you can quickly map out a clear path. 

Here are the essential steps on how to create a winning resume:

Step 1. Choose the right resume format 

There are three primary types of resume formats: chronological, functional, and hybrid (often referred to as skills-based). While there's a time and place for each, the chronological approach comes highly recommended for most job seekers. 

It traces your career progression, beginning with your most recent job and working backward to your first role. This allows recruiters to see your growth and potential at a glance. 

However, if you're at the start of your career or pivoting into a new one, a skills-based approach may serve you better. This format highlights hard skills (like tools and software) by placing them directly beneath your professional summary. 

That said, most people will find that a simple chronological resume that highlights a variety of relevant experiences gives them the best shot at landing an interview.

Step 2. Craft a compelling resume title

Your resume title, also known as a target title, is more than just a header. It serves as a bold declaration of your professional identity. In a sea of generic resumes, a resume title makes your first impression (remember how important those are?), so you’re immediately recognizable to hiring managers. 

The rule of thumb here? Keep it personalized, relevant, and aligned with the role you're eyeing.

That means tailoring each resume title to the specific job description. 

Fortunately, with Teal, crafting a bespoke resume for each job application has never been easier. With Teal, you can swiftly duplicate, modify, and manage your existing resumes, enabling you to personalize them according to the job description you’re working with. 

Multiple winning resumes tailored to every job
Duplicate, modify, and manage your resumes in one place.

Step 3. Writing a professional summary 

This isn't your average introduction. Your professional summary is a snapshot of your career, capturing your expertise and unique value in a few impactful sentences. To make this section of your resume stand out, highlight your top wins that are 100% relevant to the role you’re applying for. 

But fret not; crafting this might sound challenging, but Teal's built-in AI is here to help you beat the blank page with a resume summary generator. Now, you can quickly draft your summary in seconds with the click of a button. 

Winning resume professional summaries written with AI
Use AI to write a winning resume professional summary.

Then, simply polish and refine the results to your liking. 

Step 4. Highlight your accomplishments

Your resume accomplishments are an employer magnet. Instead of a list of tasks you've performed, focus on tangible accomplishments—demonstrating your impact. 

Remember to quantify these achievements where possible. 

Think: "Led a team of 5 and boosted sales by 30%" instead of "Managed a sales team." 

The more specific you can be with your measurable impact, the better. 

Step 5. Include education and certifications 

Your academic and professional learning milestones are pivotal, especially if they're directly related to the job at hand. Make sure that this section is clear, concise, and showcases the most relevant or recent qualifications to the role you want.

Step 6. List your hard skills 

Your hard and soft skills are the building blocks of your professional persona. 

Modern resume practices emphasize weaving your key skills throughout your resume. Sure, if space allows, you can carve out a dedicated "Skills" section, spotlighting hard skills from the job description. 

As expert tech recruiter Leah Dillon puts it:

If you're including a list of hard skills on your resume, make sure they're relevant to the job you're applying for. Ask yourself: Are they listed explicitly in the job description? 

Remember, if you add soft skills from the job description, they should be included alongside metrics and impact to showcase their credibility. 

Step 7. Tailoring your resume to the job description 

One size doesn't fit all, especially when it comes to resumes. Tailoring your resume for each application elevates its relevance, signaling to employers that you've done your homework and genuinely care about the role. 

Understand the job description, identify the key skills and qualifications required, and ensure your resume mirrors them, showcasing you as the ideal fit.

Teal identifies both hard and soft skills embedded in job descriptions, ensuring you never miss out on key competencies employers are seeking. 

Tailoring winning resumes with the right keywords
Integrate the right keywords into every winning resume.

By seamlessly integrating these words into your resume, you’ll qualifications will align more closely with each role you’re applying to.

Don't let your application get lost in the digital shuffle. With Teal, you can position yourself at the forefront by aligning precisely with what employers are looking for. 

Common mistakes to avoid when writing a winning resume

Like everything in life, the journey to a winning resume isn't without its pitfalls. Fortunately, Teal CEO and Founder David Fano shares some common missteps many job seekers unwittingly make and how you can sidestep them:

1. Subjectivity over objectivity

Avoid seeing your resume through a subjective lens.

A common mistake is believing your resume is great just because you understand your own achievements. Instead, view it from a recruiter's perspective and ask, "Does this clearly show that I'm a great fit?"

2. Being vague about transferable skills 

Don't assume everyone will see your transferable skills as clearly as you do. 

A frequent oversight is thinking that certain abilities are self-explanatory. To avoid this, ask friends or family to review your resume and highlight any skills that aren't clearly showcased.

3. Overloading with irrelevant details

Avoid the trap of including everything you've ever accomplished. A common pitfall is thinking more information is always better. Instead, focus on showcasing the most relevant 10% of your experience. 

Pro Tip: With Teal, you can easily tailor your resume for each job, making your work history more dynamic and relevant.

4. Forgetting the competition

Don't craft your resume as if it's viewed in isolation. Remember, it will be compared to the resumes of other candidates. Your achievements and qualifications need to stand out. 

More specifically, leverage tools like Teal AI Resume Builder to extract keywords from the job description that will give you a better chance of aligning your qualifications.

5. Stagnation and discouragement

Don't get stuck with one version of your resume or get disheartened if you don't get immediate results. 

The job application process requires persistence. Keep refining your resume and stay hopeful.

The beauty is that with the Teal, many of these pitfalls become avoidable! 

Make a winning resume today

At the end of the day, crafting a winning resume can be the difference between landing that dream interview or getting lost in the shuffle.

Remember, it's not just about listing qualifications but weaving a narrative that showcases your value and potential. 

With all of this knowledge and insight, why wait? Create a resume that wins by getting started with Teal today

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tailor my resume for a specific job application?

To tailor your resume for a specific job, start by analyzing the job description to identify key skills and experiences the employer is seeking. Then, highlight your most relevant accomplishments and qualifications that match these requirements in your resume. Use the same language and keywords from the job description to increase the chances of passing through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and catching the hiring manager's attention.

What is the ideal length for a winning resume?

The ideal length for a resume is typically one page, especially for entry-level candidates or those with less than 10 years of experience. For professionals with extensive experience, a two-page resume can be acceptable. The key is to be concise and include only the most relevant and impactful information that showcases your qualifications for the job.

Should I include a cover letter with my resume, and how should it complement my resume?

Yes, including a cover letter with your resume is recommended as it allows you to introduce yourself, express your interest in the position, and provide context for your resume. Your cover letter should complement your resume by offering a narrative about your experiences, explaining any gaps or transitions, and demonstrating your passion for the role. Keep it concise, engaging, and tailored to the job and company.

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is a professional content marketer who's been lucky enough to write for some of the best SaaS brands on the planet, including Twilio, Trello, OptinMonster, TrustPulse, and more. When he's not obsessing over performance metrics, Nathan spends most of his time wrestling around with his kids.

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