How to write a killer Software Engineering résumé
An in-depth analysis of the résumé that got me interviews at google, facebook, amazon, microsoft, apple, and more..
This résumé got me interviews at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple.
I obtained these interviews by sending my résumé to the résumé black hole , also known as applying online.
Applying online is the most common way people go about applying for a job and therefore the least effective way to land an interview due to competition. Yet that is exactly how I obtained all my interviews.
How did I accomplish this?
In this article, I will go through a line-by-line analysis of my résumé for the following purposes:
- explaining the choices that I made in creating my résumé
- why I believe this résumé worked to help me land those interviews, and
- how you can create an even better résumé!
I decided to write this article because I struggled a lot with landing interviews when I first started looking for a job. It would have been extremely helpful for me to have a real-life example résumé to look at.
This article is organized into the following sections:
- The All Too Familiar Way of Not Landing an Interview - a short anecdote of my frustrations when I first started applying for jobs
- Evaluating the Options: Moving Forward - a reflection on different strategies to improve the odds of landing interviews
- Learning How to Write a Killer Résumé By Example - the step-by-step analysis of my résumé with each of the following sections corresponding to my résumé:
The Essentials from a Glance
- Who Are You
- Contact Information
- Personal Projects
The All Too Familiar Way of Not Landing an Interview
You probably know the link that every company provides for online applications. It’s the classic career site that shows you a bunch of job titles which you think you are totally qualified for until you open the job description and read the minimum requirements.
A job description with a bunch of words that you have never heard of, may have heard of, or hoped you had heard of. And it has an innocent-looking “ Apply” button .
Despite the uncertainty you may feel about your qualifications, you apply anyway because you want a job.
So you fill out the application form, press submit — and wait and hope for a positive response.
Your results will be varied:
- Phone Interview ? (yay, a chance at employment!!!)
- Immediate Rejection ? (darn, back to the drawing board)
- No reply ? (ugh, at least give me the courtesy of having some closure)
Repeat Until Success… Right?
Sadly, this is the typical process that many people go through when looking for a job/internship.
Apply to a couple of companies. Get a couple of rejections or no replies. Apply to a couple more companies. Get a couple more rejections or no replies. Over, and over, and over again.
Why do we do this to ourselves? We spend all this time doing the same repetitive task to obtain the same, disappointing results.
Because this is what everyone does to get an interview, right? Because at least we’re working towards the right direction and have a glimmer of hope, right? How else are you supposed to get an interview?
Evaluating the Options: Moving Forward
“Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” - Dale Carnegie, (author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”)
We can think of approaching the problem of not getting interviews in two ways:
- Putting your application/ résumé under the microscope
- Questioning the process in which you go about obtaining an interview
This article focuses on the former, because no matter what avenue you end up taking to get an interview, essentially every company utilizes your résumé as a basis for evaluation . Therefore, we will examine my résumé under a microscope and focus on learning how to write a remarkable résumé.
Getting an interview via online application is extremely challenging because your résumé has to pass numerous stages before it gets into the hands of the hiring manager.
It has to bypass online keyword filters , stand out to a recruiter who reviews it for about 6 seconds and meet the expectations of the hiring manager who decides whether you are worth interviewing.
Yet, despite all those hurdles, I obtained all my interviews by applying online. How? Trial and error . I’ve applied to hundreds of different software engineering positions since my sophomore year of college.
When I first started applying, I faced a staggering number of rejections, but over time I learned how to adapt. By the time I was a senior, I was extremely successful in landing interviews from almost every company I applied to.
The résumé that landed me all those interviews is the exact one in this article.
It took me four years of iteration and real-life testing to get to this point. From this experience, I have come up with a list of résumé writing principles to help you write an even better software résumé. These are principles that have helped me land my dream job and are principles that can help you land yours.
While it took me four years of college to figure this all out, you don’t have to go through all the leaps and bounds because you can learn all of it right here, right now.
My goal is to be the one-stop hub for all your questions on how to obtain a software engineering interview. That way, you don’t have to waste countless hours cross-referencing Google search results to find the best answer on how to write a software engineering résumé that gets interviews.
Your valuable time could be better spent on writing your killer résumé.
So start here and now with this article. Reap the benefits from my past experiences and let’s begin the step-by-step walkthrough of my résumé!
Learning How to Write a Killer Résumé — By Example
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let’s take another look at this résumé:
Recruiters do not have all day to read your résumé. On average they view it for less than 6 seconds. Keep it short and concise .
Sections (Header, Education, Employment, Software Projects, Skills)
Place sections in order of importance from top to bottom. The ‘ Personal Projects ’ section is a unique, must-have for people looking for a software engineering position.
Consistent layout + font per section
Make sure each section contains a uniform look. Consistent style is important as it enhances the readability. Readability is essential.
So why does this résumé work? Let’s explore the numbered bullet points.
Who Are You (1)
Target Audience: Anyone writing a résumé
Starting off real easy. Your name. Place your name at the top of your résumé in a large legible font.
No need to be all fancy about it with extravagant colors or fancy fonts. Plain and simple does the trick. You want the recruiter to see this easily from a mile away because you want them to know who you are. A recruiter who has to do minimum work is a happy recruiter. A happy recruiter is one who is more likely to give you an interview.
Recap: Make it ridiculously easy for the recruiter to read and find your name.
Contact Information (2)
Your contact info should be as easy as identifying your name. This is so important. Of all the things in the world, please do not mess this one up because how else on earth will the recruiter contact you?
Recap: Put in the correct contact information or you’ll never be contacted.
Target Audience: Anyone writing a résumé with a degree
If you are attending or attended college, this should be the first section of your résumé, because going to college is a huge accomplishment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only “66.7 percent of 2017 high school graduates age 16 to 24 enrolled in colleges or universities”. So be proud of it and include it!
Right off the bat, this tells the recruiter that you are invested in education and learning, which is crucial because technology is continuously changing. Furthermore, this information serves as an indicator of your successes, so be sure to put it down.
Recap: Put down where you got educated.
Be sure to include relevant coursework corresponding to the position that you are applying for. While a course on the History of Italian Gastronomy sounds exceptionally appetizing, it doesn’t have a place in a résumé that is trying to get you a job in computer science.
This will significantly improve the ability of the recruiter and the hiring manager looking at your résumé in deciding whether you are a good fit for the position. And as previously mentioned, a happy recruiter is more likely to give you an interview.
Recap: Only include relevant coursework.
Okay. GPA. Before we talk about this, let’s remind ourselves of the main purpose of a résumé.
The main purpose of a résumé is to highlight your knowledge, skills, and accomplishments succinctly. You want to include things on your résumé that you are proud of, but also things that will impress. You want to paint a picture of yourself in the best light possible so that recruiters and hiring managers want to interview you.
Now back to your GPA. It should be fairly obvious whether or not your GPA is impressive. If your GPA is below a 3.0, don’t put it on your résumé. There’s nothing wrong with excluding your GPA from your résumé if it only harms your chances.
If you have a GPA between 3.0–3.2, this is a judgment call. From personal experience, I have talked to some companies that require a minimum GPA of 3.2, but these were primarily financial or quantitative companies. Most software companies have little regard for your GPA. If you have anything above a 3.2, I would place it on your résumé.
If you have a low GPA, fear not, as this gives you the opportunity to be creative! My overall GPA was a 3.2 due to poor grades from my freshman engineering prerequisites and humanities classes. But once I finished and started taking courses within my major, my in-major GPA (GPA calculated from courses in my major) was a 3.44, which was significantly higher. So that’s what I put down (but make sure to qualify it as a departmental GPA).
There are many ways of going about presenting yourself in the best light possible, even when it may seem like the odds are stacked against you. I only provided one example of accomplishing this, but there are many more ways waiting to be discovered by you. Fully embrace your failures and accomplishments because they make up who are you. Be honest and truthful, and always focus on highlighting the best parts about yourself.
Recap: Your GPA does not define you. The purpose of your résumé is to present yourself in the best light. Never forget that! Be creative when going about this and DON’T LIE.
Target Audience: Students with software engineering work experience
If you are a college student without any experience, don’t be afraid! This was my senior year résumé when I was applying for a full-time job. I was fortunate enough to have accumulated relevant work experience from summer internships, but this isn’t absolutely necessary to get an interview. If you find that you don’t have much to put in section, jump down to the ‘ Personal Projects ’ section.
While it is great to have past work experience, not all work experience is treated equally when it comes to looking for a job in software engineering. Focus only on including work experience that has relevance to the job that you are applying for. For instance, if you have experience working as a cashier in retail or a waiter in the food industry, don’t include it! Unfortunately, your abilities to handle money or serve food did not provide any indication that you will succeed as a software engineer.
A recruiter’s goal is to match candidates with jobs that fit the candidates’ skill sets. Therefore it is essential only to include past work experience that has some relation to the position that you are currently applying to, on your résumé.
Part of accomplishing this means creating a collection of various résumés, each tailored specifically for the different job that you are interested in. This is analogous to the college application process, where you had to write separate essays for each university that you applied to. Each college has its own values, culture, and vision, making it nearly impossible to write a generic, one-size-fits-all college essay. Therefore, tailor your résumé to the job that you are applying for.
Lastly, a note on dates. Order your experiences in descending order starting with your most recent experiences. For undergraduates, this means being mindful of including experiences that are both recent and relevant. Sadly, no one cares about whatever accomplishments you had in middle school or high school. If the experience is outdated, leave it out.
Recap: Have various versions of your résumé tailored for each job you are applying for. There is no one-size-fits-all résumé.
The hardest part about résumé writing is having descriptions that fully encapsulate your accomplishments from past work experiences in a meaningful and impressive way.
What does it mean for your descriptions to be meaningful and impressive? It means getting the recruiter to think: “This is someone that has the skill sets we are looking for. This is someone that has made a significant impact in their past jobs. This is someone we would like to interview and potentially hire.”
The primary objective of the Employment section is to show the impact and value that you had while working at an established institution. Your goal is to show recruiters that you are a candidate that can get things done and do them well.
To best showcase my accomplishments in my résumé, I adopted the following powerful formula, created by the Former SVP of People Operations at Google, Laszlo Bock:
“Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]” — Laszlo Bock
You can see this very clearly in the very first bullet point of this section on my résumé.
Improved device’s battery lifespan by 8% by integrating a fuel gauge sensor and establishing a battery saving state
Let’s break it down:
Accomplished [X]- Improved device’s battery lifespan
Measured by [Y]- by 8%
By Doing [Z]- integrating a fuel gauge sensor and establishing a battery saving state
I leveraged this formula in some shape or form in almost every sentence in my résumé.
To help you along this process, below is a word bank of excellent verbs you can and should use:
Here are some examples of fill-in the blank sentences that I have come up with for you to get started:
- Reduced _____ by _____ by _____.
- Redesigned _____ for _____.
- Implemented _____ for _____ by _____.
- Improved _____ by _____ through _____.
- Utilized _____ to _____ for _____.
- Increased _____ by _____ through _____.
- Integrated _____ by _____ for _____.
- Incorporated _____ for _____ by _____.
Recap: Use the “Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]” formula. It’s the most effective and most apparent way of showing recruiters/managers your impact.
Lastly, I end each work experience with a leveraged knowledge bullet point. The utility behind this last bit is it enables the reader to really get a sense of the technology I am familiar with by explicitly stating the technologies that I used for the project.
This also allows me to have a concise, but clean ‘Skills’ section located at the bottom of my résumé. Recruiters can then look at the bottom to immediately obtain a sense of my capabilities by seeing which computer languages I am familiar with. If they are looking to see if I have specific knowledge in a particular tool, framework, or library, then they can find this out by looking at my projects.
Recap: Including technologies that you used in your descriptions will help you bypass online keyword filters when applying online. This will also give recruiters a clearer idea of your experiences and knowledge.
Personal Projects (5)
Target Audience: Students looking for software engineering internships/full-time positions + Unique section for software engineering applicants
Maybe if I say it enough times, you will understand the importance of this section, especially for those that do not have work experience .
Personal projects are integral to piquing recruiters and hiring managers interest as it shows you are passionate about programming.
A personal project can be anything programming related, whether it be a Python script, Java program, web page, mobile application, etc. These projects show that you are genuinely interested in computer science and you have strong desires to work as a software engineer because you are willing to go beyond your schoolwork and create something on your own.
Taking the initiative to build something on your own is extremely impressive. It shows that you are dedicated to expanding your knowledge of computer science and that you are not afraid of putting in the extra work to do so. Ultimately, it is a fantastic way to demonstrate self-initiative and genuine interest in this field.
The other benefit of doing personal projects is that you inevitably gain the skills that apply to work in the real world. Things that you don’t usually do at school, but you will do at work such as using standard frameworks/libraries, understanding full-stack web development, creating mobile applications, setting up a development environment, or programming efficiently with Vim.
Tip: Create a personal website that showcases and documents all of your personal projects. This is a little hack that ‘virtually extends’ your résumé beyond the one-page limit.
To reiterate one last time, personal projects show your passion and dedication towards developing the necessary skills needed for a job that you don’t yet have. This is a must-have on any software engineering resume.
“Build some iPhone apps, web apps, whatever! Honestly it doesn’t matter that much what you’re building as long as you’re building something. You can build a fairly meaty project in one weekend. This means that with about 3–4 weekends of work, you can make your résumé go from so-so to fantastic. Seriously — I’ve seen lots of people do this.” - Gayle McDowell, former Google Engineer and Author of Cracking the Coding Interview
If there is a specific company that you really want to work at, one of the best ways to stand out is doing a personal project that is directly related to the job that you are applying for.
A word of caution on this technique. This strategy is not perfect. This only really works for companies like Autodesk which do not have generalized software engineering internships like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. When starting off early in your career, it is better to generalize and figure out the different disciplines of computer science. Nonetheless, this is an excellent method worth trying if there is a specific company you want.
Recap: Personal projects are imperative. If you haven’t already, start NOW! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Target Audience: Anyone looking for a software engineering job
The title explains it all. Keep this section dumb, simple, and clean. List all the relevant skills that you want the recruiter to know you have. The more skills you have listed here that match key technical words in the qualification section of the job description, the better your chances!
This will allow you to bypass the online keyword scanner easily. However, this is not a fool-proof method of circumventing the scanner. Ultimately it is a recruiter who gets their hands on your résumé that decides, but they will also be more inclined to give you an interview if they see you as a good fit for the job!
A thing to note about the skills section is to NOT simply list all the keywords on the job description just for the sake of showing you’re a good fit. It will come back to bite you as you will be questioned on the skills you claim to know.
Part of giving yourself some leeway in this is including an indication of your proficiency level. Since you are probably not practicing every language you’ve ever encountered on a day to day basis, including a proficiency level can help the recruiter know your strongest languages at a moment in time and other languages that you are familiar with.
I’ve opted to use two tiers:
- Proficient - Languages that I am very familiar with, feel very comfortable using, and can interview with right now.
- Familiar - Languages that I have utilized in the past but may not be as knowledgeable in currently, but can pick back up given time.
Other valid options include:
- Working Knowledge
- Basic Knowledge
Recap: When applying for a specific job online, cross-reference the job description and add essential technical keywords on your résumé to increase your chance of getting an interview.
- Make sure your name and contact information is correct and legible
- Be sure to include your education. If your GPA is low, leave it out or be creative!
- Utilize the “Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]” formula to effectively show the impact that you had in your past employment
- Do personal projects — especially if you do not have past experience working in tech
While this résumé got me interviews at numerous software engineering companies, there is no guarantee that following all the principles and techniques I have explained here will yield the same results for you.
This was my senior year résumé in 2017. It is a showcase of my journey and interest in software engineering. Copying it will do you no good, as technology is constantly evolving and the talent search is an ever-changing process. Instead, use this as a reference.
Use my résumé and this article as a resource to become a better résumé writer and a more effective communicator. Focus on learning how to best convey your skills and achievements to others. This in itself is an invaluable, lifelong skill that you will need wherever you go.
As you write your résumé, please remember — be yourself!
Your résumé is a list of your own accomplishments, achievements, and interests. Your goal is to craft the most polished version of yourself. Lastly, have fun and enjoy the process!
For anyone interested in using this resume template, I obtained it from CareerCup which was founded by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, author of Cracking The Coding Interview .
From personal experience, what’s most important is the content. The resume writing principles discussed above can be applied to any template!
Also, check out my new website, memlayout.com , which helps students learn programming through visualizing their python code line-by-line.
software engineer @tesla. consider donating to https://oeop.mit.edu/. visualize python code line-by-line with https://memlayout.com/
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Resume Writing Tips
7 secrets of a killer resume from a hiring manager.
When you’re looking for a job and writing a resume to help you land that dream position, you should not just be asking “How do I write a resume?” You should be asking “How do I write a great resume?” Or, “How do I write a resume that stands out—and stands out for the right reasons?” To get an interview, and to get a job offer, you need to get the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter.
As a hiring manager, I review thousands of resumes a month. There are certain things I look for in a resume that make me pay closer attention, and encourage me to learn more about an applicant’s experience rather than just set it aside and move on to the next one. If you’re struggling with getting a callback, you should consider incorporating some of these elements when you’re writing your resume. These seven secrets of an effective resume that I share below will help you write an effective resume and get your resume to the top of the stack every time.
1. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords . Just like location, location, location in real estate, keywords and key phrases are the base for any great resume and they are how you can create a resume that will get you noticed. This is especially important for an online resume. To use keywords to create your effective resume, start by picking job-specific keywords that are relevant to your prior work experience, achievements, and career goals. When a hiring manager or recruiter does a search in their candidate database or on a job board, the keywords they search for need to be in your resume. Personality descriptors and vague soft skills are not what a recruiter or potential employer searches by. Examples of these words that you should leave out are: effective communicator, self-motivated, amiable. Better keywords to use when writing your resume are technical skills and actual position titles like: cost accountant, contract negotiation, and profit and loss management.
2. Tailor your resume to the position you are trying to pursue. On the work history section of your resume don’t list all your duties at your previous job. This is a common resume mistake—too many job seekers create a resume that tries to impress an employer by saying “look at all the responsibilities I had!” They don’t care about the ones that won’t help them. Instead, for an effective resume, list the duties from your work experience that are MOST APPLICABLE to the position you are trying to obtain. These are your actual qualifications for the position, and this is what an employer cares about. Even better is to choose accomplishments and contributions that are related and list those as well. Which brings me to my next point.
3. List accomplishments and contributions, not just duties. Employers want to see what you can do for them, what value-added service or skill set you are going to bring to the table. When I review a resume, I want to know what you actually accomplished at your last job and how that translates into what my company needs. Pick accomplishments that are specific to the job you are trying to get. To help you write a resume that specifically addresses a company’s needs, look beyond the job description to the company’s website or LinkedIn page to learn more about their culture, goals, and mission. An effective resume is as much about the company you are trying to impress as it is about you.
4. Market your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Resume writing is marketing. I always tell my clients the first one-third of their resume is the most important. If the top third of the page catches my eye, then I will take the time to read the rest. You can make your resume stand out by creating a powerful career summary at the top and then adding a core strengths section right underneath.
5. Create a powerful introductory summary statement. Your introductory statement needs to be related to the position you want to obtain, sell your best attributes, and be POWERFUL. When I read an introductory statement I’m looking for that WOW factor. I want it to grab my attention, tell me you’re the best candidate for my position, and make me want to read the rest of your resume. Don’t make it just a resume objective statement—in case I haven’t been clear enough already, you need to address what the employer wants and needs, not just what you want from them.
6. Highlight your strengths in a core knowledge section. This is a great place for keywords. Use industry-specific keywords in this section. If you put your keywords here and disperse them throughout the resume, your chances of getting through an applicant tracking system—or being first to show in a potential employer’s search on a job board—dramatically increases.
7. Create an eye-catching resume. With the tools available in even basic programs like Microsoft Word, there’s no reason for you to not have a modern resume that is visually appealing. Formatting matters, and you need to design your resume layout to be reader-friendly and attention-grabbing. Pick an easy-to-read font, and use plenty of white space. Don’t try to cram everything into a one-page resume. A two-page resume is perfectly appropriate, and expected even, especially if it is an executive resume. If hiring managers open your resume and it is a crowded, jumbled mess they are not going to spend more of their time searching through it to find the information they need. A messy resume will likely be the end of my interest in hiring you. However, if your resume format, style, and layout are attractive and easy to read I will be more inclined to read through the rest of the document and learn about your work experience, achievements, and skill set.
To see examples of how the Great Resumes Fast team of professional resume writers incorporates these resume writing tips into our work, take a look at our website’s resume sample page . Here, we have sample resumes from a variety of industries. You can also find hundreds more good resume writing tips to help you write your resume, as well as general career advice, on our blog.
The team of professional resume writers at the Great Resumes Fast resume writing service has worked with hundreds of job seekers over the years, helping them achieve their career goals with professional resumes and other career documents. If you’d like to work with a professional resume writer on your resume and cover letter, or even your LinkedIn profile, and jump-start your job search, get in touch with us today .
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never break through the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
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About the author
Jessica hernandez, president, ceo & founder of great resumes fast.
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
I just learn 7 secrets of writing a killer resume. This secrets will obviously help me to write a perfect resume. Thanks a lot dear Jessica <3
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5 rules for writing a killer resume that you've probably never heard before, from a top wealth manager
Throughout my decades-long career as a wealth manager, I've read thousands of resumes , many of them from young job seekers. Almost all of them are plain and boring: Education, work experience and skills — that's it.
The vast majority of them get tossed in the wastebasket. So what should you put on your resume that will actually help you get the job, or at least land an interview ?
They're the things that may seem trivial, but that jump out at the person scanning the resume. And despite what you may have heard from career experts, they're the little details that possibly have nothing to do with where you worked or went to school.
Here are my top five resume tips that you've probably never heard before:
1. Include at least one unusual thing about you
Instead of padding your resume with lots of menial tasks, like "client interface" or "presenting sales materials," save room for at least one unusual thing that not even your peers may know about you.
If you're applying for an entry-level job, and graduated with honors in college and wrote a thesis, for example, put: "Honors. Senior thesis on the mysteries of Joseph Conrad."
This will likely spark up a conversation with the hiring manager.
Remember, many of us aren't boring. Don't be afraid to add color to your resume, even if you think it has nothing to do with the position you want to be considered for.
2. Be creative without going overboard
Hiring managers don't want a decked out brochure with bright designs and funky fonts; they want a resume that is easy to skim. But this doesn't mean you can't get a little creative and add a subtle pop.
Several years ago, a young woman just out of college gave me her resume to review, asking for advice. Her dream job, she told me, was "to get a job in advertising."
"What makes you think you'd be qualified for that?" I asked, to which she smiled and responded: "Because I'd kick down a door to get business for the agency that hires me."
I told her she had to think creatively. "Go out and buy a red ink pad. Then order a custom stamp that says, 'I can sell anything.' Stamp that on top of your resume."
She did just that, a little fearfully. But within a few weeks got multiple job offers, and now has a great career in advertising and marketing. She really could sell anything. But it was the stamp that got everyone's attention ... and her foot in the door.
3. Adjectives can be powerful
I once reviewed a resume in which the applicant put "played lacrosse in college."
When I asked her what position she played, she answered, "Attack."
"Why not put 'played attack in lacrosse" on your resume? It means much more to the reader, and it defines you better," I told her. "I want to hire someone in sales who played attack, because it indicates that they are aggressive and have a winning mentality."
The right adjective can paint a powerful picture.
4. Don't leave out that peculiar hobby
I never overlook a hobby that's out of the ordinary — and we all have at least one. But most people don't bother to put it on their resumes because they think it's irrelevant. Or, they're so immersed in their hobbies that they don't find it "unusual" at all.
School radio stations, coin collecting, playing in a heavy metal band, aquascaping — these are all great things to put on your resume.
The unexpected passions — past or present — will get you jobs more readily than academic achievement these days. Never lie about these hobbies or interests, but trumpet them vigorously.
Aside from getting you jobs, they make you look much more interesting than everyone else.
5. Do your homework and email the hiring manager
If you're applying for a job online, it's likely that you're submitting your resume through a web-based portal. Often, that means there's only a small chance that it'll get read by a real person.
So after submitting your resume, do some research on who the hiring manager is so you can email your resume directly to them, along with a note expressing your interest.
Want to go the extra mile? Do a bit of Googling on their interests, where they worked and went to school. This will give you some sense of who they are, and you'll be prepared if you end up getting an interview.
For instance, if you discover that they went to Notre Dame, at some point, you can say, "I always loved that the statue on the your campus is called 'Touchdown Jesus.'"
The interviewer will know you did your homework. And if you can make this person smile, it can go a long way.
John D. Spooner is a wealth manager and best-selling author of several books, including "Do You Want to Make Money or Would You Rather Fool Around?" , "Confessions of a Stockbroker," and "No One Ever Told Us That: Money and Life Lessons to My Grandchildren."
- Top financial advisor: 7 life and money lessons every young adult needs to know
- This is the best answer I ever received to 'Tell me about yourself'—after 20 years of interviewing
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- Employability Skills
How to Write a Killer Resume?
Employability Skills :
- Finding a Job
- Finding a Job: Using Platforms and Marketplaces
- Applying for a Job
- Job Applications and Disabilities
- Writing a CV or Résumé
- Writing a Covering Letter
- Using LinkedIn Effectively
- Managing Your Online Presence
- Interview Skills
- Presentations in Interviews
- Personal Development
- Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
- Networking Skills
- Top Tips for Effective Networking
- Developing Commercial Awareness
- Transferable Skills
- The Importance of Mindset
- Lifelong Learning
- Critical Thinking
- Reflective Practice
- The Skills Gap
- Soft Skills
The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and Running Your Own Business
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You might have an impressive working history or hands-on experience, but if you do not know how to put that down on paper, your potential employers will never know what a talent you are.
A perfect resume is something that not everyone has but a resume is an important document that can help you land a job or gain a promotion, effectively ensuring that you earn a higher income.
This piece of paper, your resume or CV, is a representation of yourself and should reflect you accordingly. While you might be tempted to make yourself sound more confident and competent than you really are, remember that you will have to live up to your resume.
When they call you in for a job interview and they realize that you aren’t all that your resume makes you out to be, what do you think are your chances of getting the position? Not only does it show the employer that you are inadequate, it also reflects on your attitude when it comes to working. Nobody wants a liar on their team. Would you?
Keep these things in mind when you’re crafting your resume
Now how do you write a resume that will look impressive but not be braggy or come across as arrogant? There are a few tips that we’ve compiled to help you put yourself and your achievements down on paper in a straightforward but also unforgettable way - it has to make a strong first impression in order to get you noticed by HR in the first place, so here are our top tips on penning a killer resume.
Think about what a hiring manager is concerned about
Put yourself in an employer’s shoes . What do you think that they are more interested in, your achievements or your day-to-day duties? If you answered the latter, you might want to start tweaking your resume so it highlights your achievements and not your responsibilities. You have to remember that anyone in charge of recruitment is likely to have a large volume of resumes to go through and hiring managers are likely to gloss over the fluff to get straight to the good stuff. Furthermore, by including your daily duties, it shows that you don’t have a big role to play in the organization and have no achievements to exhibit. This screams of a ‘coaster’ mentality, whereby employees join a company simply to do the bare minimum and reap the maximum rewards of getting a salary on top of employee benefits.
Your achievements should highlight how you brought value to your previous company. Did you host a highly successful event which resulted in a big company win? How did you increase bottom line revenue? Perhaps an introduction to a CRM increased sales and productivity by 300%? If you have numbers that demonstrate your achievements, then include those numbers. If you have any awards, certificates, or accolades, let your potential employer know about them. Allow your resume to boast about your accomplishments for you.
Cut the vague crap and insert something substantial
You know how team members on a project can all say that they were a part of a project, even if they only carried maybe 5% of their own weight? Well, employers know this so if you add vague statements like “increased sales” or “improved productivity”, it is an open-ended indication with no solid evidence. Give solid examples of what you accomplished, tell your employers how much you did and paint a picture for them so that they can understand how you contributed to the company. Perhaps you can say that what you did led to “$50,000 revenue in sales over a 2-month period”. Be specific and as detailed as possible.
How you add your skills to your resume is important too. Simply adding one skill after another won't cut it. You'll need to think carefully about how you do this and make sure you convey the right message. Pick the skills that are most relevant to the job position and decide on how you want to add them.
Be smarter than Artificial Intelligence
We’re not suggesting that humans are inferior to machines, but the fact is that many employers are now employing the use of robots in their hiring - and even firing - process. Specialist software will filter resumes based on keywords that are relevant to the job position. To get through such filters, look at the job description carefully and include as many keywords as you can in your resume. And, yes, this means that you will need to go through and edit your resume for every new job position you apply for, as you should.
Important keywords will include the job position but may also be certain skills or a number of years of experience. Make sure you hit the minimum requirement or else don’t bother because your resume might not even be looked at. However, if you’re determined, give it a try anyway - who knows? Some hiring managers might have the minimum requirements as a guideline instead of a strict rule and would be willing to bend it in the favor of someone who is really worth it - just make sure that you have an equally killer cover letter .
Be aware of the information that you include in your resume
If you have an extensive background, it might be tempting to include everything you can think of in your resume, but you should refrain from adding everything such as your volunteer experience or every single part-time job you have had. As mentioned above, you should be tweak your resume to meet the requirements of each job position. If you’re applying for a job at a pet-related industry, it does stand to reason why you should include any animal-related experience and even managerial experience you might have. However, if you’re applying to a tech company, you might want to focus on the qualifications and experience that you have which will be an asset for their company. For example, a digital marketing agency might be more interested in your skills in web development than your stint at McDonald’s when you were working part-time during your university years.
Too much information will only turn the reader off and too much noise will cancel out your main message of how you’re such a great fit for the position. Focus on the job scope and position that you’re applying for when you’re writing a resume for a certain position. Don’t create one generic resume and apply to as many positions as you can because this will not increase your chances at all.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job
Develop the skills you need to get that job.
This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.
About the Author
Craig Lebrau is the CMO of Media Insider, a Wyoming-based PR company that aims to disrupt the way companies communicate their brand in the digital era.
Continue to: Interview Skills Emotional Intelligence
See also: The Skills Gap Eight Skills for a Killer Resume How to Showcase Skills on a CV or Resume Resume Advice from Recruiters Who Help Screen 4 Million Resumes a Year