Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work with fresh candidates out of school, friends, relatives and new immigrants on their resumes. Some of the common phrases that I have heard from them are “This is an Indian model Resume“, “Oh! my friend in marketing shared this format“, and “my job agency prepared this resume“. What puzzled me was that most of these resumes despite being typically long did not give a sense of who one was really. In this blog, I am trying to sum up, what I have learnt so far in my professional journey and the inputs that I have received from my peer groups to help others in the search for their dream job.
Be the STAR
Most resumes that I have come across reads
Partnered with engineers, data scientists, designers, customer agents, biz dev teams to define product specs and launch new features
The above statement is one of your responsibility as a product manager. Instead, review the sentence below
Collaborated with a cross-functional team consisting of engineers, designers and biz dev team to launch new features to increase the user registration conversion by 30%.
The statement above is constructed using the STAR expands to Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is usually suggested for interviews but I have found the method helpful in constructing my resume.
Situation: Describe the situation that you were trying to solve.
Task: What was the problem you are trying to solve or the goal you are trying to achieve?
Action: What was the action that you performed or were you asked to perform? I would prefer it to be about that task you and your team perform with more focus on your part.
Result: What did your action result in? Show something qualitative or quantitative to show that you learnt something or helped achieve a significant goal for the team or the company.
Recruiter Speaks: “Be Result Oriented as opposed to Task Oriented.”
– Chetan Choudhary
- Recruiters or Hiring Managers to shortlist for a Marketing Manager role, already have an idea about the roles and responsibilities of candidates for the Marketing Manager role. What they want to see is what difference the candidate made in their previous role! The best way to do that is through results(KPIs, Numbers, ROI etc.).
- Include a summary of the What, How, Outcome and Underlying theme in each statement
Whether you use a functional format, chronological format or a combination of both, make sure that you are consistent in the style, language and timelines across your resumes. Some parts of the resume cannot be in ascending order of timelines while others in descending order. I would prefer the latest relevant work experience first over the others and go backwards. Regarding the length of the resume, I would prefer to stick it to 1 or a maximum of 2 pages. Use professional font and font size between 10 and 12 and make it aesthetically pleasing.
Use Good Action Verbs
Strong action verbs help you describe your skills and accomplishments. It helps you to express what you have done or accomplished and as stated it enables you to create impactful sentences that make it easier for recruiters to understand what makes you stand out. Some examples of action verbs are listed below.
For example, compare the 2 sentences below
Understood strategic and competitive position in the market to develop a product strategy and roadmap.
Spearheaded product strategy and developed long-term product roadmap through detailed analysis of the competitive landscape in the market to improve customer acquisition by X%.
The first one simply states what you did, but the second one highlights how you achieved something using your skills rather than the achievement. What makes it stand out is the action word which adds punch to your resume.
Recruiter Speaks: Include 3-5 key action items per experience
– Chetan Choudhary
- Wordy resumes are not always the best resumes
- As far as possible, avoid action verbs like managed, worked with, coordinated, and assisted. Instead use action verbs like achieved, spearheaded, led, accomplished, enhanced etc.
Dedicate a section on your resume to include a bullet list of your unique skill set. The list should be a combination of both hard skills (ex: Design, Accounting, Risk Management) and soft skills(ex: Adaptability, problem-solving, communication). This helps you showcase to the hiring manager that you are well-rounded. If you are switching careers, highlight those transferable skills you possess to execute your role.
Win over the ATS
ATS or Applicant tracking system is designed to help recruiters screen applicants suited to the role from a pool of many aspirants. But not applications are scanned by the ATS, there is a real human who is reading your resume in the first cut. Recruiters/hiring managers scan your resumes to understand your skill set and select 5-10 resumes for screening for a job.
Recruiter Speaks: Win over ATS with key words and customized resume for each application
– Chetan Choudhary
- Highlight your key skills matching the role you have applied for. This helps catch the recruiter’s attention in the initial 10 seconds.
- Highlight KPIs: Include numbers, percentages, process improvements in days/percentages, dollar value, and market share wherever applicable. This is a key differentiator.
- Optimizing tools suggested: Jobscan.co, resumeworded.com, ChatGPT(Use this one carefully and optimize your resume manually)
- Customize the resume for each unique role that you apply for. Do not apply with a general resume for all jobs.
- Write a cover letter which adds a personal touch on why you suit the role.
- Certifications from credible institution that is relevant to the position and the experience adds a lot of value.
- Add links to your linkedin profile, blogs, portfolios, publications. Make sure that these are clickable.
- Do not add Date of Birth, Complete Address, Head shot(unless required), additional email address and phone numbers.
- Write an introduction and a share why you fit this role to the recruiter for them to get some context.
- Maintain a database of all the resume along with your master resume to help you prepare for the interview.
To review your resume feel free to reach out on instagram @vyasonkeys or via comments here.