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How to supercharge your resume to get your dream jobFeatured

Women won’t apply for a job unless they meet 100% of the qualifications in a job description.

But, the crazy thing is that women are highly prioritized in the resume review stage and recruiters and hiring managers want to interview and hire more women. “According to the LinkedIn Gender Insights Report, female applicants are 16% more likely than men to get hired after applying for a job.”

This could indicate that women are not pursuing stretch opportunities and therefore cornering themselves out of a large portion of new job opportunities.

Having been a technical recruiter and career coach working in the Bay Area for over 5 years I can definitely echo these sentiments. I want to show you in a few easy steps how you can re-think the resume writing process so that you feel confident in applying for the job YOU WANT – I won’t have you settle for less!

Let’s get into some easy frameworks for you to apply to your resume to help you achieve your dream job. Grab a glass of wine, coffee, or tea, and let’s write a resume that helps you shine and aligns with your next career goals!

Starting with the end goal

I coach junior candidates as well as C-Suite Executives on how to craft a resume. A common complaint they have is: “I know I am qualified for this role, why am I getting ghosted or rejected?”

Many times after looking at the types of roles they have been rejected from and their resume, there are critical gaps in the core qualifications and their experiences.

Sometimes, my clients mention they actually have those experiences but they didn’t mention it on their resumes. If you are missing core qualifications it is difficult for the recruiter to pass along your resume.

I recommend starting with the end goal, which means you should use the job descriptions of the roles you envision yourself working in as the blueprint for your job search.

First: I recommend looking up 3-5 job descriptions from your TOP companies in your IDEAL roles, while also being practical and aiming for roles where you meet 70% of the core qualifications.

Second: You will want to build out a word map of words that are important and/or cross-referenced over multiple job descriptions.

Third: Consolidate these words in your word map to create a checklist of words that you want to make sure you hit in your resume.

For example, I looked at Brex’s, Software Engineer, Frontend position and extracted these main words I want to make sure I add to my resume

Bullet Point Check List for Brex’s Front End Engineer role

  • Working with user-facing teams and a focus on customers
  • Collaborating with other teams: product, design, and operations
  • Examples of me working on projects/features related to user experience, data models, scalability, operability, and ongoing metrics.
  • Working on projects with/similar tools such as ES6, React, Redux, Apollo, Vue.Js, Flux & Webpack
  • Experience with design tools (Figma, etc)

Do this for about 3-5 job descriptions for similar roles and once you have all of the main bullet points (exampled above), run through each and highlight the ones you have experience with - this is your word bank that you make sure you add to your resume to make it more tailored for the roles you want to get interviewed for.

🤔 The reason I recommend my resume clients to do this is because a recruiter will be using the job description as their main source of truth to suss out candidates, so the more you mirror the job description – the better your chances of getting to the first interview stage.

Stop Writing Bullet Points

Your resume should be similar to writing an essay, there should be a beginning, a middle, and an end. Here is a framework you can use to help get some initial thoughts down on paper – remember the goal here is not to write bullet points but to be a stream of consciousness to extract your bullet points from your memory.

This is a framework that I have used to advise my resume-writing clients during my time working at Pathrise and Levels.fyi.

Find below the framework and examples I drafted to align with my front-end experiences.

What is your objective in this role? {highlight your years of experience, what industries you’ve worked in, and what technologies you are comfortable working in}

  • Frontend-focused Software Engineer with 5 years of experience working in fintech, retail, and supply chain industries with a keen focus on collaborating with core design teams and implementing UI/UX design principles. Expert working with React, Redux, Angular, and Typescript and familiar with Express.js, Node.js, PostgreSQL, and AWS technologies.

Who are you working with/who are you managing to achieve this goal? {mention other teams you collaborate with here, who you report to, etc} 1-2 bullet points

  • Collaborate on a daily basis with product designers, product managers, and other user-focused teams to understand our users’ point of view and take a product-focused approach to development; studying design principles and learning Figma in my free time.

What projects/tasks did you complete to achieve this goal? {what technical skills did you use, and what was the impact?} 2-4 bullet points

  • Improved front-end UI, focusing on user experience with forms and responsive design utilizing Javascript, HTML, CSS, Open Source Libraries Backbone.js, Handlebars.js, and Bootstrap
  • Strengthened collaboration between product design and the front-end team by establishing a company style guide from scratch using StorybookJs which helped offboard the usage of MaterialUI
  • Pioneered functional paradigms to the front-end team, adopting libraries such as Ramda and Sanctuary, and led initiatives to explore compile-to-JS languages such as Elm, Reason, and Purescript

Any last comments/business impact/something super impressive to mention? {think about saving the company money or time or generating revenue – at the end of the day a company hires you to do one or the other: save money or generate more, so show that you are a valuable asset by selling yourself as your last bullet point.}

  • Improved efficiency and speed of the platform by 30% by spearheading the sunsetting of a 10-year-old legacy application by building micro frontend applications.
  • Initiated and architected the gradual migration from TFS to git; using cypress.io to improve e2e testing experience and reduce bugs which helped improve the team's output by 3x over the course of a year.

Remember that your experiences should mirror how they are performed in a job function (i.e. in chronological order: you would migrate a monolith to a microservice and then add in security and testing features, therefore your resume should also follow that similar bullet point structure).

Now that you have all the bullet points written out you are ready to apply for that dream job of yours, right? Guess again – now it’s time to format that beautiful content of yours.

Yay (I can literally hear you all moaning… haha) – but it doesn’t have to be too difficult. Let’s wrap up with some fun formatting hacks to get you ready to apply for that dream job of yours!

Formatting is important – and here is why

Formatting DOES MATTER as a recruiter who reviews hundreds of resumes in a week, it’s important to make it easy for the recruiter to read and understand your work experiences. Here are a few easy hacks I don’t think are commonly discussed.

Hack 1: Highlight your job title NOT company name in the subheading

Software Engineer - Frontend Jan 2020-Present

Company Name

This makes it easier for the recruiter to find out if you have a similar job title.

I also advise clients if they have a non-standard job title, to change it to something that is more widely known in the market.

You can also add personalization if you work more on the infrastructure side of things, put that in your title if you want to aim for more integrations types of software roles, etc).

Recruiters want to know what skills you have and this is the first thing we want to see, so why not make it easy for us? Check out this hack below to make it easier for those reviewing your resume.

Hack 2: If you are an individual contributor put your Skills at the top of your resume and group them together. If you are in management, put Skills before Education near the bottom of your CV.

Languages Python, JavaScript, CSS, HTML

Framework & Libraries Flask, Node.js, Express.js, React, Redux

Testing Pytest, Unit Test, Jest

Authentication Bcrypt, JWT, Google OAuth, Github OAuth

Databases SQLAlchemy, SQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB

{can add additional based on expertise}

Hack 3: Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn to make sure it reflects the same as your resume

Recruiters love LinkedIn and we use it as a good gauge to see if someone is telling the truth, there have been multiple times when my hiring manager mentioned to me “this person’s LinkedIn and Resume’s dates are not aligned, that looks dishonest” / “This person’s job title in the resume and LinkedIn are not the same… I don’t think they are a good fit for the role”. So, be careful when you change your job title on your resume, make sure the important information lines up so you don’t get a disconcerting hiring manager kicking you out of the process before you even had a chance to enter it.

Also, LinkedIn is a good way to add additional things you don’t have room for on your resume, such as highlighting any articles you’ve written, any projects you’ve worked on that you didn’t have space for on your resume, and your volunteer experiences, etc.

Hack 4: Let your most relevant experiences take up more real estate on your resume

Why would you want to highlight your government internship that has little to do with the jobs you want to apply for?

Remember, a resume is a review of your most relevant experiences, you don’t have to list everything you ever did on it.

If you didn’t get into tech until 4 years after graduation and you now have 10 years of experience, delete those 4 years and delete your graduation date in Education so that it looks like your job experiences started right after school.

Another example here could be: if you have been a Director of Engineering for 3 years but have 20 years of experience and you want to apply for Director level roles, I would recommend making your current 3 years take up 30-40% of your resume and limiting the other experiences so that you can show off and elaborate more on what you’ve achieved!

This hack can be translated to any other type of experience - show off your most relevant skills!

Hack 5: Use powerful verbs in your first bullet points and avoid redundancy

Are you saying “experienced”, “designed” and “developed” 100 times?

Try looking up this link from The Muse and my hack is to command F and type in the word I want to replace (ie “designed”) and see what other verbs they recommend instead!

💡 For some great general formatting tips to get you started – look at resume.io’s Simple Template Examples.

Last Remarks

Writing a technical resume that stands out is easier than you think when you know what kind of job you want. You really can take control over your job search and feel confident that the jobs you are applying for are not only designed for you, but you designed yourself for them :-) Armed with that kind of CV – who could say no to a nice intro chat?

I have no doubt that after you apply these methodologies and frameworks you will be flooded with intro call invitations from recruiters who will pick up the phone and say “wow, I was reviewing your resume and I am so shocked — you are a perfect fit for this role.” 💁‍♀️😉 The funny thing is YOU truly are, it just took a little research and digging into your background and accomplishments to flush those out into a small sound bite of your amazingness – now all there is left to do is to expand on that by telling the hiring team how awesome you are!

👉 Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or feel free to DM me here on Elpha or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for reading!

Great article - I'm curious, what are the top shockingly bad things you see folks write on resumes?
My go-to power verb replacement is checking out The Muses' list too - haha!Question - how would you suggest someone goes about rewriting their resume when they're doing a career pivot?I've been in the Marketing arena for 6+ years and am now looking to transition over into a Product Management role. I have a STRONG marketing resume, but I need to relate all my past experience into a Product Management role. Any advice/links/video tutorials you can share to help someone do this?
This is a good question. Advice: 1. think of all the product-related/adjacent experiences you already have and put those near the top bullet points of your experience. Example: Conducted user research with over 50 participants to identify key pain points in our product marketing strategy, translated these findings into wireframes, mock-ups and built a 4 week sprint plan to initiate a new product strategy which helped us reduce customer churn by 35% --> this is an example, but basically the content of your resume should reflect that of a PM If you don't have core PM experiences in your marketing role currently then it may be tougher to transition without some kind of additional certification (product school etc) If you can add "Product" anywhere in your job title that may help.Other Advice, I was looking on LinkedIn for people who were "marketing managers" in the past and are now product managers, maybe you can see what kind of companies/roles they took on before they become PM's to get an idea of how you can also make the transition (I linked some profiles below). https://www.linkedin.com/in/janejieunkim/https://www.linkedin.com/in/eyzzhang/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/krishnacshastry/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/donnazhou2013/https://www.linkedin.com/in/leeyenrogers/In terms of other resources, I am not sure but will keep my eye out if I see any!
Hug a Snuffleupaugus! I've done up to 10 informational interviews with PMs or Senior PMs, one even from Facebook, but it didn't even occur to me to find Marketing Managers that did a transfer over to a PM role! NOR, to look for that kind of transition on LinkedIn! 🀯🀯🀯Uh...how did you do that, anyways?...πŸ€”Anyhoo!πŸ˜† I'm glad you mentioned Product School, as I will be taking a course with CoLab (by IDEO) to get hands on experience building a product within their PM program. But was thinking about going for the hands-on experience/certification that Product School offers just because they're the OGs of such a program & they're more widely well known amongst companies.I'll be reaching out to your LinkedIn list when I wakeup. Hopefully 1-2 will get back with me where they can adorn me with their wisdom. 😌I'll keep you in the loop.This was above & beyond helpful advice! Thank you!
This is really helpful and actionable advice. Thank you for sharing!
@serenagupta Top bad things I see on resumes, hmm that's a good question. Here are some common ones I see 1. typos 2. poor formatting (like they used a resume builder and there is text overtop other text, etc) 3. using a table for formatting (this is a personal taste of mine but I don't like them) 4. putting references in a resume/CV 5. more than 3 pages -- :-o Hope that helps!
Thank you for sharing this value with this! It’s getting bookmarked :) My question - what are your recommendations for page length? I’m 5-6 years deep in my career, I previously had a two page resume but then cut it to one page recently.
Hi Danielle - 1-2 pages is totally fine. I think I would never go further than 2 pages unless it was someone coming from Academia and going into a research-heavy role. Most recruiters will only look at the first page, hiring managers may take more time - so really up to you and what you want to highlight! Hope that helps
This is pure gold, thanks so much for writing. 🎁
thank you so much for this! super helpful. I'm editing my CV as I type this.Re. your 'stop writing in bullet points' section, I didn't realise that others' CVs went into so much detail (I've been so used to squeezing in only 1-2 sentences) (I clearly haven't revamped my CV in a while). Would you recommend having *all* four components of your framework included per role?
What if you're not 100% sure on the role you want next? And you're open to roles within a certain vertical. For instance - I'm open to a role within Marketing, Data, or Product. Something that combines all 3. There's multiple job titles that incorporate these 3 aspects. If I just search for one, I'm limiting myself. What do you suggest in my case?
Are you asking for help on "searching" for jobs or help on "editing your resume" for this kind of job?
Editing my resume!
Hmm, that is a tough one. Personally, I would advise you to create a MASTER COPY of your resume and then have these interchangeable sections for marketing, product, and data. For example, if you are applying to a data-heavy role, you may want to emphasize (in the job title "data") and then highlight your data-focused achievements after your general content.Example: (General Content) - Worked on (company name's) core data team helping to build automated pipelines - Built presentations for C-Suite Executives utilizing Tableau and Looker dashboards - Helped increase user-acquisition by XX% Data Achievements- Built a regression model with 90% accuracy for XX team which helped XXX - Enabled sales team to close XXX more deals by building 5 sales dashboards aggregating XXX disperse data sources*you could build out a "marketing achievements and product achievements" (on a separate doc) and then just copy and past per the role you are applying to. Remember you can finesse your job title a little for those marketing and product roles as well Example: Data Analyst - Paid Marketing Team (etc) I hope this information helps and if you had more questions please connect with me on LinkedIn and always happy to work together more if you'd like: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-turner08/
Thanks so much for the tips, Grace!
This was a great read! I'm always stumped with where to start when I'm job hunting or even when I'm casually exploring different options. I went and opened my last resume as soon as I finished reading this, thanks for sharing.