10 Point Guide for Great Resume

Viraj Gholap

Viraj Gholap

Viraj is a Senior Product Manager at Amazon and an active mentor on various platforms.

The trajectory of your career depends on your next interview for which you need a great resume. A great resume showcases your skills in 30 seconds or less and excites the hiring manager or HR or the filtering algorithm to invite you for an interview. Read on for checklist of 10 points that you must incorporate before submitting your resume for any tech role whether it is Product Manager, Program Manager, Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Business Analyst, UX designer or Software Engineer. 

Bonus at the end, you find my real life resume which helped me pull off transition across multiple roles in various Fortune 500 companies. Read on.

  1. Keep your resume to one page: Fit your resume in 1 page and only include what you want the recruiter or hiring manager to see in 15-30 seconds skim read. On avg. a job post gets 250 resumes and this number increases to 500+ if the company and role is competitive. To win an interview, your resume should have the best content in a concise manner and hence the golden rule of 1 page resume is a must.
  2. Have these five sections: Personal Information, Work Experience, Education, Additional experience and  Skills. We will talk about each section in subsequent points. Skip objective/personal statement/summary sections as they only add words. Content in other sections should be enough to present your experience and accomplishments.
  3. Use standard fonts and stick to black and white– Use 11 pt + font. Arial, Calibri and Times New Roman are easy on eyes and read best. Do not reduce the margins. Use your creativity in making your content great and not in colors and fonts. No photos please!!
  4. Say hello to numbers: The best way to talk about your accomplishments is by using numbers which represent key metrics for business. Irrespective of your role in the tech industry, you are building, creating, designing, launching etc. and while doing so you are moving desired metrics to NORTH and RIGHT. Put that in your resume by quantifying it and adding more specifics (specificity is not same as being wordy). For instance in work experience section, instead of saying “launched features to grow active users which was the strategic focus of the company”, say “launched personalized call to action widgets on homepage that increased active users from X to Y in a year”. Another example about awards, don’t just say “placed 2nd in XYZ case competition” but say “placed 2nd in XYZ competition out of 50+ universities”  
  5. Personal info: Add your full name, email address, link to your LinkedIn profile and contact information. Use a bigger font for your name. Recruiters really don’t need more information. 
  6. Work Experience section– If you have spent 1+ years as a working professional, this section is the key to showcase why you should be hired. Use short bullets (one-two lines) and no more than 5 to 6 bullets per role. Start your bullet points with action words. Action words such as Built, Developed, Founded, Designed, Implemented, Led, Generated, Achieved, Launched, Redesigned, Streamlined, Earned, Acquired not only sound powerful but help in conveying what you did and not what was your job description. For example instead of saying “worked with key business partners, such as Finance, Legal, Marketing and delivered on customer service metrics” say, “Redesigned operational workflow to reduce customer wait time by X% while working with Finance, Legal and Marketing ”. Lastly, if you worked for a lesser known company, add a one liner about the company.
  7. Education– If you are a recent graduate in past 6 months, include this section before work experience else after it. You may include your GPA and relevant subjects to the role you are applying if you are a recent graduate. Don’t include high school education if you have university education! 
  8. Additional experience– This is an optional section. If you have enough meat in your work experience section you can skip it. Use this section to showcase a side project such as an app or Alexa skill you developed. Or add a link to your Github profile (for software engineer) or Kaggle (for data scientist). If you enjoy writing or design and have a blog where you show your work, share it in this section. If you have organized tech events or have been a speaker at a conference, mention it here as it  demonstrates your leadership and communications skills. You can also use this section to mention leadership activities or awards in the last 3-5 years. Do not forget about using action words and quantification.
  9. Skills– Focus on hard skills as it is difficult to put soft skills in a measurable way (keep your soft skills stories for behavioral interview). For example, mention programming languages and tools if you are a Software dev. Depending on the role, you can mention wireframing and mock-up tools, SQL, scripting languages and even specific areas of expertise e.g supervised learning, growth product management etc.  If you have taken multiple online courses, consider putting 1-2 most relevant ones. Again, being relevant to the job you are applying is the key. Keep this section to 2-3 lines
  10. Review, Review and Revise – You should review your resume with friends who are in your field or related to your field and validate if your resume stories excite them and are easy to understand. I reviewed mine 2 to 3 times, revised it couple of time before submitting to the company I am applying for. Ensure you also run spelling and grammar check, use Grammerly if you need.

You successfully learnt 10 tips to build great resume. It is time to implement them! If you are not sure whether a project or experience is worth putting or how to tailor resume for the job you are applying, try our hands on resume review service. 

See my real life resume. Note – certain numbers and personal information is hidden.

Sample Product Manager Resume

Mentor Me Good will help you remove mediocre content and pick the most relevant content in a crisp way that highlights your accomplishments and gets you an interview call. 

Begin your rewarding career in tech with a great resume