On the annual lists of the best places to work, the tech sector always has a sampling of the hot new startups and companies—but there are also the perennial favorites, like Google and Facebook. This means that the recruiters and hiring teams for these companies are inundated with every kind of applicant and resume you can imagine. Really, they’ve seen it all. So what works with the hiring czars at these hyper-competitive companies? Let’s look at some tips from Jeff Raynar, a hiring manager at Facebook, and how you can apply them to your own resume.
1. Tell your story.
When you’re fighting against a pile of probably similar resumes, your uniqueness needs to stand out. The best way to do that is to distinguish your story from the next guy’s. Buzzwords are easy, but creating a clear, cohesive narrative can be more effective.
How to do this on your own resume: Make sure your resume bullets aren’t just a laundry list of tasks you’ve held, but a story about how you’ve grown and developed throughout your career, taking on new responsibilities and adding new accomplishments. This is also where your cover letter comes in—you have several paragraphs to show the reader why you’re a great fit for this job and who you are. Use action verbs, not buzzwords. And make sure your story is clear and not too long—think elevator pitch, not monologue. Ideally, you’ll have a chance to talk more about your story in an interview, but on the resume you really just want to stand out from the crowd and get the attention that can get you to the next level.
2. Don’t mess with formatting.
You might think that the best way to make your resume stand out is to make the font bold, or brightly colored. Not so—the traditional format does just fine, and is a classic for a reason.
How to do this on your own resume: You don’t need bells and whistles to grab attention—use your content and words to show your passion, your accomplishments, and your skills.
3. Think of it as a marketing presentation.
Whether you work in the marketing field or not, you are marketing a product: you. It’s important to understand your audience and target your message (e.g. your resume) accordingly.
How to do this on your own resume: Research the heck out of the company, including the job description. What are they seeking? What does the company value, based on its mission statement or website? This info will help you decide what to prioritize in your skills and experience bullets.
4. Proofread your resume.
Whenever you send in a resume or cover letter, it should be clean and as error-free as humanly possible. You want to impress the reader, but if they can’t even get past glaring typos or unclear grammar, it decreases the chances that they’ll pass your resume on to the next level.
How to do this on your own resume: Give everything a close read before you hit “send.” If at all possible, get a fresh set of eyes. Have a trusted friend or family member read over your materials to make sure a) there aren’t any major mistakes; and b) everything is clear and makes sense. After a while, you’ll start to glaze over your own writing and may miss small mistakes that a third party would notice. So always make room for this extra checking step before your submit.
Getting noticed can feel like an uphill challenge when every job opening attracts hundreds of applicants, but the more work you put into your resume now, the better the chances that yours will be one of the lucky resumes chosen from the crowd.