We’re sure you’ve already heard this a thousand times now: the average recruiter spends 6 seconds when scanning a resume. So how do you make the cut? We used our platform to interview tech employees involved in the hiring process, and asked for their *BEST* advice on writing a compelling resume.

Make sure you quantify the impact

Every bullet point for a project should prove your impact and contribution. ‘Created a web-based application for X’ or ‘Managed a team to work on a reporting system’ gives absolutely no insights and means nothing. Show what you contributed and mention numbers. For example, ‘Created application used by two million users’ or ‘Managed a team of X’. Keep it short and easy to read, so that the reader gets an idea and wants to hear more.

LfMb58, Former Hiring Committee at Google

Don’t lie with your skills

If you mention that you have advanced knowledge of X, then be prepared to answer questions on exactly that category. For example, I had hundreds of candidates who write ‘Javascript (Advanced)’. I asked these candidates to implement ‘image lazy loading’ from scratch. Over 90% failed and were unable to do the simple stuff. Therefore, I recommend writing skills you use on a regular basis.

LfMb58, Former Hiring Committee at Google

Most skills sections don’t convey the “weight”. Are you an expert at React.js? Or just familiar with it? Or just want to list it because it’s in demand?

Dios, Engineering Manager at Facebook

Try to attach your Github or give examples of projects you have worked on outside of your main role, to show that you are interested in developing your skillset. Make sure that you are at least proficient in the skills required in the job description.

wtrQ16, Regional Operations Manager at Uber

Keep it simple

Don’t over-exaggerate on a fancy design or format. A recruiter usually only spends a couple of seconds on a CV and is just looking for some keywords which fit the role. When the Hiring Committee is looking at a CV, which only happens if the consensus is not clear, they look at past projects and whether a candidate is progressing in his career. Make sure this is visible immediately.

LfMb58, Former Hiring Committee at Google

1-page resumes are ideal, but for candidates with more experience, 2 tends to be the sweet spot. Long resumes can indicate a lack of communication skills, since it could imply an inability to summarize with highlights.

Dios, Engineering Manager at Facebook

Tell a cohesive story

Your resume is a chance to make a first impression and you need to sell the recruiter on why you’re a good fit for the position. If you’ve had many disjointed experiences, it wouldn’t hurt to add a few lines of summary at the beginning to show why you want to transition from a software engineering to a product manager role. Break the rest of your resume into easy-to-understand subsections and put the most important information first, assuming that they may not read every word carefully during the initial screen.

wtrQ16, Regional Operations Manager at Uber

Remember that recruiters aren’t necessarily technical, so don’t rely on your experience to speak for itself. If you are a seasoned professional, you would do well to include a summary section to explain yourself and your specialization, rather than relying on the recruiter to reach each position and fill in the blanks. Write your own narrative, but keep it brief.

Dios, Engineering Manager at Facebook

Company-Specific Tips

We were also curious whether each company looked for anything specific in a resume. Here’s what the tech employees said:

  • Google: Recruiters usually lack the technical expertise to decide whether a candidate is interesting from a technical background. They care about previous high prestige companies, university, coding or math competition rankings and open source projects.
  • Facebook: At Facebook, we look for a high amount of autonomy and product sense, which often translates to entrepreneurship (or passion projects, open source etc.) on a resume. These tend to be candidates that ‘own’ a problem. They understand and identify the impact of work, rather than just delivering a product to the requirements that the product manager and business teams come up with.
  • Amazon: Amazon is highly driven by the 14 leadership principles, and this is the common thread across different departments and roles. Can you showcase that you have demonstrated those competencies in your past experience? If yes, then excellent!


👻 If you like the sort of answers listed above, feel free to check out more here!

Rooftop Slushie — Blind’s new service — is a platform where verified tech employees provide career advice. All professionals mentioned in this post have been verified using their work email.