RESUME 101

Nitharsen Karuna
4 min readSep 22, 2023

Happy Friday Folks,

It’s been a while but I’m back again with what I’m hoping is another useful article. This is a topic that’s been on my mind for awhile. I’ve come across hundreds of resumes that most likely will not get reviewed by a hiring manager or recruiter. With the job market as competitive as ever, it’s crucial to set yourself apart and cut through the noise.The first step is to have a clear and concise resume. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Length: I’m often asked,Nit, how long should my resume be? In my opinion a resume shouldn’t be more than 1–2 pages in length. We all want to showcase all the amazing work we’ve done but the trick is to keep it concise and objective. For example, we all have that one role that we started our careers with,. but, if it’s more than 3–4 roles or 10 years back don’t include it because chances are it’s not that relevant anymore. For those who are starting their careers, you may feel inclined to add a bunch of things to make up for the lack of experience, instead, highlight extra projects or extracurriculars that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. Another common mistake I see when it comes to the length of a resume is a laundry list of skills and an objective statement. Instead, be purposeful with what you’re putting on your resume. Keep the objective statement short or remove it altogether. When it comes to the skills portion, only add your most relevant skills and highlight your wins under your past roles.
  2. Be concise: We’ve all done it, we want to show the amazing work we do, and we tend to get a tad carried away on our resumes. Each role ends up having 8–10 bullet points that we think stand out, but in fact this list ends up doing the opposite and turning off the hiring team. Keep the bullet points concise and only have about 3–5 points max. Make each point count by being factual and actually showing results. For example, instead of saying that you provided great customer service, say that you helped increase the customer NPS score by 55%. By providing actual data you’ll give the individual reading your resume something to be drawn to and to make you stand out.
  3. Keep it clean: I’ve seen resumes that are very distracting, have tons of boxes, different fonts and look super jumbled. I know it sounds trivial but take the time to ensure that your fonts are the same and that the spacing is adequate. Now to the matter of photos and marital status.I know that rules can vary from country to country and expectations can be different, but speaking from the perspective of North American recruitment, you don’t need to include a photo or marital status. I actually highly recommend you don’t add these details to your resume as unfortunately it can create biases.
  4. Cater your resume and be authentic: As I’ve highlighted in my previous blog and above, we are seeing a job market like we’ve never seen before. Standing out means making sure that your first impression is your best impression. You have one shot to get the hiring team’s attention so make sure that you’re not just spraying and praying with your resume. Take some time to review the job description and cater your resume to experiences that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. That does not mean copying and pasting parts of the job description into your resume– most systems will flag this and you will not be moving forward. Make sure that the items you are putting on your resume are areas that you can speak to. As cliche as this sounds, let your personality and all the amazing things you’ve done in your career shine through! For my engineering folks out there, I can’t stress this enough: please don’t add every single language or database you’ve worked with. Highlight only the relevant ones. I also suggest highlighting how you optimized for performance or the scale at which the app/feature you helped build was used.

These are just a few minor tweaks that hopefully can make the difference between getting that interview or unfortunately getting that rejection email. I do want to emphasize that a good resume is just the start. As you update your resume, make sure that your Linkedin profile is also updated to reflect these changes. Most companies will cross-reference to make sure everything is good to go. Secondly I can’t stress enough that you still need to network! Recruiters and hiring managers are getting hundreds and thousands of applications, and unfortunately we can’t get to them all, which means that if you can help by making yourself stand out, it will go that much further to them connecting with you.

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Nitharsen Karuna

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Recruiter. TA at Xero. Former TA lead at Drop, Sr. Talent Manager at Flipp. Ball is life and 2000’s hip-hop is my jam.