Resumes are such a headache…

Creating an attention-grabbing resume is arguably one of the most arduous and ambiguous processes in your job search.

Why?

Information on building a proper resume is all over the place. The internet is filled with conflicting advice and “tips” on pagination, length, font, formatting, and language. On top of not knowing what source to trust to build the ideal resume, you have to deal with resume services, to individual “resume specialists” that charge anywhere from $200-$600. Before you know it, your resume is 2x the length of what it should be for your industry, your “Professional Summary” section takes up 25% of the space on your page, and you have 8-12 bullet points per experience that no recruiter or hiring manager is actually going to read.

Building a resume is like exercising, at first you dread getting started but once you do…you’re one step closer to a six pack. When it comes to resumes no two are the same. So get ready because we’re about to go through a ton of info to get your resume market ready!

In the next few minutes, we’re going to be covering:

The three types of resumes
Alza’s A.P.P.O formula
Our favorite ATS tool
Our favorite resume builder
Our list of top tech job boards

Let’s jump in!

A resume is a resume right? Not really. There are actually 3 different types of resumes. Now this is different from styles, which is more of an aesthetic component. The different types are focused on the resumes’ overall structure. We have chronological, functional, and hybrid resumes.

1. Chronological – Chronological resumes are the ones we all have been using since the resume was invented. They list your experience from your most recent role, to your earliest professional experience. This kind of resume is what most employers expect to see and are comfortable with to some degree. If you are a professional with a few years of work experience, and the expertise aligns with the position you are applying to, this is the format for you.

2. Functional – Functional resumes are best used where skills become primary and experience becomes secondary. This type of resume is mostly used by applicants with gaps or lapses in employment, applicants with a diverse career path, in transition into a new career or vertical, or recent college graduates with limited professional experience.

3. Hybrid – Hybrid or Combination resumes allow an applicant to take the best of a functional resume, and the best of a chronological resume and combine them. This kind of resume is flexible, highlights skills, significant achievements, while in conjunction showcasing experience and expertise. This type of resume allows an applicant to tell a more enriched story about who they are to potential employers, and what they can offer to the table. This is one we lean more towards, and the one we advise clients to utilize most often.

So which one do you pick? Well that all depends on your preference and where you are on your journey! With that said, inside the Alza membership, a member can access all different types of resumes from former Alza clients that landed offers, and build their own version of a kick-ass high-converting resume!

Now that you picked a resume type and format, we have to think about the fun stuff! Most professionals generally only ask the question, “What should I put on my resume?”
But there’s always a second portion to that which is missed. Instead of just what, they should also be thinking about how.

How do I structure my resume?
How do I structure my experience?
How do I structure my bullet points?

Have no fear, A.P.P.O is here

What the heck is A.P.P.O? It is a formula focused on optimizing and enhancing the bullet points in a given experience section. Now the goal isn’t to make every single bullet point follow this flow but it is important that when you implement it, you aim to use it as much as possible. Too many resumes continue to read the same way they always have, with buzzwords and no real context.

On the other hand, you have folks who go the complete opposite direction and write paragraphs explaining their role and responsibilities and then adding bullet points with no real clarity or context that differentiates from their paragraph. By the way, no one is going to read that paragraph.

You then have others who solely focus on numbers and completely lose all other components of their experience in the bullet points.

It can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

Always try to keep in mind the other person who is reading the resume. A recruiter looks through potentially hundreds of resumes if not more, once they go through the ATS. If your font size is too small or too difficult to read, and the bullet point structure is irregular, the recruiter will move on from the resume.

I did the same thing when I worked as a recruiter many years ago. After hundreds of resumes on a weekly basis, my eyes became trained to see mistakes first and value second. This helped me focus and eliminate resumes that did not seem to match. Given the speed as to which most recruiters scan a resume with their eyes, naturally there is room for error.

Six to eight seconds is not nearly enough to extract the full value of a resume, which is why it is pertinent to not leave room for your resume to get tossed because of poor structure.

Whichever resume type or format works best will depend on your experience, skills, achievements, and stage of your career. Remember to think about the role, the company, the industry, and most importantly the impression you want your resume to display for you.

A.P.P.O makes sure none of those things happen. If you want to see this done right with real time examples, become an Alza member and get access to all the micro-learning modules, and resources around resume building and application strategy.

A.P.P.O stands for:

A. Action
P. Process
P. People
O. Outcome

It’s pretty simple when deconstructed. Now since Alza exclusively focuses on helping folks break into or advance into the tech industry, what you read next is tailored to tech professionals. The same fundamentals apply, no matter which industry you’re coming from.

A (Action)

This is usually the verb or beginning phrase in a specific bullet point. These are your action words (conducted, led, developed, brokered, etc.). Every resume has them, make sure yours does too.

P (Process)

Process focuses your expertise of tools, software, tech stack, languages, CRM, whatever you may have used that assisted you in completing your action. Think of anything from JIRA, Trello, Confluence, SQL, to Salesforce, Asana, Airtable, even Excel etc. It’s important to have these keywords visible not just to showcase your skills, but to reinforce keywords for the ATS and increase your match rate when applying.

P (People)

The second portion represents the team dynamic or people involved. Who did you work with? How many team members were involved? How many did you oversee? Who were those internal stakeholders? This will allow hiring managers to understand quickly that you are able to potentially handle similar team sizes dynamics and scopes within their organization.

O (Outcome)

This is the crème de la crème of your bullet points. The question you ask yourself here is what did all these actions, with the help of these tools and these team members lead to? What was the outcome or result? What did this mean for the business? This is where quantification comes in.

The best impact is quantifiable and numerically evident.

The best way to approach this is through the recruiter or hiring manager’s eyes. This formula is purposely designed and in mind for the most complex ATS, and potentially the most impatient recruiter.

Whatever you choose, the end metric should make sense and align with your position. Quantification done right, makes the biggest difference between resumes that land interviews and eventual offers!

PRO TIP:
Most recruiters and hiring managers look through all different kinds of resumes in their day to day. The average interviewer spends 6-8 seconds reviewing a resume, so let’s make it count!

58% of resumes have typos or spelling errors, make sure yours does not. Do not use borders with multiple colors, different fonts, and styles, or add graphics/charts or photos (Not ATS friendly at all).

Keep bullet points to a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 6 bullet points. Remove your “Professional Summary” section and save space, it does not carry as much weight as you think. Keep it to a length of one page with clear and concise language.

Remember the resume is a highlight reel, share some of your best stuff.

If the A.P.P.O steps seem to flow and make sense, it is because the structure is derived from one of the most important tools we have as human beings, storytelling. We’ll do a deep dive into storytelling and how to effectively use it throughout your entire job search journey another time.

The ATS (or the scariest three letters to any job seeker)

So far, we’ve covered the different types of resume structures, Alza’s A.P.P.O bullet point formula, and now we’re going to be looking at our favorite ATS tool to make sure that when we’re submitting our resume for a job, we have the best shot possible.

Now let’s look at the dreaded and mysterious ATS that plagues so many hopeful jobseekers.

ATS or Applicant tracking systems are used by companies to assist with recruitment and hiring processes. In a nutshell, ATS is a type of software used by companies during the hiring process to sift through the resumes in an open application. It does this by collecting and sorting thousands of resumes. Think of companies like Google, Uber, Meta, that get thousands of applications for open roles. There is no person who can sort and judge those incoming resume applications accordingly and as well. Therefore the ATS has to take over. Instead of sorting through a stack of paper resumes or a flooded email inbox, recruiters and hiring managers use ATS to keep themselves organized and efficient.

So companies have their tools, but so do you!

Enter your secret weapon – Jobalytics

Jobalytics produces a “match rate,” which means a percentage of how closely related your resume is to the job description. It also provides keywords of what is missing from your resume. With that information, you can then input the missing keywords into your resume and increase your match rate percentage significantly!

We’re almost at the end!

You’re almost done with this, and if you’re still here…you are exactly the kind of person who is not going to let anything stop them from landing that dream job, least of all a long article!

Resume Building Tools

One of the best things about technology is that we can use it to make our lives easier. Now our recommendation is to always add a human element to everything you do as a job seeker. As we say “Humans hire humans”.  But to that end, if we can use tools to get our work done a bit faster, then why not? I mean, look at what is happening with ChatGPT.

As the title suggests, this section we are focusing on resume builders. Resume builders are a newer set of tools which guide you through the resume crafting experience. They typically only focus on building resumes, in contrast to a word processing application which can be used for a multitude of reasons.

Resume builders walk you through the process of entering your information in order to de-structure the content building process and make the resume building experience more approachable. Resume.io is one example of a resume builder you can use, and it’s a free platform. You can choose from one of the pre-made resume templates to get started. Resume.io will walk you through the steps of adding your content, like your contact information, work experience, and skills. There’s a large section on the left panel where you enter your information, and it populates into the preview on the right side. It also allows you to generate summaries to get an idea of the type of content that’s expected in this section. Resume builders are easy to use since they walk you through the content entering process, so it’s easy to see where to begin.

Pros and Cons

Since there’s a nice user interface to work with, you can quickly and easily make updates to your resume. One huge benefit of resume builders is that they typically analyze your content and compare it to industry standards. This allows you to hone in on building the best content and design to stand out from your competition. Resume builders can connect with social media, which can be a pro or a con. The ability to connect your LinkedIn profile to your resume could be a big time saver as the resume builder will scrape your data and pre-populate your resume. But it may also populate the fields with the incorrect content.

Resume builders also provide less design flexibility. This one drives me personally nuts. Since you’re using a readily accessible online tool to build your resume, there’s always a chance that someone else might have a very similar design, making it harder to stand out especially from an aesthetic standpoint. And finally, these tools require internet access, which prevents offline development. Since resume builders are newer than traditional word processors, they come with built-in tooling to streamline the resume building process. They are a great fit for anyone looking to build a resume, especially first-time resume creators. Use them as you will. Ideally you use something like this to get you started, and then implement all the other elements we talked about in this article, as well as the tools, resources, content, coaches, and community, at Alza to get it done!

We made it to the end! Phew, we have covered so much. Last but not least, you need to take your resume and actually apply! Here is our list of top favorite job boards we recommend you check out.

Before starting to receive interviews and offers left and right, we need to know where we are going in order to best direct our efforts. We work backwards and we start with the end destination in mind. Where do we send our resume once it’s good to go? Now this may surprise some of you but here’s where to not apply.

We want to steer clear of:

  • Monster
  • Indeed
  • ZipRecruiter
  • CareerBuilder

Aside from a dated user interface and commonly outdated and expired lists of positions, there are also extensive complaints at the Better Business Bureau around conduct, refunds, and legal matters, headaches you don’t really need at this point.

That’s not the best use of your time. Most of these boards generally do not do a great job of providing quality openings for you, and often once they have your email…you can expect your inbox to be flooded with job openings that have nothing to do with you.

Instead, you can try:

AngelList aka Wellfound – Interested in jobs at start- up companies? Part social network, part job board. AngelList has become synonymous with startup opportunities, investment opportunities, and a rich community you can access for your next role.

Built In – A tech focused job board with communities across SF, Chicago, Seattle, LA, Colorado, Austin, Boston, New York. If you are interested in start-up positions, this is a wonderful resource that is getting some great traction as of late.

Hired – Hired is a little different than your straightforward job board. Jobseekers
who go through Hired, create a profile, share their experience and background, and goals. Then the Hired team reviews and either accepts or rejects that profile. If accepted, then Hireds’ algorithm matches the candidate to employers who are actively recruiting for open roles.

Idealist – Idealist connects millions of people and collaborators across the world who have an interest in no-profit and humanitarian work.

Joblist – Joblist aggregates jobs from most major job boards listing millions of openings daily. Their UX is clean, easy to navigate, best of all is free to use.

Jooble – Jooble is very similar to Joblist. Like many other platforms, it is a job aggregator taking jobs from employers, recruiting agencies, and other sources. Jooble lists over 800k opportunities and open roles for job seekers and is available in 71 countries.

Jopwell – Is a great resource for open roles and opportunities for Black, Latinx, Native American professionals and students. Jopwell has also partnered up with Google, Moody’s, Facebook, Google, Goldman Sachs, Spotify, and Peloton to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

LinkedIn (of course) – if you do not have a LinkedIn profile, create one immodestly, LinkedIn is the go-to job board/networking platform for jobseekers with 900+ million users, and used in over 200 countries.

Linkup – A job board with updated posting directly pulled from a company’s website. It also offers market data and analytics.

Outintech– Out in Tech is the world’s largest non-profit community of LGBTQ+ tech leaders.

Planted – Similar to Builtin, Planted is a startup oriented job board. At Planted, you will find opportunities to get your foot in the door with some of the most exciting and innovative tech startups.

Placement – Placement operates as a recruiting agency that works with job seekers in their application process. They work on an ISA model (Income Share Agreement) meaning they work for free until the job seeker lands a position. Then Placement takes a 10% fee paid over 18 months.

Remotive.io – the name says it all here. The job board offers remote opportunities for tech professionals.

Uncubed – Job board for tech and digital professionals across startups, and Fortune 100 companies.

Underdog.io – is a marketplace that connects job seekers with technology companies and startups.
VanHack – VanHack helps hiring managers find senior tech pros with a global community of over 180k members from 100 countries who are ready to relocate or work remotely anywhere.

And there you have it.

Conclusion

Having an optimized resume and knowing how to deploy it can be an absolute game changer when it comes to your tech career. Now whether you’re just getting started in your tech career, or looking to jump into a better role, a platform like Alza, makes it easy for anyone, anywhere in the world to build a targeted network, access hundreds of micro-learning modules across job search best practices, connect to expert advisors and coaches, upskill and get to the next level of their career. If you haven’t joined yet, what are you waiting for? 🚀 Check it out!

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