We all know the difficulties of writing a resume—explaining our accomplishments and skills in a stylish one- or two-page document is hard! You know what’s even harder? Writing a resume that gets you an interview. Luckily, Christina Mayr, Information Architect and hiring manager at Epic Games, has advice on crafting your resume and getting it noticed by prospective managers.

How managers screen applications

Applicant requirements:

  • Be curious about technology
  • Write well and learn quickly
  • Follow instructions
  • Show interest in growing in the industry and company

You might think, “I have all those traits!” So make sure you showcase them in your resume by including the tech skills you have, your education background, and your knowledge of the company. ALSO, make sure to follow all the application’s instructions. In Mayr’s experience, more people than you’d think don’t follow all the instructions. Don’t waste all your hard work; make a checklist if need be!

After you prove what an awesome writer you are with your resume, a manager might want to read more of your writing to gauge just how awesome you are. You may be asked to complete a writing test to determine if you can:

  • Analyze an audience
  • Research a topic
  • Write clearly
  • Format your writing to some provided standards

Yes, you read that correctly. A test! Whether you’re asked to complete a writing test or not, always be prepared to prove your writing skills.

Resume to real person

Here are some tips to hone in on the resume audience:

  • Analyze who you are writing for.
    • You should consider hiring managers, recruiters, and machines as your first three audiences.
  • Keep a living resume for yourself.
    • A living document that’s pages upon pages to capture all of the awesome things you do!
    • It’s easier to cut and edit existing content than to start from scratch each time.
  • Tailor your resume to your audience.
    • Initially, managers and recruiters only spend about 7 seconds on your resume!
    • Since they’re only scanning, make it easy for them to see what they want.
    • Identify what managers and recruiters want by analyzing the job description and researching the company.
    • Provide contact information.
    • Provide a link to your portfolio, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Write for humans; design for machines.
    • Write in a plain Word document and avoid fancy resume templates. ATS systems might not recognize them.
    • Don’t use more than two fonts.
    • Use consistent heading and text with the Word or Google Docs style feature.
  • Showcase your technical writing skills within your resume.
    • Be clear, focused, and precise.
    • Write for your audience.

Beyond the resume

Here are some things that you can do to go above and beyond just submitting your resume.

  • Write a good cover letter. Show excitement for the job here!
  • Create a LinkedIn profile. Managers and recruiters have already read your resume. Now they want to know more. So make sure your LinkedIn profile is not a copy of your resume! Include awards, interests, portfolio pieces, and other information that are not in your resume. Also, note that others will be searching your page for keywords so make sure to include some within your skills, interests, education, and other headers on your page.
  • Have a portfolio or website ready to show off. This is huge! Your portfolio can include school and/or volunteer work. So if you lack school/work experience, volunteer doing something that is meaningful to you. Build your portfolio and do some good at the same time! You can link your portfolio to your resume or LinkedIn profile page.

That’s a wrap

Don’t be intimidated; you have skills, education, and experience. Follow this advice, stay positive, and you’ll find a job that’s almost as awesome as you!

See the presentation video and slides below!

Event Recap by: Jacob Berger

Jacob Berger is a Content Developer at IBM in Raleigh-Durham. He loves and appreciates STC’s focus on education to new professionals in technical communication.