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I wrote my first serious resume about 2 years before my Google placement. But before you do that it is extremely important that you know how to make a resume. Start talking to people. Go in depth in the nitty gritties of it. Be it the formatting, language, action verbs, what to add, what not to add etc. Understand completely how is a resume read, how is it written, what adds value and what doesn’t.

Step 2 : Collect resumes
Whoever you speak to, ask them for their resumes. Many people won’t share, but try to collect as many as possible. Whoever it is, just have his resume with you. Segregate those resumes based on company, profile etc.

Step 3: Analyze them
After you have done that, analyze them. And I mean analyze them like crazy. Check font size, Margin border, tables used, internships and projects added etc. Try to compare one resume with another. You’ll find that a same point is well represented in one resume, while in the other the interviewer might even not read it.
Few tips that I can remember from the top of my head:

  • The bold should all be as close to the bullet point as possible. This ensures that even if the interviewer doesn’t read the whole line, he’ll still not miss on your important point. You can do the opposite for points you don’t want him spending time.
  • Understanding how the points have been bucketed, to cover a weak portion. Everyone has a weak area. Can be internships, projects, extracurriculars. Identify that and see how it has been disguised.
  • Using appropriate action verbs.
  • Appropriate use of numbers
  • Almost close your eyes and then see what all can you read. Those are the points that the interviewer will see on the first look.
  • Presenting events in the chronological order and also grouping them in such a way that no section looks weak.

It goes without saying that you need to keep notes for all this and also keep thinking what you would have done differently.

All the above steps should take you a good semester. Talk to people when they are fresh out of their placement experience.
Now we get to actually making the resume.

Step 4: Getting started with the resume
Write down your strengths that you want to portray. For example: Good with academics, strong leadership qualities, team player etc. Dedicate one page in your notebook to every skill that you want to show and then add what ever you have done in life under every topic. This will give you an overall picture of what skills you are showing to the interviewer rather than randomly entering points. Also, it’ll give you sufficient time to work on certain weak areas. Also, it’ll stop you from overemphasizing on one quality. Once you have conveyed that you are good in sports, you don’t need to add more points just because you won something great. If you are the captain of your team, you don’t need to say how many times you went to Inter College. It is implied that you are good at it. Use the space for something better.

Step 5: Build a story
The interviewers are not looking for your achievements. They want to know who you are. They do not need a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs to do what they are doing. A normal guy with basic common sense is good enough. What they are looking for is how comfortable will they be with you. So tell them a story. Your resume should show your life to them. The whole flashback should happen in one page. Once you have your story, integrate it with the points that you have written above and what part of the story is showing what qualities.

Step 6: Segregate the resume. Allot space for every bucket
Once you have identified what you are going to write, give percentage space to every bucket, depending on the points that you have for that bucket and how relevant it is for the company. Make your first resume for 1.25 pages. Then without compromising on the content, bring it down to one page this will ensure brevity.

Step 7: Analyze your resume
Analyze it like you analyzed other people’s resume. You will not need many iterations because you already know what are the common mistakes that people make. Your first draft will be very close to perfect now with minor adjustments on language etc. Do not show it to anyone except one or two friends. Contrary to the norm, I did not send it to many seniors, which worked out well for me.

Step 8: Final check
Analyze it till the point that you are satisfied that this resume will get you the shortlist. Take a print out and see how it looks. Is the font size too small? Is your Harvard conference getting lost in the words?
Show it to people and then snatch it after 10 secs. Ask what they read in the first 10 secs? That is your first impression. Take this feedback and incorporate it. I believe that unless you know what you  are looking for in a feedback, showing it to people will not help. Be satisfied. Understand why a point is there and what purpose does it serve.

Step 9: Proof read
Start sending it to seniors and get feedback. Most likely, the feedback will be always positive as your resume is near perfect and you’ll get few but key inputs rather than the regular stuff people tell that you are already supposed to know. This not only boosts your confidence but also creates a positive image about you with the guy who is reading your resume. You never know who can put in a word when. After all this, I think you are good to go 🙂

Step 10: Never go full retard
You can never perfect a resume. After a point, let it go. I saw very poorly formatted, ill represented resumes also get through based just on the strength of their achievements. Its good to be prepared but don’t bang your head to get everything right. It won’t happen. Resumes are extremely important but it is not everything. The font size or the formatting will only give you an edge. Rest is content which you can’t do much about. Let it go and see what luck has in store for you.

 

Disclaimer: Personal experience. May not apply to you. This is what I did for my placement preparation at Google. This will not tell you how to make one but will guide you on the things that you need to do to make a good resume. I did not do all of it. But in retrospect I think this is a good strategy to follow.