What is Amazon looking for in a resume?
It boils down to three things:
- A sense of familiarity and culture fit with Amazon, a sign of career progression, and a clear match of skill set for the role (your actual career background)
- The right keywords in your resume that are detected by the ATS system (that show you are a fit for Amazon + the specific role)
- And obviously, your fit for the role!
Let’s break these down step-by-step:
- Important points to include in your resume
Here are two resumes. The first resume came from an actual candidate who got the interview at Amazon. The second is an example of one that didn’t make it past the screening stage.
You’ll notice some differences. First, you don’t need to have brand-name companies like Google on your resume to get the interview (although that makes it a lot easier, of course). More crucially, the use of numbers, tangible achievements, and clear career progression need to be clear. The winning resume includes a lot more detail and tangible achievements. The losing resume is vague.
To craft a good resume we first have to get inside the head of an Amazon recruiter and hiring manager. The HR manager/recruiter is going to skim over your resume and make a snap judgement within two seconds. They will either get excited or they will move on to the next resume.
So what gets them excited? Lots of things. Make sure your resume meets the below 3 criteria:
- Proof of career progression (getting promoted)
Make sure that your titles represent a clear progression from junior to more senior. Also, if you were promoted in a short amount of time compared to others, write a sentence about this. And if your title didn’t change, make sure that you are emphasizing your achievements during that time frame. For example, mention if you were given more responsibilities, if you were wearing several hats, or if your responsibilities increased over the years (even if your title didn’t necessarily reflect that). You can use words like ‘progressed,’ ‘improved,’ and ‘over-achieved.’
- Data and numbers to bolster your achievements (which shows you’re data-driven and your TANGIBLE results)
Substantiate your accomplishments with numbers. This is extremely important. I’m not asking you to do any math. No rocket science here and no need to pull out your TI-84 and start graphing.
You could include actual numbers (such as “cut manufacturing costs by $500,000”), or percentages (“cut manufacturing costs by 15 percent”). Either way, provide enough context to show the impact. If your objective was to cut manufacturing costs by 10 percent, make it clear that you exceeded the goal.
Here’s a good example: “Compassionate caregiver and CNA with 6+ years experience providing in-home patient care. Have consistently maintained client reviews in excess of 94% positive. Driving record – 100% clean. Tallied 25+ recommendations for efficiency and cooking delicious, nutritious meals.”
Here are a few more links to help you brainstorm different ways to include numbers in your resume:
- Clarify the scope of your business
You should include a description of your business directly underneath your company title. While Amazon might be familiar with your industry, it’s products/services and the scope of the business, we never want to assume.
A short recap of what your company does will make it easier for the hiring manager to understand where you’re coming from. You can include (where applicable) the revenue numbers, industry, main services and number of employees.
Skynet Marketing ManagerSkynet develops cybernetic organisms for the AI industry/3000 employees/$1 billion USD yearly revenue”
Another Example (from my resume ;):
- Choosing the Right Keywords
Before Amazon even has a chance to read your resume and look at all of your achievements, your resume gets filtered through an automated screening system. Unfortunately, 60% of resumes don’t get past this stage. Amazon, like many large companies, uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is an automated software that screens out your resume based on certain keywords, which are analyzed after you submit your resume on their job portal (or on LinkedIn).
Amazon wants to hire logical, analytical, and humble employees that are comfortable with failure. Think about this for a second. How can you highlight these traits in your resume? Amazon uses their own lingo (like “dive deep” or “think big”) so it is useful to include similar language that not only to show your capability, but also to build a sense of familiarity with the hiring manager/HR who is reviewing your resume.
I analyzed over 200 resumes that are publicly available on LinkedIn to find out which keywords Amazon employees tend to use in describing their previous jobs (and have viewed thousands of resumes and linkedin profiles over the years).
Specific keywords that Amazon loves to see in resumes:
- Go-to market strategy
- Go-to market
- Target vs. Actual
- Data analysis
- Process improvement
- P/L Management (profit and loss)
Simply by including those words in your resume, you stand a much better chance of getting past the ATS software.
The second part of keywords are job-specific. That is, does the actual job you’re applying for match up to what’s written on your resume? I recommend using a free tool called Jobscan.co that makes this super simple.
Here’s how it works:
- Copy and paste the Amazon job description in to Jobscan
- Copy and paste your resume text into Jobscan
- See how many words match/overlap.
- If you’re missing some major keywords, then you need to edit your resume to include them!
- When you apply for different roles, make sure to repeat this process
Now spend a few days working on your resume. Ask friends for feedback, look at some of the examples I gave above, and make sure to include those keywords. (If you still need more help with your resume, you can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastly, after you submit your revamped resume, you have to be patient. It can take weeks (sometimes months) to get a response from Amazon considering the number of applications they get.
To boost your chances of getting a quicker response, I recommend you reach out to the recruiter on LinkedIn directly (using an inmail). It can be hard to find which recruiter is in charge for the role, but typically they list their focus/department on their profile (like ‘operations’).
So do a quick search on Linkedin with the location and the keywords for your job. Click on their profile and send them a quick message w/ your resume. So if you’re applying for an operations role in finance, you can probably pinpoint who is in charge. Example below:
I hope you found this lesson useful and have some actionable steps to build a resume that can land the interview!
And, if you’re curious about the interview process, come check out our article on The Amazon Interview Process – What to Expect