Insider advice on how to craft your resume for FAANG

Insider advice on how to craft your resume for FAANG

July 15, 2022
Table of Contents

Three of our top coaches – and former resume reviewers at these companies – share what stands out about great resumes.

Top firms like Google, Apple, and Amazon receive tons of applications per year. In fact, the most recent stats show that Google received over 3.3 million applications in 2019, and the number grows each year.

So how can you be sure that your resume stands out?

Well, there are two things you need to consider: the first is that your resume will be screened by a resume scanning software known as ATS (Applicant Tracking System). Once you pass that, you need to catch the attention of hiring managers.

We sat down with our top coaches – former recruiters at Google, Apple, and Amazon – to find out their advice on what really makes a resume stand out.

Read along to find out their answers!

1. Carrus Coach Monika Gisler, Former Googler

Any tips for beating ATS?

Besides the obvious* (easy-to-read format, consistent font size, clean and simple, bullet point formatting, no typos) emphasize what impact your work had and how it got measured.

  • Note from Carrus: Additionally, make sure that you avoid adding images and using fancy design elements as this makes it harder for the system to scan.

Use this very simple formula:

Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].

Often resumes focus only on what has been done (Z). However, the accomplishment (X) and how the impact was measured (Y) is much more interesting.

If you are able to provide a concrete measurement of your accomplishment, your resume will stand out.

Also, don’t be shy to add your personal interests.

You have been volunteering for years at a homeless shelter? This shows passion and kindness.You run 5 marathons a year? This shows perseverance, dedication and passion.You organize holiday camps for kids? This shows leadership, teamwork and organisational skills.

What are the criteria you are looking for on a resume?

Easy to read. No question marks for the reader (e.g. if you took a year out for travelling, then add it rather than leave a gap). And personally, I like to see personal interests.

Any quick tips or advice for readers?

Keep it to the point, simple and honest. Also, there is a lot of information available on how to write a Google resume. Take the time to research and adapt your current resume to fit Google’s criteria.

Book a resume review session with Monika, here.

2. Carrus Coach Rich Hutton, Former People Leader at Apple

What can a candidate do to increase their chances of getting eyes on their resume?

When I was there, we would get roughly 10,000+ resumes per open role – it’s likely increased since then. There is no hidden trick, magic phrase, or sneaky tactic to get through the ATS and get seen by a recruiter. What matters is you have a clean, strong resume which highlights your experiences, doesn’t mask the truth and most importantly above anything else, it meets the requirements of the role that’s posted. If the role asks for X years experience in Y field or using Z language, that’s what you need to have at a minimum.

Recruiters tend to be very good at ‘calendar math’ e.g adding up date ranges. If you have the minimum asked for, great – let’s see what else is on the resume. If it’s close to what is required, we’ll maybe dig in a bit more to understand what kind of experience you had – was it lots of short projects, a few longer projects at the same company etc. But you need to have what we are asking for.

How many resumes would you say hiring managers look through, daily?

This largely depends on what your day looks like – some recruiters split the day between sourcing/resume reviews and interviews, others may spend 2 full days in the week doing nothing but resume reviews then schedule interviews for the rest of the week. Either way, we are talking hundreds upon hundreds of resumes per day.

For each resume, we may spend 30 second to 1 minute reading it. When candidates find this out, they often feel this isn’t fair – how can we possibly be giving you a fair chance if we spend so little time on the resume? The answer is that good recruiters have great relationships with their hiring teams and so know exactly what would peak the interest of the hiring manager – so we become very efficient at looking for the key experiences and understanding resume language, that is, what is ‘fluff’ to try and stand out and what is substantial, impactful work experience.

What stands out about great resumes?

Thoughtful simplicity. You don’t need professional headshots, you don’t need the latest trend in resume design with Crayola’s colour palette all over your margins, just be very simple and clear. It sounds so obvious, but when people have clearly read the job description and tailored their resume to answer the question of what we are looking for – that’s awesome! It quite literally makes recruiters smile when they come across a resume which clearly showcases the experiences we are looking for, in a clear and concise way which makes sense and causes us to read the resume even more intently to see if you are THE candidate we might be looking for.

Great resumes come in all shapes and sizes, from candidates with all different backgrounds and experiences. If you can keep it simple, if you can tailor to what we are looking for and if it makes sense to us (e.g no overuse of acronyms from your specific dept in an industry we don’t have familiarity with) then you’ve got the makings of a great resume there.

Any other quick tips or advice?

Have patience, be understanding, don’t take things personal and reach out to coaches like the ones at Carrus – we actually want to help! Recruiters across all major Fortune 100 and beyond companies get thousands upon thousands of resumes per posting. It takes time to get through all of them and quite often, they can be hard pressed to reply and get back to everyone in a timely manner. Having said that, there are so many great recruiters out there who actually want to help people get jobs. They take the time to coach their candidates, provide advice on how to approach the questions that will be asked and guide them through the hiring process.

Ask your next recruiter if they would be willing to have a prep call with you, or if they have any advice they can share. Ask for feedback on how you did and do your research on the role. Believe it or not, recruiters spend 99% of their time turning people down and giving bad news – they love the opportunity to help you become a better candidate and ultimately lead to a conversation when they give you good news!

Rich shares more in our interview with him on the 67 Competencies that Apple Uses to Test You in the Interview.

Book a resume review session with Rich here.

3. Carrus Coach Munira Ali, Former Tech Recruiter at Amazon

What can a candidate do to increase their chances of getting eyes on their resume?

For starters, the best way to beat ATS is your layout. I would suggest avoiding flashy design patterns as it’s hard to read for both ATS and humans. A good ATS CV has a clean layout with structured sections for each area.

To stand out, make sure you clearly define your what you do and what you are looking for. If you are in tech, the best way to do so is to list out your area of expertise under each project and also a brief list of any tech you have self-learned.

What stands out about great resumes?

A CV is your golden ticket to your dream job. This is YOU on a document, and you need to make it for the audience. It should be short, clear and concise. These are 3 must-haves in your CV: summary, description of achievements, and clean layout. When it comes to achievements, please paint a picture with details and add numbers and or percentages.

What’s the criteria you are looking for on a resume, especially for technical roles?

A good Software Engineer CV outlines how you have delivered or designed the project using technologies like microservices or Java.

Describing your experience using the technology in the project and outcomes (like a completed website design or a successful application launch) will help recruiters better understand how your experience fits into the opening they’re looking to fill.

So instead of writing a bland bullet point like “responsible for delivering projects using Java and microservices,” you could write something much more compelling, like “designed architectural workflow in cloud using microservices and Java for an internal team which yielded a 25% increase in the customer base.

Try using the below formula to create bullet points that will paint a more detailed picture of your experience.

Strong Action Word + Action + Key Details (e.g. technologies used) = Outcome

Any last quick tips or advice?

I personally love summary –  this is a great way to attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. Be concise here. This section is about your success and your future goals. This will help the recruiter to understand what you are doing and your interests.

Book a resume review session with Munira, here.

Key Highlights

Here’s a quick summary of the advice that stood out from each of our coaches:

  • Clear, concise, simple.
  • Avoid design-heavy layouts.
  • Use a formula to structure your accomplishments (We call this the “STAR Method”. Read more about it, here).
  • Make sure you meet the basic requirements.
  • Share your personal interests and future goals.

Many of our coaches are now offering Resume Review Sessions. Click here to register and see a full list of our coaches!

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