Interview Series
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August 14, 2020
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August 14, 2020
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Resume and Referral Advice

Interview Series

Resume your career with a good Resume in top IT companies

Hello friends, how are you? I hope that every friend of mine is having a good time! Our previous article was about dealing with the behavioral interview and in this article, we are going to discuss the importance of a good resume. It is said that the First Impression is the Last Impression, we have heard this quite often, right? Apart from your clothing and etiquette, your resume helps in creating a good impression. A resume is the entrance ticket to your interview with any company. In our previous articles, we have discussed that recruiters in big companies receive applications in large quantities. This also means that they go through a lot of resumes every day. So how would your resume stand apart from other resumes? Let us discuss!

Firstly, let us understand the Resume journey

I was working with Amazon and Google, but I would specifically discuss the Resume process in Amazon as I had more exposure. The moment a resume is submitted in Amazon, the applicant details are recorded in the database among hundreds of other applicants. Once the resume makes it to the ATS, it will be stripped off. I will tell you what ATS means in a short time. First, understand that all the attractive formatting and fonts from the resume are taken down. Only the text remains. To know how it looks like, just save your resume in text format and open it in Notepad or similar text editor. You will be shocked to see it. Usually, when the candidates successfully pass the scan, the screen, and phone interview rounds, the next thing is the onsite interview. During the onsite interview, candidates are surprised to see a piece of paper which contains their resume. It often takes some time for the candidates to understand that Amazon doesn’t need all this formatting and fonts. The resume wouldn’t look like the one you submitted! The actual resume has already been stripped off.

ATS or the Applicant Tracking System is responsible for converting your resume in a simple text format. The recruiters conduct a keyword search on the resume within ATS and most of the searches end in an exact match. For example, if the candidate has mentioned “Bachelor of Technology” and the recruiter searches for B Tech, the resume won’t show up. iCIMS is one such ATS being used by giants like Amazon, Uber, Starbucks Corporate, Sony, etc. The applicants are ranked as per their frequency of appearance during search and this is mainly based on the keywords. 

While the ATS is quite efficient, it also means that the candidate should mention the top keywords or else their resume won’t appear. It is important for the resume to rank high because it will increase your chances of being called for an interview. If the resume survives keyword search and appears, then out of them, the top-ranked resumes are given priority. After this, the recruiter goes through your resume within 8 seconds. Yes, not more than 8 seconds. I have personally experienced this process at Amazon. I noticed how quickly they scanned the resume, usually in 5 seconds! So almost 12 resumes per minute. 8 seconds on a resume can be considered as slow.

The recruiters are experienced and qualified enough to extract maximum information in minimum time. Yet, the amount of time they take is significant. Now, this is only the first time your resume is viewed. While scanning the resume, the recruiter basically looks in three things. The first is objective. So always try and include it. The second is education which refers to degrees and schooling. The third is regarding recent job title and employer. An actual screen of your resume will only be done after your resume passes this scan. So what happens at the screen level? The resume at this level gets an approximate 30 seconds of attention. Here, all the details are scanned from the resume. Specifications like competencies and skills related to the job requirements are checked. Tech skills are especially checked including the level of your expertise.

Once the candidate passes this screen, the resume will be shortlisted among the top candidates and will be forwarded to the hiring manager. Your resume will always be there in the database and could be referred anytime as per the company’s requirement. In some cases, the candidates are not fit for some particular project but they can always be called for other projects. In short, the most critical thing is to prepare the resume carefully. So please note down these important points.

Number 1: Remember to craft your resume as per the job description

Some people think that crafting resume according to the job description is cheating. But I don’t think so! Why? The reason is that you are just highlighting the things which are necessary for a particular job. You aren’t boasting or telling a lie! So craft your resume by pulling six to ten keywords from the job description. In this way, your resume has maximum chances of gaining a high rank. For example, keywords like Java, C++, etc are helpful if you are applying as a developer which would require knowledge of those languages . Also, qualifications like MS in Computer Science, B Tech in Computer Engineering, etc would help. Adding technical phrases like data structure, algorithm, etc would be a plus point.

Always remember that “A single resume won’t work for multiple employers”, you will have to change it. Tailor-made resumes are a must because companies are different, their job positions are different and their expectations are different.

Number 2: Important information should always be mentioned at important places

The most important information according to you and as per the job requirement should be placed on top of the page. This is the place which helps in creating a positive impression. Some jobs would require a high-qualification and if you think that your grades are exceptional, mention them first. For example, your undergraduate school and high school GAP could draw attention. So put it at the top.

Some jobs might also demand a good job experience. For this, if you have worked in a famous company, simply mention the work experience at the top.

Number 3: Honesty is the best policy of your resume

While listing the responsibilities, your resume might sound like a job description. The employer won’t be pleased like this. Follow a thumb rule while listing responsibilities and other things. So the thumb rule is, “one line for responsibilities and two lines of accomplishments.” This also includes some important projects or metrics. The main thing is that you should be knowing everything that has been mentioned in the resume. If you aren’t able to answer a single question from your listing, your chances of getting selected go down. This is the last thing that you would expect during the interview. So be honest.

Let us now understand the importance of Referral

Consider that you have successfully created your resume. What next? How will you get an opportunity to prove yourself through an interview? There will be loads of applicants willing to work for the company eagerly. All of them come up with their best resume. It is not easy to pass the resume screen stage. Some candidates would even try innovative or fancy stuff to stand-apart from others and draw recruiter’s attention. For example, I remember that in 2015, Airbnb became quite famous and a girl named Nina wanted to work for Airbnb. Nina launched a website with domain name

Nina herself mentioned on this website that she wanted to work at Airbnb. She said that there are thousands of talented people like her and she developed this website to show her eagerness for working in Airbnb. She did a thorough analysis of the global tourism market for sharing her opinions regarding Airbnb and where should the company target in the future. Nina successfully came up with meaningful analysis and strategic recommendations. Her hard work and willingness to work with the company drew Brian’s attention. Brian is the co-founder of Airbnb. This topic became quite hot on Twitter. Unfortunately, she did not get a job in Airbnb but she got an offer from Upwork which is a global freelancing platform.

After this, a lot of people came up with similar websites trying to prove themselves to why a particular company should hire them as a front-end engineer, designer, etc. Usually, big companies were targeted, like why should I join Google for the development of Google+, etc. As a normal applicant, I am not sure if similar approach may work for you. But there is a reliable way to get an interview opportunity which is known as Referrals. Most of the companies have their referral programs where an existing employee could refer you for the job. Google and Amazon both have their referral programs.

Employees will be rewarded as long as they successfully refer to a candidate eventually admitted. In other words, if you know someone who is working at  Google or Amazon and at the same time they do think you are capable, they are usually more than happy to refer you.

According to the procedure, the recruiter has to review the referred candidate’s resume within a week and must respond to it within 2 weeks. This is how a referred resume jumps the queue! But again, this doesn’t mean that the company would be partial to a particular referred candidate. Do not even expect leniency in the interview. The company is there to hire pure talent and nothing else. The interview process will be the same and job will be given based on the performance.

But what if you don’t have any friends in such companies? Simple, try to find such people on professional networks like Linkedin. For example, find out Googler from your school alumni . Even if you don’t know them, just add them to your network. Some of them will help you out willingly. This is an effective approach. I got half of my opportunities by this approach. The worst-case scenario would be that he/she won’t add u to their network or won’t refer you. That’s it, you don’t lose anything. Just go for it! 


Let’s summarize what we have talked about in this article.  Discussing behavioral interview in our previous article, it was then time to discuss the importance of resume in this article. I have seen that candidates are confident, loaded with knowledge but they lack proper approach towards the job. Not in terms of hard-work but in terms of smart work. So first of all, we understand the resume journey. What happens after sending the resume. What is ATS or what is the importance of using keywords in the resume? The key to an effective resume is in the job description itself! So such small things prove to be of great help. In this section, we have also discussed three important points that should be kept in mind while making a resume.

After this, we have discussed the importance of referrals. In this section, we saw how some people have tried different things to stand-apart from usual applicants. Sometimes, these things are effective and sometimes it creates a completely negative impression. So a more reliable option would be referrals! Most of the big companies have their referral program and is quite effective. So always opt for methods which are reliable and would help you make a good impression. So keep growing your professional network, keep approaching people, and expand your professional horizon! Good luck friends!

Here is the link to the previous article of this series.

James Lee
James Lee
James Lee is a passionate software wizard working at one of the top Silicon Valley-based startups specializing in big data analysis. In the past, he has worked on big companies such as Google and Amazon In his day job, he works with big data technologies such as Cassandra and ElasticSearch, and he is an absolute Docker technology geek and IntelliJ IDEA lover with strong focus on efficiency and simplicity.

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