Our indie devs often cite Work With Indies as the source of their highest quality candidates. That has a lot to do with the caliber of people in the indie games community. There's also something to be said about advertising jobs in places where the audience is genuinely interested and familiar with indie games (versus other more general hiring platforms).
But, and we know this from all of the thank you's we receive through email, tweets, and in our #celebrations channel, it's also because of the resources and advice that we all share with each other to better prepare for our applications and interviews.
To that end, you might find an helpful link, attend an insightful talk, or get personalized feedback on your portfolios in our Discord. Or, you might see some of the staff picks that we've curated from Discord on our Twitter profile and in your email inbox. Or, like thousands of people who signed up to our newsletter since I started sharing it 2 years ago, you might have used the example of my resume as inspiration to improve your own.
And now that we have a blog, that resume is no longer hidden behind an email sign-up or Discord !command. 😁
This is the actual resume (PDF) that I submitted to a recruiter for a Senior Manager (L7) position at Amazon. They called me back in less than 24 hours.
I originally wrote the rest of this article as a Twitter thread. Sure, I could and may still flesh this out into a more detailed article. But, I like the simplicity. And standing out in the resume review process isn't actually all that complex. You don't need to read 10,000 words on the subject. If you use these tips, you'll leap frog right into the top tier of candidates at your level.
The harsh truth:
[.c-insight]⏱️ You have about 30 seconds to convince someone to spend 5 minutes reading the rest of your resume.[.c-insight]
Q: O.k. But, how?
Make it scannable:
😐 Use a standard template
📣 Bold your highlights
📈 Include influential data/metrics/social proof
🚫 Don’t just cut and paste your job description from each role.
Tell us what YOU DID. 👏
Not what you were responsible for, not what they asked you to do, but what you accomplished.
I like to tell 3 kinds of stories:
1. 📘 Reaching New Heights or Milestones
Tell us about the time you achieved a new, big, round number in something. 💯
📏 That could be sales, customers, units, followers, anything that you can quantify.
Find numbers and put them all over your resume.
2. 📕 Turnaround Stories
Accomplishments look great on your resume. 🍾
They look even better when you frame them with why achieving them was so hard in the first place. 🍾 🍾 🍾
Detail the obstacles that you had to overcome.
3. 📙 Firsts
Accomplishing anything for the first time is always a challenge.
Your ability to achieve something for that has never been done before (on your team, at your company, ever) speaks to your creativity, your tenacity, and your unique ability to solve complex problems. 🦄
A few more tips:
🔎 Don’t bury the lede - put the good stuff right up-front
🏅 3-4 meaningful bullet points per job is PLENTY
📜 Acquire lots of bullet points, then customize with those that are most relevant to each job
That's it! That's really all you need to skip to the front of the line.
If you'd like more context (and tips), read this hiring post-mortem from the perspective of a hiring manager.
If you need help writing your cover letter, seriously, just do this.
As a special bonus, here's an updated resume (PDF) that includes my work experience at Amazon so you can see the before and after. Take notice of how I fit the additional role(s) and accomplishments into the same 2 pages. Try to find where I combined multiple bullet points into one. Look for other bullet points that were removed to create space for more interesting and impressive stories.
But Nate, that is all fine for you and your loads of experience. What about us entry-level folks?
We all start with zero bullet points on our resume. I didn't barely graduate high school after 5 years (not a typo) and walk into leading a billion dollar business. I started small and added on over time.
In fact, my career began as a temporary employee making $9 an hour answering phones in PlayStation customer service. Here's a few bullet points from my early entry-level customer service roles (from back before I knew how to write resumes):
- First of only 2 temporary employees hired out of a group in excess of 60 customer service representatives
- Awarded Representative of the Month on no less than five occasions
- Redefined quality standards with monthly monitoring scores of 93% and higher
- Assist in the training of new representatives via selection into the co-piloting program
- Mentored struggling representatives to increase their call monitoring performance
- Promoted twice from Tip Writer, to CS Web Technologist, to CS Web Specialist
- Partnered with Marketing to launch SCEA’s first public online strategy guide (Okage: Shadow King)
- Created internal strategy guide websites for over 40 first party titles
You won't see any of those bullet points on my resume today. They've been archived. Just like yours will as you find (and fulfill) opportunities to deliver more and more meaningful results throughout your career.