How to make your resume stand out from the rest, pro tips from The Walt Disney Company’s Hiring Manager, Melisa Gomez
How a Resume is Selected
To make your resume stand out from the crowd, it is important to first understand how resumes are selected out of the stack. Most recruiters use what is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This system scans submissions for specific keywords and skills that a company is looking for and filters the highest matching resumes to the top. On average, a recruiter only spends 10 seconds reviewing a resume, and during that 10 seconds they are looking for keywords matching the position. Bottom line, make those keywords pop!
What to do Before Writing Your Resume
Before getting started on your resume, here are a couple of things to do first that will help make your resume the best it can be.
Look at other resumes for ideas – find professionals in your field and look at their resumes for inspiration. LinkedIn, Google, and job sites are great places to find stellar resumes.
Talk to your friends – it is hard for a lot of us to talk about ourselves, so turn to your closest people to help you identify your strengths and areas of opportunity.
Know your audience – are you talking to a recruiter or a hiring manager? Who are they and what are they like? Don’t mass produce your resume. It pays off to research and tailor your resume to each company/org and person you are sending it to.
Research the employer – make your resume fit each company/org you are applying to. Research everything from culture to industry and use your findings to tailor your resume accordingly.
Use job postings as a guide – what are the keywords? What skills does the job post mention? Use these things as a guide to center your accomplishments and the things you call out in your resume.
DON’T use the same resume for different positions – this is a chance to highlight relevant experience (yes, volunteerism counts!). You might also minimize the amount of “resume real estate” you devote to roles or volunteer experiences that are less relevant to the role for which you’re applying.
Resume Writing Tips
Understand the job – applying for a creative job? Reflect your style and show off your creativity through your resume and portfolio. If it’s a technical job, keep it simple and direct.
Include a header and short summary – for some recruiters, this is the only part they’ll read. Make it your elevator pitch and make sure it contains the proper keywords.
Update your resume to reflect your skills – both hard and soft skills are relevant. Also make sure to quantify your accomplishments. Never just list your job description or expected tasks.
Make it visually appealing – unless you are a designer, keep it simple with fonts and colors. Calibri, Helvetica or Georgia are all safe bets and use no more than 3 colors on your resume (white background, black font, and blue to highlight). Make things easy to read with font size no smaller than 10 and no bigger than 12.
Other pro design tips:
- Don’t center any text
- Do align dates and places to the right
- Don’t justify any text
- Don’t use ALL CAPS
- Do always send a PDF
Sexual orientation + gender identity: To Share or not to Share?
It is your choice when and what you share about you on your resume, in an interview, after you start working, and it’s totally ok to never share! We are all on our own personal and professional journeys with coming out and being out at work. Wherever you are in your journey is a-okay. In other words, do what makes you comfortable.
Addressing legal or preferred name:
Your resume is not a legal document – a great place to use your preferred name. Just be aware that a job application is a legal document and must contain your legal name for background checks. The good news is that a majority of applications now have a field for nickname/preferred name.
Looking for your dream job? Apply Queer and find it here on the Out in Tech Job Board! Apply at any of our partner companies, let us know by emailing your resume and the job links to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get you a referral!
Melisa Gomez (she/her) is a Manager of Technology for The Walt Disney Co., responsible for the Travel Trade technology teams. During her time at Disney Melisa has also worked as a leader with the Disney Women+Tech and Disney PRIDE groups. Previous to Disney, Melisa lived in Dallas, TX where she worked as a Manager and as a Software Developer for both small and large companies. Also, during her time in Dallas, she volunteered with the Dallas LGBTQ+ Resource Center, where she was able to guide and support transgender youth. Closely aligning with Disney’s values, Melisa is actively involved in the community through Disney’s supporting groups where she found her passion and purpose.
The Walt Disney Company From Walt Disney’s early multi-plane camera, to the largest wearable technology business in the world with Disney’s MagicBand, to Disney+ becoming the fastest-growing subscription streaming service in the world, The Walt Disney Company has spent nearly 100 years immersing audiences in new and stunning experiences using groundbreaking technology. When next generation technology meets talented people ready to tackle challenges still to be imagined, anything can happen.