Preparing your Resume

Unbuilt Labs has one of the most rigorous hiring processes. We care deeply not just about your achievements but also your journey. Our candidates come from all walks of life. We wrote this guide to help you tell your story. We hope it will serve as a valuable career resource to you beyond Unbuilt Labs.

Your resume is our first point of contact with you. Candidates often underestimate the importance of a well-considered resume. How do you define your experiences? How do you think about the work you do? How do you measure success? These are not easy questions to address in one page. Below we have provided a few guidelines, a simple “Context-Problem-Method-Results” framework, practical formatting tips, and a how to get started section to help you write a more thoughtful resume.

A Few Guidelines

A good resume should clearly communicate the projects you have done. Be specific about your role. We all have our strengths and weaknesses – we are only human. Professional development starts with an accurate understanding of where you are. We tremendously enjoy working with active learners and we can better support you when we get to know your story.

Some soul-searching is needed to craft a thoughtful resume. What do you care about and where do you want to go? Cliche as it may be, we want to emphasis that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As a think tank-media company hybrid, we are always looking for emerging voices and perspectives.

We also want to emphasis the value of non-traditional experiences. Tell us how they shaped your worldview! We have hired a restaurant manager turned social documentary maker, Ph.D. candidate turned UX designer, florist turned researcher etc. We love meeting candidates who are engaged with the world.

The “Context-Problem-Method-Results” Framework

We recommend doing a brainstorm of each of your experiences with this framework. This list is obviously not exhaustive, this is just to give you a starting point. In the final section, we talk more about how to personalize your resume. Please do not include confidential information such as information covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). Always check with your employer if you are unsure.

Context

  • Company: What is the size of the company (company size, valuation, team size)? If you worked at a startup, what is it about? Which industry is it in?
  • Lab: If you were a research assistant, who did you assist? What projects did you assist on?
  • Team: Which team were you on? How many people were involved? Who did you report to? How many people were in your team? Did you lead or manage a team? What is the team size? What is the budget you worked with? 
  • Clients: Name a few of the client projects you worked on.  If they are for publicly traded companies that are not as well known, you can add their ticker symbol eg. McKesson (NYSE:MCK).

Problem

  • Management: Did you build, lead, or restructure a team, department, or company?
  • Product/ Engineering: Were you responsible for a product? Did you create feature-level, product-level, or business-level improvements?
  • Marketing: What business, product, or idea did you market? Was this B-to-B (enterprise) or B-to-C (consumer) marketing?
  • Design: What type of designs did you do? Print or web? Animation? UI or UX? Desktop or mobile?
  • Research/ Data: What questions did you explore?

Method

  • Management: How would you describe your leadership style?
  • Research/ Data/ Product/ Engineering: What data did you use? What technologies did you use? What algorithms did you use? Who did you work with?
  • Marketing: Paid social? Grassroot marketing campaigns? Guerilla campaigns? Any particular media platforms? Events?
  • Design: What technologies did you use? Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall project management methods? How did you validate your designs?

Results

  • Business: Number or percentage (# / %) in new revenue? # / % in cost savings?
  • Management: Did you grow your team?
  • Product/ Design/ Engineering: # / % in engagement or transactions? Awards?
  • Marketing: # / % increase in client database, web traffic, attendees, likes etc.
  • Research/ Data: Publications, conclusions, or outcomes? (Consider Input, Method, Output, Outcome)

If in doubt

  1. How much?
  2. For whom?
  3. Be more specific
  4. Less is more (four well-written sentences per experience is often sufficient)

Don’t Forget Formatting

Besides routine grammar checks, there are several practical writing tips to keep in mind.

  • Roughly one page for every ten years of professional experience, except for publications, press, presentations, professional membership etc, they can take up an additional page
  • Focus on the contents of your resume. There is nothing wrong with a resume that is formatted in a “boring” way – it helps us scan through them and makes sure we do not miss any details.
  • Always include a link to your portfolio if you are a creative or a designer. The portfolio is the place to be inventive.
  • Always send resumes as PDFs (some hiring platforms cannot generate a preview of non-PDFs)
  • Use headers and sub-headers
  • Use a legible font with an appropriate font size no smaller than 9pt
  • No graphs or pie charts please

Getting Started

Read widely. After a quick brainstorm using the Context-Problem-Method-Results framework, search up people whose careers you aspire to on Linkedin and read how they talk about their work. Do not forget that this is an iterative process. You should revisit your resume whenever you have a change in perspective. Writing and reframing your experiences can bring clarity to your work.

We look forward to hearing your story and perspective!

by Marvin Cheung, Head of Research and Strategy at Unbuilt Labs