How to write resumes to get more interviews

Aug 2, 2023

Written by Ian Lasky

You're here because you read the title, so let me get right to it:

  1. Write like you're talking to a friend
  2. Write everything about your experience you can think of
  3. Tailor the information from step 1 & 2's input into "resume speak" for ATS and recruiters

Full disclosure: I'm making a tool to do step 3 Resgen, which puts power back in the hands of applicants by tailoring experiences into resumes for every single job.

Let's get into the steps listed above and see why they matter.

1. Write like you're talking to a friend

When we write resumes, the tone and format of the content is drastically different than how we talk about the experiences verbally. It's dense, exacting, and rigid. We use past tense action verbs (e.g, coordinated, developed, created, etc.) to start our bullets, make sure to have some metric in it, and try to follow the STAR system.

These rules mean that our thoughts about our experiences, how we performed them, and what we learned from them need to be crammed into this rule set. We should really be free to write everything we want about our experiences, format be damned. Trying to fit all experiences into this can restrict thoughts, rather than provide a good framework.

So, first, start from a place of freedom. Get it down on paper, however sloppy the writing may be. Embrace that you don't talk like a resume and may have a nonlinear thought process.

2. Write everything

If you start writing like you're talking to a friend, you'll start writing more this is good. The more that you write, the more that may be applicable to a potential position; it gives you more surface area to create a killer resume.

You once made a 231 page slide deck? Write it down.
You started an internal sustainability initiative? Write it down.
You pushed straight to prod without a sweat? Write it down.

All of these things can demonstrate value, given the right context, but they can only demonstrate value if you include them. The goal is to tailor your experience to the job, not necessarily your existing resume.

3. Tailor your experience to the job

If you have done steps 1 and 2, then you should be left with a pretty good chunk of text detailing your time at your previous experiences. It most likely will be all over the place that's okay! Getting your ideas down are most of the work.

From here, you have a couple options:

  1. Tailor experiences manually
  2. Tailor experiences automatically

If you're doing it manually, you'll need to pick the pieces of your experience you think are most applicable to the job description, format the bullet point into "resume speak", and then do this for every job description to give a personalized touch. This is a great exercise to nail down the information prior to an interview, but can be incredibly time-consuming to do for each and every job.

Or you can use a tool (like Resgen) that takes care of this for you. It'll pick the applicable pieces of your chunk of experience text, turn them into formatted bullet points, and will take all of 10 seconds.


Whether you end up using Resgen to help with step 3 or not, it's a great practice to do all 3 steps when on the job search. For me personally, doing all steps manually helped tailor not just my resume, but my thoughts as well.

I encourage you to try it out manually at first and if you get the hang of it, to then switch to an automatic solution.