Build a Winning Resume with the ARL Framework

When you apply to a new job, you basically have to know how to market and sell your experience. I am enthusiastic to see how people grow and use their full potential and I hope this article will help you to get the job interview you want. I listed some important points and explain my ARL framework, which makes it very easy to present your experience. I have personally used the ARL framework and had job interviews at Allianz, Home24, Hugo Boss, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Philips, Siemens Healthineers, and Zalando.

Know what you are seeking

Ever heard of the Flower Diagram from the book What Color Is Your Parachute? The diagram is also known as That One Piece of Paper, which is a very useful framework to visualise your values, goals, purposes, knowledge, et cetera. Look it up on the internet to understand what you are actually seeking.

Use a relevant structure

An early startup might expect a different resume layout than a large corporation but depending on the job description, a professional resume should contain a selection of the following elements:

1. Contact information: your full name, address, phone number, and email address

2. Work experience: anything relevant to the opportunity you are seeking

3. Education: your current study programme, your summer school programme, and your exchange programme

4. Extra-curricular activities: anything you did by yourself or for yourself outside of an official school and university curriculum

5. Volunteering activities: anything you did with others and for others such as fundraising money for Greenpeace or the Red Cross

6. Technical skills: your programming skills, MS Office skills, and other technical skills such as WordPress CMS or Adobe InDesign

7. Languages: list the language skill and add the level of proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

8. Personality traits: your personal strengths and weaknesses

9. Personal references: contact information of academics and professionals who are willing to refer you

10. Interests: anything you like to do when you are not reading articles on how to build winning resumes.

Avoid information overload

Keep in mind that you want to impress the HR manager and not turn him or her off by information overload. I generally include my contact information, work experience, education, extra-curricular activities, languages, technical skills, and interests. Nothing more.

Apply the ARL framework

I use the ARL framework in the section of work experience. ARL stands for achievements, responsibilities, and learnings. I developed it after researching hundreds of articles on how to build winning resumes, extracting the similarities, and testing the success rate through real job applications.

Achievements: what did you achieve during your past position? How much budget and time was allocated to the project you accomplished and how much less did you need to complete the project? Quantify whenever possible, which means to use dates, numbers, and percentages.

Responsibilities: what were you responsible for while working for your last employer? Basically, what were you doing?

Learnings: what did you learn after you stopped working for your last employer?

Have a look at how I structured my work experience using the ARL framework. In the first bullet point, I mention my biggest achievements, in the second bullet point I list my responsibilities, and lastly, I summarise my learnings. I never use more than three points for each bullet point to avoid information overload. Reflect, summarise, and prioritise the most relevant points. When listing your learnings, add one to two hard skills and one soft skill, depending on what you learned.

Founder at Awaken&More:

• Launched new consulting organisation in Amsterdam with 4 Board Members, 7 Social Impact Consultants, 5 partnerships, and 2 clients
• Developed business processes and strategy, was responsible for client acquisition, and branded Awaken&More to attract highly skilled Social Impact Consultants
• Formed leadership skills, decision making skills, and problem solving skills

Continuity is king

Continuity is important because it shows that you have an eye for details, which is an important perquisite when working on tasks where sharp analytical skills are necessary. For example, start with an action verb such as launched, developed, or formed and stick to a few words per listed point. This way, the bullet point does not appear longer than a regular sentence and is therefore more readable. I highly recommend the book The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William I. Strunk, which is a writing style guide named by Time as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English.

Use the right key words

Developing your language skills and using the right key words is crucial to receive a positive application response. Make use of LinkedIn and other professional platforms to find professionals with the job titles you are interested in. Analyse their profiles and use their key words and sentences in your own resume.

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