Right Your Resume
A tool that reduces career pivoters’ time on reading job descriptions and give them good examples on how to tell their stories in resumes
A career change is exciting, thrilling, an adventure…but also a challenge, especially during the resume tailoring process.
Career pivoters often have transferable skills that are not obvious to them. Tailoring resumes in this context can be nerve-wrecking. Nevertheless, we all know that a customized resume will help employers understand how and why the candidate is the right person for the role.
How then do we help career pivoters identify and articulate their transferable skills?
Research Insights & User Pain Points
Our team’s internet research and 10 user interviews reveal that career pivoters generally know that they should include transferable skills in their resumes. However, due to insufficient knowledge in their new industry or career path, career pivoters generally don’t know which of their skills should be emphasized and how to phrase them (e.g. which keywords to use to match the job description).
Our research also noted that due to the extremely high volume of applications for each job posting, recruiters want to:
- Easily spot job-relevant skills on candidates’ resumes either manually or through their employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS), which is typically programmed to scan for the exact same keywords from the job posting.
- Easily evaluate that the candidate’s skill and experience level matches the job role (i.e. not under or over qualified).
Meet Butter, an aspiring software developer who has learned coding through bootcamps.
Career pivoters, such as Butter, comb through job postings for opportunities that they are excited for but eventually get stressed out because of (1) the sheer number of job requirements to read through and (2) the difficulty to determine which of his transferable skills matter for the roles. They also get discouraged from drawing a blank in how best to showcase transferable skills in their resumes.
Landing on the Solution
Problem Statement: How Might We streamline the resume creation process for career pivoters so that job-relevant keywords and phrasing of transferable skills can be optimized?
Based on our user research and persona, we noted two emotional goals to solve for:
- Lower career pivoters’s stress levels by helping them quickly identify keywords in job descriptions that point to their relevant transferable skills.
- Improve career pivoters’ confidence by providing examples on how to articulate transferable skills in their resumes.
We designed our web tool to have two interconnected features and a feedback survey to address these goals.
- The first feature enables users to find keywords in a job description that may reveal their transferable skills.
- The second feature enables users to find examples on how these transferable skills have been phrased in resumes that landed interviews.
- The feedback survey enables users to rate the effectiveness of the tool and provide ideas on how to improve it.
Finally, in the near future, we will also include a feature that provides a prioritized list of keywords for desired job levels (Junior, Senior, Manager) and the following roles: Product Manager, Product Designer, and Software Developers.
Low Fidelity vs. Hi Fidelity Prototypes
We wanted to create a simple, intuitive, and innovative app to improve the confidence of career pivoters during the resume tailoring process. We wanted users to easily navigate to the core features so that they can quickly identify important/repeated keywords from job descriptions and be provided with good examples on how to phrase them in resumes.
Landing Page LoFi vs HiFi
Job Description Input LoFi vs HiFi
Keywords Output LoFi vs HiFi
Transferable Skills Examples LoFi vs. HiFi
Find Prioritized Keywords LoFi vs HiFi
Prioritized Keywords LoFi vs HiFi
Feedback LoFi vs HiFi
Prototype Feedback and Iterative Design Learnings
Users were enthusiastic about our product and provided actionable feedback, which we were able to implement prior to the next usability test. In the early stages of testing, users were unable to understand the objective and navigation on our landing page. We iterated on that before our next round, which made the beginning of the flow easier for users. A majority of the feedback was about word use and meaning. Changing our language tied into modifying placement of a few screens to create a cohesive flow. Going forward, we may need to consider shortening the wording of our CTA buttons and revisit directions as we iterate.
- Where is it hosted? Netlify
- What is your tech stack? React.js / node.js+express / axios
- What was the hardest part of development? The hardest part about development was delivering estimates for each user story. When you're less experienced, there are usually unknowns as you get into your work that you do not take into consideration due to lack of experience.
Does your app have any scaling issues?
- At the moment we do have some restrictions with the API, so if there were to be a large amount of users using the product, there's a good chance that the API will get blocked at one point.
What are some key takeaways?
- Communication, communication communication is very important to keep the team up to date around you so that everyone is aligned and knows where things are heading.
The Butter Up Your Resume team plans to finish building out the planned features and iterating on the product with two-week sprints and additional user feedback.
- Our alpha release is targeted for late summer 2022 with the focus of obtaining qualitative user feedback and quantitative app metrics to improve how the app functions and user experience.
- Our beta release is strategically targeted for early 2023 and will be positioned to help career pivoters during the peak hiring season.
- In between the two releases and going forward, we will discuss, implement, and iterate on our go-to-market strategy.
We will explore different tech stacks that were determined to be impractical with the Co.Lab time constraints, but ultimately gives us better user data and/or allows us to scale better.
Our future steps could include:
- Bringing in additional team members or mentors to fill the gap in skills (e.g. different coding backgrounds, go-to-market strategy)
- Enhancing the job description scan feature, such as by changing the API or by adding additional processing steps to refine the keywords output
- Adding our North Star metics and web analytics so we can track effectiveness, user growth, and engagement
- Modify job description scan feature to enable retention of pasted job descriptions and/or keyword outputs for our team’s data analysis
- Allow users to track/save helpful resume bullet points (e.g. save them for later use)
- Allow users to rate helpful resume bullet points (e.g. allow them to add stars)
- Adding a credits page (on the web app) to show all the contributors to each feature and maybe a story or two of how they evolved over time
We will keep exploring this as a passion project as a way of giving back to all the career pivoters who have helped us (e.g. attending user testing, giving us their resumes, giving us valuable feedback) and paying it forward to those who eventually will be positioned to help others.
If you are interested in our product and want to contribute to building out a feature or two, please reach out to one of us on Linkedin!
Product Manager Learnings:
- Team Vision and Commitment - I learned that the most important objective for my style of Product Management is to start off right with a compelling team vision along with a team commitment to communicate, learn, and improve how we do things in an iterative manner (note: this is essentially the same approach I take when I am a people manager).
This compelling vision and working commitment made up our team's North Star in how we collaborated--focusing on the problem, which are our users' pain points, rather than our own wants or preferences.
- Execution Eats Strategy for Lunch - I also learned to normalize quick decisions to pivot where necessary so that the team can move forward while staying aligned with our shared vision and satisfying acceptance criteria as documented in our product spec document.
It was music to my ears when I heard that upon hitting a roadblock, my team's developers thought about "What would Quyen do?" and pivoted to a different approach to develop and test our Job Description Scan feature to determine if it would still serve our users' needs.
- User Experience (UX) is as important as user goals - Prior to Colab, when I created data analytical tools to improve my work outcomes, my sole concern was functionality. Once I demonstrated success with these tools, I would share them so that others could save time too!
It always bugged me why people didn’t use them more often. With Co.Lab, I received eye-opening experiences that taught me why.
By directly leading and participating in user testing, I learned which part of our prototype’s user interface was confusing, what helped users navigate toward our call-to-actions, and what frustrated them enough to consider abandoning our tool (e.g. having to navigate back and forth between screens).
I have since applied this experience to refine one of my passion projects, a professional networking learning workshop, which was presented along with an engaging, focused, simply understood slide deck.
After Colab, I plan to take actionable steps toward deepening my UX design knowledge, such as taking the Google UX Design course on Coursera, which is offered free through the American Dream Academy, and applying it to host my portfolio of passion projects on Webflow or Persona.co.
- Transparency and consistency
As a career pivoter, this was my first experience working in a tech based collaborative group. I was self-conscious with this new experience, but I quickly overcame it within the first few meetings with my team. I felt we cultivated an environment where we were encouraged to share our thoughts, had been supportive of each other through gains and roadblocks, and were held accountable for our work. We had a daily check-in system that really helped keep tasks achievable and created a forum for questions and support.
My design certificate courses were all done online, thus I wasn’t able to consistently gain feedback from individuals. Meanwhile, the occasional feedback that I received during my teaching career were more of directives than for the benefit of my professional growth. Co.Lab provided me with a new perspective that while feedback can be uncomfortable, how I interpret it and enact the next step has its rewards.
- Immersive experience
The immersive experience was what solidified my confidence in knowing that I am a designer. All the specific roles and tasks that I learned in my certificate program came to life. I was fascinated with the designer-developer handoff and look forward to seeing that more in action.
- My Next Steps
After Co.Lab, I already have plans in place to continue my professional development. One is getting an Interaction Design Foundation membership, where I’ll be able to attain more experiences and certificates. This Co.Lab experience gave me the confidence and awareness of future steps, which will give me more direction in my networking.
- Communication: As a subject matter expert in tech, it is your responsibility to review the user stories and to ask the right questions so that you can communicate accurate estimations. Be open to any questions from other team members. Remember that they may not have the same knowledge as you and want to learn more about tech and the processes. As you're working on the tasks, it's important to keep daily communication with your teammates to ensure that everyone knows how things are progressing.
- Collaboration: It was a wonderful experience to collaborate with other professionals. Even though I'm a developer, I enjoyed being part of the product management process and giving feedback on the UI/UX part. Like in the workplace, it's always fascinating to see the inner workings of other people's work processes. Without a doubt, whenever you're working with new individuals, you're bound to learn something from them.
- Adaptation: What I learned in my time with this team was how to properly understand and work through hiccups that you've never expected would happen. There are times when everything goes right in your life and there are times when things spiral out of control. What matters most is understanding how to pivot toward a positive direction and how to work through these problems with your team. I feel that this team has done that for me. I'm very grateful to be a part of this team and how we were able to pivot and work toward our goal.
- Collaboration: Something that this group has taught me was how to properly conduct user interviews to figure out what people are actually looking for. The numerous talks with different people, finding and tuning up our own ideas, and gathering together to decide the best idea were very fun and insightful. Users are important, but so are getting different ideas and goals from each team member.
Full Team Learning
Developers Build, Designers Design, and Product Managers communicate. While all of us have something unique to give, we all have creative ideas and solutions. Through consistent communication, together-alone brainstorming sessions, and all hands-on deck collaboration, we came up with our impactful problem statement that we all want to solve. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see it on Product Hunt or Techcrunch one of these days.