Build a Winning Resume with the ARL Framework

Whenever I apply for a job I usually get an invitation for a job interview. I strongly believe that my personal and professional experience is the reason for this, however, I also know how to sell my experience in a way recruiters love. 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. At this moment you probably cannot change your personal and professional experience, however, you can always change your resume. I listed some important points and explain my ARL framework, which makes it very easy to organize the experience on your resume. I have personally used the ARL framework and had job interviews with Allianz, Home24, Hugo Boss, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Philips, Siemens Healthineers, and Zalando.

Know what you are seeking

I searched for a simple framework that would ask what you value in a job. I found the Flower diagram in the book What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles. The diagram is also known as That One Piece of Paper, which is very useful framework to visualize your values, goals, purposes, knowledge, et cetera. Look it up on the internet and understand what it is you are seeking. Once you know, proceed to build a winning resume that fits your profile.

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 program, your summer school program, and your exchange program 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 an information overload

Keep in mind that you want to impress the HR manager and not turn him or her off by an information overload. I generally include my contact information, work experience, eduction, extra curricular activities, languages, technical skills, and interests.

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 building resumes, extracting the similarities, and testing the success rate through real job applications. Achievements: what did you achieve during your 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 summarize my learnings. I never use more than three points for each bullet points as it is important to avoid an information overload. Reflect, summarize, and prioritize the most relevant points. When listing my learnings, I usually add one to two hard skills and one soft skill, depending on what I learned.

Project Management Intern at Siemens Healthineers:

• Supported the introduction of new branded email addresses to 45.000 employees
• Planned migration waves with regional coordinators from NAM, EU, and APC, prepared management reports, and took an active part in process management
• Learned valuable insights on branding, employee brand engagement, and rebranding processes while writing my dissertation

Founder / President at Awaken&More:

• Launched new organization in the heart of Amsterdam with 4 Board Members, 7 Social Impact Consultants, 5 partnerships, and 2 clients
• Developed business plan (including business processes) and strategy, conducted business development and client acquisition, and was responsible for branding Awaken&More to attract highly skilled Social Impact Consultants
• Formed leadership skills, decision making skills, and problem solving skills

Project Coordination Intern at Mercedes-Benz:

• Created product information (product pictures, product descriptions, and technical drawings) of the Mercedes-Benz and smart Wallbox with a budget of 10.000 Euros
• Took an active role in marketing, prepared management reports, and extensively engaged in process analysis and mapping
• Learned valuable insights on business process management, product information management, and prioritization skills

Continuity is king

It shows that you have an eye for details, which is an important perquisite when working on tasks where sharp analytical skills are necessary. Have a look at my writing style. I usually start with a verb in the past tense and stick to a few words per listed point. That way the bullet point does not appear longer than a regular sentence and is therefore perceived more readable. I am currently reading the highly recommendable 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 response regarding your job application. Make use of LinkedIn and other professional platforms to find professionals with the job titles you are interested in. Analyze a few profiles and use the same key words that they constantly repeat. I hope this helps you to build a winning resume. Feel free to comment with an advice that you think is missing in this article.


Rawpixel. (2016, January 18). Resume. Retrieved June 2, 2017, from


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