What makes a great resume? Michael Rubio from Canva knows

July 8, 2023
Michael Rubio - Women Fellowship - Startmate

✋The future of ✨work✨ 🤚— it sure is movin’ and shakin’. 

We’re Zoom-ing, Chat-ing and Slack-ing, with the ways of working as-we-know-them continuing to evolve and shift — however one thing remains (mostly) unchanged, the humble CV.

Hiring managers (and their Applicant Tracking System counterparts 🤖) are still sifting through hundreds of job-hopeful career love letters (resumes) in search of the perfect match.

Michael Rubio, Career Coach and Talent Acquisition Partner for Aussie unicorn and global design tech-darling, Canva 🌈suggests your resume should focus on your future, not your past.

With hiring managers spending no-more than 10 seconds deciding if you belong in the ‘delete’ or ‘keep’ pile — Mike has traded insider secrets with our Women Fellowship cohort, sharing what exactly your resume needs to stand-out.

  1. Understanding your audience (the person hiring)
  2. What to actually include in your resume
  3. Mapping out the job description
  4. Tailor made, get ruthless

1. Understanding your audience 

Before you take to your keyboard to punch out sentences like “proficient in…”, “responsible for…” (tempting, I know), you first need to understand who you’re professing your job-hunt love to. This will allow you to tailor the tone of voice, language, look and feel to the right person.

Understand the company

Are you applying for a role at a startup, where the vibe is a lot more tech-savvy, casual and looking for high energy. Or is it with an established corporate, that perhaps is more serious and reserved with a particular style they tend to lean towards.

Understand your first responder

Who within that company is going to be the first person to review your resume, and decide whether to decline, hold for another role, or shortlist you to the next stage — this will vary in every company. Larger more established companies will likely have talent and HR teams making the first call, whereas in smaller startups this task may sit with the subject matter expert hiring manager, General Manager or even the Founder. 

2. What to actually include in your resume

Contrary to what we’ve been told since the beginning of time 🙄— your resume is actually not about you — it’s about the job. By putting up a job ad, the hiring manager is asking the question “Who is the best person for the job?” and your resume should provide the response of “Erm, ✨me✨ (duh)”.


Write about the impact you have had instead of just including a laundry list of all your responsibilities. These impact statement dot points should be written using Mike’s X, Y, Z technique —

I demonstrated [X — skill, value] when I did [Y — example]. This meant [Y — outcome].

Example: “Achieved a 30% increase in our social audience by developing a compelling content strategy that led to a 5% increase in our online sales with a value of $35,000 in my first 6 months.


A huge part of these impact statements is data. Metrics, statistics and numbers help to demonstrate your contribution and add credibility to your achievements. Detailed oriented hiring managers will be drawn to these figures, and will often refer to them during interviews inviting you to go into more depth of “How you achieved X, Y and Z”.


There’s no greater proof point of the work you’ve achieved, than some good old fashioned show-and-tell. A work portfolio showcases real examples of the impact you’ve referred to throughout your resume and can include case studies, work samples, designs or even references — and this isn’t just for creatives. A portfolio not only gives you an edge at application, it can give hiring managers great confidence in your ability and experience.

3. Mapping out the job description

The hopes and dreams of every hiring manager are written in the stars (job description). Their current pain points, the key responsibilities of the role, the tasks they need taken off their plate and the business priorities will be outlined in the job ad (or description) — so this is why you need to read between the lines.

Top three

What are the top three things the hiring manager wants and needs from the successful candidate? Identify those key needs and weave those throughout your resume (you may also like to update your ‘Key skills’ section to reflect these items — genius.

Tip —  Lean on your good friend and confidant ChatGPT to analyse the job description and spit out these top three findings for you — working smarter, not harder 💅

Learn the language

What corporate language is the hiring manager speaking? As in, what keywords, terminology, acronyms, and jargon have they used throughout the job description? You're applying for their role, you’re a guest in their home — so make it make sense for them, show them that you know your CMO’s from your IYKYK’s.

Tip — Retrofit your resume, look for the section on the job description titled ‘Key responsibilities’ or ‘What you’ll do’. The impact statements listed for your work experience should directly address these role requirements (using quantifiable data, of course). 

4. Tailor made — get ruthless

Job applications are not a place for ‘one size fits all’ — your resume must (appear) to be bespoke, curated, and painstakingly written for one role, and one role only.

Mike explains it best — “The difference between a tailored piece of clothing and an ‘off-the-shelf’ item, is that that fabric is taken away. It is designed to accentuate someone’s strengths while minimising their weaknesses.”

The most efficient way to tailor your resume for each role is to make a master resume and cut away the parts you don't need. A master resume (your super CV) will include all of your work experience and achievements, your impact statements, responsibilities, skills, and education. It will be a multi-page document that you can use as a starting point and cherry-pick from the info.

5. Dress for the job you want

In the same way that dressing for the job you want actually does work — you can also persuade the perceptions and judgements of others through a really great resume (and get one step closer towards meeting the job of your dreams 💕) — so get writing.

Check out Canva’s ready-to-go resume templates, and Michael Rubio can also be found over on TikTok, sharing more of those insider talent tips.

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Written by
Written by
Penny HollowayPenny Holloway
Penny is a Marketing Lead and Consultant, hanging out in Brand, Strategy and Creative Development. She is also a Women's Fellow in the W23 cohort!

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