Google receives over 50,000 job applications per week.
So it's no wonder their recruiters are picky. A resume with a typo in it is automatically rejected. But a more subtle problem with your resume could also get you axed from consideration: excessive length.
That's right: according to Laszlo Bock, Google's SVP of People Operations (their HR department), if your resume is too long, it's going to be a problem.
"[A] three or four or ten page resume simply won't get read closely," he says.
Bock stresses that the goal of a resume is singular: to get you in the door. "It's not to convince a hiring manager to say 'yes' to you (that's what the interview is for) or to tell your life's story (that's what a patient spouse is for)," he states. "[T]he *sole* purpose of a resume is to get you an interview."
So let's say you've streamlined your resume and eliminated any spelling or grammar errors. What's left to do to help you gain an edge?
Bock says it's a smart move to go back through your resume and use a three-part formula to strengthen as many bullet points as you possibly can.
Here's the formula:
Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]
"[S]tart with an active verb," Bock instructs. Then "numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal."
For example, Bock gives the example of transforming this bullet:
- "Studied financial performance of companies and made investment recommendations"
- "Improved portfolio performance by 12% ($1.2M) over one year by refining cost of capital calculations for information-poor markets and re-weighting portfolio based on resulting valuations"
Again: action verb as measured by measurement by doing thing you did.
If you're young and relatively unaccomplished thus far, you might think there's not much you can do to spice things up. But consider another of Bock's examples:
- Managed sorority budget
This is a fairly basic bullet that you could imagine seeing on any number of recent college graduates' resumes. Now watch what happens when the young woman gets specific and outlines how she accomplished what she did:
- Managed $31,000 Spring 2014 budget and invested $10,000 in idle funds in appropriate high-yielding capital notes returning 5% over the year
Here's another vague one, from a marketing professional:
- Studied the branding and marketing strategies of XYZ. Analyzed the pricing strategies of XYZ in comparison to competitors
That could become:
- Led cross-functional 10-member team to develop and implement global advertising strategy for $X million XYZ brand resulting in 25-point increase in brand recall, 12% improvement in net promoter score, and contributing to 18% year-over-year sales improvement ($XM)
While these finished product bullet points can look intimidating, the formula itself isn't--and works in all industries.
Another smart way to implement it is to explain accomplishments that aren't widely understood. For example, if you were selected for a scholarship or a special program through your company, describe why it's special--and include the size of the group from which you were selected.
Bock gives the following example of a college student who participated in a leadership program:
- Member of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)
Again, the recruiter isn't necessarily going to know what Management Leadership for Tomorrow is, so it helps to describe what it is, as well as the circumstances surrounding your selection:
- Selected as one of 230 participants nationwide for this 18-month professional development program for high-achieving diverse talent based on leadership potential, ability to contribute to this MLT cohort, and academic success
Recruiters and hiring managers are more on your side than you might think. They want to get a sense of your accomplishments just as much as you want to express them. The more specific, concrete, and numerical you can be, the better.
And if you ever want to double-check your spelling or any other detail for your resume ... just Google it.