The humble resume is the most controllable aspect of the job-hunting process and all you need to do is follow a simple formula to get ahead of your competitors, according to Google’s HR manager.
In a blog post titled ‘My Personal Formula for a Winning Resume’, Laszlo Bock –head of people operations at Google – says while you cannot control whether a company has an unconscious bias towards you, you can ensure your resume gets their attention.
And the thing that will get you over the line, according to Bock, is one simple formula: accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].
“In other words, start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal,” writes Bock.
“If you improved investment results by 12%, but that meant going from $100 to $112, that’s not too impressive. But adding $1.2 million to the starting portfolio value of $10 million is huge. Explaining how you did it adds credibility and gives insight into your strengths.”
Margaret Harrison, director of Our HR company, told SmartCompany she “couldn’t agree more” with Bock’s advice.
“If you talk about achievements you have got to say how you did it,” she says.
“Sometimes even why you did it. And definitely using those active verbs is really important.”
Harrison also says the more figures you put in your resume the better – within reason, of course.
“People are reading heaps of words but the numbers absolutely bounce off the page,” she says.
Employers look at a candidate’s resume as their personal brand, says Harrison, and therefore that branding needs to be consistent in order to come across as professional and genuine. She says an easy way to ensure your personal brand is consistent is to make your resume reflect what is on your LinkedIn profile.
“I think your resume also has to be very much consistent with the job you’re applying for and really tailored for the organisation,” Harrison says.
“The white space on a resume is as important as the white space in an advertisement in the newspaper.”
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Harrison says one of the best resumes she has seen this year was by a young university graduate whose resume simply listed who they were and what they could do for the company.
She says this simple but different approach worked: of the four marketing jobs the university graduate went for, all four interviews were successful.
“Too many resumes look terrible. They have to look attractive – nice and clean,” she says.