5 Resume Writing Tips From Google’s Head of HR

jobsDB September Article 1


For a company that gets about 50,000 resumes per week, it’s hard to imagine how the guys at Google sort through each resume and pick the best ones. In a recent article, Google’s VP of People Operations Laszlo Bock highlighted some of the not-so-obvious but equally important points he considers when reviewing resumes and selecting candidates for interview. Be sure to include these tips in your resume writing checklist.


1. Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar

We know, spelling and grammar are quite elementary but you won’t believe how many people commit these particular mistakes in their resume. In fact, Bock says that he sees spelling, punctuation and noun-verb agreement errors all the time. He writes, “Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality.”

Reading and tweaking your resume multiple times actually causes you to overlook some of the small errors like spelling and punctuation. To avoid this mistake, Bock suggests that you ask someone to review your resume. An outsider’s eye is keener in spotting mistakes compared to the writer’s own eye, which often develops a blind spot for errors after seeing the same thing for too many times.


2. Keep it clean and simple

Now here are some technicalities. First, font should be no less than 10 points; second, margins should not be any smaller than half an inch; and lastly, keep everything consistent – spacing, font size, font style and formatting. It’s all about consistency. Also, to avoid any weird formatting issues, Bock recommends that you send your resume as a PDF.


3. Don’t reveal any confidential information

Remember the non-disclosure agreement you signed with your company? Keep it in mind when writing your resume to avoid revealing any sensitive information. Bock mentions that around 5% to 10% of resumes disclose confidential information. How can this hurt your application? According to Bock, the problem with this is that any candidates that disclose confidential information in their resume could also reveal Google’s trade secrets later on if they got hired. In short, they cannot be trusted.


4. Limit your resume to two pages

Longer isn’t always better especially in writing your resume. As a rule of thumb, the overall length of your resume should not exceed two pages. “Think about it this way: the sole purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. That’s it. 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),” Bock says.

It’s a simple case of quality over quantity. Short resumes are more focused. They also speak of your ability to summarise, synthesise and organise information effectively. Now if you feel your resume can fit into a single page, then good for you. Don’t feel compelled to fill out any extra space. The hiring manager will thank you for it.


5. Don’t tell lies

There’s an underlying moral dilemma to every resume writing story: to lie or not to lie? Seriously, you know the answer to this.

Reference checks and Google searches can get you easily busted. And in case your dishonesty can pass reference and background checks, your old lie can get you fired later in your career. Case in point: these people. Bock says lying on your resume is never worth it. It’s just wrong, and any lie you tell will follow you forever. Bock adds, “Our moms taught us better.”

Bock’s resume tips will help make your resume stand out for all the right reasons even when you are not applying for a job at Google. Just take it from the expert the next time you write your resume.


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