Great Resume Writing According To Google
The Internet is full of āhow to write a good resumeā advice, or some or other chancer telling us what the perfect resume includes or omits. Advice straight from the head of Googleās human resources, though, is worth taking notice of.
Laszlo Bock presides over the hiring of 100 new employees each week at Google. As Time reported, he offered some āmorsels of wisdom to the New York Timesā Thomas Friedman this weekendā on the subject of what really makes a killer resume, and expanded to make some valuable suggestions on getting qualifications and on interview technique too.
The first piece of advice is to be specific. āMost people would write a rĆ©sumĆ© like this: āWrote editorials for The New York Times.āā Bock says. āBetter would be to say: āHad 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.āā
I suppose some of us are vague on resumes because the reality is less impressive. Some people may put āwrote for the New York Timesā and are not more specific because what that actually means is that they made a comment on an article on one of their webpages. But where we have genuinely achieved things, it seems that employers want as much detail as possible.
The next piece of advice is in relation to gaining qualifications, which of course precedes any resume writing. He says that a lower grade in a more difficult course looks better than a high grade in an easy or irrelevant course. The example given is that āa B in computer science could be more significant than an A+ in English ābecause it signals a rigor in your thinking and a more challenging course load.ā
On the subject of interviews, Bock says that specificity is important, just as it is on resume. āWhat you want to do is say: āHereās the attribute Iām going to demonstrate; hereās the story demonstrating it; hereās how that story demonstrated that attribute.ā ā It makes sense that if a potential employee knows what an interviewer or interviewers want to know, they will also know what they require if and when they become their boss. It is easy to think of an interview almost as a piece of theater, but what interviewers really want is to ascertain how well we can do their job, not how well we can execute interview techniques or show off.
Another thing that came up in the New York Times piece was the decisiveness of a college degree. Although Bock says that college is of course important, he suggests, āmost donāt put enough thought into why theyāre going, and what they want to get out of it.ā Google is employing increasing numbers of non-graduates.
Above and beyond a college degree or winning interview handshake, the first thing Google looks for is āgeneral cognitive ability ā the ability to learn things and solve problems.ā If we attempt to prove with specific examples on our resume that we can do that, we may well be able to work for Google, or many other organizations we may wish to apply to.
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