September 19, 2014

Google HR: The worst mistakes we see on resumes

Daily Briefing

    Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of People Operations, has seen more than 20,000 resumes, and he says many—even those of highly qualified individuals—have glaring mistakes.

    "In a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don't need to compromise on quality," Bock says. Even if a candidate is well-qualified for a position, a mistake on a resume is a quick way to "reject an otherwise interesting candidate."

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    In a post for professional networking website LinkedIn, Bock outlines key resume mistakes to avoid:

    • Typos. A 2013 CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of resumes have typos, often because candidates go back again and again to "fine-tune" their resumes. In doing so, he says, "a subject and verb suddenly don't match up, or a period is left in the wrong place," among other problems. Managers tend to interpret these issues as a lack of attention-to-detail skills. To remedy this, Bock suggests reading your resume from bottom to top, thus forcing you to focus on each line in isolation. He also suggests having another person look it over.
    • Length. Bock suggests one page of resume for every 10 years of work experience. He writes, "A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you." In addition, he notes that the purpose of the resume is to get an interview, so it is not necessary to include every single detail—just enough to make you an appealing interviewee.

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    • Formatting. Keeping your resume clean and legible is a must. Bock suggests at least 10-point font, half-inch margins, white paper, and black ink.  He also says consistent spacing, aligned columns, and contact information on every page are important. Candidates should open the resume in different platforms (such as Word, Google Docs, and PDF) to check that the formatting does not change.
    • Confidential information. Bock says candidates often "honor the letter of their confidentiality agreements, but not the spirit," which he says turns off employers who do not want their own confidential data revealed to competitors.  Bock writes, "If you wouldn't want to see it on the home page of the [New York Times] with your name attached (or if your boss wouldn't), don't put it on your resume."
    • Lying: "Putting a lie on your resume is never, ever, ever, worth it," Bock says. By doing so, you risk being found out in the future and possibly fired, which could hinder you from securing another job (Bock, LinkedIn, 9/17).

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    Finding the right hire: Our guide to behavioral based interviewing

    With the baby boomer generation aging and retiring, severe medical staffing shortages are projected to occur within the next decade. As a result, recruiting and retaining highly qualified employees are key issues for HR managers.

    Behavioral-based interviewing is one tool to use during the selection process since it is highly successful at predicting future job performance.

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