Resume advice from a Google recruiter we interviewed

Today on Resume Worded, we interview a recruiter at Google in the US, and find out exactly what she looks for in a resume. This will give you an insight into the mind of a hiring manager at one of the top companies in the world.

6 years ago   •   4 min read

By Rohan Mahtani

Today on Resume Worded, we interview a recruiter at Google in the US, and find out exactly what she looks for in a resume. This will give you an insight into the mind of a hiring manager at one of the top companies in the world.

It’s widely known that Google has one of the most competitive hiring practices in the world — around 1–2% of applicants actually end up with an interview, and an even smaller number get hired(!). Generally, recruiters and hiring managers spend just 15 seconds to 2 minutes (max!) reviewing your resume and deciding whether or not you make the cut for an interview.

No-fluff: As always, we promise that this will contain some of the most actionable tips and resources that you won’t find elsewhere.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Sure! I’ve been a recruiter at Google for 4 years now. I’ve been recruiting for both technical and product roles. Candidates I review have between 0 (students) to 5 years of experience in their field.

How much time do you spend on a resume?

It varies on the applicant, but I generally spend between 30 seconds to 3 minutes on a resume I’ve never seen before.

What’s the first thing you look for in a resume?

In 30 seconds, I aim to quickly get a sense of your education and how many years of relevant experience you have. We get a lot of applicants and I’ve been trained to be able to disqualify bad resumes pretty quickly!

Specifically, I look at the following [in the first 30 seconds]: your school, degree and when you graduated, the companies you’ve worked at, the job titles you’ve held and for how long. This information gives me a pretty good idea whether I want to take a closer look at your resume or not.

It’s also worth mentioning that if it’s not easy to infer the above (e.g. you’ve missed out your graduation date or job titles), I generally don’t proceed with your application.

We recognise how tough it is to put your thoughts and experiences into concise, effective lines. This is why Resume Worded gives you examples of top resume lines that are accomplishment-oriented and quantifiable.
You can also refer to our checklist for a comprehensive list of actionable steps to help you write your most successful resume.

Which resumes make it into your ‘yes’ pile?

Once I’ve gotten a sense of your past experiences, I pay closer attention to the bullets.

Remember that I’m evaluating you based on whether or not I think you’ll do a good job at our company. So what I’m looking for in the bullets are your accomplishments, their significance and their relevance to the job you’re applying for.

What do I mean by accomplishments? Use action words (e.g. Developed, Created, … ). Don’t use personal pronouns (i.e. use ‘Developed x process’ instead of ‘I developed an x process’). Be careful to not just state your duties at your last job, but actually what you accomplished. If your resume reads like a job description, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing it wrong.

Most importantly, show me the significance of the impact you had at your last company. Do this using numbers and metrics: common ones are the amount of revenue you generated or how much money you saved your company. Similarly, you can even quantify your experiences with things like the size of the project you worked on, the time you saved your team, etc.

Finally, I’ll also make sure your experience is relevant to the job you’re applying for. If there’s a specific job requirement (e.g. Android development), I’ll scan your bullets or skills section for relevant words.

As Laura’s pointed out, it’s important to demonstrate the significance of your accomplishments by using numbers. We recommend taking a look at Metrics — a handpicked list of metrics and ways you can quantify your achievements.It’s applicable for all jobs and experiences, even if you’re looking to quantify your leadership experiences at college.

Is there anything that can get a resume instantly rejected?

Yes! A few things come to mind:

If you’ve got spelling mistakes or poor grammar on your resume, your resume is probably not going to make it very far. You’d be surprised at the number of resumes I’ve seen that have spelled even their section titles wrongly!

Second, a really long resume also won’t work in your favour. One page per 10 years of experience is the common rule of thumb — in fact, even all our MBA applicants send in resumes that are just one page. Although I won’t reject your resume if you send in 2 pages, I’m going to spend less time than I already do per page. 3+ pages, forget about it. Keep in mind that I’ve almost never seen even a 2-page resume of a candidate with 0–5 years of experience that can’t be cut down to a single page — I’m serious.

Cutting your resume down to one page forces you to leave in only the sections and bullets that matter. On a related note, if you have a summary or objective section, get rid of it: I know what position or job you’re applying for. Use the space to tell me about your accomplishments instead.

Also, please don’t include fancy images, graphs, infographics or tables! One of the worst resumes I’ve seen had a bar chart rating the applicant’s skills out of a 100 — do not do this!

Thank you Laura for taking the time out to answer these questions!

If any of you have any follow up questions, hit reply to let me know! I’ll forward your most popular questions onto her and we’ll aim to get her answers back to you in the next week.

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