The resume should begin with an active verb, quantify a person’s accomplishments in numbers, provide a baseline for comparison and then explain what the candidate did to achieve goals.
The first step in the recruitment process is shortlisting of resume. A perfect resume is the first move towards further screening and interview processes. However, many of the job seekers’ resumes don’t get recruiters’ attention simply because certain points in the resume are not well written or explained.
Google’s ex vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, suggests ways to make a resume stand out from the rest. Based on his experience and having seen thousands of resumes, he puts down a simple formula to make a resume’s points stand out and grab the recruiter’s attention.
He suggests that every accomplishment should be written as — accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].
Basically, he says that the resume should begin with an active verb, quantify a person’s accomplishments in numbers, provide a baseline for comparison and then explain what the candidate did to achieve goals.
For instance, a resume may state ‘Studied financial performance of companies and made investment recommendation’.
He suggests rewording the statement as ‘Improved portfolio performance by 12 per cent ($1.2M) over one year, by refining cost of capital calculations for information-poor markets and re-weighting portfolio based on resulting valuations’.
The rephrased sentence clearly spells out the accomplishment, quantifies it in numbers, compares it with a baseline and mentions the step taken to achieve it. So, this definitely stands out and makes an instant mark in the recruiter’s mind.
Similarly, a college student who has participated in a leadership programme may write in his resume – ‘Member of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT); Selected as one of 230 for this 18-month professional development programme for high-achieving diverse talent’.
But Bock suggests rewriting the same information as follows – ‘Selected as one of 230 participants nationwide for this 18-month professional development programme, for high-achieving diverse talent based on leadership potential, ability to contribute to this MLT cohort, and academic success’.
While he admits that it is difficult to measure and quantify every accomplishment, there is always something which can be highlighted to make a differentiating point.
In addition, numbering the points and making some comparisons will always get recruiters’ attention, even if the accomplishment is not so great.
For instance, the point – ‘Served 85 customers per day with 100 per cent accuracy’ sounds good enough, even if the customers are people you rang up at a grocery store. Adding, ‘…compared to an average of 70 customers at 90 per cent accuracy for my peers’, to this makes it more impressive.
Recruiters have their own bias and thought processes; nobody can control their minds. However, everyone has control over their own resumes, and making them impressive is the key to landing the right job.