If you’re applying for a job at Google, you better doublecheck your resume for these four common errors. Google’s Senior Vice President of “People Operations” (a department that Google describes as “made up of equal parts HR professionals, former consultants and analysts … the champions of Google’s colorful culture”), Laszlo Bock, reported on LinkedIn that he’s really, really over seeing the following mistakes on resumes sent to the Silicon Valley.
The biggest, most common mistake? Typos.
This should be super, super obvious, but recent studies showed that about 58 percent of resumes have typos. Proofread your resume, print it out, proofread it again, then give it to two others to proofread again—but don’t make any changes until you’ve looked over it with another set of eyes. Often we make too many small tweaks when we re-read our resumes too often, which is why it’s good to have others take a gander. Bock personally recommends reading your resume from bottom to top instead of top to bottom.
Keep your resume at one page.
Or, depending on how long you’ve been at it, one page for every 10 years you’ve been in the business. Your resume isn’t to tell your life story or to necessarily convince a hiring manager to say yes: It’s to get an interview and show your qualifications. Bock explains, “our resume is a tool that gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much. So cut back your resume. It’s too long.”
Get your formatting straight.
If you’re not applying for a job in design or visual art, keep your resume simple: 10-size font, half-inch margins, black ink, white paper, even spacing between lines, well-aligned columns and your name and contact info on each page. Additionally, check your resume in both Word and GoogleDocs to see if the formatting gets wonky when transitioning from one platform to another. Bock recommends saving it as a PDF to be safe and avoid weird formatting changes from sabotaging all your hard work.
Don’t reveal confidential—or false—information.
You already know that lying on a resume is a bad idea, right? So is divulging confidential information, which can also get you sued on top of everything else. Bock gives an anecdote to illustrate the dangers of this: “This firm had a strict confidentiality policy: client names were never to be shared. On the resume, the candidate wrote: “Consulted to a major software company in Redmond, Washington.” Rejected! There’s an inherent conflict between your employer’s needs (keep business secrets confidential) and your needs (show how awesome I am so I can get a better job). So candidates often find ways to honor the letter of their confidentiality agreements but not the spirit. It’s a mistake. While this candidate didn’t mention Microsoft specifically, any reviewer knew that’s what he meant. In a very rough audit, we found that at least 5-10% of resumes reveal confidential information. Which tells me, as an employer, that I should never hire those candidates … unless I want my own trade secrets emailed to my competitors.”