The Biggest Resume Mistakes, According To Google’s Head Of HR

The Biggest Resume Mistakes, According To Google’s Head Of HR

Laszlo Bock, senior VP of people operations at Google, has reviewed over 20,000 resumes in his career. These are the mistakes he sees over and over.

Photo by woodleywonderworks

The five mistakes he lists are mostly obvious, from typos to bad formatting and lies. Two tips, however, stand out, whether you want to get a job at Google or elsewhere:

Length. A good rule of thumb is one page of resume for every ten years of work experience. Hard to fit it all in, right? But a three or four or ten page resume simply won’t get read closely. As Blaise Pascal wrote, “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritise, and convey the most important information about you. Think about it this way: the *sole* purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. That’s it. It’s not to convince a hiring manager to say “yes” to you (that’s what the interview is for) or to tell your life’s story (that’s what a patient spouse is for). Your 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.

And don’t spill the beans on your company’s confidential information in your resume. (“Duh!” comments not welcome. 5-10% of the resumes Google gets reveal confidential information.)

Check out all his advice on LinkedIn.

The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes, and How to Fix Them [LinkedIn via Business Insider]


  • Not that Im doing it now, but when I was hiring the biggest problem I had was the flow of information between HR and the hiring manager. Sure HR might filter out and provide the best candidates but more often than not for certain specialities we had to go back and ask for the people that were filtered out (and ended up hiring from that).

    HR and the hiring manager simply have different requirements, which kinda sucks you have to give the first one what they want to get to the second one.

  • I don’t think that cramming all the information in a page for that purpose is good either. Following the advice published here and other websites, you have to include: a description, job experience with figures and performance indicators, education, volunteering, other interests, extra information relevant to the position and in some occasions, referees.

    No way you’re fitting all that in a page. Use three or 2 pages and bold what you think is important and worth noting. Yesterday I had an interview. My cv was 4 pages long but all the content was well spaced and distributed, giving it a great readability, rather than looking all stuffy. Turns out the interviewer had highlighted all the stuff I wrote in bold.

    Don’t be afraid of using colours to draw attention. The resume gets you the interview, I agree, but should also open up a discussion during the interview about yourself, which makes for an easy interview.

    • My CV is one page and has a QR code that will, if scanned, auto download a PDF with a far more fleshed out CV. This certainly isn’t suitable in all industries but for tech it has worked for me 🙂

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