My Personal Formula for a Winning Resume, by Laszlo Bock of Google
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Jobs
Very much this:
Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a prayer that many of you will recognize. It goes roughly: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
What does this have to do with looking for a job?
There's a ton of unfairness in the job search process. As a candidate, you can’t control whether a company requires a work visa, whether some executive’s kid has an inside track on your dream job, or whether your interviewer has some private or unconscious bias that will hurt your chances. I’ll write about some of these -- especially unconscious bias -- in the future.
For now, I want to focus on the most controllable element of a job search: your resume. The sole purpose of a resume is to get you past that first screen and into an interview. In my last post, “The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes, and How to Correct Them,” I covered the all-too-common mistakes that knock applicants out of consideration at many companies. Let’s assume you’ve read that post and scrubbed your resume so it’s concise, error-free, legible, and honest. You’re already better off than at least half the applicants out there.
But how do you make your accomplishments stand out? There’s a simple formula. Every one of your accomplishments should be presented as:
Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]
In other words, start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal. Consider the following two descriptions of the same work, and ask yourself which would look better on a resume:
Studied financial performance of companies and made investment recommendations
Improved portfolio performance by 12% ($1.2M) over one year by refining cost of capital calculations for information-poor markets and re-weighting portfolio based on resulting valuations
The addition of the “12% improvement” makes the statement more powerful. Adding “($1.2M)” anticipates the reviewer’s question about whether 12% is a big deal or not. If you improved investment results by 12%, but that meant going from $100 to $112, that’s not too impressive. But adding $1.2M to the starting portfolio value of $10 million is huge. Explaining how you did it adds credibility and gives insight into your strengths.