Top Google recruiter: Here are the most common resume mistakes that 'drive me nuts'

The Google offices in Berlin, Germany.
Adam Berry | Getty Images
The Google offices in Berlin, Germany.

Google looks for four key traits when interviewing candidates: general cognitive ability, leadership, "Googliness" and role-related knowledge.

But to even make it to the interview stage you have to "absolutely nail" your resume, says Lisa Stern Haynes, the global staffing lead and senior recruiter at Google.

In fact, a poorly written resume is the ultimate disqualifier for applicants, she says in a Google Partners podcast.

"[The resume] is something that the candidate is using to represent themselves," Haynes explains. "And so if there are going to be mistakes on that and you're noticing sloppiness on there, that really is a great indicator of how they'll perform in a job."

There are certain errors she says you must always look out for:

  • Spelling your employer's name wrong
  • Referring to the wrong employer
  • Incorrect spelling and grammar of any kind
  • Incorrect formatting
  • Punctuation mistakes

An HR person who sees any of this on a resume will think "that is just a reflection of how they will be as an employee at the company," says Haynes. "The resume is something that you have to absolutely nail if you want an interview."

The senior recruiter admits that you would be surprised at how often she sees mistakes on resumes and just overall poor resume quality.

"I've seen it all," she says in the podcast. However, the most common resume mistake that she sees is using the wrong past tense of the word "lead."

Instead of spelling the word as L-E-D, she explains, applicants often spell the past-tense version as L-E-A-D. "This one drives me nuts," she says.

Another mistake she often sees is in the objective at the head of the resume. Because it's so common to simply reuse the same resume format, she receives resumes that say "I'd really like land a job at [enter company name]" and refer to a different place of employment.

"It's great that people are customizing their resumes but you always want to make sure you have proofread it a million times before you are submitting it anywhere," she says, "and get someone else to proofread it who has never looked at it before."

Beyond that, she says that often people fall into the trap of making their resumes read like job descriptions. Instead, Haynes says that you should be showing a recruiter the quantifiable, measurable impact that you have had in whatever job you're coming from.

"In other words, is a candidate going to be able to articulate in a resume what they personally accomplished or brought to the table in their role, either relative to the goals that were set for them or relative to their peers," she explains.

Being aware of these common resume errors is crucial, she continues, and it's "really important to make sure that [resumes are] completely buttoned up when you submit them."

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