How can you make a strong first impression, and persuade someone to hire you, on one page? That's the challenge of crafting the perfect resume: It can either help you land a job interview or send your application to the "no" pile.
There's a secret to writing a great resume that doesn't involve a complicated format or hours of re-writing, according to Google's Global Head of Recruiting Brendan Castle. "The No. 1 thing you want to be thinking about is to tell your story — not just your work experience, but also what you've learned and the accomplishments you're most proud of," he tells CNBC Make It.
There is a list of important questions your resume should answer, Castle says, starting with: Who are you? It can be challenging to sum up your interests, dreams and achievements in a single document, but Castle offers a few guiding questions to help you better structure your resume:
- What was your role on each team, or in each work situation?
- How did you contribute to the team?
- What was the biggest impact you had there?
For recent college graduates, Castle suggests that job applicants highlight recent academic research, tutoring, student group or class project experiences. More seasoned candidates, he adds, should use metrics and concise examples to show the impact of their work.
If someone is applying for an account management role, for example, they could write: "Grew revenue from 15 small business clients by 10% quarter-over-quarter by mapping new software features as solutions to their business goals." This framework can also be applied to other leadership positions, university honors or other types of recognition on your resume.
Castle says that he is always impressed by candidates who, beyond proving that they have the technical skills to perform well in a job at Google, show that they have a "growth mindset" and are eager to learn from their mistakes and can tackle problems with a creative, open-minded approach.
Collaboration is an important aspect of developing a growth mindset, too. "I like to see how you would include other people's thoughts and ideas as part of your problem-solving process, especially if you're having difficulty coming up with a solution," he says.
Once you submit your job application, Castle says it's a smart move to follow up with the hiring manager over email or LinkedIn with a personalized note to reinforce your interest in the position.
"Even if you're not the right fit for the position you applied for, making that connection will help recruiters think of you for other roles," he says. "At Google, especially if we know what you're interested in, we will share that information with the relevant hiring managers."
Castle notes that he tends to respond much better to applicants who acknowledge how busy hiring managers are and don't expect an immediate response. "Then you could say, 'I just wanted to talk to you about the fact that I really love Google [or a different company] and want to work there in some capacity,'" he says. "But make sure you can explain why you love the company with specific reasons."
The most important detail you need to keep in mind when reaching out to a hiring manager, though, is also the simplest one: Write the correct name of the company in your note.
"There are still moments where someone will reach out to me and say, 'I'd love to work for you,' and the name of the company in the sentence is not Google!" Castle says. "We love connecting with candidates — but make sure the personalization is there."