Last Tuesday in a packed Wilson 102, Women in Business was joined by Google representatives Exie Huntington and Kate Kolbert-Hyle (’10). Their presentation, titled Building Your Resume, was centered on --you guessed it-- improving your resume. Though Exie and Kate’s tips were specifically for positioning yourself in order to obtain one of Google’s nontechnical positions, much of their advice is applicable to the general job and internship search. Here are 5 tips on how to best present yourself from some of the best in the business!
1.) Identify and own your brand.
In this process, it is crucial that you identify your personal brand, and have it on the tip of your tongue at all times. You should be able to define your brand in three words (for example, Exie’s brand is “motivator, creator, strategic”). Once you have your three personal buzzwords, you need to own them. Your resume should speak to you and should speak about your brand. The first person to read your resume might only be able to give you 30 seconds of their time. This means that you only have 30 seconds to make an impression!
2.) Be honest and transparent.
Your resume is your passport to employment, and, therefore, it is the most valuable thing you possess. Expect your resume to be heavily scrutinized at some point in the hiring process, and make sure that everything on it has been put there for a reason. The worst thing you could do is market something that is disingenuous. No one likes a fake, and you will be unable to sneak something by your readers. Similarly, in order to showcase your authentic self, try and avoid clichés. For example, feel free to include an “Interests” section but make sure your interests are actually interesting (travelling, cooking, running, and reading are just a few of the most overused interests). Even if your interest is more common, try and present it in a way that will differentiate you from the masses.
3.) Showcase your impact.
If I were to remove you from Brown, how would Brown suffer as a result? Whatever your answer to this question may be, it is necessary that you quantify it. Kate and Exie shared a formula with us on how to articulate this: Accomplished [X] by doing [Y] as measured by [Z]. Most people forget the [Z], which is arguably the most important part! You can also state your impact by using strong verbs. Every bullet point should start with one of these verbs, and you should avoid using weak words like “did, worked on, or completed” entirely.
4.) No typos!
Though this may seem painfully obvious, a 2013 CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of resumes have typos. As Laszlo Block, the head of People Operations worldwide at Google says, “In a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don’t need to compromise on quality. All it takes is one small mistake and a manager will reject an otherwise interesting candidate.” Make sure that you proofread your resume and ask literally anyone and everyone to proofread for you. Kate recommends proofreading on your smartphone in order to catch errors that may elude you on a computer screen.
5.) Practice your interview stories.
Finally, make sure that you properly prepare for the interview portion of the hiring process. Some questions, such as “tell me a little bit about yourself” are basics and you can pretty much expect them wherever you go. In answering these questions, there is no need to name drop, try and sound impressive, or use abbreviations that the interviewer might not understand. Instead, focus on answering the question in a way that demonstrates your ability to work with different kinds of people, to be a good teammate, to be diplomatic, and to be articulate. Since these questions are so open ended, you can usually find a way to incorporate your best stories in your responses.