The XYZ Formula for Writing Resumes – A Recipe for Success Backed by Psychology

Last Updated, 18 October 2021
Written by <a href="" target="_self">Nicole Wren</a>

Written by Nicole Wren

image of letters XYZ on top of a table of documents

The XYZ Formula for Writing Resumes – A Recipe for Success Backed by Psychology

by | Oct 18, 2021 | Writing Advice

One of the simplest, but most effective methods for resume writing is one favoured by one of the world’s largest and most renowned companies, Google, It also aligns well with Australian resume writing standards. 

In fact, Google recruiters say that without employing this method, your resume is almost guaranteed to go into the ‘reject’ pile.  It’s the ‘XYZ’ formula, and it’s a formula you can start using in your own resume.

The XYZ formula is a way to frame your career achievements, and once you see it in action, you’ll be surprised at what a difference it can make. 

It’s a bit similar to the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) formula used in many selection criteria responses.

It goes like this:

  1. Describe what you achieved (X)
  2. Describe how the achievement was measured (Y)
  3. Describe what you did (Z)
infographic about XYZ formula for writing resumes

For example, we recently helped a hospitality manager, who told us she ‘ordered supplies and maintained costs’. We asked a series of questions to gather more information, and she told she had actually managed to find a cheaper supplier and saved the business she had been working for a considerable sum.

Through using the XYZ formula, we were able to develop this outstanding achievement:

  • Significantly reduced business costs and increased business profit (X), as measured by a 15% reduction in food costs (Y), by reviewing purchased items and negotiating with suppliers (Z).

Much better, hey?

Why does this process work? Social psychologists recognise that we judge others on their behaviour, rather than their words (i.e., “actions speak louder than words”).   

Simply stating that you do a task is not enough in today’s competitive job market, you need to give specific examples.

So, spend some time reviewing your resume and consider ways to turn your duties into strategic accomplishments using the XYZ formula (or ask us for help). Our resume writers are skilled in writing resumes for those just starting out, mid-level professionals and executives.

Trust us, it will dramatically improve your chances of avoiding the dreaded ‘reject’ pile.  ​

Nicole Wren

Nicole Wren

Senior Writer

Nicole is the principal resume writer at Resumes to Impress. Nicole loves writing and sharing her knowledge about all things job hunting and career guidance.

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