Have you ever wanted to get a job at Google? Well, you’re in good company. As you can imagine, Google receives thousands of resumes a week (more than 20,000 actually, according to a New York Times article a few years ago). So the big question: how do you get yours noticed? You’re in luck; Google staffers recently did a Hangout on Air through the Life at Google channel on Google + primarily focused on technical resume preparation. The good news is that they look at every resume that comes through; but this means they are looking at thousands of resumes a week, so you probably have about five seconds to catch their eye and impress them.
I’m merely the messenger here; the proverbial horses from whose mouths this information comes from are Twinkle, a recruiter of 2.5 years on the operations side; and Michael, a staff sourcer and account manager of over a year. The conversation was moderated by Tolu, a Social Media Marketing Specialist. You can have a quick read through my summary or view the video yourself below to get an idea of the landscape you’re up against and how to best position yourself.
So you’re a hacker, but not sure what position you should apply for. First, it is good to understand the various engineering positions that are available and the skills that are desired for each one:
- Will spend approximately 60 to 80 percent of the time coding their own code
- Primary languages: C, C++, Java, Python
Frontend Software Engineer
- Focuses on marrying the backend code with a user interface that has the user in mind
- Primary languages: Java, Java Script
Site Reliability Engineer
- Still doing some coding, but ensuring that the websites are running to scale at all times
- Real time automation, trouble-shooting
- Primary language: Python
Software Engineer in Test
- Not just finding bugs, but developing code to prevent bugs
Other Engineering Positions: Systems Engineer, Security Engineer, and more
Non Technical Positions: many roles; just about anything you can imagine
Next, it is all about best aligning your skills, education, and previous experience. Because recruiters have to scan resumes in an efficient manner, there’s a large initial focus on pairing your background and education with the skills identified above. With most roles, a single posting will be geared towards all levels of experience. So whether you have two years or twenty years of experience, you’ll apply for one role and the Googlers will fit you where you need to be. The only exception is if you’re a new grad, there are specific New Grad Software positions.
This is where you really want to start listening. Again, Google is a large company that receives a lot of resumes. The advice is a little bit different here compared to other companies. Here are the top 10 tips for getting your resume noticed:
- Use a clean and attractive format that will catch the recruiter’s eye
- Start with education and any other applicable course work; list all degrees
- Detail out most recent work experience and then focus on most relevant
- Include a link to your development portfolio, open-source coding, competitions, etc.
- Describe relevant extracurricular activities such as blogging, GitHub, Meetups, etc.
- Include anything you like to do for fun, community service, other projects, additional skills
- Skip the “Objective” section as recruiters will jump straight to your skills and background
- DO NOT include that you were on the high school debate team (college is fair game though)
- Keep it under two pages if you can, but it will not necessarily count against you if it’s longer; just keep it concise, relevant, and don’t bury the good stuff
- Be Googley! (see definition below)
After you’ve done that, make sure that you avoid these top three mistakes:
- Don’t focus so much on what your company did, but more on your accomplishments
- Keep in mind that the recruiters may not have Computer Science degrees; keep the language clean and less technical
- Double and triple check spelling and grammar; I can’t believe people still need to be reminded of this
Finally, be yourself! Googlers like to know you and will
only hire those that they feel are Googley (it’s
a technical term) enough. What defines Googleyness? Well, in short, don’t be evil; be involved; be a good
person; be a leader; be a team player; be self-directed; be data-driven; and be
interesting and fun. Also, in the words
of Larry Paige, Google is “looking for engineers with a healthy disregard for
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- I’m still in school and looking to get a good
complimentary minor. What should I get?
- What prior experience do most Googlers have?
Google employees come from all different walks of life. Engineering-wise, relevant backgrounds and education; passionate about changing the world and having an impact. Keep in mind that education is not just what you study.
- What are some common attributes of top performers?
See Googleyness above
- How important are cover letters?
Not really interested in it on the software side unless you need to explain gaps in your resume or if you are a new grad. There is just too much volume to really focus on a long cover letter.
- How is a resume used in the interview process?
The resume is used throughout the entire process. Everyone you meet with will have your resume and you will talk a lot about your relevant experience.
- How can one go beyond the job description to
show that they will excel at Google?
Convey your passions outside of Google on your resume. Googlers are looking for good team players that they will want to meet and work with.
- Will meeting with recruiters first give me an
It won’t give you a huge leg up, but it certainly can’t hurt. You can use LinkedIn messages; Google Events (e.g., Happy Hour at Google I/O on Friday – hint, hint); and, of course, Google+.
- If I’ve unsuccessfully interviewed before, can I
reapply and how long should I wait?
It is fairly common for people to reapply to Google. Greater than 30% of hires have been interviewed before. For technical roles, wait 12 months, get more experience, and be able to describe what you’ve done to improve your skills beyond being more prepared for the interview. On the operations side, 6 to 12 months is recommended if things seemed to be going well in the previous interview.
- What knowledge should I have prepared when going
into an interview?
Have your CS101 information down pat. You’ll certainly be asked technical basics and how to apply them.
- What’s the best way to submit my resume?
Online through the Google Jobs board.
Hangout Recording: http://youtu.be/8npJLXkcmu8
Life at Google: https://plus.google.com/+LifeatGoogle/
Engineering Jobs: http://www.google.com/about/jobs/teams/engineering/
Regular Jobs: http://www.google.com/about/jobs/