The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career at a Top Tech Company

job interview In her new book, 'The Google Resume,' Gayle Laakmann McDowell offers recent grads and young professionals a glimpse into the process of getting noticed by a top tech company. As a former "Microsoftie, Appleite, and Googler," McDowell knows what it takes to land at one of these top firms. Here are just a few of her many recommendations.

Seek resume-building part-time jobs and internships.

While in college, seek out positions that have direct relevance to the job function or industry you hope to be part of someday. Help a professor out with research, offer to work at a start-up for free or volunteer for a non-profit.

Get to know your professors.

McDowell notes that many universities offer interactive programs and functions outside of the classroom where students can get to know their professors better.

Make sure your resume is keyword rich.

Include the buzzwords for your industry and job function and list acronyms as well as what they stand for. For example, in the education portion of your resume, list master of business administration and MBA. This will increase the chances that your resume will be found when the resume database is searched.

Get personal referrals.

McDowell believes that personal referrals are the best way to get a job. When there is a personal reference, companies are more likely to consider that position or find a department where there is a better fit.

Start something on your own.

Starting your own enterprise shows initiative, creativity, and commitment. You can start your own business, start a blog and write about topics relevant to your field, or start a club or organization to build your leadership experience, expand your network, and show a proven interest in a new field.

Source freelance jobs.

Bid on projects at sites such as oDesk to get some experience under your belt and amass a more marketable grouping of skills.

job interview Start as a contractor.

Many large companies hire contractors. This is often an easier entree into the company, and it gives both employers and workers and chance to test the waters and assess the job fit.

Get online.

Many of the biggest companies have created groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other websites to source new talent. Getting involved in the online community of a company you admire can be a great way to get noticed. Another method is to comment on company blog posts relevant to your functional area and industry in order to garner attention from the hiring manager.

Create an online portfolio.

A website or portfolio showcasing your major accomplishments can add additional context to points on your resume. And since many recruiters do Web searches to find new talent, this portfolio is likely to turn up in their searches.



Next: Companies Hiring This Week



Related Stories from Readers Digest
Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani

Editor

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

55 Comments

Filter by:
Zach Bennett

Any advice on forums or places where you can get people in your industry, who KNOW what they are talking about, to review your resume for free? I've spent 40+ hours researching resumes, typography, etc and I think I've nailed it but I want to get some reviews from people who have opinions worth listening to.

And a tip I have for everyone else: If your email address is Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail and your job is related to technology in any way - you probably won't get a call back. My advice is to register Firstname.Lastname@GMail.com or some formulation of that if you want a free email and if you don't mind paying a few bucks then register your own domain. Firstname@Lastname.com would be cool if you can snag the domain.

March 25 2011 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach Bennett

Any advice on forums or places where you can get people in your industry, who KNOW what they are talking about, to review your resume for free? I've spent 40+ hours researching resumes, typography, etc and I think I've nailed it but I want to get some reviews from people who have opinions worth listening to.

And a tip I have for everyone else: If your email address is Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail and your job is related to technology in any way - you probably won't get a call back. My advice is to register Firstname.Lastname@GMail.com or some formulation of that if you want a free email and if you don't mind paying a few bucks then register your own domain. Firstname@Lastname.com would be cool if you can snag the domain.

March 25 2011 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
deepatchen

What this person neglects to mention is this. One 85% of jobs are not listed. Two you can have the best resume in the world on paper but if you blow the interview it is over. She also forgets to mention that sending out your resume to a blind email address if a company posts an opening will get you no place. You have no contact name therefore no way to follow up.

And the key to getting a job any place is to think like a sales person and make a target list. List 20 companies you would like to work for. Contact them even if they are not hiring. Because a company is not hiring doesn't mean someone may not quit the next day. If the gatekeeper won't give you the name of the hiring manager which is likely. Call back and ask for the IT dept. Or the dept. of what ever it is you are trying to get in to. If you get that person on the phone. You have about one minute to say why you are calling. Get their e-mail address. Sell yourself!! Then move on to your next target.

Make sure you follow up every 2 weeks. If you don't act like a sales person. You may as well stand on top of a skyscraper and toss your resumes off and hope someone picks it up.... Because that is what you are doing if you say you send out thousands of resumes with no response.

I was in the staffing industry for over 20 yrs so I am not speaking on speculation. Take it or leave it. Good Luck in your career searches.

March 24 2011 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
miloyambagfotl

Gayle is hot.

March 24 2011 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
riveracarl

I am just feeling that most jobs that are posted, really are not available. Because I have applied for positions where I have 100% of the experience required, and never even get an answer to even received application/review, I have started to send them now certified mailed so that I at least know it got to the place. Having a positive attidude can take so far, before you just start feeling like you are being over looked. Twenty three years of work experience, A Bachelor Degree, well spoken, and still can not get some one to employ me. if any one can help email me riveracarl@aol.com well good luck to all, hope that some one has a better chance, and tell me how to win in this loosing job market.

March 24 2011 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
riveracarl

Hi everyone, I don't know what else to try to get employed in my field. I have signed on to a couple of employment agencies, I have changed my resume a couple of times already, Have a Bachelor Degree, stable work history, dress professional, and interview well. I have been unemployed for the past year, and only just offers for dead end jobs. What do I do, can't continue to sign up for every careerbuilder or job monster websites to get no where,I have to work. I am not looking for a job making six figures, but from having a job were I was making sixty five thousand dollars a year to being offers a job making eight to ten dollars an hour is a big leap backwards. were can I get real employment help.

March 24 2011 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
haudoin1

it sure sounds like she is advocating sleeping your way to the top and a real old school way of moving on up. Get close to a professor? let them know what you are willing to do to get to the job? really?

March 24 2011 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to haudoin1's comment
Gayle L. McDowell

Not at all :).

There's a fuller explanation in the book, but the gist is this: Getting to know your professors means being their TA, research assistant, etc. You may need your professors as a reference for your first job. Ideally, you want that reference to represent how you are as an employee, not as a student.

March 24 2011 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Gayle L. McDowell's comment
haudoin1

Thanks for the explanation, it does sounds like an interesting book. The article makes it seem however that the book is just for recent college graduates. Does it go into how to get into these types of companies if you are already a college graduate and have a successful work history? For example, I chose to move to NYC last summer after 9 impressive years with one internet company. I do not know anyone personally at Google and I have tried to apply directly to them a few times with no response. Many people believe that you have to know someone to get into a company like google because they receive so many applications a day. I have a great keyword rich resume with 15 recommendations on linkedin but no results with them. What would you suggest for someone like me? I know many are in my shoes out there.

March 24 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Gayle L. McDowell

There is a section of one chapter about students / recent grads, but other than that, it's really for everyone earlier in their career (think pre-senior management... though even senior people may get some valuable advice). There's a bunch of advice about how to design a resume, how to get the right experience (during work and outside of work), how to interview well, how to "network" your way into a referral, etc.

March 24 2011 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Meriwel 4

I forgot to add - a strong work ethic demonstrated through a resume that shows a clear commitment to your chosen field will go a long way towards getting the job you want.

March 24 2011 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mjac25swag

I feel like i got much more useful info from Meriwel 4's comment than the article! Awesome! Thanks!

March 24 2011 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Meriwel 4

As a recruiter for a fortune 50 company, I do agree with some of her comments, however, unless daddy is rich, or you are on scholarship that covers all your expenses, most people can't afford to work for free and between work and school, they don't have time to volunteer for anything.

Luckily, many high tech companies like the one I work for have internships that pay very good wages - way better than working retail, so if you are a poor boy (or girl) like I was who has to work to put yourself through college, seek out an internship or part time entry level position at a company who's work is related to your field. This is definitely a strong plus on any resume, and if it is a company like ours, this type of work very often leads to a full time position after graduation.

Having strong references works great at small startups, but it doesn't work at big companies who are monitored by the US Dept of Labor's OFCCP department. OFCCP does not allow us to look at anything but the resume, and then only at the education and specific work related skills and experiences. References and stuff you volunteered for is meaningless in the world of Fortune 1000 companies, or any company that does business with the US Government. I'm not even allowed to look at a resume given to me outside our career site's application tracking system.

The best advice I can give you on a resume is keep it clean, well written, and related to work, and for goodness sake, check your spelling and grammar. Do not refer to yourself in 3rd person either. Bad grammer and this will usually kill any chance you have for a job.

A short objective paragraph is ok, but consider this - if you apply for a job that doesn't match your objective, what chance do you think you have at being hired?

For technical positions, the best resumes are straight and to the point with no BS. Your name, address, correct contact information!! (you'd be surprised how many people put email addresses they rarely check, or mis-type their phone numbers!), and a brief technical review of your education, additional training and certifications followed by a chronological listing of every job you have worked in the last 10 years. The job information should show your title, company, location, skills used at that job and most importantly, a brief description for each skill showing how you used them.

I can't speak much for non-technical resumes. Though I hire a lot of graphic artists and such, artistic people still typically need strong technical skills, so these people need to provide a strong technical resume in the format above.

Best of luck.

March 24 2011 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Jobs

In Partnership With
Keywords:
Location:

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

April 20 - April 27

Looking for work? See what companies added new openings this week.