My journey to Google – What I learned along the way

Have you ever had that feeling that everything you’ve done in the past has led you to where you are right now? That’s certainly how I felt when I got my offer from Google. I mean, statistics show that getting in is pretty difficult, so it’s easy to resolve that that’ll never be you. Funny because that’s the exact same feeling I had when I applied to MIT Sloan School of Business. One thing remains true, you don’t make 100% of the shots you don’t take. Hopefully you’re starting to get a little drift of what am saying. You have to try, but you also have to be ready!

Once I made the decision to leave my previous employer, I was very deliberate about where I wanted to work. I wanted to stay in the bay area for sure, and secondly, I was only going to consider two companies; Facebook or Google. I mean, how many times in your career do you get to say you got to work for any of these companies? I wanted to make sure that once I got a shot, I would put my best foot forward. In my case, I decided not to apply to a bunch of tech companies because I honestly think that quality is better than quantity. I have to caveat my advice here because your experience gotta be ready for the opportunity; which also means that your resume has to be well written and do a great job selling you.

Getting into Google was no easy task. I needed to decide which roles I wanted to apply to and then update my resume accordingly. Once I was done making edits to my resume, I had my co-founder Jing Yang look it over for me to make sure it was in good shape. This is a very important step. Find someone you trust that can provide the right feedback. Once my resume was ready, I needed to find people in my network who worked for both Google and Facebook.

Referrals are one of the best ways to get your resume looked at and hopefully get an interview. I was lucky because a few former MIT Sloan classmates and previous co-workers worked there. I reached out to them, letting them know that I was interested in applying to their companies, and that I’d need their help with referrals once I found roles that I was interested in. This here is very important. I cannot tell you how many times people approach me saying, ‘can you find me a job at Google?’ which is odd because many of them cannot articulate what they’re looking for, which makes it nearly impossible for me to ‘find them a job’. If you are interested in a company, then please do the work. If you came to me instead saying, I found 2-3 roles at Google that I think I’d be great for, can you please refer me? Say no more! I’d refer you in a heartbeat because you did your homework. So next time you are job searching, please don’t put your friends in this awkward position to ‘find you a job’ out of nowhere, unless of course you heard their department is hiring or something, but do the work and have your friends help you through that last mile.

Once my contacts referred me, believe it or not, I heard back from a recruiter from both Google and Facebook within one week. Faster than I’d anticipated. Both companies wanted to schedule a first phone interview before I could go on site for additional interviews. In the initial stages, Facebook moved much faster in the interview process.

To prepare for interviews, I had created this massive spreadsheet with over 100 interview questions I scraped from many online resources. Because I didn’t exactly know what to expect or what they’d ask, I wanted to make sure I was prepared as much as possible. I went through each question gathering answers for it. I also managed to have conversations with several friends who helped me think through how to answer certain questions and formulate answers to interview questions.

With Facebook, I did a total of 5 interviews, while Google I did a total of 6 interviews. In the end, the role at Facebook got moved to Seattle, which was not an option for me, while the Google one was here in the Bay Area. It ended up being an easy decision and a natural fit to go with Product Marketing at Google Cloud.

Hope that gives you a little bit of insight into my journey to Google. Important learnings for me were:

  1. Be strategic in the positions and companies you’re interested in – less is more
  2. Easiest to get a referral at a company, instead of simply doing resume drops. Results are much faster
  3. Do the work, make sure you and your resume are ready for the opportunity
  4. Prep, prep, prep

If you’re in the process of getting ready for an interview, then ‘my’ spreadsheet is a useful tool to get you practicing and we’re offering it to you here for free! We hope it can help you as much as it helped me. Also, over this next year, we’ll be tackling some of these common and complex interview questions and providing tactics and sample responses. They will of course need to be tailored to your job and experience.

Would love your thoughts and feedback about this article. What else do you think is important for the job search process? If you’d like some help crafting your resume or preparing for interviews, we’re offering a 30 minutes free consultation to get started. Contact us at https://advicemavens.com/ or advicemavens@gmail.com

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