Working at Google is known to be one of the most coveted roles in the tech industry. Because of Google's intense popularity, their acceptance rates are known to be some of the lowest – with under 1% of applicants actually making it to the position they applied for. One of the key aspects that can make or break a candidate's application in the Google process is the resume.
In this article, we'll talk about why resumes matter, what Google looks for in your resume, some concrete tips to improve your resume, and several example resumes of candidates who have gotten the job at Google.
Why Resumes Matter
Your resume is your first impression when applying to a company – and Google recruiters take close note of what's on it.
In Google's hiring process, they have several stages as they evaluate applicants, starting with a resume screen, then a recruiter screen call, then a phone interview, and finally, the on-site interview. The resume screen is the first of these stages, and usually included in the job posting where you apply for the role.
A team member at Google reviews all the applications submitted to their job postings and scans resume to see if there's a good fit. Google uses a combination of technology and human-curated review processes to determine if a resume is relevant for the role, and then decides whether or not to send the candidate on to the next step of the process.
While it's obvious that a resume can make or break a candidate's application, what's often overlooked is that the resume is a part of the candidate's packet to Google's hiring committee. This means, in the final stages of the decision on a candidate joining Google, recruiters and hiring managers will again review the candidate's packet holistically, including the resume, to see if there's a good fit with the candidate. This means that your resume not only helps you get in the door, it can also help you land the job once you've interviewed.
Next, we'll discuss how to craft a perfect resume.
Crafting your Resume
There are plenty of great articles out there on writing an effective resume. But especially for the Google roles, there's one key secret to crafting the perfect resume that most people miss – study the job description.
The resume's goal is to show that you as a candidate are a good fit for the role to the recruiter. Often, candidates struggle because they don't know what to highlight on their resume or how to highlight it. Luckily, the hiring manager has spelled it out for you in their job description.
Study the job description closely - what skills is Google looking for in this role? What responsibilities will you have? Can you demonstrate these skills and responsibilities through your past experience?
Let's take an example job description, a Customer Solutions Engineer:
Next, using the "preferred qualifications" section, see how much of the content you can demonstrate through your past experiences. Don't be afraid to reuse some of the same verbage as described in the job description (e.g. "Gathered requirements to meet customer objectives...") as long as you be sure to be concrete about your experience.
In general, we recommend tailoring your resume for the roles you're applying for – if you're applying for multiple roles you may need to craft different resumes to target them.
A few big tips
Here are some key tips to watch out for when crafting the resume:
- One-page. This is by far the most common blunder. Google recruiter's simply don't have enough time to review resumes in detail. Be sure your resume fits into one page and only shows the highlights, and could be easily understood in less than 5 seconds.
- Reasonable font size. After reading the above checklist item, you may think to yourself - OK, but I can at least reduce the margins, right? Or maybe shrink the font? The answer is no. Above all else, your resume should be easily skimmable and readable. Most recruiters don't have the time to look through dense copy.
- Consistent formatting. Be sure to have consistent styling across your resume. Even slight formatting errors show a lack of care and consideration for crafting your resume.
- No photos. As of this era, photos aren't common on resumes, and they detract from the "meat" of your content. If you really want to visually display something, put it in a hyperlink.
Example Google Resumes That Got the Job
Here are some sample resumes that actually landed the position at Google. While helpful guides, these resumes shouldn't be copied – your resumes may be very effective yet look different. What's most important is making sure that your resume is tailored to the job posting you're applying for.
Google Associate Product Manager. View Resume
Google Engineering Manager. View comments on resume.
Google Product Marketing Manager. View comments on resume.
After the Resume
You did it! You've crafted a resume that will showcase your experience and hopefully get a response from the recruiter. Generally after applying to the role, not much additional action can be taken until a recruiter reaches out to add you to the next step. One thing that can help in the meantime is getting a referral.
If you're applying as a software engineer, check out our inside look at Google's Coding Interview Rubric to see how your interviewer will grade your performance.
We also recommend starting interview preparation before applying, given how tough the interview processes are at Google. To get started, here are a few of the most common questions that Google may ask you:
- What's your favorite product and why? Watch our guide on answering this question
- Improve Headspace. Watch a Google PM's answer
- How does Google Docs work? Watch a Google PM's answer
- Design a URL Shortener. Watch a video explanation
- Write an LRU Cache. Read our example problem.
- Answer an Edit Distance coding algorithm problem. Watch a Google SWE's answer.
Technical Program Management & Engineering Management
- How do you set up projects for success? See how to talk about project success.
- How do you balance feature development and technical debt? Read our example answer.
- How do you recruit great engineers? Read our guide to recruiting and hiring.
- Tell me about a time you failed. Watch a founder's answer
- How do you prioritize engineering projects? Watch a LinkedIn Engineering Manager's answer.
While we hope this article was helpful, chances are you'll need more resources to best prepare for the Google interview. Luckily, there are tons of different resources on Exponent to help you practice and get ready for your upcoming Google interview:
👯♂️ Practice your behavioral and product sense skills with our interview practice tool.