Applying to Google: Technical Resume Tips with Google Recruiters

Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us for another session of our YouTube Live series. Today’s topic is Recruiter Q&A and resume tips. While I am not a recruiter, I am part of Google’s university programs team.

So my name [? Kat. ?] If you are at a school in the Midwest, chances are you’re one of my schools, so hello.

In just a second, I’ll be letting these two individuals intro themselves, but I want to start with a few housekeeping things. If you are new to our YouTube Live session, then we hope that you do take advantage of our chat feature. It should be on the side of your screen, so right next to this little screen right here. And also, if you haven’t signed in to our RSVP form, please do so.

You see that short link right there. If you filled it out at any point for any of our previous YouTube Live series sessions, then you are good to go. You don’t need to complete that again. So with that, let’s get into our topics for today. So first things first is intros. You’ve met me.

In just a second, you’ll meet these two. Then we’ll get into some resume tips and practice with a fictional resume. And then we’ll let these two answer all your questions. So again, please be sure to use the chat feature. And with that, take it away. JARROD FARMER: Hi, everyone.

My name is Jarrod Farmer. I am a university graduate recruiter here at Google. I graduated in the summer of 2010 from the University of North Florida with a degree in marketing. And then I joined here at Google last summer in July of 2015 on the new grad team. Been enjoying my time here very much. And one of the more enjoyable parts about this role is I get to do fun things like this.

That’s not part of my primary job, but I get to come out and contribute where I can. CAROL TSUCHIYA: Hi, and my name is Carol Tsuchiya. And I am on the tech intern recruiting team.

I graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s in Economics. I’ve been here since November of 2009, so it’ll be seven years next month. My favorite thing at Google– there are so many things, but it really– it’s the people. I come into work every day so excited to be with my amazing team, who are just as excited as I am to come in every day and just do great things.

JARROD FARMER: So now that we’ve got through the intros, let’s talk about the fun stuff. Why is your resume so important? So I want to go ahead and tell you a few key points here. Your resume– it’s your first interaction with the company.

They haven’t met you before, so at this point, we don’t know anything about you. Your resume could be the first time that we read your name, and you want to make sure you’re putting on the best representation of yourself. Your resume lets us know how to connect with you. It gives us your name, your contact information, and allows us know the best way to reach out. Your resume needs to highlight your biggest accomplishments and your skill sets.

We don’t know what you don’t tell us, so be sure to pat yourself on the back and really highlight some of the fun things that you’re very proud of as well. By reviewing your resume, we’re able to determine what roles are best suited for you, in addition to making sure that the roles that you’re applying for are also a good fit there as well. And remember that the resume screen is the first of what’s hopefully many steps. So you want to make sure you get off on the right foot and hopefully that allows you to move forward to what typically is a phone interview for the next step in the recruitment process.

CAROL TSUCHIYA: So resume tips– so just please keep in mind that everything that we cover today is just a guideline. There’s no exact science. So we hope that you use this to help you create an amazing resume so that you can apply to companies, like Google. Feel free to take pictures of the following slides to help you either revamp or create your resume. So generally, what we’re looking at when we’re looking at your resume is that it needs to be easy to read, and simple, right? So use the bullet points, action words like “created,” and include your contact information and email.

In terms of whether your resume should be one page or two pages, if you need to go to two pages, that is completely fine. But make sure that it’s relevant. Also, generally, when it comes to highlighting your resume, you should really tailor your resume so that it highlights the requirements of the role. So when you’re looking at a role online, look at what they list as the requirements and qualifications of the role and make sure that your resume highlights those. JARROD FARMER: So resume tips, education– education should be front and center, as long as you’re in school, that is. So you want to list your education first.

Please be sure to include your degree and major, and definitely make sure that you include your graduation date, at least the year and month is acceptable, too. GPA, key courses, and any relevant coursework should also be included on the education portion of your resume. Lastly, provide a brief description of any important projects that you’ve completed while in school.

So for experience, in terms of experience, keep it clear and concise. Make sure you highlight your accomplishments. Once again, this is the time to pat yourself on the back. Highlight your accomplishments versus a long description of what you did.

Keep things chronological in order just to showcase all your experience. And that means put everything that’s most recent at the top. And then, as things move back in history, put it lower down on the resume as well. But other things to highlight under your experience are internships, student groups, hacks that you participated in. If you haven’t done any of these, that’s OK. Make sure you just include some of the projects and things that you’ve done on your own time as well while you’ve been in school. CAROL TSUCHIYA: And so for extracurricular activities, we also want to know what makes you you, right?

So if you were the head of your robotics team at school, include that. If you were involved in any type of olympiads, include that. Anything in the sense of even outside of computer science, for example, if you can solve a Rubik’s cube in 15 seconds, include that. We find that really interesting.

JARROD FARMER: So now let’s actually take a look at a resume, and let’s go through the review process ourselves. We’ve discussed why the resume is so important. And we’re going to go through this section in three main chunks. So for this first part, let’s see what is positive.

Let’s see what Han Solo did well here. First, Han listed his proficient languages, starting with C#, where he is most proficient, and worked his way down the list through SQL, where we assume he is least proficient there. Included all of his post-secondary institutions. He attended the Rebel Alliance University and Scruffy Nerf Herder College. His education is first, obviously, as we just mentioned, making it easy for recruiters to verify that you’re eligible for the role that you’re applying for.

Once again, as long as you’re in school, education should come first. CAROL TSUCHIYA: So let’s talk about what he needs to improve on regarding his resume. One, his contact information is incomplete. There is no phone number or email listed. So how are we supposed to contact him if we’re interested in reaching out to him [? for a role?

?] So that definitely needs to be included. For example, also, if you have a LinkedIn profile or a GitHub, please go ahead and include those links, but please make sure that they are correct. Also, regarding the graduation, you can see that he does not include his expected or anticipated graduation date. We need to know that, so we know whether he is eligible for an internship or a full-time role.

Just as side note, for internships, for example, if you’re applying to a summer 2017 internship, candidates must be continuing their education, so they need to be continuing their education in the fall of 2017 in order to be eligible. JARROD FARMER: Now let’s talk about Han’s experience. So once again, I’ll start with the positives. He listed his experience second after education.

As discussed previously, your education is your biggest undertaking right now. This should come first. Be proud of it. He listed his experience in that chronological order we also chatted about– most recent first, moving back in history towards the bottom as things get further back.

Included the title of the company and dates while they were at those specific companies. CAROL TSUCHIYA: So how could we improve this section? For one, his formatting could use a little bit of work. As you can see, his dates get cluttered because they’re included in the employment section. So we want to make sure that his dates are to the right of the company’s name and to make sure that is consistent all the way through. So it makes it less cluttered.

You’ll also notice that he wrote paragraphs regarding his responsibilities. We want to make sure that– the content itself is great. But bullet points would definitely keep the descriptions concise and more reader-friendly. So speaking of bullet points, we definitely want to start all the bullet points with action words.

For example, the words like “created” or “implemented” or “designed” are great. You don’t also want to start bullet points with “I.” When writing your bullet points, focus on the results and the impact by listing metrics rather than long descriptions. Tell us what work you did, what you used, and what the end result was. Please only include the relevant work.

For example, it’s great that he was a Wookie Walker, but he’s not applying for those roles, so he should probably eliminate this section. JARROD FARMER: So now for the activities. Let’s talk about the positives in here. So included in these activities, what sets him apart from everybody else, he also told us that he participates in programming competitions. All of this stuff is great.

But there are some areas that could have been beneficial where we could have corrected. Those of which, it’s great that he included his activities in the programming languages. But it’s best to have this in bullet point format, as Carol just discussed. Also, Han is more than welcome to tell us about his other activities and interests, even if they’re unrelated to computer science.

That’s actually one of my favorite things. I love when you throw in something very personal. I’ve seen “master knitter” before, and that might just be my favorite in history there.

But it is important. Just be proud of the other things that you’re doing outside of your degree, too. CAROL TSUCHIYA: So how could– sorry. JARROD FARMER: No, that’s fine. So for references, I’ll finish up this slide, chat about the references. They aren’t necessary on a resume, actually.

If you really didn’t want to include it, it’s OK to say “references furnished upon request.” But really, we’ll ask for references if they are needed, and let you know when we’ll be following up with those references as well. All right, Carol. CAROL TSUCHIYA: So let’s look at this revamped resume.

So you can see that it’s nice and clean, right? He’s included his contact information. He includes his expected graduation date, so we can definitely contact him regarding roles at Google. And you can see here that the formatting is also very, very clean.

He starts all of his responsibilities with bullet points. So if you were a recruiter to look at this and say, would you rather look at this that has the bullet points, or would you rather look at some long paragraphs? And also, you can see regarding his awards and activities, he also included his great accomplishments. JARROD FARMER: So that’s a lot of information. I hope you got all of that.

We will go ahead and move forward and just throw out a quick recap here. So education comes first if you are in school. Degree and expected grad year should be at the top. Help us get to know you– those extracurriculars, anything that you like to participate in. Obviously, we do want to know everything about your computer science background if you are applying for software engineering roles, but we also just want to know more about you, so student groups, those extra initiatives that you take on, whether it was a school project or maybe something that you’re starting up yourself, we’d love to know as much as possible.

And remember, bullet points are your friend. It definitely helps everybody when we are reviewing your resume. SPEAKER: So this is [? Kat ?]

again a little bit off screen. But this is your turn, students, to ask questions. So please be sure to fill out the chat feature.

To get us kicked off, I’m going to ask Jarrod and Carol some FAQs. So first of all, why should I, as a student, include my GPA on my resume? CAROL TSUCHIYA: Good question. So just remember that the GPA is only part of your story. It’s just a piece of the puzzle. It isn’t the most important piece of who you are, so make sure that you include all your accomplishments and projects in and outside of classroom.

SPEAKER: Thanks. Second frequently asked question, do I need to include a cover letter? CAROL TSUCHIYA: Cover letters are completely optional. We prefer that you spend your time creating that amazing resume.

But if you do include a cover letter, just remember that it should include something that is not already included in your resume. SPEAKER: And third FAQ, what do I need to conduct my interviews? JARROD FARMER: So for a phone interview, you will need a computer with internet access and Google Docs. Our coordinators will send you out links to the docs and maybe anything additional for a phone interview, such as a Hangout link. Please be sure to take a look at those links, verify that you have access prior to your interview, and confirm that with the coordinator.

And if there is any issues, we can get those worked out. If you are coming on site, typically one of the few things that we’ll require is a official ID, just so we can get you checked in. But most of the time we don’t require anything else. Also, when you do come on site, it is always a good idea to make sure you arrive early. My personal mentality is I’d rather be somewhere a half hour early than 10 seconds late.

SPEAKER: Are you ready to take some live questions? JARROD FARMER: Yeah. CAROL TSUCHIYA: Yep, we’re ready. SPEAKER: Awesome. So the first one comes from [? Borgov ?]

Shaw. I have a question which hinders me all the time. I don’t have solid experience because I just did my Master’s. What are my chances of getting a job at Google?

I have proficiency in Python. JARROD FARMER: You want to take that one? CAROL TSUCHIYA: Yeah, so one of the things is we look at things also outside of the classroom. So when you were in your master’s program, if you worked on class projects, definitely highlight that. So that would be a header.

You would put projects and then give a highlight of that project and include that you used Python. And I would just definitely highlight the projects, the class projects. JARROD FARMER: Yeah, and something in addition, we do understand that you’re coming out of school. Really, not too many students are going to have a whole lot of experience at this point anyway. So we like just to make sure that we are going through the interview process.

We are finding everything about you specifically. We’re not going to compare you to anybody else, whether they have more or less experience. So make sure you just highlight everything that you are very proud of on your resume to put your best foot forward.

Then we’ll take care of everything else from there. SPEAKER: Next question comes from Tanisha Cruz. Does Google have a required GPA? CAROL TSUCHIYA: No, we don’t.

As we have stated about the GPA, that is only part of your story. So definitely include your accomplishments and any other activities outside of school that you’ve acquired. SPEAKER: Next one is from [? Arun ?]

[? Bakarna ?]. And I apologize if I mispronounced your name. Can we use different colors on the resume?

JARROD FARMER: I do like fun resumes. I think the most important thing to keep in mind here, though, is you do want to make sure it’s easy to read. But I definitely see individuals that put graphics on there or just make it very fun and almost interactive. I think all that is fine.

But you do just want to make sure that all that extra stuff is great, but that the content there, the main purpose of a resume, is not being jeopardized by anything that is just kind of fun to throw in there. But definitely be creative, be yourself. We definitely love looking at those things. If I see a bunch of resumes that look the same, everything starts to run together. So do what you can to set yourself apart. CAROL TSUCHIYA: But you definitely don’t want it to take away from your accomplishments, your experience, right?

You want to make it easy to read. SPEAKER: So personality good, rainbow bad. [LAUGHTER] JARROD FARMER: Yes.

SPEAKER: Next question comes from Earl Zed. How do I address resume gaps if I’m a returning student who has worked in an unrelated field? JARROD FARMER: I think it’s best just to put all your current information there. Things I’ve seen before is if you just want to fill in that slot with what you were doing. Tell us that story. Remember, we do look at everything as a whole.

So not everybody is going to be a carbon copy of somebody else. Not everybody leaves on a Friday to start somewhere else that very next Monday. And that’s OK. I think whatever you feel comfortable sharing with us upfront is totally fine, or if you are working with a recruiter, share your story with them.

We are your advocates and want to help you through this process. SPEAKER: Next question comes from Rosie Davis, a master’s student. I’ve heard conflicting things about whether to include my GPA and whether to use my graduate GPA or my full GPA for my institution. Is there a preference? CAROL TSUCHIYA: So if I’m understanding it, you should include your cumulative GPA, not just your major GPA, because we do ask for you to include your cumulative GPA.

JARROD FARMER: And I do see pretty often that sometimes there will be the cumulative as well as your major next to it. So it’s fine to include the major, but make sure you do include the full GPA as well. SPEAKER: Next one is from [? Duben ?]

[? Okom. ?] Can I list volunteer participations as part of my extracurricular activities? Also, does the resume have to be on one page, especially if the extracurricular activities are surplus?

JARROD FARMER: I think volunteering experience is great, regardless of how you were volunteering. We definitely love to see somebody who wants to take extra initiative, go above and beyond just what they’re supposed to be doing right now, focusing on school. We love when people are taking advantage of volunteering experience. Carol mentioned this earlier. It does not matter, to my eyes, if everything is all on one page, especially if there’s good news awaiting for me at the bottom.

So if I have to turn the page or scroll up to see the next page, that’s totally fine with me. CAROL TSUCHIYA: Right, because I’d rather have something in a readable font versus a 6-point font because you can get everything on a page. JARROD FARMER: Very good point. SPEAKER: So we’re going to take this last one just for now. But, students, please continue to use the chat feature.

You have [? Jessie ?] and Jess picking out the best questions to ask out loud.

So this one is Byron Fung. Do you like seeing personal websites listed on resumes? And if so, what do you recommend they should contain, and what are some common mistakes you’ve seen in them?

JARROD FARMER: I can take this one. Yeah, I think they’re a lot of fun. Obviously, the nature of the beast needs to be somewhat formal just so it is easy to read, like I said. Throw in your personality.

You can have a lot of fun with the resume all the same. But a website, that’s really all you. You are more than welcome to do anything that you would like.

So I will pretty much anytime I see that there’s a link on somebody’s resume, I will click it and just check it out, see if there are some extras that they couldn’t fit, whether it was photos of them participating in the hackathons or photos from their previous internships or just friends at school. All that stuff is great. I don’t really know if I’ve seen any mistakes. I think, obviously, what you want to consider here is use your common sense. You are sending this out to potential employers.

So you just want to make sure that anything that goes on there, you would also put on your resume, should it fit or should it be that interactive. But I love them. Keep them coming.

CAROL TSUCHIYA: Yeah, but links, in general, make sure it does link to the correct website or doc or what have you, because I have had situations where I’ve clicked on a link, and it was either broken or it took it me to someplace different. SPEAKER: So we’re going to take a break from the Q&A for now. Let’s assume that a student has taken all these wonderful tips and has made the resume incredibly strong. They’re ready to apply.

How do they do that? JARROD FARMER: Carol? CAROL TSUCHIYA: Yes, so what they would go ahead and do is go on to our website, which is– it’s up here.

You can see it–, and go ahead and search for the roles that best fit your background experience and interests. Remember to upload your resume and your transcripts. Unofficial is completely fine. We do not require an official transcript. And then click Submit. Just to let you know if you’re interested in software engineering internship roles, we are now recruiting for our summer 2017 software engineering roles.

That application period will be open until December 2, as well as our Engineering Practicum summer internship role. Our full-time software engineering university grad roles are open year round, so you can apply to that role at any time. SPEAKER: We hope to see a lot of applications come in.

Let’s see, do we have any more questions? We do. Are you ready for a few more? JARROD FARMER: Yes. CAROL TSUCHIYA: Yes.

SPEAKER: Awesome. So this next one is from Earl Zed. How frequently should I resubmit my resume? JARROD FARMER: So I’m going to make a couple assumptions here. Maybe you went through the process.

I hate this conversation, no matter if it’s hypothetical. Let’s just say things didn’t pan out. Typically, we do recommend waiting a year to apply to a similar position. So let’s say hypothetically you were applying for a full-time software engineering role.

Obviously, we have several of those listed. We would recommend that you do give yourself a year to come back, build yourself up, show us that this next time can be different. But I do believe for other roles, if you’re looking at APM or even an internship, as long as you’re eligible and returning back to your school once the internship is complete, things like that you would be eligible to apply for right away.

SPEAKER: Next question is [? Deepthi ?] [? Thotokoura ?].

When is it a correct time to apply for roles, before graduation or after graduation? JARROD FARMER: I think that’s a pretty subjective question just because I think the only blanket statement I feel comfortable making is whenever you feel most comfortable. You know yourself better than anyone else. Google does offer a lot of great study resources online for you to take a look at. When you really feel like you have a good grasp of those materials and you’re meeting the minimum qualifications, hopefully most of the preferred ones as well, I think that is really when it’s a great opportunity to apply. I don’t really think there’s a solid rule of thumb, whether before or after graduation.

It’s all up to you and when you feel best. CAROL TSUCHIYA: And then if you’re applying for an internship, obviously, as I stated, you have to be a continuing student. So the deadline to apply for our summer internships on the technical side, on the software engineering side, is December 2. So there is kind of a hard deadline to make sure you submit your resume before then.

SPEAKER: Next question is from Marco Hernandez. Most of my job experience has been restaurant-based, although I am a CS major. Should I add relevant information about them, or leave them off entirely? CAROL TSUCHIYA: So it depends. If you have four years of restaurant experience, you definitely want to include that to show that you have been employed. But also kind of highlight your CS projects, right?

So highlight the technical, but definitely include a short blurb about that you were employed for four years in the restaurant industry. JARROD FARMER: I would second that, for sure. SPEAKER: Next one is [? Nayim Tong. ?]

What are the qualities you look for in prospective employees? JARROD FARMER: There’s a lot. I, myself, I love it when I take a look at a resume and I just get excited.

It’s well-formatted. There’s a lot of fun stuff. There’s some personality to it. But nobody is supposed to be the same as somebody else.

So I wouldn’t want to say that, oh, I like this about somebody, but I don’t like it about this other individual. I think when you put your best foot forward and you get us excited about the process and working with you, I think that’s when that feeling becomes very mutual and we can’t wait to just move forward to those next steps, hopefully, with you. SPEAKER: Next one is from Alex Craig. Would you recommend having a relevant coursework section on my resume?

CAROL TSUCHIYA: Definitely. I see that at the top, usually. It’s usually under– I think people list it right under their school. They’ll put relevant coursework, and they’ll indicate so we know.

Especially if you’re currently taking it and it’s not in your transcripts, definitely include that. JARROD FARMER: And every now again, we will see individuals who don’t necessarily have a CS major, or possibly it’s just a minor. But they have a strong passion for it. So point is, it’s OK if you haven’t taken too many relevant courses if you are showing enough initiative outside of that, too. SPEAKER: Next one is from Nicholas [?

Pieros. ?] Is it a good idea to include a major accomplishment, such as becoming an Eagle Scout, even if it happened before attending college?

CAROL TSUCHIYA: Oh, definitely. I see that all the time. You should be very proud of the awards. I know that Eagle Scout, it takes many, many, many years to become an Eagle Scout. So I would definitely include it.

SPEAKER: And it looks like that is our last question for today. You guys were in the hot seat. You did great. Thank you. Oh, sorry, last one– Denise [? Sagendorf ?]

asked, can you please talk about projects, how to showcase that during an interview? That’s a good one to close on. JARROD FARMER: Yeah.

I always like to think of interviews like if you want to speak to a professor at school. Obviously, all of our engineers here have a lot of similarities, but they’re also very different. So I think just kind of opening up that conversation with that specific engineer during your interview is great. It’s not a bad idea just to kick off the conversation yourself and mention, hey, I’ve done this before, and I’m really proud of it.

And I’m sure the engineer will give you a great response, and you can have that back-and-forth conversation with them. But every person here at Google is very different, so I think that conversation could vary quite a bit. But, yeah, absolutely, start off on the right foot.

Give yourself that pat on the back. Talk about your projects and things that you’re proud of. SPEAKER: All right, again, thank you both so much. Students, I hope you did RSVP, if you didn’t. If you see that tomorrow’s session looks similar, that’s because we’re presenting the exact same things, so no need to tune in.

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