Why work for Google?
Google, along with Microsoft and Meta, might be the pinnacle of tech jobs - and with more than 3 million applications received every year, you wouldn’t be the only technology graduate to have the innovative giant in your sights as a place to work.
Staff at Google are referred to as ‘Googlers’, and with a very competitive compensation package that includes a whole host of perks, becoming a Googler means getting involved in a multinational conglomerate that maintains a small, family business feel.
Some of the benefits on offer for Googlers include:
- Office campus locations with on-site food, fitness and wellness centers, and spaces designed for relaxing, collaborating, and working.
- Financial benefits including retirement plans, medical, dental, and vision insurance plus paid time off for vacations, sick days, and volunteering
- A hybrid work model in most positions
- Family support including parental leave and backup childcare
- Paid-for internet and mobile phones
- Dog-friendly offices
Of course, aside from the perks on offer, working for Google means being part of one of the most successful technology and engineering firms in the world, and being at the forefront of innovations that we use every single day. With developments in AI capabilities, cloud computing, and even virtual reality, Google is at the top of its game in the tech world, and it is no surprise that getting a job there is no easy feat.
Before you jump into your application, it is a good idea to understand exactly what type of roles are on offer, the skills that are particularly in demand, and the best ways to get noticed by the recruitment team when you do apply.
Career opportunities at Google
Google offices exist across all the major continents, including North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia - so there is likely to be a campus close enough. However, Google has recognized that some roles can be remote, so even living too far from campus might not be a deal breaker.
In terms of technology and engineering roles, there are so many job titles to choose from at Google, including:
- Software Engineer
- Product Manager
- Technical Solutions
- Electrical Engineer
- Network Engineer
- Industrial Designer
- Visual Engineer
- Technical Writer
- Data Scientist
Of course, with a company the size of Google, there is more to the job opportunities than just technology, with roles in other business areas including:
- Business Strategy
- Marketing and Communications
- Sales, Service, and Support
While the volume of applications received by Google every year might seem overwhelming, almost 200,000 people are currently employed by Alphabet, Google’s parent company - so there are a lot of opportunities. Google posts hundreds of open jobs every week, too.
Skills you need to get a job at Google
While each advertised job will have specific skills and qualifications listed as part of the job description, some skills are needed no matter what area of the business you are applying for, and many of these are so-called ‘soft skills’. Some of the things that Google recruitment teams are looking for go into what makes the perfect Googler, including personality traits, culture fit, and mindset - which are inherent aptitudes and competencies which make the innovative, collaborative and diverse ‘family’ feel of Google such a draw for applications.
If you want to be a Googler, then you need to demonstrate:
- Intellectual humility
They are looking for applicants who are willing to learn and ask questions, are energetic and enthusiastic, and don’t just accept the status quo. Diversity is a big thing for Google, and although they are making great strides with it, they want to hire people who can bring a unique perspective to the workplace and improve the culture with their lived experiences.
In terms of technical skills, the usual suspects like software engineering and project management come out on top, alongside expert knowledge of programming languages like Python, SQL, C++, and Java.
More recent skills, like AI, cloud computing, and machine learning are essential to many technologies and engineering roles at Google, as are debugging, data analysis, and product management.
Creative ways to get a tech job at Google
Build a strong online presence
Creating a website or a blog that focuses on technology is a great way to build an online presence, especially if you are sharing new information or an interesting point of view.
This online presence makes you searchable (on Google, naturally) and can help you make a name for yourself as an expert in your field. If you have a specialism, which most tech graduates do, then focus on that in your blog or website, add more information about innovations, and keep learning and sharing.
Google hires the brightest and the best, and by creating a reliable, knowledgeable, and passionate online presence you can elevate yourself as one to watch in the field.
The perfect CV
For almost every role at Google, the first contact that the recruitment team will have with you as a candidate is through your CV, which means it has to be perfectly pitched.
According to Google, all resumes are read by real humans, and they are looking for a match to the required qualifications, skills, and competencies for the role. If you can demonstrate that you have exactly what is required - and can prove it - then you are more likely to get through this early round of the application process.
Keep your CV short and to the point; make use of bullet points and only share the information that is valid and valuable for the recruitment team. When you are short on space (aim for one page if you can), it makes sense to highlight your work-related skills rather than mention that you enjoy bodyboarding in your spare time.
When thinking about the skills, competencies, qualifications, and experience that you are going to mention, be sure to give objective data points. Instead of stating that one of your projects was to create a new booking system, make a bullet point that you created, tested, and deployed a new booking system that reduced missed appointments by 87%, for example.
Don't make it fancy, don't add pictures or tables - make it easy for the recruitment team to pick out the important details so they can choose you to move forward with.
Get involved in the open source community
Another way to get noticed is to get involved in open source software and technology, If you are writing excellent code for something, or have come up with a nifty piece of software or a cool app, then sharing it as open source not only shows that you have the skills, it also shows you have the intellectual humility that Google is passionate about.
Even if you aren't writing code, get involved with learning to use open source software, and make yourself an expert if you can so you can support others, too.
The open source community is an essential space for software and app developers, so you will be right at home there if you are a wannabe Googler.
If you do not have relevant work experience in a big-name technology firm, then freelance projects can offer you valuable experience and a chance to demonstrate what you can do.
It is up to you if you want to charge for these projects, do them as a favor, or just ask for a review or feedback, but the more you do the more you can show Google that you have the direct experience that they are asking for.
These projects might be making a new app for a local business, creating a website, performing some data analysis, or designing software using your specialty.
Never underestimate the power of the network - one of the best ways to get noticed by Google is to be recommended by a current employee. With so many people working for Google now, the chances are that someone in your LinkedIn network is likely to have them listed as an employer, and it is worth reaching out.
Of course, if it is someone that you do not know well, or have never met, then don’t just ask outright for an introduction - you can ask for some tips to get you started instead. If it is someone that you know well, they probably won't hesitate to recommend you for a role, which will help your chances.
Google often attends employment fairs at colleges and universities, so if you have a chance to attend one of those make sure you spend some time talking to the recruiter, find out as much as you can about the available roles, and ask good questions to demonstrate that you are interested in the jobs.
This is an important thing to remember - you might not get a job on your first attempt, but there is no reason not to try again. If you aren't successful this time, apply again in a couple of months, or look for something else. You can apply for more than one role at a time, but it is a good idea to make sure they are all roles that you are qualified for and can match the required skills in the job description.
Some of the best Googlers had to apply more than once for their dream job - and you can too.
Remember, if you don’t get past the initial CV review, then you have the chance to rework and reword your resume to match the job role better and try again. You can also use this time to upskill - the march of innovation means that there is always an opportunity to learn something new or update your current knowledge, and this will help you show your determination, passion, and a real willingness to learn and improve.