Otters learn how to secure internships with Google

California State University, Monterey Bay held a Resume Workshop and Building Your Career event, both presented by Google on Sept. 22.

The presentation was available online and in-person for students, with opportunities in both modes to ask questions and get direct answers from Google mentors.

Emceed by Google Diversity Equity and Inclusiveness (DEI) Program Manager Kwame Webster, the event was catered to students who are preparing or are currently submitting applications for internships and full-time opportunities.

The first portion of the presentation covered Google’s values, general resume tips, a resume deep-dive, “Your Career at Google,” and a Q&A. 

Beginning with their values, “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

This motto is meant to empower students who hope to one day intern or work full-time at Google. Google is seeking a workforce representative of the audience they wish to serve. 

Moving into general resume tips, it is essential to know your audience. 

“Let’s say you were applying to a job as a software engineer,” proposed Webster. “The first person who looks at your resume is NOT going to be a software engineer – it’s gonna be someone like me who has some understanding of the technology but will not know everything (about software engineering).”

In this situation, the applicant should prioritize using specific keywords and information that will allow their resume to be smoothly passed between the initial screener to an actual person in the field. 

An applicant needs to know how to choose the right words and phrasing in their descriptions so that their resume is comprehensive and impressive to both the initial screener and the professional in the field they are applying for. 

Your resume should constantly evolve, showcase impact and speak to your brand. 

A constantly evolving resume is continually growing and changing. 

It is smart for students to keep a very long master resume detailing all information that could be relevant to their career and all other future applications. 

However, a resume should only be one page long when applying for jobs and internships.

The one-page limit allows for a more visually appealing and concise resume and forces an applicant to think about what is relevant to the position they are applying for. 

It is also essential for your resume to demonstrate impact. 

When writing your resume, ask yourself, “How have you changed things? Are you maintaining something, or are you building/growing something?” 

You also want to have a brand that can be seen in your resume without directly stating it. A brand should function like a cohesive theme throughout your resume. 

An example of a brand can be enjoying working in a specific field like health care.

Without directly stating, “I am someone who likes to work in health care,” a person can still exemplify this theme by having a work history in health care or joining health care-related organizations.

Whatever your brand is, your resume should reflect that as a unified narrative. 

As a general rule of thumb, resumes should be one page long in PDF format. They should be bullet-pointed and in a consistent style throughout. Resumes should also include links to GitHub, LinkedIn, or StackOverflow, along with their up-to-date contact info.

It is also essential to maximize the minimum qualifications that are listed in the job description. Some companies use AI to screen through resumes that can automatically reject an application that does not record the essential capabilities that they are looking for.

To avoid this, tailor your resume to use the same language and key words as the job posting. 

Generally speaking, a resume must have an education, experience, and leadership/activities category. It can also be beneficial to have sections for awards/honors and extracurriculars if there is enough space on the page to warrant them.

Education should be the first section of your resume because you are a student!

The education section should include the post-secondary school attended, intended major/minor/degree, graduation year and month, GPA, relevant coursework and technical skills.

Including the month and the year of graduation is essential because it can give you an advantage over other applicants if your graduation date is more convenient for the job.

Students should also include their cumulative or significant GPA, depending on which is higher.

In the experience section of your resume, focus on action words. Action words should be combined with metrics to demonstrate results and impact.

Google recommends using Laszlo’s formula for experience:
“Accomplished [X], as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].”

This formula helps you effectively demonstrate what you did, how you did it and why exactly it was impactful.

Here is an example of an experience description that doesn’t meet the mark:

  • Participated in a city hackathon working on a facial recognition project

It doesn’t mention what was contributed or why it is important.

Now, here is a similar example, but this one uses Laszlo’s formula:

  • Won second place out of 40 teams in the City Hackathon, building facial recognition software that helps detect human emotions, utilizing Python and Java.

This example showcases an accomplishment, skills and impact.

It is also important to only include relevant work experience when applying for jobs and internships.

When tailoring your resume, you should be cutting out work experience that does not pertain to the relevant position to keep it concise.

If you do not have much work experience or even none, broaden your idea of work experience to just experience. The experience that you can use in this section is not limited to just work.

Relevant experience could be experienced in student organizations and aational society chapters, research opportunities, teaching assistantships, tutoring, programming competitions and personal projects.

Projects are a great addition to a resume. They showcase autonomy and the drive to pursue and complete self-guided assignments. You should also try to showcase impact with Laszlo’s formula when listing projects. 

In your resume’s Leadership/Activities category, the goal should be to tell the employer what excites you.

Examples of things that can be put in this category are clubs, organizations, publications, papers, patents, conference presentations, research opportunities, open source projects, volunteering and developmental programs.

“Your resume should be able to tell a narrative so that when I get in front of you for an interview, I should be able to follow down point-by-point and see who you are, what you are doing, and where you can bring value to the company,” said Webster. 

The event discussed how students could set themselves up for their careers at Google. However, the advice can be taken and applied to any job with any company.

Webster invited students to visit google.com/students to find roles at Google that best suit their career goals and to upload their resumes and transcript. 

Live and on-demand virtual events are also available and offered by Google to help students build their skills. These can be found on g.co.careersonair

The second portion of this event, “Building Your Career,” was geared toward students interested in learning about how to maximize each year of school to ensure that you’re industry-ready for internships and full-time opportunities.

Webster gave students a year-by-year look at what it takes to build your career, focusing more on technical roles.

In year 1, students should be taking at least one CS+ and math course, taking up an object-oriented programming language, building foundational understandings of logic and learning how to read and write code.

Webster advises students who are not looking at more technical roles to adjust the information so that it is relevant for them. For example, if you are in business, take one business and one math course. 

Students in year one should also be exploring clubs or societies, programming competitions, web/mobile development, personal projects, online competitions and applying for developmental technical programs.

In year 2, students should take a data structures and algorithms course, be proficient in at least one programming language, have a personal/collaborative project, consider attending a conference or summit, participate in mock interviews and apply for internships.

In year 3, students should have a strong understanding of data structures and algorithms, a solid proficiency in more than one programming language, and a strong knowledge of operating systems. They should know some software design and should have industry-level internship experience.

In year 4, students should be ready and confident. They should have skills from the industry, relevant experience, advice and referrals from former interns and alumni and focus their time on interview preparation.

While this event mainly focuses on software engineering, there are a lot of opportunities in tech beyond software engineering, such as product management, user experience, security engineering, network engineering, hardware engineering, site reliability engineering and more.

When interviewing with Google, you will be put through a four-step process. First, the application submission and resume review, then two to three Google Meet interviews, feedback collection and finally the offer.

A Google interview will generally be a General Cognitive Assessment (GCA) Interview. 

A GCA interview will evaluate your problem-solving skills and give insight into your work style. 

“We want to understand your work style,” explained Webster. “If you’re given a question and don’t know anything, are you panicking, or are you developing a plan with key steps?”

These interviews aim to get an idea of how an applicant thinks, their relationship with leadership, their role-related knowledge and if they bring integrity into their work. 

Employers want to know that you understand a problem, have a strategy for preparing and how you identify and support robust solutions. 

Communication is also essential. An applicant needs to know how to take very complex technical ideas and break them down to be understood by an audience that may not have as much of an understanding of the technical field. 

Remember that you are allowed to verbalize your thoughts during an interview. You do not need to answer every question immediately. You can restate the question or ask the interviewer to repeat it to avoid misunderstandings. 

Do not worry too much about giving the “right answer.” The interviewer is more interested in your thought process. It can also be beneficial to come prepared with backup questions relevant to the position you are applying for.

Doing tricks like this during an interview can help to demonstrate your communication skills and boost your chances at getting the position.
For available opportunities at Google, visit: google.com/students

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