Applying to Google: Tips on resumes, mentorships, and interviewing for veterans and military spouses

Hi! I’m Mike. Army veteran, Googler and one of the leaders of Google VetNet, Google’s internal network of veterans, military spouses, and allies. The most frequent question I receive from other veterans
and military spouses is “How do I land a job at Google?” The following video will
walk you through the recommended steps you can take to best position yourself
for a role at Google. Here’s your chance to hear directly from Googler veterans
and military spouses in how to find the right role for you, the best way to apply,
and how to prepare for your interview. While these tips focus on Google’s
application process, we think you can apply them to any company in any
industry. To help you find a role at Google, let’s first discuss aligning your interests and skills before looking at job listings. Here are some questions to
get you started: What jobs and hobbies have you done in the past? Review both
your civilian and military experience. Try to identify what you did and did not
enjoy doing. What skills did you use? Perhaps they involved gaining support,
coordinating efforts across many stakeholders, or managing a project. Look
for themes. Perhaps you enjoy making plans and organizing, reading and writing,
helping people, analyzing data, or doing visual art and design. Maybe you prefer
collaborating closely with others or working at your desk most of the day. Do
you consider yourself a numbers person, a storyteller, an operations expert, or
something else? What are you passionate about? Pay attention to news stories that
capture your interest. What do you enjoy reading about in your free time? This can
yield insight into which industries or technologies inspire you and might breed
success at Google. What would your ideal job be like? Envision who you work with,
what you’re working on where you are and how you spend your time. Are there any
limitations in your transition? Consider things like geographic restrictions or
gaps and skills listed as minimum qualifications. Now that you have a sense
of what drives you and your ideal role, check out the Google Careers Site to find
your next position. While engineering and technology roles are core to driving our
businesses, there are a number of non-technical
business roles that do not require experience in computer science. We’re
always looking for future Googlers in sales, program and project management,
operations, marketing, finance, legal, and more. If you have a technical background
and enjoy building products for everyone check out our engineering roles. If
you’re more into identifying problems and exploring solutions, product
management may be a good fit. If you like organizing and coordinating efforts take
a look at technical program management which helps scope engineering work and
track progress across various stakeholders. These are just some of the
technical roles available and we encourage you to review others. For more,
subscribe to the Life at Google channel on YouTube and watch related videos such
as Meet Product Managers at Google. We also encourage you to use Google’s
military occupation code job search tool simply type “jobs for veterans” into
Google, enter your military occupation code, and see a list of open jobs at
various companies that value your military experience. How you choose to tell your story to Google, the recruiter, and the hiring manager is an integral
step in advancing your candidacy. Before you do anything, ensure that you have
translated the military experience on your resume into language that a non-veteran recruiter can understand. Terms like “Brigade” and “Executive Officer” may be common in the military, but we encourage you to think about what those would be
in the corporate workforce. Instead of “Brigade” you can say “Organization” instead of “Executive Officer,” “Deputy Manager.” Instead of Army you can say “The best
branch ever, beat Navy!” While you know your experience best,
there are numerous organizations that can offer assistance, including the USO.
Google offers resources for resume assistance including a veterans resume
course co-developed with the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition
and Integration. Be sure to visit for this as well
as other support channels additionally we hold annual veteran and
military spouse resume workshops around the country every year that you’re
welcome to attend. There, you can have your resume reviewed
by a Googler in a personalized one-on-one session. Once your resume is
squared away and you understand the type of roles that would be a good fit for
you, you can apply online and we’ll cover that in more detail later. There’s also
other approaches including building relationships and connecting with people
who can assist you along your journey. Here’s how to do that: First find a
mentor. Mentorship offers great value in paving a way to a company like Google.
There are numerous veteran and spouse focused mentorship organizations that
can facilitate these connections. For mentorship opportunities and networking
events for veteran and military spouse communities, look to organizations like
these. Be sure to research these on your own, find the best fit, and sign up. Then
it’s time to network. Networking is a powerful tool to meet new people
understand their business challenges and identify how you can add value. But what
does it mean to network? Networking is not just rubbing elbows at cocktail
parties and exchanging business cards. Rather it’s building meaningful
relationships and exchanging ideas with people you don’t normally interact with.
You can do this in a number of ways: Attend meetups, sign up for classes,
attend events for organizations like FourBlock, Operation Code, and Bunker Labs. Or
do what I did: Research and message veterans and military spouses on
LinkedIn. They offer a free one-year subscription of LinkedIn Premium to
veterans and spouses, in addition to a year of LinkedIn Learning to learn hard
skills you might need for a new role. If interested in building your IT skills,
Grow With Google also provides an IT Professional Certificate course for
veterans and military spouses you can pursue for free. When reaching out to
people you don’t know ensure the message is short, to the point, and ends with a
call to action. Here is a bad example of an outbound message. It’s too informal,
doesn’t convey valuable information ,and doesn’t lead anywhere. Compare it with a
great example that introduces the messenger, why she’s reaching out, and the
requested next step. If you end up scheduling a chat with a Google employee,
do your research, come prepared with thoughtful questions about his or her
specific business team, and end with a call to action. Perhaps
you want them to introduce you to more people on their team, or ask if he or she
is comfortable referring you for a role you found on the career site. Have the
objective of the meeting in mind before you meet with the Googler. Here’s a list
of starter questions to bring to your informational chat. One possible outcome
of building a relationship with mentors and Google employees is that you could
potentially receive a referral for a specific role at Google.
While referrals aren’t the only way to get hired at Google, finding a Google
employee to vouch for you can be helpful in surfacing your application. To
summarize: prepare your resume, find the right role, and apply online. Once you’ve
applied online a recruiter will review your background and hopefully advance
you to a phone screen interview. Now it’s time to really prep. The Google interview
process may seem daunting, but relax. We don’t ask impossible brain teasers or
trick questions. For most roles you will likely first conduct a phone interview
with a recruiter, where you should be prepared to walk through your resume,
discuss your background, and explore your interest in the role. After a successful
recruiter interview, you may be scheduled to chat with someone on the hiring team.
If advanced again, expect three to five more interviews from a wide range of
Googlers. Throughout this process you should be evaluated on four criteria:
Role related knowledge, how well you know the components of the role, general
cognitive ability, the ability to process on-the-fly and pull together disparate
bits of information, leadership, and Googliness. For more information on what
those mean please view the How We Hire at Google YouTube video included in this
caption. During your interviews, expect to be asked two types of questions:
Behavioral and Hypothetical. Behavioral are those “tell me about a time…” questions
that offer you the opportunity to share some of your previous experiences and
the impact you’ve had in those prior roles. Hypothetical questions are “imagine
if…” questions that evaluate your ability to think on your feet, ask clarifying
questions, and approach the problem in a structured way. When preparing for
behavioral questions we recommend you research common interview questions.
Think about two to three stories of each type of behavioral question and
rehearsed them. Each answer should follow the STAR format: What was the situation?
What was the task given to you? What would the actions you took individually?
And what were the qualitative and quantitative results? When crafting your
answers it’s important to note that there is real power in telling your
story. As veterans, we defend the country and do amazing things that speak to our
resilience and character. These are important traits to many prospective
employers. Remember, while you convey your impactful stories from the military
ensure you adjust the language so that anyone can understand the story, just as
you did for your resume. For more technical interviews, such as those for
product manager roles, there are a host of resources that offer insight. We
recommend books like Cracking the PM Interview, in addition to our How We Hire
web page, which offers further guidance. For example, you can find sample coding
questions on sites like CodeLab, Quora, and Stack Overflow, and the book Cracking
the Coding Interview may also be helpful. Please also check out the Preparing to
Apply or Interview at Google playlist on the Life at Google YouTube channel, as it
contains invaluable advice to guide your preparation. Equipped with your stories,
backgrounds, and practice answers, you should consider researching your
interviewers and the business areas they work in. A lot can be found online. For
each interviewer, try to know what is their educational and career background?
How long have they been at Google and on what teams? Have they published anything
or spoken publicly at an event? Have they worked on an interesting project? You
should also research the team they work on. Have they made any announcements or
launched any products recently? Have you tried those products and have thoughts
on how to improve them? It’s helpful to run an initial SWOT analysis on the team
noting the product strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and threats
from current and potential competitors. But don’t solely focus on the team that
you’re interviewing for or the teams of your interviewers. You should also think
about the larger Alphabet portfolio. Armed with this research, come to each
interview with three to four topical and thought-provoking questions. This will demonstrate your curiosity, research, and knowledge of the
space. Here are some good examples of questions to ask interviewers and here
are some bad ones. A good barometer for these is, can you easily Google any
answers? if so, don’t ask them. Afterwards, ensure you send each of your
interviewers a personalized thank-you note within 24 hours of the interview,
either directly to the interviewers or through your recruiter. These can be
short and sweet but it’s always helpful to include a sentence or two about a
specific topic you discussed. Lastly, relax and have fun. Let your personality shine
through and project confidence. Your experience in the military or as a
military spouse is valued at Google. You possess the skills and experience we’re
looking for and we’re thrilled to consider you. We hope this video was
informative and helpful in providing you tactical steps to help you land a job at
Google. Visit our Veterans Career Site at for more information. Good luck and see you at Noogler training!

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