Google recruiters explain how to demonstrate 'past experience' on your resume - even if you've never had a job

·3 min read
GettyImages Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the 2019 Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 07, 2019 in Mountain View, California.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
  • Applications for Google's 2022 internship programs are now open.

  • Two recruiters gave resume tips at a workshop for graduates on October 19.

  • They said past experience is a "must have" - but it doesn't have to be formal work experience.

Getting a job at Google is not easy - but new advice from internal recruiters ahead of the tech giant's internships might help.

Applications for Google's 2022 internship cohort opened on October 19, and close on November 26.

Over the years, Insider has spoken to current and former Googlers about how to land a role. They say being a good collaborator and being curious are some of the traits the company values.

But you also need to make sure your resume stands out. Ahead of the deadline for the new internships, two recruiters from Google's university programs team - Katarzyna Kamińska, university programs specialist, and Emily Salkey, program manager for talent outreach - hosted a panel at the recent Black Tech Fest on October 19, which was run by the non-profit Colorintech.

They shared tips on how graduates should structure their resumes.

Past experience is a "must have"

Keep in mind that recruiters are looking for specific information, most notably your past experience, Kamińska said.

But this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to have lots of internships or formal work experience.

"Experience can come in many forms and we are absolutely aware of that," she said.

If you're applying for tech positions, for example, recruiters need to see your knowledge of programming languages. Relevant computer science projects, student activities, research you've participated in, hackathons, or class projects could all count, she said.

You should also include your education, and date of graduation.

"If you're still studying and don't yet have a date, you can include the 'expected date' of graduation," she said.

There is no perfect format

A recruiter has around 30 to 40 seconds to look at your resume, so make sure that it is clear and concise, Kamińska said. She recommended a PDF of no more than two pages.

As for the exact format, "there is no one template that Google would encourage applicants to use," she said. Use whatever template you're comfortable with, as long as it can convey the key information quickly.

Showcase your transferable skills

It's good to show what type of person you are, Kamińska said - so include volunteering experience, awards, or transferable skills you're particularly proud of.

Transferable skills can be ones from past jobs, volunteering hobbies, or elsewhere, Kamińska said.

"As an example, if you are working in retail, you can basically think about what you have learned and how you can utilize this in your role at Google," she said.

Use the 'X-Y-Z formula' to highlight skills

Use the X-Y-Z formula pioneered by Google's former vice president of people operations, Laslo Bock, to highlight your skills on your resume, Salkey said. It stands for:

Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].

"This is a really impactful way of demonstrating what you did in each experience, why you did that, and how it was impactful," Salkey said.

Using numbers can also help to demonstrate impact, Salkey said.

As an example, you might write on your resume:

Participated in a city hackathon, working on a facial recognition project.

But this doesn't showcase technical skills, Salkey said. A better example would be:

Won second place out of 40 teams in the city hackathon, building facial recognition software that helps detect human emotions, using Python and Java.

It shows the recruiter exactly why it was important, and highlights specific coding skills.

There are also more general mistakes to avoid on a resume, according to careers experts. These include lying about your experience, using present tense for past jobs, and including the word "phone" in front of your number.

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