When I opened this book I assumed that my reaction to it would be somewhere in the spectrum from ‘meh - another useless would-be advice book’, to ‘I hate this and everything about it’. I thought the latter was a possibility because in the blurb photo the author looks like an earnest Young Republican (not a good thing in my world), and early in the book we learn that she comes from a wealthy family: 1/3 of her high school classmates went on to ivy league schools; her mother is a CEO. In other words: a privileged one percenter. Oh, and she’s writing this book based on 3 summer internships at Microsoft and Apple, and three years employment at Google.

But much to my surprise I found this to be a really excellent overall guide to getting hired at top tech companies. She offers a lot of specific practical advice (aimed at people in high school and college, mostly) about how to prepare oneself to be employable: focus on a relatively narrow area and really accomplish something in that domain; be really good at what you do; make sure that what you do is relevant to your future career.

She also stresses the importance of being prepared for the phone screen and on-site interviews. Prepare; practice; have a story for each statement in your resume (which implies actually knowing what’s in your resume when you go to the interview - amazing how many people don’t); prepare technically. Her idea of a ‘preparation grid’ is really interesting.

She also does a nice job of walking through typical technical questions for software engineers, and demonstrates five techniques for thinking about such problems.

I would probably give this book five stars if I didn’t have lingering doubts about that whole Young Republican thing.



Book cover

Metadata Info

  • Title: The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Any Top Tech Company
  • Author: Gayle Laakmann McDowell
  • Published: 2011
  • ISBN: 0470927623
  • Buy: Amazon search
  • Check out: Seattle library
  • Rating: 4.0 stars