Commentary: Career Advice from Google Worth Repeating

On Sunday, April 20, the New York Times published and Op-Ed from columnist Thomas L. Friedman titled, "How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2."  The article included highlights from an interview he conducted with Laszlo Bock who is in charge of hiring for Google.  The article included two key pieces of information. 

The first pertained to selecting a good field of study:

“The first and most important thing is to be explicit and willful in making the decisions about what you want to get out of this investment in your education.” It’s a huge investment of time, effort and money and people should think “incredibly hard about what they’re getting in return.”

Our employer partners would wholeheartedly agree.  College majors are not all created equal.  Just because a professor got a major approved by his/her academic senate doesn't mean it will equip someone for success in the workplace.  Students who are counting on their college degree to open doors to employment upon graduation need to do a ruthless evaluation of the costs and benefits of college programs, including understanding the employment prospects of those who have recently graduated with a degree in the field.   

The second piece of advice pertained to how to write a good resume:

“The key,” Bock said, “is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their résumés.”


The employers we interact with would certainly agree a resume that focuses on accomplishments instead of tasks would be stronger and help a candidate stand out in what could be a crowded field of candidates.  Plus, a candidate who goes further as Bock suggested by providing comparisons and showing how a particular accomplishment was achieved can further distinguish him or herself from other applicants who focus more on job titles and responsibilities.  This also illustrates the importance of work experience and why it is important for new graduates to have accomplishments to accompany their degrees.


First time jobseekers who have questions about how to get their first job and succeed in the workplace should check out is a site that provides career advice from hiring representatives from leading employers.  HR Policy Foundation joins with employers to provide the advice for free.  Students who have additional questions about fields of study or resumes should visit the site for some great advice.