This post is long overdue but after speaking with countless people ever since I completed my internship at Google in September 2016, I thought it would be a good idea to list a few reasons why I believe I landed my Google internship. Please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive – just a summary of the things I did a few years leading up to summer 2016.
Pray: As a young, Christian lady, I am a firm believer in “what is meant for you will not pass you by.” After facing a myriad of rejection for scholarships and internships, I have come to really believe that if God really wants you to be at a particular place, He will make it happen. Some people call this luck and playing their cards right but I believe God placed me at Google for me to learn a very important lesson: there is always room for improvement. You can read more about this lesson here and here.
Plan Ahead: During my freshman summer, I applied for Google’s Building Opportunities for Leadership & Development (BOLD) Discovery Program and it was a great way to learn about the company specifically as a Black female student in a non-technical major. The program was an all-expenses paid two-day program in their NYC office and I participated in workshops, enhanced my professional skill set and gained knowledge on what exactly I needed to do in order to succeed in the tech industry. After participating in BOLD Discovery and staying in touch with the recruiters I met from the program, I was invited to apply for Google’s Student Ambassador (GSA) Program (currently going through restructuring) for my university. After going through an extensive application process, I was selected as a GSA and during the summit at Google’s headquarters in California, I made a covenant with God and a mental goal to return to the HQ next summer for an actual internship – not just for a two-day summit.
Strategize: As you can imagine, Google receives thousands of applications every recruiting cycle for a few spots (apparently it is even more competitive than getting into Harvard). When the time came for me to apply for an internship position, I was confused on which direction to take as they had several opportunities for business students – notably a Business Intern position and a BOLD Intern position. Since I already participated in the BOLD Discovery Program, I decided to submit an application for the BOLD Intern position.
After receiving the internship offer, someone I know stated that the reason why I probably got the internship was because the BOLD Intern position was just to increase their diversity numbers and quite frankly, I did not care and I still do not care whether I was “just a number to increase their diversity ratio.” I believe one should explore all options presented to them and if that means applying to a company as a “diversity candidate”, then by all means, use that opportunity because at the end of the day, it is not about where you start but where you end up. Also, I have found that when you apply to a company’s diversity internship track, you are exposed to more senior executives and personalized programming and in my experience, everyone you will meet really wants to see you succeed and stay at the company long-term.
Personal Brand: Even before applying to any position, I believe it is extremely important to craft your narrative and brand yourself professionally. For me, that meant engaging in activities and projects I am passionate about instead of just filling the white space on my resume. Notably, when I applied to the BOLD Intern position in October 2015, I was heavily focused on my food business – Samuella’s Kitchen, and I used Google’s Blogger as my platform. During my interview, one of my interviewers asked what my favorite Google product was and the first thing that came to mind was: Blogger. I was able to share my anecdote on how I have been able to connect with people all over the world who wanted to try Ghanaian dishes but really did not know where to start and how I am using my food blog to “save one kitchen at a time.” This personal anecdote made perfect sense for me as it was very precise and true – not the fluff piece some people usually make up.
As part of my personal brand, I spend a good amount of time ‘googling’ myself. Yes, I Google myself a lot. This is an exercise I started when I was in middle school because I wanted to see what would come up when someone searched for my name. Since almost all employers will search for you on some social media platform, I would advise that you engage in this exercise and do some spring cleaning – internet style! If you see something that does not really speak to your personal brand, get rid of it. Just as you want to make sure that your social media presence is clean, you also want to make sure that you actually have a social media presence. If you are not on LinkedIn (and there is no reason why you should not be, *side eye*), you should at least have a personal blog/website. I have met recruiters who did not offer someone a job simply because they found it odd that the applicant had no social media presence. Yes, this actually happened!
You can read more about my experience at Google here! As recruiting season is slowly coming to an end, I hope that you have gained something useful. I am always readily available to answer any questions not covered in this post but please keep in mind that I am not a recruiter for Google so I cannot pass your resume along – sorry. If you would like to connect, simply comment below or email me: email@example.com. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and on YouTube.
Stay adventurous, dear friends, and always remember to stay golden. All ways, always.