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Cracking the Tech Career: Insider Advice on Landing a Job at Google, Microsoft, Apple, or any Top Tech Company



Cracking the Tech Career: Insider Advice on Landing a Job at Google, Microsoft, Apple, or any Top Tech Company

Gayle Laakmann McDowell

ISBN: 978-1-118-96808-6 September 2014 288 Pages


Become the applicant Google can't turn down

Cracking the Tech Career is the job seeker's guide to landing a coveted position at one of the top tech firms. A follow-up to The Google Resume, this book provides new information on what these companies want, and how to show them you have what it takes to succeed in the role. Early planners will learn what to study, and established professionals will discover how to make their skillset and experience set them apart from the crowd. Author Gayle Laakmann McDowell worked in engineering at Google, and interviewed over 120 candidates as a member of the hiring committee – in this book, she shares her perspectives on what works and what doesn't, what makes you desirable, and what gets your resume saved or deleted.

Apple, Microsoft, and Google are the coveted companies in the current job market. They field hundreds of resumes every day, and have their pick of the cream of the crop when it comes to selecting new hires. If you think the right alma mater is all it takes, you need to update your thinking. Top companies, especially in the tech sector, are looking for more. This book is the complete guide to becoming the candidate they just cannot turn away.

  • Discover the career paths that run through the top tech firms
  • Learn how to craft the prefect resume and prepare for the interview
  • Find ways to make yourself stand out from the hordes of other applicants
  • Understand what the top companies are looking for, and how to demonstrate that you're it

These companies need certain skillsets, but they also want a great culture fit. Grades aren't everything, experience matters, and a certain type of applicant tends to succeed. Cracking the Tech Career reveals what the hiring committee wants, and shows you how to get it.

Chapter 1 Life at the World’s Greatest Tech Companies 1

Life at Infinite Loop and Microsoft Way 2

The Differences 4

Big versus Little: Is a Start-Up Right for You? 5

The Job Title: What Do You Want to Be When You

Grow Up? 8

It’s Not for Everyone 11

Chapter 2 Advanced Positioning and Preparation 12

A Positioning Framework 12

University 16

Graduate School 21

Career Graduate Degrees 22

The MBA 23

Part-Time Graduate Programs 27

Work Experience 28

Extracurriculars 30

Questions and Answers 33

Chapter 3 Getting in the Door 37

The Black Hole: Online Job Submission 37

Getting a Personal Referral 39

Career Fairs 41

Professional Recruiters 42

Additional Avenues 44

Networking 46

Social Networking 49

Questions and Answers 51

Chapter 4 Resumes 55

How Resumes Are Read 55

Nine Hallmarks of a Powerful Resume 55

The Structure 63

How Do I Shorten My Resume? 69

Resume Action Words 70

Questions and Answers 73

Chapter 5 Deconstructing the Resume 77

Resume #1 77

Resume #2 78

Resume #3 79

Resume #4 81

Chapter 6 Cover Letters 83

Why a Cover Letter? 83

The Three Types of Cover Letter 84

The Structure 85

Five Traits of a Strong Cover Letter 87

The Daring A+ Cover Letter 89

The Traditional A+ Cover Letter 90

The So-So Cover Letter 91

Questions and Answers 92

Additional Resources 93

Chapter 7 References 94

How References Are Used 94

Whom You Should Select as a Reference 95

Make a Good Reference Great 96

When Things Go Wrong 97

What If Your Bad Reference Is Your Former Boss? 98

Questions and Answers 99

Chapter 8 Interview Prep and Overview 102

Interview Questions 102

The Tech Interview Culture 103

Do Your Homework 104

Working with Your Recruiter 107

Communication and Behavior 109

Special Interview Types 113

After the Interview 116

Following Up with Your Recruiter 118

Dealing with Rejection 119

Questions and Answers 119

Additional Resources 122

Chapter 9 Define Yourself 123

The Pitch 123

Why Should We Hire You? 126

Why Shouldn’t We Hire You? 126

Why Do You Want to Work Here? 128

Why Are You Leaving Your Job? 128

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years? 129

What Are Your Strengths? 130

What Are Your Weaknesses? 131

Layoffs, Firing, and Unemployment 131

Questions and Answers 134

Chapter 10 Behavioral Questions 136

Evaluation 136

Mastering the Content 137

Mastering the Communication 140

Common Mistakes 143

Five Example Questions 144

Questions and Answers 150

Chapter 11 Problem Solving 153

Types of Problem-Solving Questions 153

Estimation Questions 154

Design Questions 160

Brainteasers 162

Questions and Answers 170

Additional Resources 172

Chapter 12 The Programming Interview 173

What’s the Point? 173

What’s Expected—And What’s Not 174

How They Differ: Microsoft, Facebook, Google,

Amazon, Yahoo, and Apple 175

How to Prepare 176

Must-Know Data Structures, Algorithms, and Topics 177

Coding Questions 178

Algorithm Questions: Four Ways to Create an Algorithm 184

Object-Oriented Design 188

Scalability Questions 188

Testing Interviews 190

Questions and Answers 193

Additional Resources 196

Chapter 13 Getting into Gaming 197

The Culture: Is It All Fun and Games? 197

Job Positions: What Can You Do? 198

College Candidates 201

Reaching Out and Getting In 202

Personality Fit 204

The Gaming Interview—Three Tips to Doing Well 206

Questions and Answers 207

Chapter 14 Women in Tech 211

On Men and Allies 211

The Harsh(ish) Reality of Being a Woman in Tech 212

Advice for Women from Women (and Allies) 214

It’s Friction, Not Obstacles 218

Questions and Answers 219

Chapter 15 The Offer 221

How to Evaluate an Offer 221

How Can You Negotiate an Offer? 228

Tricky Issues: Deadlines, Extensions, and Declining Offers 233

Questions and Answers 237

Chapter 16 Crafting Your Career 242

Define Your Career Path 242

Being Great 243

Manage the Review Process 244

Play a Bit of Politics: Build Strong Relationships 247

Identify a Mentor 248

Promotions and Raises 249

How and When to Quit 252

Questions and Answers 255

Chapter 17 On Luck, Leverage, and You 259

Index 261