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Submitting a Software Engineering Resume to Google

The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

I want to give you some background on what engineers at Google would like to see in your resume. I do this because I look at a few every day, and that is after they have been filtered by screeners and recruiters. This is targeted to European candidates. It's necessary because resumes in the US are different from resumes e.g. in Switzerland.

This page is my personal page (although, to give fair credit, some content was developed as a team effort with other people at Google and originally posted on It then disappeard, so I posted it here. Later it appeared again, but I leave it here, too). Anyway, this here is my personal page and contains my own views. Some of this may apply to other US companies, too.

General information to include

The resume you'll submit to Google may be a bit different from what you'd typically send to a European company. Google gets a lot of resumes, to get hired, several dozen people will read your resume. Some of these will interview you. To make it easier for everybody to determine where you might best fit help them understand your qualifications. Follow the guidelines below to help your resume find its way to the appropriate engineering group more quickly. You may also want to check out a sample resume (pdf) so you have a better idea of what to include. Good luck!

Submit all resumes and supporting materials electronically.
PDF, HTML, or Microsoft Word documents or text formats are acceptable – or you can submit using plain text in an email message format. Plain text is best.
For the subject field of your email follow the instructions in the position advertised. For example, if you are interested in the Zurich Software Engineering position, make it Software Engineer - Zurich.
If possible, submit resumes and related materials (transcripts, etc.) in English. But it's better to submit in any languages than not submit at all. For example, there are enough Dipl. Ing. ETH at Google to understand German ETH transcripts.
Pictures, images, or other graphics are not necessary – and are discouraged as they are typically stripped out.
Only send essential personal information – be sure to include your name and how to contact you in the resume, not just your cover letter. Include your email, phone, and residence address. Do NOT include your gender, date of birth, age, family status, or personal identification numbers.
It isn't necessary to include military service you may have performed, unless it reflects some special achievements or accomplishments that you feel illustrate your qualifications for the job.
Note that your resume will be converted to plain text and possibly parsed by the hiring system and the more you use special formatting, tables, images, multiple columns, etc., the less predictable that process will be. Sometimes, the result of the conversion process is unreadable. Google keeps the original around, but it's not often used. Chances are that unreadable resumes just get ignored.

Educational background

Google engineers routinely tackle some of the most challenging problems in computer science. From distributed systems to global networking to complex semantic analysis, someone at Google is likely working on it. Thus, a strong education with evidence of a background in computer science is essential to joining the team. Your resume should reflect your academic achievements and accomplishments in these areas. In the education section of your resume, be sure to include the information outlined below.

Your resume should show all post-secondary institutions attended, degrees conferred, and a cumulative grade point average (if available) for each degree received.
Only report your educational history dating back to the university level; do NOT include elementary or secondary schooling. However, if you completed a "year abroad" program as part of your pre-university education, feel free to include this in your resume.
Provide a brief description of any important projects you completed as part of your coursework, and indicate whether it was all your work or done as part of a team. If part of a team, indicate your own role and contributions to the effort.
If you graduated from a university within the last 5 years, include a list showing individual coursework completed and grades received, as well as the overall grade average.

Your work experience

You may be fresh out of a university, or have substantial work experience and a history of accomplishments. Either way, Google wants to know what skills you've acquired along the way. Google will look closely at the work experience section of your resume, so the information you provide here is very important. Please follow the guidelines below carefully.

List your experience – your skills, projects completed, accomplishments, etc. – by your position with each employer.
Include more information than just the name of your employer and your job title. Google wants to see concise, yet important, detail on your specific accomplishments and the impact your efforts had on your company.
Rather than including all your many skills and job responsibilities, only include those that you feel are relevant to the job for which you are applying at Google.
As part of the description of your accomplishments, be sure to indicate the specific skills you've developed which allowed you to make those contributions.
Include any and all relevant job experience dating back to your university years.
If you worked while attending a university, either during the summer or concurrent with your course work, be sure to include a brief mention even if it isn't specifically related to a potential job at Google.

Additional information

There are a number of additional kinds of information you might typically include on your resume. For the purposes of applying at Google, though, you should only include information that applies directly to the job in which you're interested. You should also include the names and contact information of 2-3 references. These can include faculty advisors, co-workers, managers, or others who can talk knowledgeably about your skills and abilities.

Be sure to list any awards you've received, articles you've published, or conference presentations you've given.
No need to include copies of any awards or publications, just a reference to them.
No need to include copies of any written references you already have, just a mention of 2-3 individuals that can reflect on your most recent skills and experiences. Be sure to include their contact information. Google will not contact your references until after they talk to you.

Copyright Louis Perrochon. All Rights reserved.