Tuesday, 25 September 2012

10 Secrets To Getting A Job At Apple, Google Or Microsoft

10 Secrets To Getting A Job At Apple, Google Or Microsoft

Some might say that I got incredibly lucky. At eighteen years old, I was perhaps the youngest intern in Microsoft’s thousand person intern class. Most of my fellow interns had three times as much experience as me, and I couldn’t help but wonder, “What am I doing here?”

The tricks below enabled me to get the right experience, flaunt it on my resume, get the attention of recruiters, and eventually land positions with Microsoft, Apple and Google.
Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to improve your chances to do the same:

1.     Start Something: Launching a small tech company, or just a project, can demonstrate virtually everything a tech firm wants to see: field expertise, passion for technology, initiative, leadership and creativity. Don’t have software development experience? Not to worry – you can hire an outsourced development team from sites like odesk and elance

2.     Create an Online Portfolio: Almost everyone can benefit from a portfolio. A simple web site with a description of your major accomplishments (both inside and outside of work) can provide more context than what your resume can provide. Recruiters may reference this after seeing your resume, but they might stumble across your portfolio online and give you a call.

3.     Get Out There (And Online): Online job boards are tough, and the best way around them is a personal referral. Attending tech events will help to build your network, but don’t forget about the online channels. Recruiters search for potential candidates on blogs comments, industry forums and Twitter. Being active on online – while providing a trail back to your portfolio – can be an excellent way to catch a recruiter’s attention.

4.     Make a Short and Sweet Resume: Let me tell you a little secret: recruiters don’t really read resumes. They glance at them, often for as little as fifteen seconds, before putting it in the ‘yes’ pile or the ‘no’ pile. For this reason, a short (usually one-page) resume is advantageous. This will ensure that the resume screener notices your most impressive accomplishments, without the mediocre items getting in the way.

5.     Focus on Accomplishments: Kill the fluff; no one buys into vague statements like “excellent problem solver.” A resume should focus on your accomplishments: concrete ways that you’ve made an impact, quantified if possible. Remember that your list of accomplishments goes beyond the “official” work that you’ve done. Any project that is reasonably substantial can be listed on your resume.

6.     Rehearse Your Stories: One of the best ways to improve your overall interview performance is to practice your “stories.” For each major accomplishment, brainstorm ways that you showed leadership, demonstrated influence, or overcame challenges. Rehearsing these responses aloud will help you to more effectively discuss what you did and why it mattered.

7.     Practice Interview Questions – And Practice Them Well: Don’t walk into an interview blind; web sites like CareerCup.com and Glassdoor.com offer thousands of interview questions from tech firms. This will give you a good feel of what areas to prepare. Memorizing answers to these questions won’t help you though. Instead, practice solving these interview questions just as you would in an interview: out loud or on paper. The more realistically you can simulate the interview the better you’ll do.

8.     Prepare Questions for You to Ask: Asking interesting questions during your interview cannot only help you learn if the job is right for you, but it will also demonstrate to your interviewer that you’re passionate about the position. You should prepare a list of questions before your interview. My favorite questions take things a step further. A particularly insightful question about how the company has handled potential challenges can demonstrate your own expertise in the field.

9.     Admit Mistakes: No one is fooled when you try to cover up mistakes, especially in a problem solving question. After all, your interviewer has probably asked it dozens of times. Admitting a mistake shows that you are analytical enough to recognize when you messed up, and it also demonstrates humbleness and interpersonal skills. No one wants to work with someone who won’t fess up.

10.     Be Fearless: Companies like Google and Microsoft nearly as notorious for their tricky questions as they are famous for their perks. Unfortunately, many candidates freeze when asked a challenging question. Their minds race with thoughts of incompetence and impending doom, instead of with potential solutions. In asking these questions, companies aren’t just trying to test your intelligence (though that’s certainly a component of it). They want to see that you are fearless. They want to see that you’re the type of person who sees a tough problem and charges it head-on. So take a deep breath, and charge.
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