Tag Archives: My Path to Google

How Vicky Fernandez found her passion for leading teams

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Vicky Fernandez, who shares how she went from one of the very first employees at our office in Buenos Aires to a leader who manages multiple teams.


What’s your role at Google? 

I work within Google’s ad sales business, where I manage the analysis, insights and optimization team for Spanish-speaking Latin America’s largest customers. The team brings together industry experts with specialists on performance, data and measurement solutions. I get to work with very talented people from all across the continent, taking best practices from one market to the other so that our clients thrive.


What does your typical workday look like right now? 

As a manager, I spend a lot of time meeting with my team, as well as collaborating with other project leaders. When meeting one-on-one with my direct reports, we speak about their current challenges and how I can help them. We also follow up on their objectives, projects, careers and check in on their well-being. 


Why did you decide to apply to work at Google? 

I was working for a TV company and looking for a change. I had heard that Google was opening offices in Buenos Aires (this was 15 years ago), so I decided to send them my resume. I knew nothing about digital marketing, so when they called me for interviews, I locked myself at home for a whole weekend and studied. Still,  I was not very confident after my interviews, but I was happy to participate in the process because I met really nice people and had a good time. 


Surprisingly, they called me back to join Google. I feel very proud to be part of this company, and I also feel proud to be part of our customer´s teams. At Google you belong to not only this company, but also thousands of companies that trust us to grow their businesses.


How did the application and interview process go for you?

After sending my resume, I got a phone call with a recruiter and then four on-site interviews, all together the same day. At that time (15 years ago) Google had no offices in Buenos Aires yet, so many people from the U.S. and Mexico came for a week to do interviews in a temporary office they rented. I had no idea who they were, but they were all very nice and approachable. I´m glad I didn't know how important they were because I think I would have been a lot more nervous. 


How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I started at Google supporting small businesses in Spanish-speaking Latin America. After a year or so I moved to support bigger companies in Mexico. (I did this remotely from Argentina, and I used to travel to Mexico a few times a year.)


Then I got the chance to take my first formal leadership role, leading a team dedicated to helping small businesses that use Google Ads solve technical, billing and optimization issues. I loved being a manager and decided that it was my path. After a couple of years growing that team, I moved to a new role to build a different team for big customers. After gaining experience growing the team and improving service levels and efficiency, I recently got the opportunity to manage these three teams together as one team. I feel really excited about it!


Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Think about the experiences that you would like to share during the interviews related to leadership, teamwork and process improvements. When questions come up, you can share those experiences. If you have success stories to show, try to have some numbers in mind (like growth on sales, efficiency gains, cost reduction, etc.)


What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

Googlers are all very nice! You will have a great time, so focus on enjoying the interviews.


How competing unlocked this intern’s coding passion

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today we spoke with Livia Seibert, a software engineer intern working virtually in Pennsylvania. Find out how a fun coding competition with her dad led her to becoming an intern at Google.

What do you do at Google?

I’m a software engineering intern. I’m working on a command line tool that automates the creation of experiments to make it safer, easier and faster for engineers to try out new changes. I like my project because I’m able to have a positive impact on other engineers by helping to speed up their workflow.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

At the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I decided to apply to software engineering internships for the first time. I had taken classes the summer before, but I did not have any internship experience at that point. Many internships I saw listed at other companies only took junior-year interns or were unlikely to consider applicants without experience, so I was really excited when Google talked about the STEP internship during a recruiting visit on campus, and I decided to apply for it.

How would you describe your path to Google?

I was first introduced to computer science when I was 13 because my dad had seen a YouTube video about the importance of coding and the lack of computer science education in schools across the U.S. I was pretty resistant to learning how to code at the time, since I went to a small all-girls school where coding wasn't a super popular course of study. My dad ended up challenging me to see which of us could finish an online Python class fastest, and after a week he had given up on it and I ended up being super interested in the material. I taught myself how to code using online resources throughout middle school, and when I got to high school I was able to take CS classes. Since then, I’ve always known that I want to go into software engineering.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I applied to Google directly. I was very nervous about the technical interview process because it was completely new to me, but it ended up being a much less stressful experience than I had anticipated. The engineers who conducted my interviews were incredibly kind and supportive, and each interview felt more like a conversation than the interrogation I was expecting.

What’s one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying?

One thing I wish I could go back and tell myself before applying is to have more confidence. I think that it’s easy to get intimidated by the large number of very talented people that apply to Google every year, and to experience imposter syndrome even once you’ve gotten the job. Instead, it’s important to focus on your own accomplishments and avoid comparing yourself to others.

Complete the following: “I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for…”

Inclusivity. As a woman in tech, I value making sure that underrepresented groups are able to have their voices heard in order to create tech that works for everyone.

Photo of Livia Seibert

Livia Seibert

How Joy Jackson prepared for her Google interview

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Joy Jackson, a data center technician on the global server operations team, who shares how she went from studying to be a graphic designer to discovering a passion for IT and joining the Google data center team.

What’s your role at Google?

I am currently a data center technician on the Global Server Operations team, leading local projects as well as working with our team to deploy and maintain Google's advanced data center servers and network infrastructure. What I love most about my role is working with a diverse team and seeing how passionate each of us is to make sure that our network is up and running, ensuring users have the best and fastest experience possible.

What does your typical day look like right now?

A typical work day for me right now ranges from many different duties like physical deployments of the data center, maintaining servers and networking infrastructure and working closely with various partner teams to ensure our goals, missions and projects are successfully delivered.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and after graduating high school I left Charleston and went to The Art Institute of Charlotte, where I received my associate’s degree in graphic design. When I am not working, I like to spend my time on graphic projects and photography. Some of my hobbies outside of designing and photos are hiking, doing yoga and most importantly, traveling. I love to meet new people, explore new areas and learn about different cuisines and cultures. 

Can you tell us about your decision to apply to work at Google?

I was interested in Google because of how innovative the company is. I had never applied before and was intimidated because of how huge the company is. When I applied and heard back about interviews, I was extremely nervous because I did not think I would be a good fit due to being at the very early stages of my career.

Joy stands in front of a Google logo across a piece of wood cut in the shape of Virginia.

Joy works at one of Google’s Virginia data centers.

How would you describe your path to your current role at Google?

When I went off to college, I thought my heart was set on becoming a graphic designer and opening my own agency. But as I progressed in life and my career, I found myself more interested in working in IT. I worked hard to transition from what I thought I wanted to do to where I am now. And I am happy I did – I love the work we do. I have had opportunities to work in different data center locations and in different roles, just by learning new skills and opening myself up to reach out to other site locations and their teams.

What inspires you to come in every day?

I am inspired each day to come into work because of the millions of lives we are able to touch. It's just a great feeling knowing that, by the work we are doing, we are able to help so many people stay connected with friends and loved ones.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

I was referred to apply, and I was nervous about not being the right fit. But after my phone interview, I decided to stay open-minded about the process. Because I knew I could do the job and it was a perfect fit.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? I wish I could go back to the moment before I applied and tell myself that it is okay to ask questions! I was so nervous and scared to ask any questions.

What resources did you find most helpful when preparing for the interview?

One of the resources I used to prepare for my interviews were sites like LinkedIn Learning, taking the time to do online courses and training classes and watching tutorials.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Never doubt your abilities to achieve anything you put your mind to. With education, drive and determination, you can reach your goals.


Graphic with a photo of Joy wearing an Android t-shirt on the right, and on the left, text that reads: “My Path to Google, Data Center Technician.”
10:25

The many hats of a technical solutions engineer

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s story is all about Sanjay Khubchandani, a technical solutions engineer based out of our Bangalore office. Find out how participating in coding competitions led him to becoming a technical solutions engineer at Google.

What do you do at Google?

I am a technical solutions engineer in Google Cloud based in Bangalore. We focus on solving advanced technical problems our customers face. But that’s not all we do. A technical solutions engineer (TSE) wears many hats, such as making sure customers can solve the issues they're facing as effortlessly as possible. The most exciting part of being a TSE is that we get to collaborate with many teams working in many different areas.

What’s your typical workday like?

I joined Google remotely, as everyone was working from home. Typically my day involves working on solving problems, working on my projects, talking to customers and so much more. I don’t always code, though I sometimes do. If I were to define my role in three words, it would be “troubleshooting at scale.”

What made you apply to Google?

I had never applied before because every time I was going to, I got scared and thought I would never get selected. I believe that fear didn’t allow me to apply. I still remember the journey from when I applied on the Google Careers portal, to today when I am actually contributing here. Looking back to where I was seven or eight months ago, I got to learn, grow and contribute so much in such a short span of time that I believe there is no other place than Google where you can do this.

How did you get to your current role?

Before joining Google, I was a student who used to participate in a lot of coding competitions organised by various colleges or universities. That’s what made me realize that I enjoy solving problems. It was not about getting to code, it was always about getting the problem statement and finding a way to solve it. 


I applied for a completely different role, but a recruiter from Google looked at my resume, reached out to me and told me about the technical solutions engineer role. When I read the role description, I knew it was perfect for me.

What inspires you to log in every day?

Our customers, always. I wake up with a smile on my face and coffee in my hand thinking I will get something to solve which I have never seen before — and I always do!

What was the interview process like for you?

When I was being interviewed for the TSE role, the world was not going through a pandemic and I was still in my last semester of college. I got to see the Google Bangalore office, and meet some amazing people. I still remember the day I got a call from my recruiter saying “Congratulations, Sanjay.” I immediately called my parents and let them know. It was so awesome to see them share my excitement.

What resources did you use to prepare for the interview?

Oh it was a great journey, to be honest. Google Search helped me prepare for my role at Google as a whole. Being a TSE is not all coding. I used a lot of resources to learn about topics like OS management, web technologies and  networking. For example, I used to watch YouTube videos to explore the depths of how an operating system actually works. I took my time to understand the concepts and not just go through what they mean. I believe if you understand something really well, you will never forget it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Googlers?

Your passion is what matters, if you are passionate about something and you find the role which matches your skills, interest and experience — apply!

Why coming to Google was a package deal for Belle Sun

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Belle Sun, one of the Googlers behind the packaging design for Google products. Belle deep dives into her role and shares how her career has taken her from Shanghai to the U.S. and from working on baby products to high tech.

What’s your role at Google?

As a Packaging Engineering Program Manager I facilitate Google consumer products packaging design — from engineering to manufacturing. We design packaging that not only protects the product, but also provides the best experience for people as packaging is the first interaction our customers have with a product. No matter how challenging the development phase is, nothing beats the sense of achievement when I see our products packaged on the shelf.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I first check my emails and sort out the priority level. I then set up meetings to share project status, analyze risks and impact due to the changes requested — changes can be everything from adding a warning label to packages to adding additional screws so people can secure something like the Nest Cam onto their walls. Besides my daily work, I enjoy reading daily newsletters from the company to know what exciting things other Googlers are doing. I’m also a part of the “Dogfood” program where I test out new features and products and provide feedback.

Belle at her desk at home.

Can you tell us a bit about your move from Shanghai to the U.S.?

I grew up in Shanghai, China as an only child. I had no clue what I wanted to do, and solely focused on grades and getting into college — hoping to find a decent job in the future like many Chinese children of my generation. English was always my favorite subject. I went to the “English Corner” every week to practice and persuaded myself to be brave whenever I had an opportunity to speak with people from abroad. Fast forward to 2013, I moved to the U.S. at the age of 29. 

As an immigrant, I was at a loss. I wondered if I was ever going to do well here from life to career because I didn’t speak perfect English and it was so different from where I grew up. However, I never gave up and encouraged myself everyday that I could do it. I went from being too shy to say “hi” to a stranger to being a Googler. I learned you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself and work hard toward your goal.

Why did you decide to apply to Google?

I was working long days and nights prior to joining Google. One night my son held my arm to be with me while I was still in a meeting at a very late hour. At that point, I knew I needed to move onto something new for myself and my family. 

A friend of mine told me about a role at Google Nest. Google is known for providing a good work life balance and caring for its employees. Above all, it is a company that leads the future of technology development. So I decided to go for it.

Belle and her son posing on Halloween in front of an Android pie statue.

Belle and her son at a Googleween event.

What was your path to your current role?

When I lived in Shanghai I was a product planner —  I tracked orders and maintained on-time shipments from factories. That’s when I became interested in product development and landed a role for baby products where I first learned about project management and how products were developed from concept to manufacturing. When I first moved to the U.S. I worked at BuyBuy Baby, then I moved into the packaging industry and developed packaging for consumer products. 

What inspires you to come in (virtually) every day?

Designing and developing thoughtful packaging is exciting. Nowadays, packaging is not only used to protect the product during the transportation, but also a means to celebrate the company’s values such as sustainability and inclusiveness.
Pixel 4 box sitting on a table indoors.

Packaging Belle worked on for the Pixel 4.

What was your application experience like?

I applied for the role directly online. Before the interviews, I was concerned with answering the questions correctly. I researched on the web, consulted with others in similar roles, and learned about Google’s values. That’s when I realized that there would be no right or wrong answers. Instead, what Google valued the most was the thought process and the creative way to resolve problems.

What advice would you give your past self?

I wish I told myself to apply earlier rather than thinking things like, “Am I qualified enough to compete with others since Google is a company so many people want to join?” I should have focused on the fact that my experience matched what the role requested.

How accessible tech helps Inho Seo explore the world

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

We spoke to Inho Seo, a software engineer intern with a visual impairment working at Google Korea. Inho told us how accessibility technology helps him explore the world and connect with people.

What are you working on right now? 

I'm a software engineering intern in a team working to make Google's products as usable as possible. Currently, I'm working with my team to develop a program that can detect and verify errors made by developers, and improve the end product. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

When I took the Korean SAT in 2015, I was pleasantly surprised that the first Braille terminal was introduced. This led me to become interested in public administration and I decided to major in political science in college, so I could become a public officer or a politician who would implement human rights policies for minorities. 

But in my sophomore year in college, I had the opportunity to live in the U.S. as an exchange student for a year. While I was there, I started using many amazing accessibility apps that helped me do things that I couldn’t do back home, like traveling alone, and I realized the benefits of assistive technology. Traveling solo was my longtime dream back then and these apps enabled me to travel to 10 different cities across the U.S. independently while using a cane. 


It made me realize how technology can change the way we live, and if we had similar accessibility apps in Korea, how helpful it would be for Korean people with disabilities. When I returned to Korea, I decided to pursue computer programming with the goal of becoming a software engineer so I could make a difference too. 


What made you decide to apply to Google? 

When I was introduced to a Google recruiter at a campus recruiting event in Seoul, I handed over my resume on the spot. I was really excited about the opportunity after learning more about Google’s workplace culture, the people and the type of work I could do. I had a call back almost immediately and that was the start of my interview process. 

How did the application and interview process go for you? 

I was surprised when Google asked if I needed any accommodations before setting up my interviews, as I’ve not experienced this with other companies before. Both the HR and staffing operations teams were very supportive in providing me a convenient environment for every round in the interview process. 

I was especially touched after receiving Google’s notification email saying, “Google wants to ensure that you are able to perform to the best of your ability.” It made such a huge difference to me, knowing that Google cared about a potential candidate and would make me feel supported throughout the whole process. 

Inho stands in front of a building with the Google logo. In between are multicolored bike racks, some shrubs and a tree.

Inho at Google’s global headquarters in Mountain View, California

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?

I found the site Leetcode really helpful when I was preparing for the algorithm interview rounds. I had solved over 300 problems before the actual interview! 

What advice would you give others who are interested in being an intern at Google? 

Google’s internship program gives you a lot of opportunities to grow your career. Don’t be afraid to try as many projects or roles as you can. There’s room to grow, and you won’t fail if you continue challenging yourself and reflecting on the feedback you receive. Do your best, and enjoy the experience! 


Complete the following: "I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for..." 

I code for good. A friend of mine once asked me how I would like to be remembered if I pass away. I wasn’t sure how to respond back then, but now, I would like to be remembered as a person who helps others and creates positive change. To achieve this goal, I choose to be a software engineer, developing useful technologies that are universally accessible to everyone around the world.

A chance encounter led this researcher to Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Preeti Talwai, an architecture student turned user experience researcher. Preeti shares how her initial reluctance about tech faded as she realized how many different types of roles there are in the space.


What’s your role at Google?

I work as a user experience (UX) researcher on the AI User Experience (AIUX) team in Google Research. Our team studies changes in society and science and creates product concepts in close collaboration with research scientists and UX folks across the company. 


My focus is on early-stage, foundational research that tries to unpack big questions about human behavior and needs. With early-stage work, we’re often working with technologies that aren’t built yet and may be very new to users. For example, one of my favorite projects was studying people’s personal goals for a year and helping teams understand how technology can better support those goals.

What does your typical day look like right now?

When I’m planning research, there’s a lot of collective strategizing with other teams and my UX colleagues. When I’m conducting a study, my days usually involve a number of sessions with participants. When I’m synthesizing data, it’s a lot of “heads-down” time punctuated by ongoing sharing and collaboration with my team.  And when I’m sharing the insights and working to put them into action, my days involve meetings and presentations.  

Can you tell us about your decision to apply to work at Google and your path to your current role?

I always felt a pull towards design, so I decided to study architecture in college and went on to do a design research/architectural theory degree. Honestly, I never thought I’d work in tech and was actually against that idea at first. I had a very narrow understanding of tech jobs, and I was pretty sure they weren’t for me. The first time I became interested in Google was at the end of grad school.

I accidentally walked into a networking event after a class at the business school on campus, and I heard a panelist say she worked for Google’s Real Estate and Workplace Services division. I was surprised that something relevant to architecture existed at Google, and I stuck around until the end of the event to meet her. I sent her my resume, and though a role on her team didn’t work out, my information ended up getting passed along to a UX research manager who offered me a role as a research assistant. I decided to take this year-long contract role to test-drive a tech career, and, to my own surprise, loved it. After my contract, I transferred to a full-time role on my current team. 


My path to Google has been meandering and unpredictable. I have always been drawn to understanding human stories and shaping people’s experiences, but I didn’t know the job I had been describing was called “UX research” until I graduated from college. I’ve found that my non-traditional background has opened doors to unique types of research and teams at Alphabet that I may not have otherwise known to look for.

Preeti standing in front of a large Android statue wearing a Noogler hat.

Preeti on her first day at Google.

What inspires you to come in (virtually) every day?

Being able to meet so many different types of people and tell their stories, especially when those voices are not often heard or need to be amplified. The topics I research require deep and personal conversations with our users, and I’m always amazed at how open and candid these sessions can be. I find this an inspiration, but also a privilege and a responsibility I take seriously. My most gratifying moments are when I get to share what we’ve learned back with the communities who gave us this knowledge.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

I would tell my past self that there’s so much more to do at a tech company like Google beyond engineering.  There are so many roles I didn’t know existed, and getting to these roles doesn’t have to be, and is often not, a formulaic process or a straight line.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

I see a lot of aspiring UXers wondering how to build a portfolio and feeling like they “need experience to get experience,” especially to come to a place like Google. One strategy that helped me is to focus less on job titles and skills as you’re building experience, and instead seek opportunities that help you hone your human-centered research lens and approach. Those opportunities might come in diverse and even surprising disciplines, and can help you get methods experience nearly identical to what you’d be getting in a typical UX internship.

Finding the intersection of social justice and tech

Welcome to the latest installment of our series, “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Xiomara Contreras (pictured above with her mother), a product marketing manager in our San Francisco office. Xiomara’s passion for social impact is deeply rooted in her work, both in her core role of supporting small businesses and in building community for underrepresented groups both in and out of Google.


How would you describe your role at Google?


I’m a product marketing manager working on Google My Business. Specifically, my team is dedicated to supporting small-business owners. Google My Business is a free tool that allows users to promote their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps, allowing them to respond to reviews, post photos of products or special offers and add or edit their business details so they can connect with customers.


My role focuses on core product marketing, meaning I work with product managers and engineers to determine who our users are, what they need and how to align our product with those needs. As a product marketing manager, I show the value of our product to small business owners. Additionally, I recently contributed to the creation and launch of the Black-owned business attribute to support Black-owned businesses.


What made you decide to apply to Google?


When I initially started thinking about a career, I thought I would be in the nonprofit sector because most of my previous experience was in that space. Also, I studied Communication Studies and Latina/o Studies at Northwestern and I wasn’t aware of the breadth of opportunities available to “non-technical” students in tech. 


Then I learned about Google'sBOLD Internship Program through Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), an organization that prepares and connects university students from underrepresented backgrounds to internships and full-time careers. Through the support and encouragement of the organization, I applied to the internship. Once I was an intern at Google I was able to see how my passion for social justice issues, education and youth mentorship intersect with tech, and I knew I wanted to work at Google full time.

Three people sitting around a large “G” sculpture.

Xiomara and fellow Googlers/MLT alums, Janice and Olivia, representing Google at the Management Leadership for Tomorrow 15th Anniversary Celebration in 2019.

Can you expand more on that intersection?


Google has exposed me to different mentorship programs both inside and outside of the company. I volunteered for TutorMate and Spark, and I currently volunteer for iMentor, a three-year commitment to empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college and achieve their ambitions. I only learned about these opportunities through other Googlers. 


I’m also involved in increasing racial equity at Google through our Black and Latinx Marketers (BALM) employee resource group. This group is designed to help make Google a place where people like me can see themselves, be successful and feel fulfilled. Last year I was the Global Community Lead, organizing events like a dialogue series with external speakers to discuss issues impacting our community and fun activities like learning how to make café de olla in a workshop led by a small business owner.

What inspires you to log in every day?


First, just knowing that my core work is very impactful for small-business owners. My grandma is a small-business owner, and I use Google My Business for her business. I see how the product helps her stand out online and connect with new customers. So believing in the mission of Google and the mission of my own team keeps me invested in the company. 


Second, personally, being the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and the first person in my family to go to college motivates me every day to continue to grow here because my family sacrificed a lot for me to get where I am. This way, I am able to support them too.

Three people wearing Google shirts at an indoor event.

Xiomara (middle) with Googlers, Lucy and Huyen, at an event in the Google NYC office in 2019.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interviews?


Keeping up with Think with Google and The Keyword was extremely helpful as it gave me a deeper perspective on Google’s top priorities and new products. In particular, I read the small business section in The Keyword because I was passionate about Google’s initiatives for underrepresented business owners. It also helped to browse through other companies’ blogs and social channels to learn about their programs for small business owners. 


Because I wasn’t a marketing student, I also brushed up on my Google Ads skills as well as marketing 101 basics. 


Any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?


Your resume is your first impression. To make sure it’s at its best I encourage you to show it to a lot of people, even those outside of the company or marketing (or whatever area you’re interested in) to provide feedback. 


Also, don’t erase the other parts of you. When reviewing current students’ resumes, they often only show the things related to marketing and remove everything else. But things like student organizations, campus jobs, volunteer work and life experience all highlight how you are different and often demonstrate leadership and problem solving experiences well beyond, for example, a marketing internship.

Finding the intersection of social justice and tech

Welcome to the latest installment of our series, “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Xiomara Contreras (pictured above with her mother), a product marketing manager in our San Francisco office. Xiomara’s passion for social impact is deeply rooted in her work, both in her core role of supporting small businesses and in building community for underrepresented groups both in and out of Google.


How would you describe your role at Google?


I’m a product marketing manager working on Google My Business. Specifically, my team is dedicated to supporting small-business owners. Google My Business is a free tool that allows users to promote their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps, allowing them to respond to reviews, post photos of products or special offers and add or edit their business details so they can connect with customers.


My role focuses on core product marketing, meaning I work with product managers and engineers to determine who our users are, what they need and how to align our product with those needs. As a product marketing manager, I show the value of our product to small business owners. Additionally, I recently contributed to the creation and launch of the Black-owned business attribute to support Black-owned businesses.


What made you decide to apply to Google?


When I initially started thinking about a career, I thought I would be in the nonprofit sector because most of my previous experience was in that space. Also, I studied Communication Studies and Latina/o Studies at Northwestern and I wasn’t aware of the breadth of opportunities available to “non-technical” students in tech. 


Then I learned about Google'sBOLD Internship Program through Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), an organization that prepares and connects university students from underrepresented backgrounds to internships and full-time careers. Through the support and encouragement of the organization, I applied to the internship. Once I was an intern at Google I was able to see how my passion for social justice issues, education and youth mentorship intersect with tech, and I knew I wanted to work at Google full time.

Three people sitting around a large “G” sculpture.

Xiomara and fellow Googlers/MLT alums, Janice and Olivia, representing Google at the Management Leadership for Tomorrow 15th Anniversary Celebration in 2019.

Can you expand more on that intersection?


Google has exposed me to different mentorship programs both inside and outside of the company. I volunteered for TutorMate and Spark, and I currently volunteer for iMentor, a three-year commitment to empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college and achieve their ambitions. I only learned about these opportunities through other Googlers. 


I’m also involved in increasing racial equity at Google through our Black and Latinx Marketers (BALM) employee resource group. This group is designed to help make Google a place where people like me can see themselves, be successful and feel fulfilled. Last year I was the Global Community Lead, organizing events like a dialogue series with external speakers to discuss issues impacting our community and fun activities like learning how to make café de olla in a workshop led by a small business owner.

What inspires you to log in every day?


First, just knowing that my core work is very impactful for small-business owners. My grandma is a small-business owner, and I use Google My Business for her business. I see how the product helps her stand out online and connect with new customers. So believing in the mission of Google and the mission of my own team keeps me invested in the company. 


Second, personally, being the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and the first person in my family to go to college motivates me every day to continue to grow here because my family sacrificed a lot for me to get where I am. This way, I am able to support them too.

Three people wearing Google shirts at an indoor event.

Xiomara (middle) with Googlers, Lucy and Huyen, at an event in the Google NYC office in 2019.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interviews?


Keeping up with Think with Google and The Keyword was extremely helpful as it gave me a deeper perspective on Google’s top priorities and new products. In particular, I read the small business section in The Keyword because I was passionate about Google’s initiatives for underrepresented business owners. It also helped to browse through other companies’ blogs and social channels to learn about their programs for small business owners. 


Because I wasn’t a marketing student, I also brushed up on my Google Ads skills as well as marketing 101 basics. 


Any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?


Your resume is your first impression. To make sure it’s at its best I encourage you to show it to a lot of people, even those outside of the company or marketing (or whatever area you’re interested in) to provide feedback. 


Also, don’t erase the other parts of you. When reviewing current students’ resumes, they often only show the things related to marketing and remove everything else. But things like student organizations, campus jobs, volunteer work and life experience all highlight how you are different and often demonstrate leadership and problem solving experiences well beyond, for example, a marketing internship.

Onboarding at Google while working remotely

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Asaf Paz, an Agency Lead on the Google Customer Solutions team, who shares what it was like to join Google while working remotely from a different country than the office he would relocate to.

What’s your role at Google?

I manage a team of very talented agency development managers. They help some of the biggest and most advanced agencies in the UK grow the businesses that they’re working with through Google Ads. 

What inspires you to come in (virtually) every day?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses needed to completely change their strategy to survive. Knowing that my team and I are helping thousands of businesses make this digital transformation successfully makes me feel very proud.

In addition to that, I always have a sense of anticipation for all the new things I’ll learn today — whether it's from my employees, my colleagues, managers — or the endless data and training that Google offers.  

Can you tell us about your decision to apply to work at Google? 

I established a digital marketing agency in 2005, ran it for 11 years and sold it to establish a software-as-a-service-based startup. After four years, although my startup was profitable and growing, I didn’t see it turning into the billion-dollar company I aspired to create — so I  decided to sell it. 

Around the same time, I finished my Executive MBA and started thinking about my next step. I knew I wanted to work with talented people and on projects that would have a large-scale impact.

I called many friends and colleagues to get their thoughts. A former employee of mine who now works at Google told me about a role that matched what I was looking for. The more I learned about the role and the team, the more I fell in love with it and decided to apply.


Asaf wearing a Noogler hat while sitting in front of a computer. Around him are books, sticky notes on a wall, a mug, a plant and a painting.

Asaf at his home workspace.

How did the recruitment process go for you? 

I began the process in January 2020, just before the pandemic affected Europe, and I had the opportunity to fly to the Dublin office in February for an interview. But then I went back to a lockdown when I came back to Tel-Aviv, and continued the rest of the process remotely.

The process was very transparent and structured. But what amazed me most about it is how human it was. Andy, my recruiter, was there with me from the first call until way after the contract was signed. In fact Andy is still in contact with me, sending me personal emails and organizing a monthly call.

How have you forged new contacts and relationships while working remotely?

I was surprised by the depth of the connections I’ve established with my team and other Googlers so far. Maybe it’s the fact that we see each other's houses and families on the first call that makes us open up and talk about personal things pretty quickly. 

Google has brilliant people that are humble and fun to work with. They go above and beyond to help another Googler. What I like most about the people here is that they measure everything, learn quickly and perform better the next time.

Asaf wears a santa hat and holds up a drink to toast with teammates virtually on a computer

Since joining Google, his team has had a pizza workshop with a Michelin-starred chef, a bartender training, a gingerbread house competition and a virtual science camp for kids.

What advice would you give to someone considering the move to Google at the current time?

There are advantages to starting work remotely. I’m an office person, and I’m really looking forward to starting working with my team in the office. That said, since this new job involves relocation, it’s been easier to focus on onboarding without also needing to also figure out things like moving the family to a new country, plus adjusting to a new school and language for the kids.

Additionally, all meetings being virtual helps me learn faster by attending more meetings as a guest and seeing everything in action. 

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

The first one is to apply, I talked to so many people that told me that their dream is to join a company like Google — but when I asked them what roles they applied for, they said they actually didn’t. So it might seem obvious but my first tip is to apply.

Then, my next tip would be to treat the process with respect, prepare for the different stages, and be curious by asking as many questions as you can.