I was rejected from Google 7 times. Here’s what I changed to finally land my dream job.

    Annie Wang applied to Google 7 times before landing a software engineering role at her dream company.

    Qingyue(Annie) Wang

    Qingyue(Annie) Wang is a software engineer at Google.Prior to landing her job, she was rejected by Google seven times.Persistence and adapting her approach were key to finally achieving her dream job.

    My journey to finally landing a job at Google was an emotional roller coaster. I went through seven rounds of rejections before finally achieving my goal.

    But I’m glad I didn’t give up.

    I was sad to be rejected but understood why

    In college, I double majored in computer science and math. I first became interested in applying to Google because I was intrigued by the cool products and good culture. I’d heard great things about the company and really wanted to experience it for myself.

    In 2018, I applied to be a Google intern but was rejected twice. The first time, I failed the online assessment. Then, a recruiter reached out to me to give me a second chance. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass on this attempt either.

    I was sad but felt the rejections were reasonable; I lacked prior experience, had only solved a few technical problems before, and hadn’t thoroughly prepared for the assessment. I regretted not properly preparing and wanted to be better equipped when the next opportunity came.

    Preparation was lonely

    The summer before my final year of college, I managed to land an internship at another company. When I returned from the summer break, I vowed to study harder for my post-graduation job search. Every day, after finishing my coursework and classes, I’d work on interview preparation.

    It was a lonely journey. Most days, after my evening studies, I’d take the last bus home and walk through the long, dark neighborhood streets. Looking up at the stars on my walk home, I’d remember why I was working for my goal, grit my teeth, and do one more round of practice.

    That fall, I applied to three different full-time roles at Google. Unfortunately, my résumé didn’t make it past the initial screening process.

    The experience made me understand rejection more deeply, but I never considered giving up. I knew my abilities could be improved over time.

    The role I applied for was canceled

    As I was about to graduate in early 2020, I finally secured an interview for a new grad position at Google. This role specifically required C++ knowledge. As part of my interview preparation, I studied a C++ book and worked on several projects to improve my C++ skills.

    After the interview, I kept analyzing how everything had gone. The interviewer seemed pleased with my answers and gave me some positive feedback, which gave me some hope that I might’ve passed, but I wasn’t completely sure.

    I awaited the results with bated breath.

    When I received an email from the recruiter to schedule a phone call, I was very nervous. I tried to guess from his tone in the email whether he was going to share good news or bad news. I felt vaguely uneasy, but I held onto hope as I answered his call.

    “I received positive feedback from every round,” he began. Hearing this, I was filled with joy. But when I heard him say “but…” my heart sank.

    He delivered the news: the role had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    I felt like collapsing and tears flowed down my face. I don’t remember what the recruiter said to me after that; I only remember trying my best to stay professional and make my voice sound calm.

    Once I hung up, I couldn’t hold it in anymore and started to cry out loud.

    My rejection was not a reflection of my ability

    Eventually, I calmed down. I remembered an ancient Chinese saying, “The times create heroes,” which speaks to the profound impact current events have on individuals. I realized the fate of an individual, like myself at that moment, is inevitably influenced by the larger environment — in this case, a pandemic.

    Not receiving an offer didn’t reflect my abilities, bravery, hard work, or willingness to learn.

    Despite my positive mindset, things didn’t seem to improve. Later in 2020, I got another chance to interview for a Google role, but I didn’t manage to pass the phone interview round because I failed to provide the optimal solution to a question they’d asked me.

    Disappointed, I accepted this reality check; my understanding of basic algorithms needed improvement. I decided to focus on strengthening this area and prepare thoroughly for the next opportunity.

    I intentionally practiced and addressed my weaknesses in algorithms, which helped me secure a job at Amazon.

    My final attempt

    While I valued my experience at Amazon, Google still felt like an elusive dream to me.

    In 2022, a Google recruiter reached out again, reigniting the curiosity that had been suppressed in my heart for so long.

    I decided to try again.

    I realized that I had been too passive with job opportunities. I’d been using the same résumé and preparation for different types of interviews, without customizing my approach for each company. I felt like I was putting in a lot of effort to prepare, but I wasn’t spending enough time reflecting and adjusting to fit the specific company.

    This time, I learned my lesson and did things differently.

    I set up a meticulous study plan, outlining daily tasks and review points. I repeatedly addressed complex problems and used any spare time to mentally revisit the problem-solving process. This helped me to quickly identify unfamiliar points and practice them deliberately. During technical question practice, I prioritized depth of understanding over quantity.

    Of course, I still occasionally had doubts and thought, Is it worth spending so much time? How will I face myself if I don’t pass this interview? But I knew that if I didn’t try my best, I’d regret even more that I gave up.

    During this period, I also landed an interview for a role at Apple, which would’ve required a completely different assessment to prepare for. Since I was working full-time at Amazon, my time was limited, so I decided to forgo the Apple interview — even if that meant burning that bridge — and fully devote myself to my Google prep.

    I finally landed the job

    I still remember the day I received the phone call. “Congratulations!” the recruiter said this time.

    I immediately told my friends the news. Surprisingly, I was calmer than they were. My mind was completely blank because I couldn’t believe it, but my friends were so emotional, even crying.

    One of my longtime friends recalled how I’d struggled to finish my homework in college, how hard I worked to get my first internship, and how my family didn’t support my job search after graduation.

    While awaiting the official letter from Google, I received a gift: a white hat with the Google logo. It came with a congratulatory note. Holding the paper, I felt a wave of emotion and a strong sense of the power of persistence.

    The congratulations card from Google.

    Qingyue(Annie) Wang

    I have the job of my dreams

    It’s been two years since I got the news that I’d finally landed a job at my dream company. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to finally experience Google’s culture and even become an internal career coach to support other Googlers in their career growth.

    Although my career journey didn’t unfold as I had expected, I’m glad I had the chance to experience different company cultures, learn a variety of technologies, and engage with many cool projects.

    I’ve come to view everything as a journey; the journey itself is what’s important. Whether the outcome is good or bad, it’s fleeting and will pass; the process is long-lasting.

    Looking back, I am deeply grateful for not giving up. When I feel confused, I can remember those times when I showed strength and persistence.

    Despite moving apartments three times in the past two years, I still keep the welcome letter from Google on my shelf and look at it every day. It reminds me of my tenacity and inspires me to keep pursuing my goals.

    Qingyue(Annie) Wang is a software engineer and internal career coach at Google who is passionate about helping people achieve their career goals.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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