What does it mean to be bold? To be better than you were the day before? Google’s BOLD Internship is an 11-week internship designed to provide exposure into the technology industry for students who are historically under-represented in this field. However, the program isn’t just about work experience, it’s about growing as a person and befriending some of the coolest people you’ll ever get to meet at the same time.
My journey to BOLD was a product of circumstance. As a freshman in college, I was looking for something meaningful to do in the summer and I came across the inaugural Google BOLD Immersion program. As an 18 year-old, the tech world was virtually unknown to me. I did know however, that any opportunity with Google, is an awesome one. Even though I was intimidated by the odds, I gave it a shot anyways and applied.
No one was more surprised than me when I actually received an offer to participate in the program. BOLD Immersion builds pipeline for the BOLD Internship Program, and from there I was fortunate enough to get selected for the summer internship at the Google headquarters in Mountain View. This summer 175 students (including myself) are interning at Google across nine offices in the US and Canada as a part of BOLD.
Working at Google really is surreal. From free massages to music festivals, and all the free food your stomach can handle, all of the perks you hear about working at Google actually exist. Google is a company that places a lot of trust and respect in their interns. One of my projects for the summer writing a post for the Official Google Blog about tools and products that students can use as the head back to school. That’s a lot of responsibility for an intern. I’ve also had the chance to sit in on lunches with top executives, work on external facing projects, and really learn what the word “Googley” means. I can’t really think of other internships in which enjoying a three-tiered cruise party in the Bay with endless food, drinks and dancing with the SVP of Knowledge (Alan Eustace) would be possible.
The BOLD program emphasizes the value diversity brings. They recruit students from the usual suspects like Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and Harvard but interns come from a variety of universities like Spelman College, Rider College, and the University of Florida (where I go to school.) Your major is not as important as you are as a person and what you’ve accomplished. I’ve met interns here who own (and have sold) their own businesses, conducted research in Africa, and were even babysat by Whoopi Goldberg as a child. BOLD interns are an eclectic bunch that are incredibly smart but at no expense of personality.
There are no limits to the person you can become. I learned that at the BOLD internship.
Google Bold INTERN, VARIOUS LOCATIONS
The 21st Century—when the college student summer anthem changed from “Chug! Chug! Chug!” to “Build! That! Resume!” Sure, your summer with Google won’t be filled with shotgunning and dance-offs, but replacing time at the beach for time in the office will benefit you in the long run. Notorious for pampering its employees, Google offers internship programs that give hands-on experiences and opportunities for a career with the corporation.
Google’s BOLD Internship Program serves as a prestigious resume booster for undergraduate students designed to “Build Opportunities for Leadership & Development.” Google’s chosen few fight for their futures at one of five different locations: Ann Arbor, Michigan; New York City, New York; and three cities in California’s Bay Area.
Looking to build your resume and get paid? The Google Bold Internship may be the perfect fit.
WHAT IT’S Actually LIKE
A BOLD internship with Google operates unlike any other internship around. Daily work as a BOLD intern varies tremendously, but the opportunity proves magnificent for each student alike. Strategy & Operations intern Caroline Walters, who is working on a wind energy kite project, believes that the BOLD program stands out from other internship programs. “I’m not treated like an intern in any sense of the word. My team genuinely values and trusts my opinion,” Walters said. According to Walters, BOLD interns are given a difficult project to complete throughout the course of the internship. Walters said, “The hardest part is balancing your work and trying to soak it all up.”
COOL STUFF YOU GET TO DO
When preparing for the summer’s BOLD interns, Google doesn’t just find unfinished tasks to fill up the summer. As if working for one of the most sought-after companies wasn’t enough, BOLD interns gain access to learning and development programs offered by the company. Every intern gets personally mentored and given the chance to attend a variety of speeches from different execs. Training is tailored to each intern and designed to develop their skill sets for future endeavors. If you’re not in the mood to work at your desk, wander to a meeting space or lounge for a more comfortable environment. Sleepy? Power nap in one of those napping pods we’ve all heard about. Hungry? Stop by a microkitchen for a quick snack. You can even participate in the Google Students Instagram to show off your awesome internship to your friends.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
Google places interns in specific teams, and assigns them anything from daily tasks to long-term projects.
Sales, Services and Support
You’ll work with account managers, consultants, admins and analysts to turn product innovations into client solutions. In other words, you’ll help real Google employees create sales pitches and negotiate with clients.
Marketing and Communications
Help spread the wealth of Google products around the world by helping Google’s creative team reach out to people all over the world. If marketing or social media sounds like fun to you, then this serves as a great opportunity to learn the deets from technology wizards.
This is just a fancy title for HR. But interning for this team does not mean sitting in a boring cubicle a la Toby from the Office. If you’re looking to really sharpen your people skills and interact with hundreds of employees in fun, team-building opportunities, then join this team.
Google Technical Services
Interns interested in engineering and technology, as well as how technology can solve company problems, should join this team. This team also collaborates closely with the sales team, providing innovative technological tools to support their clients.
Interest in internet policy and law is only growing. And if you’re pre-law, then this team will be a great help. You’ll see the legal side of everything that happens at Google. After this internship, your neighborhood law firm will treasure the skills you’ve gained. Who else can say that they got legal experience from one of the biggest tech companies in the world?
Finance nerds will play direct roles in this team. There’s no better way to gain financial experience than to advising product teams with balance sheets or devising solutions to accounting issues. Working in his department will better prepare you for running your own Fortune 500 Company or becoming the next big Wall Street executive.
The program’s goal is to improve Google’s operations and get your face out of the textbooks for hands-on learning. Because the program personalizes the internship based on the participant’s’ skills and openings within Google, no two people learn the same thing, but all interns learn from Google leaders and get some suit-and-tie experience to brag about in future interviews.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR APPLICATION
Soak up as much experience as possible before applying to Google. While the company encourages applicants from all walks of life to apply, a solid track record is vital. The Google BOLD Internship Program seeks out incoming college seniors preparing to start their careers and applicants must be enrolled in a four-year Bachelor’s program in the United States. If you see yourself lounging around Google’s office for the summer, fill out the app ASAP during the October of your junior year. In addition to a resume, you’ll want your college transcript (unofficial is fine) and a cover letter or short essay.
Speaking of that resume, make sure it highlights relevant experience that aligns with your desired job. You’ll want to make sure you can tackle challenges at work without batting an eyelash. Once you land that interview, actually prepare. Google people are smart; structure your answers thoughtfully so they know you’re smart, too. If you’re worried about that group project that left you dreading group projects, don’t worry. Google wants to know whether you work better in teams or individually so that you’re placed in a team where you can excel.
SKILLS THAT IMPRESS THEM
You’re gonna want more than just an impressive academic record. Google eyes applicants with a special interest in the company and its services and also appreciates students with social, organizational and analytical skills. The tech biz constantly changes, and you need to prove that you’re flexible and ready to face any business challenges that come your way. During your interview, if you show how you arrive at a solution to a problem by thinking out loud, then they’ll think you’re capable of solving issues in the office. Also, knowing how to code would be a huge boast, even though it’s not required.
- Google swag
- Admission to Employee Resource Groups (To stay connected and find likeminded people)
- Shuttle services to the office (Because public transportation is a pain and cars are expensive)
- Access to fitness centers (How can you resist exercise in a Google gym?)
- Open line of communication with any Google employee (Learn from the masters themselves)
- Delicious food options (Tasty enough to be worth mentioning)
- Automatic resume building (Who wouldn’t hire a former Google intern?)
If you’re looking for an unpaid internship, Google isn’t the company for you. Accepted applicants sign on for 11–12 weeks during the summer with pay! If that still doesn’t cut it, would it help to hear that Google provides full health benefits for the duration of the program? The BOLD program serves as an investment for Google and when the internship expires, there’s a chance interns will be hired as a full-time staff members. Though nothing is guaranteed, you for sure won’t be competing against Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson for an open position.
*Updated by Mariya Khan on May 4, 2017 to include a breakdown of each team Google interns can join as well as helpful images and videos.
More Ways to Succeed at Your Google BOLD Internship
Written by Macey Spensley
Say goodbye to coffee orders and grunt work and hello to massages and Bring Your Dog to Work Day at the office. Whether you’re interested in marketing or solving technical problems with Google’s products, the BOLD Internship, or Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development Internship, will prepare you for employment in any industry. Plus, who could turn down the awesome Google perks? Google values their employees and that includes the interns. The Google BOLD Interns get the chance to work in a close-knit group to complete projects related to their field. The Google BOLD Internship will throw you feet first into the professional workforce.
Top 5 Skills That Make Your Application Stand out
1. Diverse Experiences
Crystal McDuffyThe Google BOLD Internship commits itself to hiring a diverse group of people. The application page states, “We’ve designed our program to expose historically underrepresented students in this field to career opportunities in the industry.” Emphasizing the different life experiences you can bring to the table will show Google how valuable you will be to their company. Plus, your unique background will bring new knowledge to the table when your team is trying to solve tasks and innovate. “Although it wasn’t the most glamorous job, I ended up talking about my experiences working retail at Foot Locker,” said McDuffy. “They showed my skills interacting with a diverse set of people and listening actively and attentively to best meet their needs.”
2. Problem Solving Skills
Every employer values the ability to solve problems. Google embraces technological innovation and wants you to learn how to create something new to improve the world. “They won’t ask you how many golf balls fit inside an airplane like they used to,” said University of Florida junior and incoming intern Crystal McDuffy. “They realized these brain teasers were largely ineffective at assessing role-related knowledge.” They want to know how you can solve a problem on a normal day at the job, instead. Now, they’ll ask you about hypothetical situations you might encounter during your work. Those days of learning a semester’s worth of math the night before your final prepared you for this moment.
3. Being A Team Player
Google is a large employer, with around 62,000 full-time employees. No matter what department you apply for, you will have to know how to professionally interact with your coworkers to accomplish daily tasks. If working with your wishy-washy classmates on your Chemistry group project taught you anything, it’s how to pull through for your teammates. “It’s important to highlight your soft people skills,” said McDuffy. “In a firm as large as Google, you work with so many types of people, so you have to know how to collaborate effectively and make that collaboration lead to innovation.” Emphasize what aspects of your former jobs involved working with others, and your interviewers will jump at the chance to work with you as well.
As a Google intern, no one will ask you to run for coffee and or take their clothes to the dry cleaners. Google wants to help turn young professionals into innovators and world-changers. They don’t shy away from giving their interns responsibilities in completing big projects. “I made sure to highlight my hands-on experience marketing for organizations,” said McDuffy. “They really want to see what kind of impact you’ve made, regardless of the prestige of your position.” You might have to negotiate with an important client or help a customer through a technical problem with their Google product. You handled moving out of your mom’s house and living on your own, so you should be able to handle whatever they ask of you.
5. An Interest in Technology
Google focuses on finding new ways to improve lives in the world through technology and innovation. If they know you have interest in achieving these goals as well, they will find themselves more inclined to keep your application in mind when contacting applicants for interviews. “Above all, they’re looking for people who want to make an impact in technology,” said McDuffy. “You don’t need to know everything yet. Show them your potential, and you’ll shine.” Clearly state your goals within the technology industry and explain how you can help their company achieve them. If you were the unofficial IT worker on your dorm floor, you should consider the Google BOLD internship.
Top 5 Interview Tips That’ll Land You That Internship
1. Be Calm and Confident
Applicants typically experience three interviews over Google Hangout when they are applying for the Google BOLD Internship. The interviewers use these to assess what type of qualities you hold and whether you’ll fit into the Google environment. They look for those who can comfortably speak with others and able to work well within a team. “Everyone was welcoming, engaging, and made the process feel like a conversation. Even though I was really nervous, the interviewers made me feel at ease,” said McDuffy. “It felt very casual, but I also knew that I was being evaluated on my ‘vibe,’ in a strange kind of way.” These interviews will tell Google whether you can work in a team or not and maintain a professional yet friendly demeanor.
2. Be Prepared for Anything
Google’s employment practices differentiate them from most other companies. Google employees get great perks, like massages and getting to bring their dogs to the office. You never know how this eccentric approach to business will manifest within your interview. “During my final interview, my interviewer asked me a question about my blog,” said McDuffy. “He wanted better insight into what I was thinking when I was writing a certain article, so he pulled out his laptop and went to my website in the middle of my interview. It was completely anxiety-inducing, but super rewarding.”
3. Explain Your Problem Solving Abilities
Google is in the business of solving problems for their consumers. Your interviewer will want to see that you possess those skills as well, no matter what department you interview for. “They asked me two types of questions, behavioral and hypothetical,” said McDuffy. “Behavioral questions were about how you responded to a situation in the past, and hypothetical questions are about how you would solve problems you might encounter on the job.” Believe in your ability to solve any task and they will believe in you, too.
4. Know and Understand Google’s Values
Vince Vaughn in The Internship might have sparked your interest in working for Google, but interviewers want to go beyond the surface level of why you want the BOLD Internship. Truly explaining why you believe in the mission of Google will not only show that you have done your research about the company, but also prove what types of morals and values you hold. “I think it’s important to showcase why you want to work for Google, and to really mean it. I think a lot of people want to work there because of what they see or hear about the company, but might not have too much insight on its real values,” said McDuffy. “Being excited about the culture isn’t a good enough reason to convince them to hire you. It’s about being passionate about technology and what technology can do for the world and its people.”
5. Learn From Those Who Have Worked For Google in the Past
The Google BOLD Internship prepares people for the workforce with meaningful experience and wonderful teams to work with. Those who complete the internship typically leave with great things to say about their experiences. Reaching out to former interns and employees will provide you important insight into what you should prepare for in your interview. “What helped me the most was reaching out to other people who’d worked there and asking for feedback on my answers. These were the most challenging interviews I’ve ever had, but they were also the most rewarding,” said McDuffy. “I spent days preparing and figuring out how I wanted to highlight my best skills and the feedback I got from others gave me insight that my tunnel vision didn’t allow me to see.” Think of it as going to visit your professor during office hours – they might seem intimidating, but they want to help you succeed.
**Updated on January 5, 2017 to include “More Ways to Succeed at your Google BOLD Internship” by Macey Spensley